While ampallangs are normally pierced through the glans, some people place the piercing immediately behind the glans, or through the body of the shaft itself. A shaft ampallang placed immediately behind the glans is treated pretty much the same as a regular ampallang, but one through the body of the shaft is quite different. Experience has shown that ideally the piercing should be done while the penis is erect — since if it’s done while flaccid, it pinches when erect. This is an extremely rare piercing. 1
Piercer Mike Natali performed this ampallang piercing, placed behind the glans, in 1993 or 1994. Initially pierced with an 8g needle, the piercing was immediately stretched to 6g. While the client was happy with the placement, he removed the piercing shortly after and asked to be repierced for the sensation.
As with most of the archival videos presented on Sacred Debris, this footage contains techniques that aren’t consistent with modern standards and is being made available in an effort to document and archive body modification history.
Stay tuned to the end of the clip for a special message.
I received these Polaroids in the mid 1990s from a gentleman I met through Ken Schein’s UNIQUE contact group; at the time I was considering a frenum piercing with the intention of settling on a larger gauge. It would take me almost another decade to finally go ahead with it, an initial 2g frenum performed by piercer Sean Philips, but that paled in comparison to my pen pal’s astonishingly enlarged piercing.
The 7/16″ x 8″ bolt mentioned in the annotation is being used as an ad hoc urethral sound.
According to my end of year (2015) poll, the majority of Sacred Debris readers work in some capacity at piercing or tattoo shops. So I’m not sure that a NOT SAFE FOR WORK tag is entirely necessary (if you work at a piercing shop that has issues with you looking at photos of Jack and Sid, you should probably find a new job) but tellingly enough when I use it I get greater reach on the post. Continue reading →
Excerpt from Painless Steel featuring Mr. Sebastian (Alan Oversby) performing an Ampallang piercing on Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle/TOPY/Psychic TV.
Last year I wrote an article for a magazine called Best Intentions that, among other things, discussed the ephemeral nature of magnetic video tape; it’s limitations and my constant surprise when a VHS cassette that’s been stored in a rubbermaid bin for a few decades still has a little bit of life left in it.
Charles Gatewood’s FLASH VIDEOS never made it into the digital age and during the last conversation we had, Charles told me that some of the volumes in the Flash collection had production runs as low as 50 units. It’s incredibly humbling when you realize the impact his documentaries had on the Body Modification community despite the relative difficulty of getting those tapes out in the days before uploads and shares and likes.
My Flash collection is far from complete and some of the tapes have, regrettably, become unwatchable, but I’m making progress converting and archiving as much footage as possible. This clip, while short, features influential UK body piercer/tattooist Alan Oversby (Mr. Sebastian) performing an ampallang piercing on cultural engineer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Alan’s voice appeared on the song Message from the Temple on the 1982 Psychic TV album Force the Hand of Chance.
Late 1970s- Jim Ward performs a vertical nipple piercing on Rochester’s Rufus Dreyer. Rufus appears occasionally in photos in my archives- his appearance distinct with a full body of dense tattooing, a grey Van Dyke beard and flipped up septum tusk- but I’ve not been able to find out anything about him other than his name.
Jim can be seen using a thimble to push assist in pushing the needle though the tissue; the needles available at the time weren’t as sharp as our modern options and every little bit helped.
Filmed in 1968 by noted photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s friend and neighbor Sandy Daley and featuring an original score by his (by then former) girlfriend Patti Smith, Robert Having His Nipple Pierced was an experimental short film that finds Mapplethorpe- tripping on acid- having his nipple pierced by the Chelsea Hotel’s house physician Herb Krohn.
“[Mapplethorpe]…enlisted the aid of Dr. Herb Krohn, the Chelsea’s resident physician, who, after warning him that he felt uncomfortable puncturing “cancer-prone” tissue, reluctantly agreed to perform the procedure. “It was an unusual request,” Krohn said, “but I’d lived at the Chelsea long enough so that nothing really surprised me.” Morrisroe, P.86 1
A feature length documentary on Mapplethorpe- “Look at the Pictures” is currently streaming on HBOGo.
“Mapplethorpe: A Biography” by Patricia Morrisroe . ↩
When I’m going through stacks of unsorted prints looking for potential updates for the SD blog it’s easy to gravitate towards photos featuring heavily modified personalities from our community’s past; Viking Navaro’s atavistic aesthetic, a fully naked and smiling Sailor Sid Diller or Jack Yount showing off his Disney tattoos and subincised penis- it’s the kind of thing that tends to get the most notice and reblogs, which expose more viewers to the site where they get suckered into reading blurbs about decade old t-shirts and my often espoused theory that pants don’t necessarily have a place in a piercing room.
But for most piercers and tattooers those heavily modified clients are the exception and not the rule. The majority are casually modified, a few tattoos or piercings because they like the way it looks or how it makes them feel. They’re the clients who keep the doors open between (oftentimes needlessly) complicated ‘projects’ and conceptual nonsense that exists for a Instagram post and not much else.
