Facts About Piercings

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Interesting Facts About Piercing

As the topic of piercing has increased in popularity in pop culture, a number of interesting facts were identified. Focusing our search on piercing history, art, pop culture, and beauty, we constructed a list of the 20 facts we found most interesting. They are organized below by historical facts, piercing locations, and/or classification as "extreme" piercings.

Historical Piercing Facts

1. Ear piercing can be dated back to 2500 BC.

2. Both the Old and New Testaments described body piercings as marks that signified devotion and ownership. The pierced were alleged to be protected by the masters or deities with which the specific piercing was identified. The book of Deuteronomy referred to piercing as an act performed on slaves to signify ownership. Deuteronomy 15:17 reads: "Then you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your slave forever. And to your female slaves, you shall do the same."

3. The ancient Central American Mayans practiced ritualistic body piercing. They held elaborate ceremonies where practitioners pierced their bodies with various items. Reported goals of piercings included appeasing the gods and reaching an altered state of consciousness.

4. Body suspension, the practice of piercing the skin with large hooks and then suspending the human body from these hooks, dates back as far as 5,000 years. Its origins can be traced to Hindu rituals in India.

5. In ancient Egypt, body adornment was an indicator of wealth, social status, and even religious belief. The body of King Tut showed evidence of piercing. It is believed that only Egyptian Pharaohs were allowed to have navel piercings; anyone else, including members of the royal family, would be executed for having their bodies pierced.

6. Pirates wore gold earrings for more than just fashion. They believed precious metals had healing powers, could cure sea sickness, and protect from drowning. The earrings were also meant to be used to cover the cost of funeral expenses if the pirate died on foreign soil.

7. Both Julius Caesar and Shakespeare had ear piercings.

General Piercing

8. It is illegal in Wales to pierce the genitals, tongue or nipple of anyone under the age of 18. Wales is the first country to issue a nationwide ban, but other UK authorities are introducing restrictions.

9. Several US states created legislature that made it illegal to pierce animals. Both the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey have such legislation. In New Jersey, the punishment for needlessly piercing a pet’s ear is up to 18 months in jail.

10. 83% of Americans have had their ears pierced.

11. Scotland, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is the country with the highest gross number of piercings.

12. About 12% of males in the United States have one form of piercing. The most popular site other than the ear is the nipple.

Ear piercing

13. Only 14% of body piercers have their piercings at a location other than the earlobe.

14. Ayurvedic doctors believe ear-piercing has medical benefits. They believed it can be a permanent cure for hydrocele and hernias in men. They also believe it can help to improve eyesight, digestion, and fight anxiety.

Body Piercing

15. 10% of UK girls above 16 years old who have piercings have them in places other than the ear. The most popular site after the ear is the navel.

16. 72% of Americans with body piercings were pierced before the age of 24. The high rate of piercing at a young age is linked to the likeliness to try out new things while developing a personal identity.

17. Nipple piercing was a fad for about 10 years in Victorian-era France and England. It was started by the belief that piercing one's nipples would broaden the derriere. It was common for women to pierce both nipples and to attaching the two rings together with a chain. The fad was however short-lived, lasting from approx the 1890s to the early 1900s.

18. While it is believed that genital piercings increase pleasurable sensations during sex, only 3% of US males and 2% of US females have genital piercings.

Extreme Piercing

19. Elaine Davidson is the “Most Pierced Woman” according to Guinness World Records, with the most body piercings with more 9000 piercings. She has more piercings in her genitals than any other location on her body.

20. "Hanuman Jayanti" is an annual gathering in India, occurring during a full moon, in late March or early April. During this gathering, participants practice the tradition of body piercing which they believe cures all kinds of diseases, including chicken pox.


In summary, as piercing has increased in popularity, we identified a number of interesting facts. Ear piercing has been dated to 2500 BC, and 83% of Americans have had their ears pierced. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Scotland is the country with the highest gross number of piercings.

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