Why Do People Get Body Piercings?

Pierced Tongue
Body piercing is a personal choice.

Why do people get body piercings? It's an important question given the rise of piercing popularity in both mainstream and general culture. Whether you view body piercings as personal beautification or mutilation, there are many reasons people consider piercing.

So Why Do People Get Body Piercings?

From traditional to pop culture, there are as many reasons for piercing as there are people. Piercing is a personal journey and the reason for taking the first steps varies from person to person.


In certain cultures, particular body piercings are a part of their heritage and tradition. In Asian cultures, a nose piercing is considered to be a rite of passage. This piercing is given upon the transition to adulthood for young women, and in some cases is never removed. These traditions remain strong in these cultures and can be seen in practice today. Pacific Island cultures also practice ritual body modification including both tattoos and piercings. These cultures are at the root of the modern primitive and tribal movements which use piercings in the same fashion.


Many people simply like the way body piercings look. This aesthetic attraction to piercings may have roots in popular culture, but differs in that popular opinion will not affect the person's decision on where and how to be pierced. When asked why do people get body piercings, subscribers to the cult of aesthetics will often respond with an answer about their personal feelings about the piercings and stress the importance of their own opinion of the work.

Popular Culture

It cannot be denied popular culture has had an irreversible influence on the culture of body modification, including piercings. Musicians, models, actors and actresses alike all glorify the art of piercing by displaying visible modifications to the world. Piercing trends include navel piercings, labret piercings and cartilage piercings, all of which have been displayed by pop culture icons in recent decades. The popularity of these piercings has risen dramatically among young adults where marketing is targeted.


Often considered to be the dark side of piercing, fetishes and sexual gratification are the reason behind many body piercings, even seemingly innocent ones. Obvious choices for permanent fetish piercings include genital and nipple piercings, which are used to enhance sensation in the erogenous zones or as a part of fetish play. Other piercings, called play piercings, are temporary and are used for display, such as corset piercings. It should not automatically be assumed these piercings are for erotic reasons, but it is a valid view in the piercing community.

Commemorative Piercings

A piercing can be used to mark an occasion in much the same way some people use tattoos as a commemorative modification. The piercings may be a reminder, a memorial or simply a mark of distinction which helps to remind the wearer of where they were at a certain point in their life. The temporary and reversible appeal of piercings make them an ideal choice for a person who is looking for a commemorative modification but who is not ready or willing to commit to the permanent nature of a tattoo.

Things To Consider

No matter what the reason for a tattoo or piercing, a person's decision to receive a modification is an intensely personal decision. It is important to remember this when asking or questioning modifications, since personal choices can be a source of unpleasant argument. No matter what the reason for a piercing, remembering that the ultimate answer to "Why do people get body piercings?" is that it's a personal choice will better help you to understand the piercing community.

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Why Do People Get Body Piercings?