Straight Talk Advice

Mar 09, 2011

Nipple & navel piercings behind Mom’s back

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: Like many girls our age, my sister and I wanted our nipples and navel pierced. We’re under 18 and knew our prudish mom wouldn’t consent, so we did it on the black market. Our mom normally knocks before entering our room, so we thought we could hide the evidence. However, she walked in without warning and came unglued. She’s grounded us for a month and forbidden us to wear body jewelry. She says she’s going to make us remove our tops randomly to make sure we are obeying. We think this is a gross invasion of privacy but she disagrees. We would like the panel’s opinion. Thank you. — LeeAnne, Sacramento, Calif.

Elise 19, Fair Oaks, Calif. Ask me a question

I completely agree with your mother. Because you blatantly disobeyed her, random checking is not an invasion of privacy.

Brie 19, Santa Barbara, Calif. Ask me a question

If you’re under 18 and living with your parents, the discipline is up to them. I pierced my own nose in high school and my mom calmed down eventually. But had it been my navel and nipples, she would have flipped! These just wouldn’t be accepted. Navel piercings are so common my reaction is neutral, but my snap judgment about nipple piercings is “slutty.”

Molly 19, Oakland, Calif. Ask me a question

Several friends got black market piercings and tattoos and many regret it and had unsavory experiences. Also, people change. I figured if I really wanted something, I would still want it when I turned 18. Most of my friends have piercings and tattoos (myself included), but we waited until 18 and sought licensed professionals who care about sanitary needles and the healing process.

Katelyn 16, Huntington Beach, Calif. Ask me a question

You went behind your mom’s back, and broke the law — making it wrong morally and legally. Plus you could easily get infections in your breasts. Correction: “many girls our age” do NOT want nipple and navel piercings. We think they are weird. Also, many guys respect modesty and your piercings have the opposite effect.

Gregg 19, Sacramento, Calif. Ask me a question

Your mom has every right to check you randomly. Nipple and navel piercings seem slutty to me. The girl I’m seeing has a navel piercing, but I got to know her before I saw it, so I’m less judgmental.

Justin 21, Redding, Calif. Ask me a question

Male reaction to these piercings depends. Navel piercings do little for me, but a well-done nipple piercing can be hot.

Nicole 21, Grass Valley, Calif. Ask me a question

Navel piercings are everywhere and “no biggie.” Nipple piercings are either considered hot or slutty. To each his own.

Jessie 19, Eugene, Ore. Ask me a question

My navel is pierced and one of my guy friends has a pierced nipple (which are on the rise among men). There are stigmas — mostly aimed at stereotyping girls as “easy.” The stereotypes are false. Many friends — partiers and non-partiers — have navel and other uncommon body piercings.

Akasha 17, Sacramento, Calif. Ask me a question

Nipple piercings are trashy. Pierced navels can be cute, but the piercing interrupts a major chi energy line.

Liz 19, Sacramento, Calif. Ask me a question

Naval piercings are common, but what’s the point? Except when naked or swimming, it’s a unattractive lump under your clothes. Nipple piercings are purely sexual. Are you trying to impress someone? Showing off? Is there a deeper issue to address? Of course your mom is mad. Non-sterile needles can cause HIV and other infections. She is worried for you. Regarding random checks, how else is she supposed to know? It’s her house, her rules.

DEAR LEANNE: I didn’t think the panel would be sympathetic — and they are the polar opposite of prudes. What I am hearing is this: wait until age 18, avoid illegal shops, respect home rules, random checking is warranted for cause, and the real-world truth (as opposed to “Cosmopolitan” truth) is that nipple piercings repel more than attract.

Editor’s Note: This column reminds me of the column we did on drug testing (NOV 24, 2010), where 90 percent of the panelists agreed (including drug-using panelists) that random drug testing by parents was warranted for cause. Young people really do want to be called on their stuff. And if it not from their parents, who will do it?

