What does getting a tongue piercing actually feel like?

Tongue traditions thousands of years old

Tongue piercing

If you are reading this, you are either a very curious sort, or you already have a few piercings and are considering getting one more – the fabled but potentially quite subtle tongue piercing. This form of body art, just as other types of piercings, has a long history.

It is known to have been practiced by the Mayans and the Aztecs in Central America. Done for ritualistic purposes, it is even believed that they would pull strings back and forth through the wound to increase blood flow as part of the sacrifice in honour of their deities. 

It was also practiced by North American shamans and medicine men to help induce states of trance and communicate with the spirits. The same has been true for Sufis and Fakirs in more eastern parts of the world. And it was from the Fakirs of India that Britons and then Americans picked up the practice and as with so many other body art forms, took it to the carnivals and the sideshow attractions. 

When we mention tongue piercings, most of the time people think of the midline piercing – the one that sits in between the two muscles that make up your tongue. But there are several other ways to go about it. Such as piercing the sides of your tongue, the tip, or even the frenulum – that thin strip of tissue that runs from the bottom of your tongue to the floor of your mouth. 

Variety of tongue piercing experience

Tongue piercingPeople generally say that tongue piercings are among the least painful ones to get. But everyone is different in terms of pain threshold. A midline piercing can often be described as a three out of ten on a pain scale, but there are those who experienced it as an eight or even a nine.

The insertion of the barbell usually creates more pinching and pressure than the actual needle going through. The first barbell will be extra long to account for the swelling. Which may feel a little uncomfortable for a few days, but most people report being back to their normal routines within a few days. 

In any culture where it has been present, getting your tongue pierced has been considered a holy practice. We won’t claim to know whether or not getting your tongue pierced will help you reach enlightenment, but it is always good to know the history of the tradition of which you chose to become a part, and to approach it with a sense of respect for the relationship people have had to it through time. Even if your reasons for participating are purely aesthetic.