Apr 26 2013 8:30am

Cut to the Chase: Piercings in Romance Novels

Piercings image by ButterflySha via Flickr Creative CommonsBack in the late 1980s, when we talked about piercings, we just meant your ears—remember that? Never mind how bent out of shape people got when men started getting their ears pierced! Nowadays, it’s commonplace to see a business man with a tattoo and an earring while working a finely tailored suit.

Did you know that there are five different types of female genital piercings and ten male genital piercings? Thankfully, we usually only hear about the hood/clit with females and the Prince Albert with men because some of those piercings are pretty ouch to think about. Certain piercings are said to heighten the sexual experience; no comment out of Tori and me on that. Please be warned, when googling some of these piercings, no amount of eye bleach will help you unsee some of the horrors you will find. Trust us, we kept getting distracted.

PA: The Prince Albert piercing enters the urethra through the underside of the base of the glans (either side of the fraenum) and exits out of the penis via the urethral opening.

Healing time: 2 - 12 weeks

Books that feature the PA:

  • Dangerous Games by Lora Leigh
  • My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley
  • Leave Me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn


Simple Needs by Lissa MatthewsAPA: The Apadravya is a piercing made from the base of the underside, either side of the fraenum, and diagonally up and out through the top of the glans.

The urethra is often pierced when doing this piercing.

Healing time: 2 - 12 weeks

Books that feature the APA:

  • Simple Need by Lissa Matthews
  • Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn
  • Bad Case of Loving You by Laney Cairo


Clit piercing: The clitoris piercing is located at the top of the vagina, beneath the top hood of the labia. Lift the hood and you will see a “pea-shaped” bump that is the organ, the clitoris. The clitoris must be of sufficient size to accommodate 1.6-mm gauge jewellery. If it is too small, piercing it will drastically increase the risk of nerve damage.

Healing time: 2 - 12 weeks

Books that feature clit piercings:

  • Second Chances by Lauren Dane
  • The Gilded Cage by Tilly Greene
  • High Risk by Vivian Arend


Hood: This is the top hood of the labia, which usually covers the clitoris.

Healing time: 2 - 12 weeks

Inner Labia: The inner labia is the two hairless lips that run along either side of the vagina.They are hairless, whereas the outer labia, which cover the inner labia and the vagina, are usually hairy.

Healing Time: 2 - 12 weeks

Books that feature labia piercings:

Story of O by Pauline Reage


High Risk by Vivian ArendNipple—Female: In women, it is advised to ensure the nipple is erect before piercing, and then making sure to pierce the nipple at its base, where it rises from the areola. The areola is the darker tissue behind the nipple itself.

Healing time: 6 - 16 weeks

Books that feature female nipple piercings:

  • High Risk by Vivian Arend (Becki)
  • One Dark Night by Jaid Black
  • Second Chances by Lauren Dane


Nipple—Male: In men, it is advised to pierce just behind the nipple, through the areola.The areola is the darker tissue behind the nipple itself.

Healing time: 6 - 16 weeks

Books that feature male nipple piercings:

  • Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
  • Dead Girls Are Easy by Terri Garrey
  • Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite
  • Leave Me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn


Lower lip: The lower lip piercing is usually pierced through the thinner tissue just beneath the lip itself. 

Healing time: 4 - 12 weeks

Books that feature lip piercings:

  • Easy by Tammara Webber
  • Last Chance by Sarah Dessen
  • This is Forever by S.A. Price


Acheron by Sherrilyn KenyonTongue: A tongue piercing usually refers to a piercing of the tongue from the underside, vertically through to exit from the surface of the tongue. 

Healing time: 3 - 12 weeks

Books that feature tongue piercings:

  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa  Marr
  • Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon


Did we miss any of your favorite pierced characters? I know the BDB boys have a ton of them, but who else must we read about? Or are you not a fan of piercings? Let us know!


Natasha Carty reviews Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy on her website Wicked Little Pixie and lives in Toronto, Canada, with her cat, Seamus.

