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Piercing, Gender & Sexuality - Body Piercing Basics EP135

In the 135th episode of Body Piercing Basics DaVo talks about if your piercing says something about your Gender and/or Sexuality. He also covers the origins of this idea and how piercings and other body modifications in the past would used to identify you as part of a culture or subculture and your role or status in that group.

Show Notes:

History of Pre-Modern Piercing

  • Tribal Identification

    • Piercings are a way of signifying membership to a culture or tribe

    • Other Body Modifications were used

    • Marked coming of age and an initiation into the society

  • Social & Class Rank

    • Stretched Piercings

    • More complex jewelry

  • Fashion

    • With Western civilization Clothing replaced Modifications

    • Jewelry and piercings become more of the upper class and a sign of wealth

History Modern Piercing

  • Developed first in the fringe underground subcultures

    • Used as a secret code for other members of the subculture

      • Mostly because the activity was considered anti-social, deviant, and in many cases illegal.

      • Piercings, other Body Modifications & Clothing were a signal that you were interested in activities outside of social norms.

    • Gay, Leather, BDSM, Old Guard, and other sexual Subculture used Piercing & Body Modification in much the same way that tribal cultures do.

      • A Piercing could represent the activities and type of partner you were seeking

      • It could represent your role, level of involvement, and commitment

      • Could represent a committed relationship or collaring/ownership

      • Could represent you announcing your interest as a sign of coming of age within the culture

    • Music, Outlaw Bikers, and other non-sexual subcultures

      • A symbol of your commitment to rejection against social norms

      • A symbol of your level of commitment

      • A sign to others of your involvement in the subculture

    • Mainstream Cultures:

      • Piercing gained popularity in the 1990s

      • Piercings begin to be increasingly more Fashion than a statement

      • Hiding means of piercings quickly become less about belonging to a group or signifying belonging to a subculture The Ramones t-shirt comparison

      • The number of people with piercings that are not part of a subculture greatly outnumbers those that are.

Gender & Piercings

  • Depending on your location certain have become associated with gender definition or stereotypes

    • Navel piercings tend to be on those that lean towards the female side of the gender

    • Men only get the left earlobe pierced

      • How much this is about gender identification or how those piercings fit into the slight difference in female or male anatomy or current fashion may have more to do with it than gender assignment.

    • A piercing may be favored by one or more stereotypes.

      • For example, eyebrow piercings in the UK are considered a piercing only thugs and hooligans get.

      • Throughout the 90s and early 2000s Septum was associated with the guy in the pit or more masculine people.

    • Much of this may come from the jewelry that is typically stocked for certain piercings.

      • Navel Jewelry tends to be large gem settings and targeted toward the cultural normal of females liking gems.

      • Septum jewelry for years was thicker and larger circular jewelry with a definite more tough guy male look. However, with the introduction of smaller thinner jewelry with gem settings, increasingly more females with septum piercings.

    • Reality is the only question you should ask is what you want and find beautiful on you.

    • The myth of the right side and the wrong side

      • Unless you are involved in sexual subcultures that use piercings to define your role or you are part of a culture where which side is represented by tradition, it doesn’t matter. It is your choice.

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All images used as used in the spirit of Fair Uses. If you are the photographer, piercer, or owner of the piercing and would like to be credited, please contact DaVo at

The links below are affiliate links and part of the proceeds will go to DaVo, the Axiom, and Body Piercing & Tattooing Staff.

Suggested Aftercare Products:

  • For Premixed Saline DaVo suggests. NeilMed Neil Cleanse Wound Wash First-Aid Sterile Saline Solution 6 fl oz Each -
  • Band-Aid Brand First Aid Products Tru-Absorb Gauze Sponges for Cleaning Wounds, 4 in x 4 in, 50 ct -

All footage was filmed using a Canon EOS 80D Camera with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens - and Canon EOS R  - with Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens -

Audio - Recorded with Shure MV7 - with a Tascam DR-40x -

For more information on DaVo and the Axiom Body Piercing Studio go to

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Contact DaVo at or by phone at 515-262-5989
If you would like to set up a Piercing Appointment go to and click on the "Book Now" button.

Skin Kitchen Tattoo and The Axiom Body Piercing Studio are located at 3800 Douglas Ave./Des Moines, Iowa 50311
Tattoo hours are Thursday - Monday 1-8 pm
Piercing hours are Thursday - Monday 2-8 pm