I was glad Akasha called attention to the fact that piercings can interrupt the flow of chi through the energy meridians known to Chinese medicine. Many practitioners of acupuncture feel that piercings in the wrong places can trigger health imbalances.

  1. By Monica, age , from Roseville, CA on 03/09/2011

    My younger sister who is only 15 had her nipples and navel pierced and wears body jewelry there.  When she first had it done, she took off her top to proudly display it to me when we were alone in our room.  When I told her the truth, that it made her look slutty, she was very hurt and upset.  She said that most of the girls at the sleepovers and slumber parties she goes to have had this done and show off their body jewelry and she felt left out and wanted to fit in.  I think it’s very sad if they have nothing better to do than expose their boobs and nipple jewelry to each other!  My friends and I certainly do not do this.  She said that there’s one girl who has actually had her vagina pierced and wears jewelry there!  OUCH!  Our mom would have a major, major cow if she found out about this and my sister would be in huge trouble.  I know that in recent Straight Talk columns everyone was in agreement that you should tell someone if your sister or a friend is anorexic, a cutter, or threatening suicide.  However, I’m not sure that this comes under the category of something that you should report to your parents.  Our mom doesn’t see her naked like I do since we share a room, so she isn’t likely to find out unless I tell her.  As slutty and stupid as I think this is, I’m inclined to let it be her business as it’s not life threatening like these other things are and does me no harm.


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  2. By M.K., age , from Carmichael, CA on 03/09/2011

    Do be so sure that this isn’t harmful.  My sister got a cheap black market piercing of her nipples and navel and got what she paid for.  She got a really bad infection from it in her left nipple.  It really scared me when she showed it to me in our room and asked me what she should do.  Her nipple and the lower part of her boob turned a very dark redish-black color and was very painful.  She ended up having to tell our mom anyway so that she could get medical attention.  They gave her antibiotics and it got better, but the doctor said that this type of infection can be very dangerous.  I had tried to talk her out of it, but against my better judgment I agreed not to tell our mom when she insisted on going through with it.  But now I wish I had told our mom and put a stop to it before it came to this. 


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  3. By Leslie, age , from Vacaville, CA on 03/10/2011

    My sister and I wear nipple and navel jewelry and so do many of our friends and we think it’s cool.  Our mom has no problem with it and signed the consent to have it done at a licensed provider.  However, we learned the hard way that you have to be discrete about who sees it.  We share our room with our 10 year old stepsister when she stays with us.  It didn’t occur to us that we needed to remove the jewelry when she was here and she saw it when we were nude in the bedroom.  She was totally fascinated with it so we didn’t see a problem.  But she told her mom about it and said she wants to wear it as soon as she has breasts.  Her mom was furious that we “exposed” her to something like this and read our mom and stepdad the riot act for letting this happen and even threatened to try to have his visitation rights taken away unless we stop “exposing” her to this.  Our stepdad actually seemed to think the whole thing was funny, but he and our mom told us that from now on we can’t wear it in front of her when she’s sharing our room.  It’s only every other weekend, so it’s not that big of a deal, but we still think it’s ridiculous.  This is so common these days that she was bound to see it sooner or later.


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  4. By Julie, age , from Elk Grove, CA on 03/11/2011

    I can’t understand why anyone would pierce their nipples.  First of all, I can’t imagine having someone pierce me in a place like that.  Secondly, unless you’re a whore or a real slut, what’s the point?  However, my sister and several of my friends have had it done.  When my sister first had it done and showed me, I asked her who was she trying to impress?  I mean, was she really going to expose her boobs to guys so that they could be impressed by something like this?  She said of course not, nobody is going to see her without her top but me and her friends.  I really don’t think most girls are impressed by something like this so I just don’t see the point.  And even if you’re going to show it to guys, I think they would just think you’re a slut both for exposing yourself and for doing this to yourself.  I for one would not be interested in the kind of guys who would be turned on by something like this.  But it’s a free country, so if somebody wants to do it, it should be their right.


