A Christina piercing is a piercing at the top of the cleft of Venus. This is where the labia majora — aka outer lips — join together, just above the clitoral hood.
The piercing extends up vertically from the cleft through the mons pubis, the fleshy mound above the cleft.
It looks similar to a bellybutton piercing, only down lower (obviously).
Unlike a clitoris piercing that boosts sensation, a Christina is purely ornamental. While it sits close to the clit, it’s not close enough to the nerve-rich nub to tap into any of the pleasurable sensations.
That said, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any benefit to be had when it comes to sex.
For your benefit
You may not enjoy any extra physical pleasure from the piercing itself, but merely having it can do wonders for your sexual confidence.
A 2019 study found that positive genital self-image was linked to:
- a more positive body image
- reduced stress about sexual performance
- increased sexual enjoyment
- improved sexual functioning
For your partner’s benefit
Your partner can actually benefit a few ways from your piercing.
For starters, simply seeing or being aware of your piercing is enough to arouse some people. They might also get off on stimulating your piercing during oral sex.
They also get to reap the rewards of your boost in sexual confidence. Confidence is sexy AF, and your improved sexual functioning is a win-win for all involved.
Also, the piercing could lead to more clit stimulation for your partner during vulva-on-vulva play.
Every vulva’s different in terms of shape and the amount of tissue, both of which matter when it comes to the placement of this piercing.
For this piercing to work, your mons pubis needs to have a good amount of pliable tissue. You also need to have a deep enough divot just above your hood to accommodate the jewelry.
To figure out if your body is Christina-friendly, feel the area just above your clitoris where your outer labia meet.
If it’s fleshy enough to pinch, then you’re probably good to go. If there’s nothing to grab, then a Christina’s probably not going to fly.
If you’re not sure, book a consultation with an experienced piercer to who can tell you.
Metal L-bars or curved barbells are the most common styles of jewelry used for Christina piercings.
Once you’re fully healed, swapping out jewelry yourself is a lot easier on a Christina than other genital piercings.
You have a few materials to choose from. The key is choosing jewelry made from quality, body-safe metals to help prevent infection, allergic reaction, and exposure to toxins.
The Association of Professional Piercers (APP) recommends using solid 14-karat gold or higher or implant-grade metals approved by the ASTM International or International Organization for Standardization (ISO), including:
- Implant-grade stainless steel. This is the most commonly used material for initial piercings because it’s affordable and safe for most. It contains some nickel, but the low rate of release means it’s safe even for most people with a nickel allergy. Look for pieces that are ASTM-F138 or ISO-5832-1 compliant.
- Implant-grade titanium. Titanium’s more expensive than stainless steel, but it’s completely hypoallergenic and what your piercer will likely recommend if you have a nickel allergy. Look for ASTM-F136 or ISO 5832-3 compliant titanium jewelry.
- Solid 14-karat gold or higher. Gold isn’t everyone’s jam, but if you like it, solid gold is a body-friendly option for most. Steer clear of gold-plated pieces, which can flake and expose you to nickel and other alloys used under the plating.
Cost can vary quite a bit depending on your location, the studio, and the experience of the piercer.
Most genital piercings range from $50 to $100 just for the procedure.
The cost of jewelry isn’t always included, and starter jewelry pieces can cost from $20 to $60, depending on material.
Keep in mind that some piercers charge a fee for consultations to check for piercing suitability.
Don’t forget to factor in a tip when pricing out your piercing — 20 percent is customary.
The appointment will start off like any other body art appointment: You’ll present your ID and fill out some paperwork. If you have any medical conditions or other concerns, this is the time to disclose them.
Here’s what to expect next:
- Evaluation. If you haven’t already had one, your piercer will perform an evaluation to check your anatomy to make sure it’s suitable for a Christina piercing and discuss the type of jewelry you want.
- Disinfecting. Your piercer will disinfect the area using surgical scrub or iodine. Depending on your pubes sitch, your piercer may need to trim the hair first.
- Marking. Your piercer will then mark the area to be pierced and get your approval.
- Piercing. The piercer will pinch the tissue at the apex of your labia major and insert the needle through a receiving-tube to help guide it.