In an1996/7 interview with now retired piercer Jon Cobb he relates the story of a woman who chose a single piercing over the expectations of falling in line with the status quo, proving that it’s not what you have, it’s why you have it:
“Our rites of passage are getting drunk, going to college, getting laid… But this is a moment where you really do have to earn it. This is going to hurt.Why am I doing this? And I get to maybe help you see that you aren’t what you do, and maybe it is alright that you want something for yourself, and maybe it would be OK to tell work to stick it this time, and if it doesn’t work out I’ll find a job where I can be me. So many people are starting to touch on that because we’ve set our world up to fail and I’ve got a chance to let them know what else can be. I’ve had a woman trade in a $50,000 job over her labret. It was symbolic of the bigger picture — as soon as she did it, she cried, and realized that she only needed $50,000 a year because $40,000 of it was paying for her huge house and her Jaguar that all she did was look at and cruise around in… and now she may be walking down the beach and eating oranges that cost a couple bucks a day. You want to tell me who’s having the better time? She’s living as a human, as part of the Earth, and not as an alien on it.”
This piercing/photograph came from Sailor Sid Diller’s Silver Anchor Studio, exact year unknown. (possibly early 1980s)
I’ve been interested in body art for a long time. I now have a large subincision, head split halfway back, and three pairs of 8 gauge jewelry up both sides of the subincision. If I’m interested in impressing a partner, I put six captive bead rings in the holes, and they’re 3/4″ inside diameter and hard to ignore. If I’m going to the gym to work out I just put in six 8 ga. barbells so when I’m in the shower it isn’t as obvious that I’m carrying around a significant amount of metal. I’ve worked out regularly for the past few years, and nobody has ever commented on or questioned my genital piercings, though occasionally somebody will say something about my unusual tattoos – J. 1
There aren’t many subcultures where you can talk about a penis in terms of being famous or influential. Adult movies, certainly, have had their share of iconic appendages so much so that names of particularly endowed stars from the 1970s and 80s are still currency when talking about larger than average measurements. Our own body modification community, in it’s recent history, has also had it’s own rogues gallery of iconic altered penises like Carl Carrol who appeared originally in PFIQ #15 and GM who was known to BME readers as “J” who’s “story of a subincision” article and videos 2 are frequently cited by clients requesting the procedure as a major inspiration.
Other subincisions had appeared on BME and SPC before J, but his had a certain aesthetic appeal that became the archetype for a split penis. While doing his early self done modification work he was unaware of the larger community that shared his passions, keeping it a secret from all but his most intimate contacts. We met through the UNIQUE mailing list 3 and eventually met in person in 1999 at the first ModCon event in Toronto. When he discovered body piercing it was a novelty to him- I remember an excited letter where he marveled that “they can PIERCE that now??” in reference to a basic genital piercing. The dichotomy always struck me funny- that a man who had disunited his urethra to the scrotum and who used mercury filled balloons as sounding rods had no idea about the piercing scene that ran parallel to heavier modifications.
J travelled to Toronto to meet BME founder Shannon Larratt and stopped by Stainless Studios where he had Tom Brazda do a series of piercings on his split shaft and glans; we affectionately called his reverse Prince Albert a halfadravya because it was the 1990s and making up names for piercings was all the rage. It’s my sincere hope that it in no way influenced the dolphin kisses and panda bites of today.
I’m sure it’s just because of the ‘no nudity’ restrictions of Instagram/Facebook but it’s still a little strange to see hundreds of piercings a day on my social networking streams and have the great majority of them be above the neck. Now that I’m in my forties I’ve earned the right to constantly remind people that yes, back in my day we had to walk uphill, in the snow, with no shoes on to have our guiches pierced, with externally threaded jewelry and we liked it.
All of this curmudgeonly rambling is a reminder that genital piercings used to be a piercer’s bread & butter and the ‘king pin’ of male genital piercings was the ampallang. Once thought to be potentially fatal if performed incorrectly (the urban legend went that piercing into the corpus cavernosum would cause uncontrollable bleeding that could result in exsanguination) the ampallang is generally considered to be the heaviest male genital piercing as far as healing time and sensation.
Back in the 1970s when these photos were taken- featuring Sailor Sid Diller performing the ampallang- some piercers felt that the pain factor of certain piercings was ‘brutal’ or ‘barbaric’ and, already on the fringes of subculture, would use injectable anesthetics to make the process easier on their clients. We touched on this in April of 2014 with the editorial A lesser ritual with some comment section dialogue on the concept of “earning” a piercing in tow…
My opinions on the subject are fairly predictable; I’m for the client’s right to not experience the pain of a piercing as much as I’m for a piercers right to refuse to use legally or notsolegally obtained anesthetics. Once the ampallang is pierced there can still be a period (days, weeks) of pain, discomfort and bleeding so to anyone who keeps the piercing (my own was abandoned) has, in my book, earned it.
As always, I encourage you folks to share your thoughts in the comments section.
(this post was written and it’s photographs edited at Disney World)
Original Source: 35mm 3×5 print.
Jack Yount is mostly remembered for his extreme modifications; silicone and surgeries helped reshape him physically and it’s very easy to forget that before his collaborations with Dr. Ronald Brown, Jack was a piercing and tattoo devotee. This photograph dates back to the late 1980s and finds Jack putting a few pens into his stretched nipple piercings.