The Daily Northwestern

Renowned body piercer discusses genital piercings during NU Sex Week event

Catherine Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

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Renowned body piercer Elayne Angel kicked off this year’s Sex Week speaker series Monday evening by introducing students to different types of genital piercings during an event at Harris Hall.

NU Sex Week, which is sponsored by College Feminists, invited Angel to speak to students about the variety of body modifications used for both sexual enhancement and ornament. Angel, who has been in the industry for more than 20 years and is the author of “The Piercing Bible,” said genital piercings can be beneficial for both users and their partners.

“It might be through improvements in self-esteem and body image, through wearing jewelry that touches parts of your body and nerve endings that would stimulate you, or wearing jewelry that touches your partner during sexual activities,” Angel said. “It can definitely add sensation, definitely add focus and add some spice.”

Throughout her presentation, Angel showed several different piercings and the ideal anatomy for each procedure. Angel stressed the importance of thorough examination of one’s anatomy before receiving each piercing and showed examples of procedures going wrong due to poor position judgement.

Angel said she finds her career “validated” when she is able to help her clients with their self-esteem through her work. For example, she mentioned a client who was unable to pierce her inner labia symmetrically on both sides because of their unequal orientations. Rather than giving up, Angel urged her client to “celebrate her asymmetry” by only getting a piercing on one side.

“She just walked out a totally new person,” Angel said. “Absolutely took a part of her that she wasn’t comfortable about, was embarrassed about, and she left feeling proud of it and happy.”

Angel urged students to visit accredited studios because of genital piercings’ “niche nature.” She said because it is a rarer body modification, there are fewer regulations surrounding it, leading to the risk of poorly done procedures, immense pain and loss of pleasure.

Weinberg senior Wan Kwok, NU Sex Week co-director, said the purpose of the week of programming is to generate discussion among students on topics that are often seen as “provocative.” She said sex is something people focus their lives on but don’t talk about enough openly, and the group hopes to change that.

Kwok said Angel was specifically invited to speak at the event to address the stigmatization of genital piercings, especially those for sexual enhancement. Though it may be deemed as “extreme” or “niche,” she said people should see past their perceptions and explore something new.

“I also hope that they open their minds a little bit to things we modify for sexual pleasure because we go around in our daily lives and … modify things like our hair and how we look, and why is that any less extreme than something we would do for sex?” she said.

Communication freshman Kimani Isaac said she enjoyed the event because it showed how women “took back their bodies” through body modification. She said she saw body piercings as an expression of one’s identity, which can often make a powerful statement.

“Female sexuality has been policed for so long, and the reins are kind of free right now,” she said. “It’s important that women be educated about their bodies, about pleasure and that they have the permission for themselves, by themselves, to themselves to pleasure themselves.”

Email: catherinekim2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @ck_525

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