Can I Get My Clit Pierced?

Posted on 18/10/2016

In short, the answer is yes. And your labia. In fact, the only place you legally CANNOT get pierced down there is where the piercing goes through the actual clitoris itself. As an adult, consenting woman, you have the right to have your genitals pierced should you wish.

There is, however, a lot of confusion and misinformation out there in relation to female genital piercings and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). And we are going to try and set these things straight.

 

Context and Consent

The key, as with most things in life, is consent, and the context in which this is given. Every man, woman or child has a right to refuse and be kept safe from procedures which will cause them emotional and physical harm.

However, you also have a right to consent to a procedure which you have duly considered and come to your own informed decision.

It is NOT illegal for you as a woman to have your genitals pierced AS LONG AS YOU HAVE CONSENTED. That is, you and only you. Not your other half, not your Dom if you are in a Ds relationship. Not even if you give someone else permission to give consent for you. It has to be you.

Due to the general vagueness surrounding the law and the corresponding guidelines, many piercers are simply refusing to perform any type of female genital piercing for fear of being prosecuted. They may also cite that it is illegal. Though this isn’t the case, it just goes to show how confused and unclear the general understanding of the situation is.

Can I get my clit pierced? Yes you can.

Can I get my clit pierced? Yes you can.

 

 

So what can I actually have pierced?

We spoke to Daisy P., resident piercer at Baby Boy Tattoo Studios in Bishops Stortford. She undertook an 18 month apprenticeship with one of the top piercers in the UK, whom was also on the board for the European Professional Piercers Association. Her piercing knowledge and experience is spectacular.

She was recently advised by one of the head Female Genital Mutilation lecturers for the NHS on female genital piercing. As a result, she knows exactly what can and cannot be done.

In terms of legality, it is only the clitoral piercing (where it goes through the clitoris itself) which is illegal. The Triangle is not advised and is all but impossible to get insured for because it can sever the clitoral nerve if improperly placed. 99.9% of piercers, regardless of their training will not do it. I’m one of them.

The horizontal and vertical clitoral hoods are probably the most common. I get mostly vertical hoods. They’re fairly simple *if the piercer actually knows what they’re doing*.

The fourchette/prepuse is probably the least risky. There are no major nerves in that area. The skin is designed to stretch and tear without major damage during childbirth, so it’s generally safe to do.

I have specific forms to be filled in by the client, with specific legally compliant language and questions. I take the client into my studio alone and ask why they are getting the pricing and give them a chance to talk to me alone.

If I feel they’re being pressured or forced, I will give them a plausible excuse why they can’t get it done. I will also inform the authorities (with their permission).

I’ve had a girl say she wanted it because her boyfriend wanted her to get it. I turned her away and told her to tell him that her anatomy wasn’t suitable. I also told her that if he kicked off, she could come back with him and I’d back her up (undertone: call the police).

The client must be over 18 – no exceptions. If they’re under that, there’s a whole world of sexual abuse charges that can be brought against the piercer. Even if the client consented.

Generally, if I say no to something, there’s a good reason – it’s illegal or going to damage your body. Never go to a piercer who won’t talk confidently and openly about what you want. Not many will have genital portfolios (not many clients would agree), but ask if they have performed that piercing before and how many times. If they seem unsure.. Back away slowly and run!

Unfortunately, piercing as an industry is not a regulated as I’d like. I’d like minimum training standards at least.’

 

Different types of female genital piercing

Different types of female genital piercing – unknown source (if source is known,please advise and we will correct)

 

 

So Doesn’t Female Genital Piercing Count As FGM?

Female genital mutilation is classified into 4 major types (WHO Factsheet, updated February 2016)

  • Type 1: Often referred to as clitoridectomy, this is the partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals), and in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).
  • Type 2: Often referred to as excision, this is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva), with or without excision of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva ).
  • Type 3: Often referred to as infibulation, this is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, sometimes through stitching, with or without removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy).
  • Type 4: This includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

So there you have it – genital piercing in girls and women can be a result of FGM (in anyone under the age of 18 it counts as sexual assault at the very least). However, I refer you again to the section above on Context and Consent. FGM occurs in very specific circumstances, and the term FGM should not be applied to all female genital piercings.

