Pearling (body modification)

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Pearling or genital beading is a form of body modification, the practice of permanently inserting small beads made of various materials beneath the skin of the genitals—of the labia, or of the shaft or foreskin of the penis. As well as being an aesthetic practice, this is usually intended to enhance the sexual pleasure of partners during vaginal or anal intercourse.


There are two common procedures, one being very similar to a frenum piercing and the other being similar to inserting a subdermal implant, and requiring more medical knowledge and specialized tools. Either procedure is relatively safe with risks and healing much like a subdermal implant in any other part of the body, although, like many genital piercings, the generous blood flow to the genitals can reduce healing times considerably. Inflammation is very common, during and after healing, although careful healing can minimize this. Rejection is rare, but can occur.


A wide variety of inert implant materials can be used for this implant. Teflon, silicon, surgical steel or titanium are commonly used materials. Prior to the availability of modern materials, there is a long history of pearls being used in this implant, hence the name pearling. There is an alternate form of this implant, where short curved "ribs" are inserted, rather than pearls.

History and culture[edit]

The most well known historical use of this involves the Yakuza of Japan, an organized crime syndicate whose members perform several notable types of body modification, including full body irezumi tattooing and Yubitsume, the amputation of finger joints in penance to their superiors. Pearling is performed in prison by the Yakuza, with each pearl supposedly symbolizing a year spent in prison.

Pearling, called 'bolitas',[1] is a fairly common practice among Filipino seamen, especially among the older ones. They say they learned the practice from Japanese seamen. [2]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Henry Trotter, What's the deal with your penis?!, accessed 18 May 2007

External links[edit]

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