Debate: Would you have your tongue pierced?

YES

NATHALIE ABBOTT

LAST WEEK'S report by the British Dental Association, recommending people shouldn't have their tongues pierced, didn't surprise me - but I don't go along with it. I have had much less trouble with my tongue than with my other piercings, in my ear and navel. If I catch these they nearly always turn septic, which never happens with my tongue. Saliva has antiseptic properties.

People usually react quite badly when they realise you have a pierced tongue. "God", they say, "Not your tongue, of all places!" I did feel a bit queasy during my piercing but the pain wasn't serious, just a bit weird. It hurt for at least a month afterwards. My tongue felt stiff and numb and when it settled down it was a greenish colour for about three months. The doctor said it was just angry and the normal colour would come back when it was ready, which it did soon after. There has never been any blood, at the time of piercing or since, which is about two years ago now.

Why did I decide to pierce my tongue? Well, I always thought men with pierced tongues looked sexy. A glimpse of metal when they spoke was a real turn-on. I was fascinated to know what kissing would feel like, then I wanted to know what a piercing would feel like. I was already pierced when I met my boyfriend. He's never actually talked about it, just played with it sometimes during kissing. I'd prefer it if he was pierced as well but he's too wimpish about it. I didn't have it done to belong to a certain group or anything like that.

My parents were a bit shocked at first but they've got used to my little quirks over the years. I would much rather have a piercing than a tattoo, which is far too permanent. I can remove my stud in a flash if I want to, with no nasty comebacks.

It's not visible when I am speaking so I don't feel it's intimidating in interviews. The only time it's visible is if I choose to display it. I did have a bit of a lisp at first, while my tongue was swollen, and my friends took the piss out of me but I wasn't really bothered.

Having my piercing has really made me aware of my tongue and how important it is. I never realised that it is constantly moving, especially when I am eating when it goes into overdrive, literally doing somersaults. It still amazes me how much work it gets through.

The only problem I have had was once when I was on the beach licking an ice-cream. I got the stud stuck between my teeth with my tongue twisted. I started to panic because I felt like I was going to choke. A girl on the beach realised what had happened because she had a pierced tongue. She calmed me down and it came free quite easily. If it happened now I think I would be able to handle it.

I'd definitely have my tongue pierced again if I had to. The pain has been far less of a problem than piercing my ears, which seem to be constantly sore. In the end, I think it's down to personal choice.

Interview by Richard Rockett.

NO

NAOMI DEPEZA

I SAW the report that you shouldn't have your tongue pierced, that it can lead to infections, blood poisoning and even toxic shock syndrome, but I didn't need convincing. I'd never have it done.

I've got my ears pierced, twice in one ear, but they're all closed up now. I had them done when I was five; it was a family tradition. I just don't like wearing earrings any more. Maybe it's fashion but I think it's about more than that. It's to do with simplifying things. I don't want fussy fashions in my life.

The health thing is important as well. I went through a stage when I wore big, cheap earrings and they crippled my ears. I had infected lobes and that burning sensation you get when you wear cheap metal and it felt really horrible, as though I was putting something alien into my body. I'm diabetic as well and I can't afford to mess around with my health. I don't think other people are wise to do so either - there is too much disease and illness and infection in the world as it is. I hate the idea of what you could get from a tongue- piercing. Imagine getting food stuck under it, for starters. Revolting.

I don't buy the thing about it being good for sex either. If you're snogging your boyfriend you want to know that he's enjoying it because it's you, not because you've got a stud in your tongue. Sex and being in a relationship is all about spontaneity - you don't want to have to think about when you're going to take it out and when you're going to leave it in. Planning contraception is bad enough. Imagine it - "Would you like it in or out tonight, dear?"

I've never kissed anyone with a stud. I'd be worried I'd get snagged by it, which takes me back to the infection thing again.

People need to look at the reasons why they're doing it. I think there's a big shock element for a lot of people. It's about saying "Look at me, I've got something no one else has". But I think people should be confident to be different without any of that. Being different, being special, should come across in your personality - you don't have to prove it by sticking your tongue out and showing you've got a stud through it. It's immature, attention-seeking.

Many people who get pierced lack confidence and they need to work on that. People say you need confidence to have your tongue pierced, to dare to be different, but I think it takes more confidence to accept yourself for what you are. It's OK to be a freak - you don't have to have a stud through your tongue to qualify as a bit different.

It's about time as well. I hate the fussiness and vanity of it - it's like women who spend hours every morning deciding what to wear. If you're confident you can wear whatever you like and feel comfortable with yourself. You should dress for your own pleasure, not to prove something.

You can pick out the people who are genuine. I've seen Harley Davidson blokes with studs and you can see they've got a whole culture thing going there and I can admire that. It's coming from somewhere, steeped in history. It's all about context. I'm sure if I saw Africans who pierce as part of their traditional regalia I'd feel differently about it.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

    £23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

    Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

    £14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

    Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower