One of the most common nipple piercing questions is "How badly do nipple piercings hurt?" Unfortunately, there's no way to answer that question for anyone but yourself, because nipple piercing pain is completely subjective. Everyone experiences pain differently, in a way that's unique to them, so it's impossible to make a blanket statement and say that nipple piercings always hurt "this much". There's no denying that any piercing will include at least a momentary painful pinch, but having your nipples pierced likely won't hurt anywhere near as badly as you think it will.
Is there any way to know exactly how much pain you'll experience when you get your nipples pierced? Technically, the answer is no, you won't know until you do it. However, even though we can't tell you exactly how much nipple piercing pain you'll personally experience if you take the plunge, we can tell you a few things about the nipple piercing process and ways to minimize your discomfort that might set your mind at ease.
#1: Topical Anesthetic Rocks
If you tend to have a low pain threshold and are worried that having your nipples skewered by sharp needles could be the most excruciatingly-painful thing you'll ever experience, take heart! In fact, take a nice big, deep breath, too, and relax, because we have good news for you: You can numb your nips with topical anesthetic before you get pierced!
There are a wide variety of topical numbing creams and sprays available that nearly all share roughly the same percentage of one common ingredient: lidocaine. Lidocaine numbs the surface of the skin, dulling sensation to the point that you should feel more pressure than pain when getting pierced through skin that's been saturated with a product containing it. Topical anesthetic like Derma Numb topical anesthetic spray and Dr. Numb anesthetic cream can be safely applied to your nipples 20-45 minutes before you get pierced, so that your nipples are as numb as possible when you're being pierced. Re-apply a new layer every 15 minutes or so leading up to getting pierced to get the most out of the topical anesthetic you choose.
#2: Popular Consensus Is Positive
Believe it or not, many people who have had their nipples pierced will tell you that nipple piercing pain isn't nearly as bad as what they expected. It's just a brief, momentary pinch, and then it's over. The build up of anxious worry preceding a nipple piercing tends to be more fraught with feeling than the millisecond when the needle actually punctures nipple tissue. That kind of intense anticipation is actually a trigger for a natural wave of numbness caused by the body releasing adrenaline and other hormones when its fight-or-flight response kicks into high gear.
#3: Stress Hormones Help You Keep Your Cool
As you get closer to the moment of your actual nipple piercing(s), your body will start surging with stress hormones--namely, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenalyn). The release of those hormones is part of the body's natural fight-or-flight response to fear. When we choose to fight--or in this case, get pierced rather than running away screaming at the sight of a needle coming towards us--those hormones can have a somewhat numbing effect on the body. Your stress hormones will desensitize you both mentally and physically to a degree, help you keep your cool, and make it so that you feel a little less pain in the process.
The trick is to use your stress hormones to your advantage. If you know you want to have both nipples pierced as long as the first one goes well, then ask your piercer to be prepared to do them in the closest succession possible. That way you can enjoy the full benefit of your body's internal version of Dr. Numb and hopefully get both of your nipples pierced while adrenaline is still coursing strongly through your veins.
Back to the Question of the Hour
Do nipple piercings hurt? Maybe a little, even with all the topical anesthetic, adrenaline and reassurances of piercees past. Just remember, it'll only hurt for a moment, and when it's over, you'll have an awesome new pair of piercings! They may be sore for awhile after, but any real nipple piercing pain you experience should be very short-lived. Be sure to take good care of your new nipple piercings using our nipple piercing aftercare tips, enjoy them, and come back and see us when you're ready for some awesome new nipple rings!