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Tongue piercing was practised in a ritual form by the ancient Aztecs, Mayas of Central America and the Haida, Kwakiutul, and Tlinglit tribes of the American Northwest. The tongue was pierced to draw blood to propitiate the gods, and to create an altered state of consciousness so that the priest or shaman could communicate with the gods.

Tongue piercing is one of the most popular piercings, it's shocking, provocative and fantastic for oral sex (for both sexes), but at the same time no one need know you have it. Janet Jackson, Keith Flint from Prodigy, Mel B from the Spice Girls and Malcolm Jamahl Warner from the Cosby show all sport pierced tongues.


"A tongue piercing is a truly erotic experience for both the piercee and his/her partner. Simply running the top ball of the barbell stud along the roof of the mouth, can only be described as a masturbatory act. It's applications in oral sex should be obvious to the thinking, sensual human being. Mmmmmm." Elayne "Angel" Binnie P.F.I.Q. magazine

"Now it's healed I love it, it feels great and I play with it all the time, and the best thing is all the cute girls I like are dying to kiss me to see what it feels like. I met the most beautiful girl last night and she just couldn't keep her tongue out of my mouth. I'm stoked that I did it, it was really worth the first uncomfortable few days." Personal experience (Anonymous)


The actual piercing of the tongue is not painful in itself because the tongue is a muscle with striations, the needle slips between them just like pushing a needle through a piece of fabric. However the tongue can swell and become tender afterwards, sometimes quite dramatically, that's why it's usual to pierce the tongue first with a longer barbell, which is replaced for the proper size when the swelling goes down (usually 8-10 days). The further back from the tip of the tongue the piercing is done, the more swelling there is usually. Some people have a dimple on the front of the tongue this is usually the ideal place to do the piercing.

Tongue piercing is not for the faint of heart, you wont be able to eat solid foods, or talk properly for several days; this can sometimes lead to a short period of depression. Make sure before getting the piercing that you have all the things that you wont be able to have for a week such as steak, chips, chocolate, etc. A last meal for the condemned!


The most common form of jewellery in tongue piercing are barbells, which are available in surgical steel, gold-plated surgical steel and coloured plastic. The initial piercing must have a longer barbell with larger balls but once it's healed you can wear a barbell with smaller balls. Labret studs and tongue retainers may appeal to those who need to hide their piercing, they have a flat top which makes them less visible and totally invisible if they are painted with flesh coloured nail polish.


Tongue piercing usually take between 10-14 days to fully heal, it is almost impossible to develop an infection because the mouth contains an enzyme "Ptyalin" and Lingual antimicrobial Peptide (LAP) which kills bacteria. Overuse of mouthwash destroys these which can cause the tongue to go green or brown, if this happens reduce the amount of mouthwash you use.

You will experience swelling the first day you get the piercing, but the worst swelling will be from 2-5 days after the piercing, during which time your tongue will be very uncoordinated and you may find it very hard to talk. The only food you will be able to eat during the first 3-5 days are things like mashed potatoes, canned spaghetti mashed up etc. or fruit and milk drinks made in a blender.

During the healing process you may experience one or several of the following problems, don't be alarmed they will all stop once the piercing is healed. Your salivary glands will overproduce saliva and this will cause you to constantly swallow, this may last for up to 5 days during which the salivary glands (under the chin) can become swollen. The tastebuds on the end of your tongue may become tender and you might experience a tingling or burning sensation. You may experience tenderness where the balls on the barbell make a depression on the palate of your mouth and on the lower inside gum of your mouth. You may see a white fluid being excreted by the wound, don't be alarmed is just dead white blood cells it's a normal part of the healing process, all wounds heal by secreting plasma which forms a scab, but because of the saliva in the mouth a scab can't form.

After 3-5 days the swelling will start to reduce, and between 7-10 days after the piercing you will have to insert the shorter barbell inserted, I can do it for you or you can do it yourself. Usually the shorter barbell can be inserted after 8-10 days, although some people's tongue may heal quicker. The amount of swelling depends on how long your tongue is (longer tongues swell more), where the piercing is placed (the further back from the tip, the more swelling) and how well you follow the aftercare instructions.


The Piercing Temple has developed a unique method of tongue piercing. Because of the initial swelling caused by the piercing you need a longer barbell which must be replaced by a shorter one after the swelling goes down. Normally this would require two separate barbells which is more expensive, instead we have developed barbells where both the balls screw off and the stem in the middle can be changed. The first stem is 12mm and this is then changed to the 10mm stem when the swelling goes down.

We can change it for you (Free of charge), however if you can't come to us to have it changed you can change it yourself. Rinse you mouth with water while changing barbells as this helps remove saliva and makes it easier to change the jewellery. Remove the initial barbell after 10 days, remove both balls from the longer stem, then screw the shorter stem into one of the balls which you must tighten as much as possible. This can be done by holding the stem (wrapped in a bit of tissue paper to prevent scratching) in a pair of pliers and firmly tightening the ball. Insert the barbell into the piercing from top to bottom and screw the ball on the bottom, this prevents you swallowing the ball if it comes undone. Do the ball finger tight then grasp it firmly and give it a firm quarter of a turn, this will lock the thread tightly.

If you want you can change the balls, there are larger and smaller balls available in Surgical steel, Gold-plated Surgical steel and solid 14ct gold. These balls are sold separately but are much cheaper than having to purchase a complete barbell.


Many people wish to get their tongues pierced but feel they are prevented by the negative reactions they may get from their employers. This can be solved by having your tongue pierced by a barbell painted with flesh coloured nail polish as this is less likely to be seen. For extra precaution after it's healed you can wear a labret stud or tongue retainer (flat on top) painted with flesh coloured nail polish. Once it's healed you can change the jewellery yourself, so you can wear one to hide the piercing from your boss (and relatives!), and one to impress your friends at night.


©Cheyenne Morrison, The Piercing Temple, Australia 98.

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