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Septum Stretching: An Exploration

Piercing has become an important part of my life. And for me, the natural relative to piercing is stretching. In this submission to BME, I want to do two things: talk about the process of stretching my septum, and explore the reasons for this particular stretching.

The Process

My septum is now 8mm wide, which is about the thickness of a straw. I can stick a chopstick through the hole with extra space, while a pencil will push through with a little bit of force.

I am wearing a flesh tunnel designed for an ear lobe, and I leave in at all times, even though it is slightly visible from my side profile. With my flesh tunnel I can add visible jewelry according to my mood and schedule.

When I am not at work, I wear either an 18g Bar Closure Ring or my thicker 10g Curved Barbell. For some reason I think the little 18g BCR fits my face better than the thick CBB.

My first piercings were my nipples, which I had done as a way of expressing my disagreement with society in general. I had them done during a time when my work was causing me great stress and I wanted to prove to myself that I was different from all those people with which I strongly disagreed, but still had to work.

My spirits were renewed after the piercing and I soon discovered that everyday I was feeding on a newfound power. Within a few months I wanted more. I thought about a labret, but chose a septum piercing instead and wrote about it in Septum Hole: A Love Story.

Although I took a year to stretch the hole to 8mm, I would describe the jumps I made in my stretching campaign as aggressive because I skipped a few gauges each time. Here are the sizes I went through:

  1. 14g (initial piercing)

  2. 10g

  3. 6g

  4. 7mm ear plug

  5. 8mm flesh tunnel (current)

My initial piercing healed in a few weeks. I kept it for a couple of months and found a 10g septum keeper, which I forced in myself. The 6g keeper required tapers to be inserted, as did the 7mm plug. I used a chopstick to stretch from there, and followed on with the new flesh tunnel I had specifically mated to a new 10g CBB.

I admit that I though stretching wouldn't hurt as much as piercing, but it was definitely the other way around. Skin will stretch only to a limit, after which it pops and is ripped. If that's happening, your stretching is probably too aggressive.

I wouldn't recommend the gauge jumps I made. From 14g, you should probably go to 12g, but it's entirely up to the individual. The tapers can always do it; the question is whether you can. One way to find out is to do one stretching, wait a few minutes, and then decide if you can handle another jump in that same session.

My last three stretchings were the most painful, each causing me sustained pain for as many as four days in a row. Even the slightest touch on my nose would cause me to wince in pain as sharp nose cartilage pressed against my ripped and stretched skin.

During this time I was reminded - almost continually - that I see and do things differently from most people. And the proof of that was the pain I submitted myself to during the healing. There were a few times that I thought I had stretched it too far and should take it out, but in retrospect I see that I was just looking for a way out, which of course makes it all the more satisfying now that it has healed.

The Reasons

I get a lot of comments about my stretched septum. The first and most annoying question is: "Did that hurt?" The next question, which is usually asked with scorn and contempt is: "Why did you do that?"

The most irritating thing about the second question is that the people who ask often do NOT actually want an answer. Sometimes they simply feel more comfortable thinking that i am crazy and there was no point to it anyway. But for those who want to listen, I do have some answers.

Through my readings, but mostly through experience, I have determined that there are four main reasons for piercing. By that I mean that whatever reason you might list for any of your piercings, it would fall under one (or more) of these categories:

  1. Spiritual

  2. Rite of Passage

  3. Sexual

  4. Fashion (includes Expression)

To me, the reasons why are easy to define. Achieving the desired effect from the motive however, is open to debate. Some might say that the Spiritual level is unobtainable, but I question how that could be known.

I would also argue that collectively, all of my piercings have taken on at least some Spiritual meaning for me because they signify progressive developments in my thinking about how I view the world and myself. I admit that it would be a hard argument for me to claim that my piercings have changed my life, but they have been the catalyst for change in my thought, and the depth of that change has developed as my piercings and stretchings have become more extreme.

To me, a suspension is the ultimate progression of piercing into the Spiritual realm.

So why have I stretched my septum? I think the main reason is that I want to publicly declare that I do not conform to many aspects of society and that I constantly question everything. I have intentionally stretched it to a larger gauge specifically to prove that I am a nonconformist. I embrace the idea that my thinking and philosophy about life is unacceptable to many, and I make that point by putting a hole in my nose - not coincidently - something that is unacceptable to a lot of people. But beyond that, I feel a self-achieved knowledge that I control my own destiny and that I am excited about explorations that many will never attempt.

As always, best wishes to everyone here.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 26 May 2003
in Nose Piercing

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Artist: Various
Studio: Various
Location: S.E.+Asia

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