Prince Albert (PA) Piercing 101
Prince Albert piercings! These are one of the most popular penile genital piercings that are done, and with good reason. Many clients have anatomy that is suitable to have this piercing, and it’s relatively easy to heal. It’s also a very functional piercing for the wearer and their partners. A PA piercing is a piercing that enters at the base of the head, about the space where the head connects to the shaft. It exits into the urethra, and typically jewelry sits outside the urethral opening. These piercings can provide urethral stimulation for the wearer, and create a bevy of new sensations and experiences during solo and partnered sex. And for partners, the jewelry can add a textural difference, as well as pleasantly contact some sensitive areas! This blog post is 18+ as it will contain photos, ahead, so please be aware.
A Note on Naming
Legend has it that Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, had this piercing himself, and this is what gave it this name. As the story goes his penis was very visible in clothing of the time and this was undesirable. So he had this piercing done and would use it to tie his penis off to one thigh or the other, to keep it out of the way. It’s a colorful, and believable story that has spread all over the world. But it is in fact just that, a story. It was created by Doug Malloy, a piercing enthusiast. He connected with Jim Ward and together these two men were responsible for much of the early piercing industry in America. Doug wrote a pamphlet “Body and Genital Piercing in Brief” which contained information about different piercings, mostly genital piercings. There were colorful stories about the origins and histories of genital piercings, including this story about the Prince Albert. But Doug admitted that they were just stories, and he made them up to encourage interest and excitement in piercing. There is no historical evidence that Prince Albert had this piercing- and actually its suggested this piercing has existed much further back then those monarchs.
Correct Anatomy is Key
In order to do a PA piercing, first we need to make sure a client has the anatomy to support this piercing. This anatomy looks a little different on circumcised and uncircumcised penises.
For someone uncircumcised, the foreskin needs to retract back enough for us to pierce. We also need to make sure the piercing and jewelry won’t prevent the foreskin from relaxing down into place. If the jewelry could potentially pin the foreskin back, this can actually cause paraphimosis, a condition where the foreskin is trapped back. This is a serious condition that can cause severe damage, and this is why checking anatomy with foreskin is so important. As this piercing goes through the base of the head where it meets the shaft, often if you are uncircumcised there is a frenum there that connects the foreskin to the head. We don’t want to pierce through that webbing, and often need to pierce ever so slightly off to one side or the other so it doesn’t interfere with the movement of the foreskin.
For circumcised penises, we need to make sure scarring from circumcision doesn’t interfere with piercing. If someone has more severe or serious scarring, this can effect the piercing placement and ability to heal. We also have to account for how that scarring will react to piercing- some scar tissue can be pierced just fine and others can react poorly to piercing.
On both anatomies we need to make sure there is enough space between the urethra and the piercing location. Sometimes low set or offset urethras make it impossible for us to safely do this piercing. Even with perfect anatomy, migration is still a risk with this piercing, so we have to be extra cautious with placement and anatomy. On both anatomies we also don’t want to pierce too far down the shaft. A piercing sometimes called a dolphin or deep shaft PA exists, but these are advanced and risky piercings that come with concern of damaging the important spongy tissue of the shaft, causing scarring which can effect erections, and blood flow in the area. The risks improper placement can cause are high, including pain, scarring, issues becoming erect, painful erections, UTIs, and permanent nerve damage. This is why it’s incredibly important to see someone who is properly trained on these piercings and is able to do this correctly for you.
Personally my favorite jewelry for a PA piercing is a captive bead ring. It’s comfortable, secure, leaves room for swelling, is an affordable piece of jewelry, and all around great for healing. Whenever possible I prefer to start these with captives. That said, sometimes captives are not the best call for initial piercing. For example, on some uncircumcised clients a captive may cause irritation to the foreskin, and a curved barbell will be a better call. Regardless of the style being used, I pierce PA’s at an 8g minimum. Any thinner and I find them prone to migration and tearing from use. This is an area that can experience a lot of friction and use during sex and masturbation, and the jewelry needs to be stable enough for that.
With curved barbells, it’s worth noting these often can have the bead sink into the urethra. This is somewhat common with curves and as long as its not painful or uncomfortable it’s technically safe. Many folks are bothered by this though, and choose to wear larger beads on the front to minimize sinking. The same issue can arise with circular barbells as well. Curves however are usually more comfortable for partners than rings, so communicate with your partner and ask them what they enjoy and what is comfortable for them as well.
Many clients end up stretching these piercings, and in larger gauges segment rings, screw on bead rings, and tribal dream rings are all popular choices along side your usual captive bead ring and curved barbell.
A note on Urination
Any time we are doing a piercing that bisects the urethra, it’s important to note that this will effect urination. A piercing at the end of the day is simply a hole, and this means you may experience urine coming from this hole. Some clients choose to hold the jewelry with the bead pressed against the bottom opening to prevent this. Others adopt “the lean” where they lean forward and brace the wall to urinate, allowing gravity to take anything away from their body. And others simply find it easier to sit to urinate and avoid any mess. Whatever you decide works for you, understand that this piercing can and does change your experience using the bathroom. And even if you decide to retire this piercing, the channel often doesn’t fully close, and you may still occasionally experience leaks and drips. Make sure you are prepared for and ok with this before getting this piercing done!