Tori Benson can be found at Smexybooks and at Twitter.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. scarlettleigh
Ouch!!!!! Just reading about it - not even looking at pictures makes me cringe and gives me a queasy stomach, and I work in the medical field. Same thing happens when I look at lobe gauging. So nope, I am not a fan.
2. KellyMeding
Anne Tenino's "Too Stupid To Live" has a hero with a guiche piercing that's put the lively use.
Natasha Carty
3. WickedLilPixie
@Scarlett - Lobe gauging is okay when its small, but my piercer used to have ones that were HUGE and grossed me out.

@Kelly - Another added to the list of must reads
4. Amy R
Kate Pearce's House of Pleasure series has multiple characters with piercings. I know book 1 Simply Sexual metions them and I think book 5 Simply Insatiable does as well.
Allison Culver
5. aculver1
Often times the rock stars will have piercings. Trey Mills, guitarist for Sinners, in Double Time by Olivia Cunning has a tongue piercing that he uses.
Carmen Pinzon
6. bungluna
Katie Porter has a heroine with a nipple ring in "Inside Bet".

I did make the mistake of looking up some of these piercings because my imagination just couldn't picture them; wrong, wrong wrong!

I don't mind reading about piercings and tatoos if they fill a purpose in the story, but irl, just no. I remember many years back having the wife of a friend casually drop the info that he had a genital piercing and not being able to look him in the eye for ages afterwards. I just don't want to know.
Kate Klebanski
7. kklebanski
In Kristen Proby's book Fight With Me the hero had an apa, which sounded interesting, so I looked it up. Sometimes I think we have WAY too much information available becuase of the internet. ((Shudder)). The book was great though :)
8. Lizzie Dee
I recently read a book in which the hero had a PA piercing and I had absolutley no idea what it was. I cannot for the life of me remember what book it was now. I seriously thought it was just a typo and moved on. LOL! Even with your descriptions, I had to go to wikipedia to see what they looked like. OW! But I guess you learn something new every day!
Also, in Karina Hale's Sins & Needles (a REALLY good book, btw), the main female character has a nipple piercing.
Jennifer Myers
9. jennyb845
APA: The Apadravya is a piercing made from the base of the underside, either side of the fraenum, and diagonally up and out through the top of the glans.

I had to look up some of these words. Oh my, the pictures. Some things can never be unseen.
Janis Clark
10. maliamartin
Ouch! Also makes me aware that I don't know the actual names for all body parts :-) (and do I need to?)
I'm not into piercings. Doesn't do anything for me to read about them and I don't write them for my characters either. Tats yes, piercings no. I'm pleased to see that they are written about though. Clearly there is an audience that finds them appealing and to me, that's what books are about. Something for everyone to enjoy.
Natasha Carty
11. WickedLilPixie
I warned you all, don't look them up if you get the creeps easily ;) Thanks for all the books added to the list!
12. SandyinAlabama
Okay, I have to say, you have given me the best quote I've heard in a while: "Please be warned, when googling some of these piercings, no amount of eye bleach will help you unsee some of the horrors you will find." Laughed out loud!
13. Chris S.
I love piercings, considering I'm considering more for myself..that's a given.

However male piercings are very sexy! Love the PA, but the Jacob's Ladder piercing happens to be one of my favorite. That piercing is a series of piercings starting below the head of the penis and working it's way down the shaft. Preferably with the barbell posts, and not the curved barbells or rings.
14. Rachel Pinkster
Thanks oodles of the list o' piercings and accompanying books. I have nipple piercings and I dated a guy with a PA. I don't mind piercings but I'm just not a fan of stretched-out ear lobes. They freak me out.
15. Cheryl C
What about Malkom Slaine from Kresley Cole's Demon from the Dark? He had four barbells on his "shaft". Not usually something that would interest me in the slightest IRL, but it was crazy sexy in that book. :)
16. TinaM
J.R.Ward Vampire Series - The Black Dagger Brother Hood Series - has many characters with peircings.
But her most recent book "Lovers At Last" they were part of the romantic plot and where pivetal to the ending. Qhuinn had a P.A., brow, lip and other peircings. And as usual he is always a hot character.
17. OutKastRyou
Jay crownover's marked men series has multiple characters (most male) with many different piercings (rule, jet, Nash, rowdy have piercings, but the female in Rome is pierced)
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