She will tell you it's one of the "more intense" piercings out there -- but she won't smirk at your request. In fact, her calm and cool reaction might make a client wonder if requesting a genital piercing is just about as ordinary as ordering a latte.

If you have come seeking to pierce something private, you came to the right Destination.

Yes, her name is legally Destination, and she is a body piercer at the Laughing Buddha, a popular piercing and tattoo store on Capitol Hill that recently expanded and opened a new location on University Way three months ago.

The U-District store has been doing average business for summertime, but is banking on UW students being back for a new school year and wanting a little body art.

Of all the piercings the employees at the Ave. store perform throughout the day, Destination estimates that about 10 percent are genital piercings. According to this tattooed employee, the idea of sending a needle through the most sensitive body part is no longer limited to the fringes of society.

"Everyone from punk rockers to lawyers are getting it done," she said.

While sexual taboos surrounding a genital piercing might prevent some from even talking about the topic, the body piercer doesn't seem fazed.

"It's just another body part," said Destination coolly. "Just another part of the job."

Destination said her genital piercing clientele is equally split between males and females, and their motivations range from having a pure aesthetic appreciation for a well-done piercing to deriving sexual stimulation from the piercing.

The exact history of genital piercings is difficult to establish, but many sources will attribute the origin to tribes in Borneo. The Sanskrit text Kamasutra, which documents sensuality in Hindu cultures, refers to men who decorated their penises with jewelry and implants. The most common of male genital piercings is called the Prince Albert, actually named after Queen Victoria's husband. Prince Albert had his penis pierced with a ring so he could easily manipulate his genitals to prevent an embarrassing bulge in tight pants, which were fashionable for men at that time.

Despite the historical references, today's genital piercings are most likely a spin-off of a fad that developed in the 1970s among the gay and sadomasochist sub-cultures before becoming mainstream, explained Destination.

Most people are unaware that there is not a single, standard genital piercing, and in fact, when clients request genital piercings, they have options as to which part of their sex organs that they want pierced. This can range from a basic skin piercing to a more complicated perforation through genital cartilage.

Why would someone pay $61.76 to get a piercing down there?

"I think there's a big misunderstanding as to the sexual stimulation [a piercing] causes, especially in guys," said Trevor Aerts, Laughing Buddha's floor manager and UW alumnus. He explained that adding a piercing does not guarantee heightened sexual stimulation.

Aerts said many people don't know what they are getting themselves into --- but that they'll find out when they get their piercing caught on something.

"Guys come in here and ask 'Do you numb it?'" Aerts said with a laugh. "No, we do not." All piercings, including genital piercings, are performed without the aid of anesthesia -- a testimony to the individual's pain tolerance.

"Most people who decide to get a genital piercing realize that there may be pain involved, but everyone has a different threshold for pain," said Destination.

The piercings take place in a private room with stark white walls and bright florescent lighting. There is no shortage of cotton balls, rubber gloves or metal bar-bells. Customers, if they choose, can request a same-sex employee to perform the genital piercing.

The Association of Professional Piercers reports that, while genital piercings are often assumed to be painful and easily infected, the resilient nature of genital tissue helps the piercing site to heal more quickly than other types of piercing. Most genital piercings fully heal within a month or two, while a navel piercing may take six months.

Both piercers agreed that the success of genital piercings depends on the individual, and if applicable, his or her sexual partner. Destination noted that genital piercings on men are more likely to irritate their partners than piercings on women. She recommends that it if this is of concern, males consult with their partners before getting genital piercings. As is the case with any sort of piercing, genital piercings are bound to be trouble unless the customer follows the recommended after-care to the letter.

Destination won't say whether she has a genital piercing of her own or not. Instead she grins, shrugs her shoulders and lets her knuckles, tattooed with the letters spelling "Doll Face," thump across the store's display table, which showcases glittering body jewelry.

"I feel like I'm in the business of making people feel beautiful and helping them decorate themselves," Destination said. "If I can help them do that, I'm happy."

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.