What is a Prince Albert Piercing and How Does it Work?
It might seem like genital piercings are only for the boldest and kinkiest, but they’re more common than you may realize. The Prince Albert piercing (also called a PA piercing) is the most common male genital piercing of all. If you’re considering a Prince Albert piercing, make sure you fully understand the placement, process, and practicalities of a PA piercing before you take the plunge.
Prince Albert Piercing Placement
A Prince Albert piercing is placed on the underside of the penile shaft along the line of the urethra. The piercing enters the urethra under the head of the penis and follows it, exiting the urethra at the tip of the penis. Because the skin over the urethra is so thin and much of the path of the piercing is not through flesh, the PA piercing is one of the less painful and more accessible male genital piercings.
The Prince Albert Piercing Process
Due to the extremely personal and delicate location of this piercing, the first step is to find a piercer you trust and to whom you are comfortable exposing your genitals. They should be able to show you images from their piercing portfolio of both new and healed Prince Albert piercings they have performed. Online tools like Google and Yelp, as well as personal referrals, can help you find a qualified piercer with whom you can set up a consultation appointment. Because PA piercings are more delicate and difficult, you should expect to pay more than you would for other piercings — somewhere around $100.
To perform the piercing, the piercer will open the urethra and insert a small receiver tube to guide the piercing needle to the correct point without unnecessary internal damage. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to achieve or maintain an erection while getting a PA piercing. Insertion of the receiver tube may cause some pressure and discomfort, though the moment the needle pierces the bottom of the urethra is the most painful part of the PA piercing process. You should expect a sharp pain that subsides quickly. If you are concerned about pain, you can ask your piercer to apply a topical anesthetic.
Prince Albert Piercing Healing and Aftercare
The standard healing time for a Prince Albert piercing is 4-8 weeks, and the aftercare steps and expectations are essentially the same as for other piercings. The only significant difference is that you can expect more light bleeding from a PA piercing, as the penis is made of extremely vascular tissue. For information on PA piercing aftercare products and routines, see our full Genital Piercing Aftercare article.
Prince Albert Practical Considerations
A Prince Albert piercing will require some adjustments to basic bodily activities, namely urination and sex. PA piercings divide your stream while you urinate, which could be messy and potentially embarrassing, so the best bet is to sit down while you urinate with your PA jewelry in.
Many people get a PA piercing for the erotic appeal and additional stimulation during sex, but it’s important not to rush back into sexual activity before your PA piercing has fully healed. This includes self-stimulation and all types of intercourse, which could cause small tears and ruptures that will prolong the healing process and may also introduce bacteria that could lead to infection. When you are healed and ready to return to sexual activity, be conscious that there will be an adjustment period for both you and your partner as you discover what a PA feels like during sexual stimulation. Wearing a condom can help minimize discomfort from the movement of your jewelry and reduce the risk of bacterial infection. Go slow and explore together. If you experience pain you can try changing positions, but if the pain is persistent you should contact your piercer to discuss it, as you may need a different size of jewelry.
Prince Albert Jewelry
Your piercer will likely encourage you to wear a 10g or 12g bent barbell, circular barbell, or captive bead ring as starter jewelry, which you should keep in for at least six weeks and up to six months. Once your piercing is fully healed, you can switch to other Prince Albert jewelry in those styles or explore Prince Albert wands, which pair a hollow urethral tube with two threaded ball ends.