Updated: Mar 18
Play Piercings! These fun, sometimes festive piercings, are one of the more light hearted, entertaining sides of body piercings. Play piercings have been done for hundreds of years in cultures around the world, and gained greater popularity in the 90’s and 00’s. While some of the popularity has died off, these are still around and still a super fun way to explore a different side of body piercing. CW- photos of play piercings, needles, and blood.
Play Piercing is an umbrella term is used to describe any piercings done with the intention of being temporary, just for an event, an occasion, for fun, as part of a kink scene, or any other number of reasons. The key thing about play piercings is temporary! These are piercings that are not intended to be healed or become long term, permanent fixtures. Often times they are removed in 24-48 hours. Much of the time jewelry is never even inserted in play piercings, but rather the needles themselves are left in since they are so temporary.
What kinds of play piercings are there?
Arguably the most popular and well known on the internet is a corset piercing! Two or more rows of rings are pierced into the skin, and laced up with ribbon, thread, or something else decorative, to give the look of a corset. These can be done pretty much anywhere on the body, and they range from simple to extra decorative and ornate. Since these involve the insertion of jewelry, they are often mistaken for permanent piercings. This is not the case. Corset piercings are not practical to heal long term (and yes, people have tried and failed, many times over). These are usually done for an event, a photoshoot, a convention, or some similar temporary occasion, and removed later the same day or the following morning. They usually don’t scar, although if your skin is prone to hyperpigmentation, they could possibly leave scars or dark spots.
The next most popular would be using hypodermic needles, often with hubs, for different play piercing work. Most most commonly seen online with feathers attached to the hubs, these can also be decorated with chains, pearls, gems, or any number of adornments. Or just left with the hubs to create beautiful and intricate patterns, or designs. Sometimes this style of play piercing is done to create art- swirls, spirals, and geometric designs down a back or arm. Sometimes it’s done for the experience of that many piercings in one session, which can often provide an emotional release and euphoric experience. Other times it’s done as part of a kink scene. This leads into another common example of play piercings- for kink!
It’s not uncommon for people to engage in play piercings, particularly of nipples and genitals, as part of kink scenes. Sometimes these are done in patterns and designs, and other times they are done at random for the sensation of piercing. Either way, like all piercings these should only be done by a trained professional, but more importantly someone with a serious understanding of anatomy in the area in question. These heavier play piercings can carry serious risks, and should ONLY be attempted by educated and experienced practitioners.
Theres also the just for shits and giggles play piercing. Seen the episode of Jackass where Steve-O pierces his asscheeks together? Yeah, that’s technically play piercing. Some of the most viral “look at this piercing” images on the internet were just play piercings done by folks just to do it, or just to take a silly picture or video and remove it after. If it seems absolutely outrageous, unreal, and stupid, it’s likely a play piercing, and wasn’t intended to heal or be a permanent piercing.
What’s the point if people just take them out?
This is probably what folks ask the most often, and it’s a valid question! And there are as many reasons as there are folks getting play piercings. Some play piercings just aren’t practical to heal, like corset piercings, but they are still beautiful; and fun! People get them to look fancy for an event, like a party, halloween, pride, or a fetish event. Others for a photoshoot, a runway, or other artistic endeavors. Using your body to create art can be one of the most intimate, empowering moments for an artist. The beauty in play piercings, the designs, intricate work, and incorporation of the body in art is a powerful reason! Others do it for mental and emotional reasons. Being pierced many times in one session like that causes a powerful endorphin rush, and many clients describe feelings of euphoria, emotional release, and other positive experiences. The process can be healing and cathartic for many. As mentioned above, some do this for kink purposes and sexual gratification. And beyond that, temporary piercings like cheek spears, ball and fruit dances, and other piercings have been used in religious rites around the world for hundreds of years. While I would classify these as different the play piercings, they are still temporary piercings, and often the same spirituality and ritual can cross over into the use of play piercing.
Wait- is it safe to wear these to events?
This is a super valid concern. It’s safe, but it takes some extra precautions for sure. When wearing play piercings in an event situation, there are some extra steps. To start, make sure they are accepted at the event, and clear it with an event coordinator. Play piercings do run the risk of bleeding, and that’s something not every event will be comfortable with. The biggest thing is to go with a handler. Someone who follows you around and keeps an eye on both you, your piercings, and the crowd. A handler steps in and stops strangers from touching you or your piercings, watches you for bleeding or issues, and makes sure everything is ok and clean. They usually keep some gloves, gauze, cleaning supplies, and also snacks and drinks on them. If you plan to wear play piercings to an event, having a handler is a MUST. Unfortunately people don’t realize the piercings are real, and it’s not uncommon for people to reach out to touch you, which creates a large cross contamination issue. With with good handler, wearing play piercings in public can be super fun, and also super educational! You’ll definitely be the most interestingly dressed at any event, and its a great opportunity to educate others about body piercing, and body play.
Do they scar?
Often, because the piercings are removed so quickly, they hardly leave any scarring. For some folks who are prone to hyperpigmentation, they may end up with small dark spots from these play piercings, but those often fade and recover quickly. There is always a risk of scarring, and while uncommon anyone wanting play piercings should go into it understanding scarring is a risk, and something they should be prepared for. Personally I have small subtle scars from every play piercing I have done.
What about Aftercare?
Fortunately, these are way easier then any actual piercings! Once the needles or jewelry are removed, the wounds shrink and seal very quickly since they are so fresh. Most folks have just a teeny tiny scab in just an hour or two. You can treat it like any other wound, keep the area clean and dry. Since these often cover a large area bandaging them can be unrealistic, but the wounds are so small that just wearing clean clothes and keeping the area clean is usually all you need. Theres always exceptions, but most folks are pleasantly surprised by how easy these are to heal.
Play Piercings are super fun, super interesting, and a great, unique way to explore your relationship with piercings, and your body! I I love getting to help with these projects for clients because they are often much more light hearted and silly then standard piercing, and we can get super super creative with it! If you are interested in play piercings, contact your local reputable piercer and find out if this service is something they offer, and get more info from them!