ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

5 Myths About Body Mods

Updated on October 9, 2014

1. Guns are just as safe as needles

Oh, how I wish I could bludgeon this one to death personally. While I have written on this topic several times, as have some highly skilled body mod artists and fellow writers, it's the myth that refuses to die. Part of this is likely because certain stores have a vested interest in maintaining a large clientele, and so spend a lot of money promoting the use of piercing guns. The other part is simply word of mouth: "I got pierced with a gun, and it was fine". Both of these are not only bad, but dangerous reasons to ignore the dangers.

Piercing guns are not sterile. Let me repeat that, because it's kind-of a big deal. Piercing guns are not sterile. Most piercing guns used in mall shops are made of plastic, and plastic cannot be sterilised. The sterilisation process involves incredibly high temperatures which would melt the plastic casing. This means that reusable guns potentially have the blood and bodily fluids of numerous other clients on them, which can then be transferred into your brand new hole. Gross. And dangerous. Single-use guns aren't much better, as they've been handled, shipped in packaging that has also been handled, handled again, and at no point properly sterilised. Everyone who touched it, from manufacturing to unwrapping, has left their germs on it to be inserted into your fresh piercing.

Needles are the only currently available piercing tool that can be sterilised.

2. Tattoos hurt less if you're drunk

It should go without saying that getting tattooed when you're drunk is a stupid idea, and pretty well all reputable shops will refuse to tattoo anyone obviously under the influence. But, despite that, it's still a prevalent myth that a few drinks will take the edge off.

I'm not going to lecture you about getting drunk and making a bad decision. We've all been there. I'm just going to give you the professional, technical reasons why this is a myth. Alcohol thins the blood. What this means when getting tattooed is that the ink is more likely to bleed out, forcing your artist to reapply ink to the same spot several times. Put simply: they will have to tattoo you longer and harder, making it hurt more, not less.

3. Piercings can damage nerves

For obvious reasons, body-mod professionals get asked often about possible loss of feeling in the nipples, or "you know...down there", frightened by horror stories about a friend of a friend's cousin's girlfriend who got a piercing that went terribly wrong, and now she has no feeling in the place she got pierced. That's understandably scary - no one wants to get a piercing, especially in an erogenous zone, and suddenly find they've lost all sensation.

Rest easy. This myth is based in a lack of anatomical knowledge. Our nervous system is much more centralized and protected than we think, largely contained in our brain and spinal cord, and almost impossible to access with a piercing needle.

4. If you're worried about pain, use numbing cream

Anyone who works in the body-mod industry has likely been asked about numbing creams hundreds, if not thousands of times. And yes, some shops allow and use them. There is nothing inherently wrong or dangerous about using a numbing agent. The problem is, they often don't work.

Numbing creams only numb the first couple of layers of skin, so they can offer a little relief to tattoo clients, but piercing clients are wasting their money. A piercing generally goes through more layers of skin than the cream covers, and the freezing changes the consistency of the flesh, which forces your piercer to apply more pressure than is ordinarily necessary, which may actually make it hurt more, not less.

It's important to remember that the pain of a piercing only lasts a few seconds, and tattoos usually hurt a lot less than you expect them to. Numbing agents are simply not necessary.

5. There's a "gay side"

I'm happy to report that, as LGBTs are more accepted and normalized, this myth doesn't seem to be quite as prevalent. But, that doesn't mean it's disappeared. It's still fairly common for us to be asked by nervous boys wanting their ear pierced, or girls wanting their nose pierced, which side is "the gay one".

There isn't one. Can we just put that to rest right now? There. Isn't. One. Back in the 70s and 80s, there was a rumour that ear piercings were used as "code" to indicate one was gay, but if you take the time to research it, you'll find that no one can agree even on what side it was, let alone where that rumour originated. It's simply untrue, and ridiculous. When choosing which side to pierce, the only things you should ask yourself is which side you sleep on, and which side you want it on.

© 2014 Robyn J Williams


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)