I decided, last weekend, to put bigger-guage rings in my nipples. The gauge I had (12) has a slight tendency to pinch, and the general rule is, the thicker, the more comfortable. Plus, thicker rings just plain look cooler.
Now, I’ve had a lot of piercings over the years. I’ve still got six in my ears; in the past I had more, in nose, ears, nipples (a first try that didn’t take, but left scar tissue behind), and others south of the belt. So I’m no stranger to either needles, or to stretching piercings.
Saturday morning, I woke slowly, and, still in that almost-sleeping state where I’ve mentally written some of my best work, and where I’ve also had some of my most vivid fantasies, I started playing with my nipple rings in a sort of absent way.
It occurred to me that the right nipple – the one with no scar tissue – was finally sitting free enough in the piercing that I might be able to get in a larger gauge ring.
I carefully removed the 12ga from my right nipple (a very odd feeling, removing body piercing jewelry), and then pulled the 10ga ring from my left ear lobe. I didn’t really expect the ring to fit, but was just sleepy enough to want to try, and just awake enough to manage it without dropping the steel balls that hold the rings closed.
The ring slipped neatly through my nipple; just tight enough that there was a slight tingle as it went through, and a pleasing sensation of tightness in the nipple afterwards. I popped the steel bead in place and got up.
I made coffee; highly, erotically aware of my right nipple, as I had been when I first got them pierced (though with no pain, just the lingering sensation that came a week or more after the piercing).
I went digging through the collection of random jewelry I own; various rings and barbells from various piercings over the years, some not mine (trophies from long-ago meetings, I’d like to claim, though in fact more likely just borrowed when I was in my stretching phase and needed a 6ga, or a 4, or something.)
I came up empty, for some reason owning no 10ga rings of the appropriate diameter; though it’s not like I mind visiting my local piercing shop.
I would really have liked to put in gold rings in my nipples. I think gold looks great in piercings; I used to be all about silver/stainless, but ever since getting a gold tooth a few years ago (my dentist thought I was daft for choosing gold rather than a standard sort of ceramic that looks like a real tooth, though I bet they get more requests since Pirates than in those days), I’ve become quite the fan of gold for piercings and things. Alas, the rings I wanted would have gone for $250 each (ouch – gold’s gone up).
I bought two rings – one to replace the ear, and one for the other nipple. My piercer, Sharrin, offered to put them in for me, and given that I’ll almost never pass up a change to have my nipples played with, I happily took her up on the offer. As it turned out, it was a good choice.
My left nipple – for those of you who’ve never had the chance to get in your mouths, which I must say, is far too many of you – is about twice the size of my right. I tried, many years ago, to pierce it, and the piercing, for some reason, never took. My body just didn’t like it, and tried very very hard to reject the intruder. I fought hard to keep it, trying everything i could think of (and given that I was the guy who founded rec.arts.bodyart and its parent, the Modern Primitives mailing list, I knew quite literally as much about piercing as anyone around in those days, including most pro piercers.)
In the end, i gave up. I took the barbell out of my nipple and figured the scarring would go away. It never did. Though that didn’t matter to me; I love scarring (I’ve fallen in love with girls in the past just because of a particularly interesting scar or two), and don’t mind being asymmetrical.
When I got my nipples pierced again, Halloween ’05, I didn’t really expect it to take, particularly on the left. But I’d wanted them pierced since I was a teenage and saw a character in an old Harold Hedd comic with his nipples pierced. So I was willing to try again.
The right one wasn’t bad. It’s difficult to describe the feeling of having a large (12ga) needle pushed slowly through any part of your body. It hurts, but as pains go, it’s a particularly firey one. Short in duration, but in a place that has more pleasure/pain nerves then almost anywhere else on the body. The entire universe, for a few seconds, focuses down to a single point, like the mild light of the sun focused by a magnifying glass, to a pin-point of searing heat. Everything else goes away.
The left one, of corse, was different. Scar tissue is very much tougher than skin. Sharrin dug in behind it, because piercing through it would have been nearly impossible, incredibly uncomfortable, and likely would not have healed. This means that there was both more, and tougher, skin to go through.
The piercing took easily twice as long; the only description I’ve come up with that does it justice is to say it felt like having a doorknob driven through my nipple. And not in a good way; I may be a sadist, and I may be quite able to enjoy pain in a sexual context (bite harder, bitch, bite harder). But I’m no pain slut.
On the other hand, the feeling when it was over was quite indescribable. Like my nipples were suddenly as big as walnuts. I felt like they should be glowing. They hurt – a weird burning pressure – but it was a weirdly thrilling sensation.
For the next few weeks as they healed – the period where they’re most likely to fail, from infections or whatever – it was incredibly difficult to leave them alone. It was like a constant state of foreplay; just putting on my shirt felt erotic. I wanted people to touch them, play with them, suck on them, and of course that’s exactly what you can’t do with new piercings.
That feeling slowly faded, for good or ill. Now I’m barely aware of them, unless I hook one on a shirt button or something, or get smacked in the chest.
What I hadn’t realized, though, was that the scarred left nipple was not quite as ready to be up-sized as the right. The right went though with no resistance, only a pleasing residual tightness. What I found was that there was no way I could have gotten the 10 into the left by myself.
There’s a device called an insertion taper; basically a blunt needle that starts one gauge and ends a larger gauge. The intent is obvious, to help thread a larger ring though a reasonably healed piercing, stretching as it goes. Usually this is nearly painless, if the piercing is ready.
Now, when I get pierced, I know what’s coming. I know it will hurt. I have time to breath, and relax. This time, I didn’t expect it.
When Sharrin pushed the taper through my nipple, it was a searing reminder of the original piercing. I wasn’t any more mentally ready for the experience than the piercing was ready for the larger ring. It was shocking. I rarely make noises when something hurts; I can rightly be described as stoic (though I will sometimes respond to pain with violent anger and swearing). This time, I moaned faintly, the sound escaping my lips unexpectedly.
It was over quickly; but I was left with the tingling reminder of the original piercing. Now, a week later, my nipples are tender, pleasantly sensitive, but with no trace of pain.
It’s not a feeling like anything else in the world, having a piece of metal through a sensitive, erogenous part of the body. I can’t recommend it highly enough.