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A Brief Non-Linear Piercing History

rief Non-Linear Piercing History

A Brief Non-Linear Piercing History

The purpose of this list is to dispel certain popular myths and misinformation circulated about different body piercings and to clarify terms wherever possible. My list focuses on piercings that appear in the ethnographic or historical literature. Recent piercings like the Madison, Christina, Cleopatra, Madonna, Nasion and others have not been included. Please note that many of the references supplied by "the father of modern piercing" Doug Malloy (a.k.a. Richard Symington) cannot be verified and should be considered folklore.

If you know of any historical or ethnographic references that are not mentioned here, please email me, Raven Rowanchilde at urbprim@io.org or Shannon Larratt/BME at bme@io.org.

Ear/Nostril/Septum and Labret: most widely practiced piercings among tribes in New Guinea, Africa, India, Indonesia, Australia, North and South America. Lower labret found among tribes in Amazon, West Africa, India and North American Indian. Upper labret is unique to tribes in Chad. Septums tend mostly to be found on men but some reports of women wearing septums among Australian Aborigines.

Tongue: temporary tongue piercings practiced among Maya royalty during special rituals and among Australian Aborigines.

Foreskin: believed to have evolved from a practice originated in ancient Greece 776 B.C. during the Olympic Games. Greek atheletes competed in the nude. To prevent their genitals from flapping around and reduce risk of chafing and tearing, they atheletes fastened a ribbon around the foreskin and tied the ends securely at the base of the penis. They called this device a kynodesme from kuon, prepuce, and desmos, fastening band. The practice evolved into a permanent form in Rome 200 to 400 A.D. The Romans pierced the prepuce of atheletes and slaves with a metal rings that they welded shut. The Romans called this device a fibula. It's function was to prevent erections - not for protection but to ensure the athelete didn't break training and the slaves didn't procreate.

Frenum: In Southeast Asia, circular devices called rowels were attached to frenulum piercings to prevent the men from engaging in sodomy. In China and in the Sanskrit text The Kama Sutra, devices to stimulate the vagina during intercourse were attached to frenulum piercings. A Chinese example is a collar made of horsehair bristles.

Nipples: Hans Peter Duerr reports that in the middle of the 14th century Queen Isabella of Bavaria introduced a fashion of dress that opened the neckline to the navel. According to Duerr:

This fashion eventually led to the application of rouge to freely displayed nipples...to placing diamond studded rings on caps on them, even to piercing them and passing gold chains through them decorated with diamonds, possibly to demonstrate the youthful resilience of the bosom.

According to Doug Malloy, "The proud Roman centurions... wore nipple rings as a sign of virility and courage and as a dress accessory for holding their short capes."

Navel Piercing: Doug Malloy writes that ancient Egyptians pierced their navels as a sign of royalty and valued a deep navel. Note: No such report in academic literature.

Prince Albert: Long before it became associated with royalty, Victorian haberdashers called the Prince Albert a "dressing ring". According to Doug Malloy, the practice apparently originated with Beau Brummel, "a gay effete bachelor" who used the device to secure his penis against his leg and diminish his "manly endowments" during the Victorian craze for crotch-cutting pants. Around 1842-43, at the age of twenty-five, Prince Albert installed a dressing ring in his penis. Gossip magazines proclaimed the dressing ring a Prince Albert. Doug Malloy learned about the P.A. while working as a professional scuba Diver. Two Swede divers wore P.A.s as a means of controlling the flow of urine into a "rubber urinal" so that they didn't foul their diving suits. After piercing his penis, Doug discovered the P.A. was more than functional, it provided him with "wonderful sensations".

In addition to sex, Doug claims other popular uses for the P.A. include:

Stretching the penis. Saddhu fakirs of South India hung weights on their P.A.s and stretched their penises to lengths of two and three feet. At this length, the penis is no longer functional. The fakirs wound the penis around their waists and displayed themselves for money. A more moderate approach used by a former Mr. Universe titlest gained him 1 1/2" and didn't impair his function. Boosting confidence. Doug Malloy claims Mousilini had a Prince Albert so that he could fondle his penis through a hole in his pants pocket. IL Duce apparently fondled his P.A. to get a confidence boost, especially when he had to make important decisions. Therapy. Doug boasts a therapeutic function for the P.A. - to cure obesity. Malloy claims obese men can divert their attention from food cravings by tugging or fondling their P.A.s.

Labia: Trukese women of Polynesia pierced their labia to attract suitors.

Hafada: through the skin of the scrotum, usually on one side. Arabian origins traditionally performed at puberty to mark passage into manhood. Soldiers in French Foregin Legion introduced the hafada to Europe.

Guiche: piercing of the ridge of flesh between the testicles and the anus. Derives froma Samoan puberty ritual. Believed to stimulate in the area of the prostate gland. Very popular among modern enthusiasts.

Dydoe: Southeast Asia, India; penetrates the glans along the ridge. Enhance pleasure in women and to increase sensitivity in circumcised men.

Palang: A palang is one of the most intense, risky and potentially rewarding male genital piercings. The palang, which means "cross-bar" in Iban or Malay, is a rod or barbell that transects the glans of the penis, usually through the urethra. The practice apparently originated in Borneo, then spread to Sulawesi and Sumatra.

The men of Borneo adopted the palang to symbolically confer onto their penises the vitality, virility and fertility associated with the rhinoceros penis. The rhinoceros penis holds a special place among sacred objects associated with Bornean fertility ceremonies.

In addition to its importance as a resource for trade with the Chinese, Borneans valued the rhinoceros penis for its natural palang, a rigid cross-bar located four inches behind the tip of the penis and projecting two inches on either side.

Over twenty different tribal groups in Southeast Asia adopted the palang. Others opted for less radical penis inserts - small bells, pearls or marbles sewn under the skin of the penis, along the length of the shaft, called kandoekoe, bungkal or kaling-kaling. The most widely reported term for the glans piercing is palang, or empallang. Other indigenous names include utang, aja, kaleng, and kambiong . Tribal men wore their palang as badges of courage, status and virility. One anthropologist in the 1800s reports that Kayan chiefs wore as many as three palang in their penises.

The smooth, rounded balls of the palang increase the girth of the penis and stimulate the sensitive tissue inside the vagina. Dyak women refuse to have intercourse with men unless they have apalang. Dyak women say, "[Sex] without [a palang] is like rice, but with it, it tastes like rice spiced with salt."

Some men report that their erections are bigger, harder and longer lasting and their orgasms more intense. The Kama Sutra recommends piercing the glans of the penis as a cure for impotence. Physiologically, the barbell inside the glans stimulates the penis. An increase in blood flow to the penis causes the spongy tissue of the glans to fill with extra blood and swell.

Apadravya: Sanskrit term mentioned in Kama Sutra. Generic name for any device secured to the penis to excite the woman's vagina during intercourse much like a French tickler. Also name of device inserted through the penis for the same purpose. Modern name for vertical palang.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Jan. 1997
in Ritual

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