Does having a ‘Designer Vagina’ count as FGM? No. Yet that is more invasive and dramatic than a consensual piercing.

 

 

What Happens When I go to the Doctor?

This is turning into an unnecessary worry for women who have consensual genital piercings.

As of 31st October 2015, it became compulsory to report all possible cases of FGM directly to the police. Technically this only applies in England and Wales, and only for girls under the ages of 18, however we are seeing that the chances are you will be asked how/why/when you were pierced.

Again, piercer Daisy P. helps to clarify.

Level 4 on the FGM scale means that it is noted on your medical records and a written record of the conversation between you and your medical person is taken down.’

What Level 4 does not mean that it is the worst thing you could possibly do, ever.

If you made a consensual and informed choice, then you can simply answer that you had it because it looks nice and you consented to it. Your answer should then simply be recorded, and that’s that.

What we really don’t want to happen is for women to start avoiding going for their important regular health screenings for fear that they will be reported to the police. This WILL NOT happen unless you have been a genuine victim and choose to report it.

If you have been a victim of FGM, this is your opportunity to speak up.

So what is FGM?

The laws and guidelines surrounding genital piercing and the prevention of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are there to protect vulnerable girls and young women from an act which is best described as inhumane and barbaric. And with a higher than expected prevalence in the UK, where the practice is illegal, combined with shockingly low prosecution rates (there have been no successful prosecutions since the 2003 Act came into effect), shows that this is a cause that desperately needs all the help and support it can get.

To quote both the WHO and the UN respectively, Female Genital Mutilation (sometimes called Female Circumcision) is a violation of human rights, and nothing short of torture. It is illegal in the UK.

There are many articles which cover the extent of the mutilations carried out as part of FGM, so we won’t go into them in too much depth here. But the WHO describes FGM as;

…all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways.

It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and hence interferes with the natural function of girls’ and women’s bodies. The practice causes severe pain and has several immediate and long-term health consequences, including difficulties in childbirth also causing dangers to the child.’

This is one of the major differences between FGM and a consensual and professional piercing. A good piercer should not cause ‘severe pain’ with ‘several immediate and long-term health consequences.’ In fact, Daisy P. details that it is incredibly rare of female genital piercings to become infected, if done correctly.

The Law in the UK

Thing is, we have to interpret these guidelines into our own laws. So, in the UK, the law stands upon the following acts; the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 (repealed in 2005), superseded by the Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003), and the Serious Crime Act 2015.

In essence, over the years changes have been made to not only make it illegal to carry out such a procedure, but also to aid or help a girl perform it on herself, or to take her out of the country and have it performed abroad. It has also been expanded to cover women as well as girls. The penalties for such offences have also been increased, showing how seriously the UK government is taking tackling FGM.

Now, according to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, FGM counts as the following;

  • A person is guilty of an offence if he excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any part of a girl’s labia majora, labia minora or clitoris.

At no point within the UK law is genital piercing specifically described as an act of FGM. However, due to the WHO guidelines, it is clear to see that they could be discerned as mutilation. And this is where the confusion often lies.

Conclusion

Genital piercing for women is not illegal in the UK if you are 18 or over and give your full informed consent, and have not been coerced into the procedure.

With massive thanks to Daisy P., piercer at Baby Boy Tattoos for her help and advice in writing this article. We hope that this helps to clarify where you stand as a woman with or wanting genital piercings.

You can contact Daisy via her Facebook page

 

Further Reading

Female Genital Mutilation – An RCN resource for nursing and midwifery practice

https://www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/publications/pub-005447

World Health Organisation FGM Factsheet

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

Justice for FGM Victims

http://www.justiceforfgmvictims.co.uk/ 24-hour FGM helpline 0800 028 3550

 

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