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  5. By Kelly, age , from Grass Valley, CA on 10/02/2013

    I know this is an old thread, but I’m going to comment anyway. Body modification isn’t something that is necessarily done for other people. Yes, some people have tattoos or piercings because they think they’re “cute” and that’s how they want to portray themselves, or because they’re simply following a trend. However, body mods can just as easily be just for oneself.

    I currently have one tattoo on my wrist that says “Love” (though I do plan to have more), and people criticize me for it surprisingly often. People say things like, “Why would you do that to yourself?” or “You’re just looking for attention.” No. Just… ugh. This tattoo is for me and only for me, and I literally could not care less what you think about it. I got it as a reminder to myself of the struggles that I’ve overcome, and as a way to encourage myself never to go back. But when I tell people that, they don’t seem to understand. “If it’s for you, then why do you need to get a tattoo? Why not put it on a hidden part of your body?” I put it on my wrist because that’s the place where it has most meaning – because it’s the place where I self-harmed – and I need it there because, in hard times, I can’t always remember to be strong. Just because other people can and will see your tattoos/piercings/scarification/etc. doesn’t mean that that’s WHY you have them. Those things are a way of expressing who you are. I like to think that they’re a part of us already, and we just manifest them through modification. You have absolutely no right to say that having a nipple piercing means you’re “slutty.” A piercing, in and of itself, doesn’t have the ability to be trashy, slutty, weird, or sexual – it’s just a piece of metal in your body – and having a piercing doesn’t mean that you’re trying to show off or impress anyone. I know a girl who has had nipple and genital piercings for a few years, and she’s the only one who has seen them (aside from her piercer, obviously). She isn’t “slutty” at all, and she doesn’t go flashing her breasts around to show people her piercings. They’re for her. So please, let’s stop stereotyping body modifications and modified people.

    That being said, if having a modification is something you really want and care about, then you should wait until you can do it legally. Although I believe getting it done illegally and behind your mother’s back was a poor choice, I don’t think that anyone, including your mother, has the right to force you to expose your body. That definitely seems like an invasion of privacy and, frankly, a bit inappropriate. But that’s just my opinion.

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  6. By shekhinah , age , from charlotte north carolina on 01/07/2014

    i feel that doing this behind your moms back was a no no. Because you could have truly lost all trust and respect from your mom. And trust me its hard to regain her trust. But you have to show her you are responsible and that you respect her. Because shes your mom. Maybe if you get a better understanding of why your mom said no maybe you would understand. So maybe try asking her.

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  7. By Kaylee, age 19, from United States on 09/26/2016

    I’m 19 years old and I got my piercings done about a week and a half ago. The only people that have seen them are my friends who came with me, the piercer, and my boyfriend. Obviously, I do not go around flashing everyone, and I also do not go bra-less for others to see. I got them done simply because I liked how they looked, and because they are meant to feel good. Honestly, even if you are more promiscuous (of age) and enjoy showing them to people who want to see, who cares? It’s your body, do what you want. I just cannot wrap my mind around why so many people are this judgemental. It’s so very sad.

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  8. By Alex, age 18, from California on 09/20/2018

    Funny how the demographic of people against piercings are older. The outdated viewpoint forces girls to be self-conscious when they just want to look they way they want. Valid argument is yeah they are your parents and you are under 18. But after 18 they don’t need to be invasive to prevent you you from becoming “slutty”. Is a woman who is raped a “whore”? Sounds off topic but it aligns with that mentality of your body being a temple that can’t be desecrated. You complain about appearing sexual go live in Saudi Arabia. Piercings offer someone a sense of individuality and a real transition into personal decision making. The “repel vs attract” idea is so egotistical. How self-absorbed can you be to believe that they do it for you? The decision is for them so who cares what your preferences are. Anyways, focus on yourself and what makes you happy. Be responsible when getting them done and see a professional who is conscious about sanitation and do your own research to supplement.

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