Functional- Not Magical
Genital piercings have a lot of urban legends that surround them online, and the PA is no exception. Some folks say it magically makes your partner orgasm every time and feels unbelievably amazing. But, just as many others would tell you it’s uncomfortable and painful for them. Genital piercings are no different than any other sex toy or extra. Some people will love them, and some people won’t. After all, everyone is different and everyones bodies are different! What one person adores, someone else despises. Keep that in mind before getting this piercing.
A great way to trial run things with a committed partner is to pierce a dildo! No, seriously! Get a cheap dildo, and place a cheap piece of jewelry where the piercing will go. Many piercers, myself included, are happy to pierce a dildo for you to go home and try out. This will allow your partner (or yourself) the chance to experiment and see if the piercing will work for them before committing to actually being pierced.
As an aside, while we are discussing function, I would be remiss not to briefly touch on chastity devices. These piercings are very very functional for use with chastity devices. That said, long term wear of these devices requires a piercing placed and thoughtfully done and healed with this in mind. If you are seeking this piercing for the purpose of wearing a chastity device, please seek out a piercer with experience in this area who can make sure things are done correctly for you.
Considerations Day Of
Many clients are curious about what actually getting this piercing will be like and what they need to do for it. So let’s chat about it. Do you need to shave? Nope! Experienced piercers don’t mind working around bodily hair, and it’s really not an issue for this piercing at all. If you prefer to be shaven or trim hair that’s totally your preference, but it won’t effect the piercing. Do you need to be hard to get pierced? No! Actually getting erect actually makes our job harder. A piercer should never ask or encourage an erection, and if they do that is a major red flag. If an erection does accidentally happen, the piercer make give you a few moments to calm down or may mention that you’ll need to be flaccid for piercing. Don’t feel bad about an accidental erection, they do happen and it’s perfectly normal.
I suggest wearing comfortable, loose bottoms and more supportive underwear the day of piercing. Briefs or boxer briefs are going to provide some added support and comfort after piercing, where as many clients find loose boxers give too much space and the piercing can catch and snag on things.
Considerations for Healing
PA piercings are known for bleeding for about the first week. You can expect a fair amount of blood while these are freshly pierced. I actually suggest getting a small box of pads and wearing those in some briefs or boxer briefs. Sure, you could wrap gauze around the piercing but its sloppy and doesn’t stay on well for many. A pad is literally designed to catch and absorb blood and it does a great job of it. Bleeding should subside after a few days and be done fully after a week. Keep in mind that extra blood flow ie getting an erection may make you bleed more.
The biggest ask is when you can resume having sex. It really comes down to two things- comfort and hygiene. If everything feels comfortable, great! If the piercing is sore or tender, or certain movements, touches, or toys hurt, burn, sting or pinch, I would stop, and wait a week or two before trying that again. For many clients, they feel comfortable resuming things with this piercing after 1-4 weeks. Hygiene is the other big factor. You and your partners should be cleaning up well before and after, and you should clean your piercing. I also suggest protection for the first month- we are’t worried about STD’s but we are worried about other peoples unique bacteria and bodily fluids- yes, even your primary partner, even someone you’ve been with for years. I also suggest water based lubrication not silicone based while this heals!
Clothing wise avoid lacy underwear that may catch or snag- fishnets fall into this category as well. Stick with underwear that feels comfortable and doesn’t rub on the piercing. The same goes for pants.
General Advice for Genital Piercings
When considering getting any kind of genital piercing, there are a few good considerations to have in mind. Are you looking for something functional? What kind of function are you desiring? What stimulation do you prefer? What kind of sex do you have? How do you masturbate? Would you prefer something that’s just decorative? Do you want to stretch your piercing in the future? Ideally, what would this piercing do for you? Take your time to think over these things, or discuss them with a partner. It’s also important to remember that every vulva and penis is very unique in shape and size, and not everyone has the right anatomy for every piercing. There are some that most anatomy can get, and some that few can. Take a look at photos on my site, and feel free to come in for a consult to assess your anatomy and let you know what piercings you can get. I always encourage clients to come in for a consult if they’d like- good piercers are happy to discuss anatomy, function, and lifestyle with you, and your partner, and work with you to find the best piercing for your needs.
PA piercings are a timeless classic, and when we think of penile genital piercings this is usually what comes to mind. These piercings are fairly easy to get, heal, and great to enjoy alone or with a friend. If you are interested in getting this piercing please do some good research on your piercer and ensure you are seeing someone who will assess your anatomy correctly, place your piercing correctly, and help you through the healing process.
To view more examples check out my genital piercing portfolio. For further reading