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Why would anyone do THAT to themselves?

y interest in body modification and piercing probably had a typical beginning. My reaction to my first exposure to pictures of people with "exotic piercings" was one of confusion: Why would anyone do THAT to themselves? Over time, and with the increasing popularity and consequent exposure to people with piercings, I began to understand.
The evolution in my understanding is not complete. I still consider some modifications to be over the edge; I imagine that this is their ultimate attraction. In any event, at some point in the last year, my own interest crossed a fundamental line: Occasionally viewing other people's pierced bodies on the street or in the print media was not enough. I wanted to feel my own stings!

I decided that I wanted to start with my nipples. Obvious facial piercings are still not de regle among 40-something professionals. Pierced nipples had a mildly erotic appeal.
I started slowly and experimentally.

I needed a needle. My first rather tentative trials with a large sewing needle were less than satisfying.
Sterilization of the needle in a match flame seemed easy enough, but the tissue of my left nipple was tough. I couldn't drive the needle through. The sensation was interesting, however. Initial terror gave way to an adrenaline rush. I chose a smaller diameter and sharper sewing needle. I was able to force this through. At this point, I guess I hadn't really expected to be successful; I had no jewelry of the appropriate style to insert. I removed the needle after about an hour. 'The pain and blood were much less than I expected, and even the mild tenderness was gone in 2 days. The nipple plumped slightly. The sewing needle approach was definitely not ideal however. Two weeks later, I picked out a set of 1/2" diameter earrings with a bead ring type closure that I thought would work (about 18 gauge). I stored them away for future use.

Three weeks later, I remembered that I had several surgical suture needles stashed away in an emergency medical kit I use when backpacking. I chose the "4-0 FS-2 Cutting" version. The sterilized needle was semicircular, about 5/8" in diameter, with a triangular cross-section, and extremely sharp. I cut away the attached suture material and gripped the needle with a hemostat at about the center of its arc. Slow, steady pressure drove the tip through the center of my right nipple, and to the skin on the other side. A concentrated effort brought the tip through the skin and out! The sensation of the sharp needle going through was intoxicating... I repositioned the hemostat and centered the needle on its arc in my nipple. After soaking one of the earrings in alcohol for what I deemed a sufficient length of time, I removed the needle and tried to insert the earring. Repeated attempts were unsuccessful, and basically left the nipple a bloody mess.
I abandoned the attempt and cleaned up.

After several weeks of allowing my tortured nipples time to heal, and some further thought, I was ready for another attempt. Sterilize the needle, hemostat, and earring.
Slow, steady pressure, concentrate and through! This time, after centering the needle, I held each end of the needle with my thumb and forefinger and slowly pulled away from my chest, stretching the nipple and pierced hole. After several minutes of this, with the nipple stretched taut, I quickly removed the needle and attempted to insert the earring. Bingo. Life was good.

Somewhere along in all of this, I discovered BME. While cruising around one day shortly after the above "success", I made a somewhat unwelcome discovery: "Rings smaller than 14 gauge should not be used in below the neck piercings.
They tend to migrate out of the piercing." A quick survey of other, related web sites revealed the same thing. I decided on a wait and see approach (read: ostrich with her head in the sand). After a week, it was obvious: The ring was migrating. Ruefully, I removed it and massaged my sore nipple. Shit! Big needles scare me.

Two months later, I called Gauntlet and tried to order a catalog. They informed me that they needed a signed statement that I was over 21 years old in order to send me one. I was reduced to snail mail. When the catalog arrived, it was OK, but really didn't convey any information that I couldn't get from their web site. They did however sell pre-sterilized needles in sizes up to 10 gauge. Oh joy! Maybe I could just sharpen the end of a piece of 1/4" stainless tubing from the local hardware store.

A month later, I ordered a 14 gauge needle and a 1/2" stainless 14 gauge bead ring. When they arrived, I eyed the needle suspiciously through the packaging. It was not quite as large in diameter as I had imagined. Was it really sharp? Closer inspection appeared promising. Well Shit, T minus five minutes and counting for the right nipple. Open the ring and drop it into alcohol. Stand in front of the mirror. Grasp tip of nipple with 6" long stainless tweezers held in left hand. Pull and stretch, find an entrance point. OK preliminary alignment looks good. Three deep breaths. Rip the needle out of its package. Position in right hand. Re-grasp nipple with tweezers, pull, stretch, find entrance point. Needle tip to nipple. Slow steady pressure. Hey, this needle IS sharp. Check alignment for level. Find an exit point and aim. Some resistance building as needle body enters nipple behind tip. Needle tip at exit skin. Drop the tweezers.
Stretch exit skin with left hand. Push and through. Push real hard and entire needle is centered. So far, so good.
Relax and breathe. Grasp the back of the needle between two fingers and pull away from chest. Stretch nipple skin taut. Hey, with this much steel in your tit, you can really pull! Relax and breathe. Stretch again. Three deep breathes. Pull slowly. Needle tip at exit hole.
Pick up ring in left hand. Position ring end at needle tip. Pull and follow with ring end. Shit! It's not working. Pull needle out. Hold ring in right hand.
Thread ring end into exit hole. Shit! Can't get it started. Thread ring end into entrance hole. Bingo.
We've got lift off. Bend the ring closed and clean up.
Hey, where'd all this blood come from?

One week later, the ring is stable and looking good. It feels wonderful as it rubs gently against the maroon silk of my blouse. I wonder if anyone out there sells acupuncture needles? It would be interesting to work about a half dozen of those, in a radial pattern, into my other nipple.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Oct. 1998
in Nipple Piercing

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