Boyfriend pierced his penis

Dear Alice,

My boyfriend went down to the Village last night and came back with a pierced cock and I am completely grossed out by this. Moreover, he wants to have sex with it on, but it is of the type that would definitely scratch my insides up. What should I do? Also, he's thinking about getting his cock sliced into two parts. Alice, he's freaking out on me. I'm scared for him.

— Weirded Out

Dear Weirded out,

Prince Alberts, apadravyas, ampallangs, frenums, and dydoes may sound like mythological characters or creatures, but these penis piercings may be misunderstood in their meaning and potential. Considered the norm in many cultures throughout the world, piercings and other body modifications are a form of personal expression — some other people find them alarming and/or unappealing. Your apprehension and feelings are valid, and a discussion about this may help to understand your boyfriend's reasons for changing his body.

It may be helpful to identify and then express what's bothering you:

  • Is it the idea of the piercing or a body modification?
  • Is it the possibility that he is doing this for shock value or is attempting to shock someone — you, in this case?
  • How long has your boyfriend's desire for body change existed?
  • What does this piercing mean to him?

Asking these questions may help you learn the meaning behind these new changes. If the meaning and/or the process still makes you uncomfortable, you have additional information upon which to base your next steps.

Piercing is often seen as an expression of sexual freedom. The piercing of a man's genitals may express sexual identity, serve as proof of adulthood, particularly in certain cultures, and attempt to enhance sexual experiences. Genital piercings may also represent efforts to claim one's body, increase sexual feeling, and/or push some limits.

Along these same lines, it's important for you to feel comfortable and safe in your present and future sexual experiences. In the meantime, you may consider taking a break from sex and/or penetration until you feel more comfortable with your boyfriend's new "addition;" resume sex with him using new protective measures; have different or less invasive kinds of sex together; or, decide new directions for the relationship.

The Association of Professional Piercers (APP) states that sexual activity may happen as soon as the piercing heals, but mentions that hygiene and comfort for both partners are important to consider as one makes this decision. They recommend soaking a newly pierced penis in a warm saline solution or water before sexual activity to remove any crusty matter and using gentle movements until you, your partner, and your bodies have adjusted to the piercing.

Unprotected sex involving genital piercings may increase the risk of infection at the point of the piercing. A risk of tissue damage and systemic infections exists for the pierced person which could be exacerbated by sexual activity. Barriers to bodily fluids and disease, such as condoms and dams are recommended to protect both you and your partner. Water-based lubricant is also suggested to help you adapt to this new addition to your boyfriend's penis. The APP also mentions that the chance of condoms tearing is not usually a problem. If the jewelry interferes with the fit of normal condoms (which it rarely does until the piercing jewelry is enlarged), larger male condoms or female condoms could be an option.

You also mentioned that your boyfriend is considering a procedure called sub incision. This process involves a cut straight down the underside of the penis, cutting through the urethra. This body modification makes the penis appear split from the bottom view. You may want to discuss these modifications, your feelings, and the effect that you both think having this next body modification might have on your relationship — physically, sexually, and emotionally.

Asking questions, listening, and discussing with your boyfriend as well as with others who are knowledgeable about piercings may help you get the information you need to either feel more at ease or decide next steps for your relationship. You may also consider gaining some perspective on the situation by enlisting the help of a professional. You may find it helpful to speak to a counselor on your own, or you may want to see a counselor with your partner.

It's natural for you to be unsettled by what you consider to be unnatural modifications — to both your boyfriend's physical and mental state. Asking questions, expressing your own concerns and feelings, and learning about the motivation behind his change may ease your mind or help you to make decisions about your relationship moving forward.

Last updated Apr 01, 2015
Originally published May 01, 1994