- Jewelry insertion. Your piercer will follow the needle with the jewelry and close it.
- Cleanup. Your piercer will stop any bleeding (yes, it will bleed) and then clean the piercing.
Yes, but probably not as much as you expect it to.
On a scale from 1 to 10, most piercers and people who’ve gotten a Christina rate the pain between 3 and 4.
That said, everyone has a different pain tolerance, and different factors can affect how much it hurts.
Being drunk or hungover, super stressed or tired, or having an empty stomach can all make it feel more painful.
Avoid these, and any pain you feel will be over before you can even say “ouch.”
The risks associated with a Christina piercing are the same as other body piercings.
- Infection. Any time you pierce the skin, there’s a risk of infection being introduced into the body. Following the aftercare instructions provided by your piercer will lower the risk of infection.
- Blood-borne infections. You can contract blood-borne infection from the use of unclean needles, including hepatitis B and C, and HIV. Insisting on proper piercing practices like sterilized, disposable equipment will eliminate the risk.
- Allergic reaction. Allergies to metals are common, especially nickel. An allergic reaction could cause redness, itching, and blisters. Let your piercer know about any allergies before choosing your jewelry so you choose the right material.
- Embedding. Swelling around the jewelry can cause it to become embedded in the tissue. Your piercer may recommend using a longer piece of jewelry initially and swapping it for something smaller once the swelling’s gone down.
- Poor healing. The location of Christina piercings make them especially prone to irritation and delayed healing. This is because of things like sweat, friction from clothing, and certain sex positions.
- Catching or tearing. Yup, tearing is a possibility if your piercing gets caught on something like a zipper or anything else.
- Rejection. Sometimes your body treats jewelry like a foreign object and rejects it by trying to push it out. If this happens, you may notice the hole getting bigger.
The average healing time for a Christina is 2 to 4 months, though many people have reported theirs taking several months to a year to fully heal.
When it comes to your tender parts, special care is a must.
While you’re healing, do the following:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before touching the area.
- Spray or rinse it with saline solution two or three times a day — more if you’ve been extra active.
- Soften any crust that forms by applying a clean gauze or cloth soaked in saline solution.
- Pat dry with a clean paper towel anytime you rinse your piercing.
- Shower daily.
- Wear a sanitary pad or panty liner over the piercing to protect it from clothing.
- Wear loose bottoms and avoid friction-inducing pieces of clothing.
- Wait until your piercing is healed or “dry” to have sex.
- Use barrier protection when you do have any type of sex, including oral and toy play.
- Leave your jewelry in at all times.
While healing, follow these don’ts:
- Don’t play with your piercing until it’s fully healed.
- Don’t let your partner play with your piercing.
- Don’t allow your partner’s mouth, saliva, or other bodily fluids to come into contact with your piercing.
- Don’t touch it with unwashed hands — yours or anyone else’s.
- Don’t use harsh soaps or cleansers on your piercing.
- Don’t get into a hot tub, pool, lake, ocean, etc. until your piercing is fully healed
- Don’t remove your jewelry.
Some pain and redness is to be expected after a piercing, but some symptoms could indicate an infection.
Here’s what to look out for:
- swelling and redness that increases around the piercing
- severe burning and throbbing around the piercing
- worsening pain
- yellow or green discharge with a foul smell
See a healthcare provider for any severe symptoms or signs of infection.
Unlike other genital piercings, you don’t need to go to a professional to change your piercing the first time, as long as you’re fully healed.
That said, some people prefer to have their piercer change it the first time. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, make an appointment. Same if you must remove it before it’s healed for a surgical procedure.
Removing your jewelry while the piercing is still healing is not recommended.
If you decide to retire your piercing, keep it clean with saline solution until the opening heals.
You’ll have a small mark on your pubic mound from the piercing, but it’ll only be visible if you’re clean shaven down there.
Do your homework and look for a studio or piercer that specializes in genital piercings. You can find a reputable piercer in your area through the APP.
When considering a studio or piercer, check out the studio in person first to make sure they meet local health and safety requirements.
Book a consultation with your prospective piercer to ask questions and confirm that you’re a good candidate for the piercing. If you’re not, your piercer should be able to recommend an alternative.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.