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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Penises, Piercings and Pleasure

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One of my friends knows a lot of guys who get Prince Alberts (the piercing). He says they all claim that sex with the piercing has been much, much better. Why would that be? Or does that sound like some strange occurrence/claim?

 

A Prince Albert (or PA) is a genital piercing where a ring or curved barbell enters the penis near the frenulum (ridge on the underside of the penis that connects the shaft to the head) and exits through the urethra at the tip of the penis. Basically, you have a big ol' piece of metal running through the underside of the head of the penis. (For a more detailed description and photos, click here.)

To get a professional's perspective on your question, I talked to Pete, the owner and head piercer of Cutthroat Tattoo on Brady Street. Pete has performed quite a few PAs at Cutthroat. Pete says, "I don't feel [better sex] would be a freak occurrence, because the piercing is something that would be rubbing on the inner walls of the urethra; it should be better, I would think. The piercing doesn't change anything physically on a man, but it comes into contact with the sensitive glands on the underside of the head of the penis."

For some people, the urethra can be a sexually responsive spot, and for most men, the frenulum is one of the most sensitive areas on the penis, so it makes sense that friction in these areas would translate to increased pleasure during sex.

Pete also mentioned that since a Prince Albert is on the underside of the penis, it's not meant to hit a woman's G-spot (at least not in the missionary position), which prompted me to ask him to talk more about the experiences of sexual partners of folks with PAs. A piercing might make sex better for a guy, but what about the person on the receiving end of that metal-enhanced penis?

"For a female, if it's already a tight fit, and you're going to put something bigger in there, it can be uncomfortable," Pete says. "The piercing wouldn't cause any damage [to the vagina]. Some women like it, some women don't." Pete also stated that the most common reason for people to come in and ask to have the piercing removed is because their girlfriends said it hurt during sex.

For those considering a Prince Albert, Pete cautions that there's a risk of infection and an increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases, especially while the piercing is healing. Pete recommends holding off on any sexual contact for at least eight to 12 weeks, and other piercing professionals say that one should wait four months. It's especially important to use condoms when you do begin to have sexual contact again, even with a monogamous partner. I recommend condoms with a pouch at the tip, such as Pleasure Plus, for men with PAs, since they allow a little extra room for your jewelry and also allow for that friction and movement that makes the piercing fun.

Pete notes that it's not just sex that's affected by a Prince Albert; urination can also be a challenge. "When a person first gets a Prince Albert, he has to sit down to pee, but you learn how to manage it over time. The ring coming out of the urethra acts like a fan and spreads urine all over the place."

To read comments from people who have Prince Albert and other genital piercings, Body Modification Ezine  is a good site. They also have lots of photos, but you must have a paid membership to the site to view more than a handful of genital piercing pics (which are, by the way, not for the squeamish). For information about choosing a piercer and taking care of a new piercing, check out the Association of Professional Piercers website.

Photo courtesy of  bmezine.com

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them tolaura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

Laura Anne Stuart has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side.

 

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