Safety and Info
The "Hard Modifications" section of this article is not for the faint of heart. If you get woozy thinking about blood and skin cutting you can skip it or minimize it using the +/- box in the upper left corner of the sections. There are no bloody pictures, just descriptions. Just warning you!
While it is possible to do piercings and modifications at home with the help of "home piercing kits" and online tutorials, it's always best to get modifications done by a professional! This is especially important when doing piercings and modifications that could potentially cause nerve damage, vein damage, and have lengthy healing times. If you want to modify your junk, be safe and get the help of someone who knows what they're doing!
I use gender neutral words in this article because not everyone who is female is a woman! Genderqueers, FtMs and everyone else as well as ladies with female bodies can get clitoral hood piercings too! And just in case you're not up to date on your outer-female anatomy terminology, I've created a little chart picturing an open vagina, since it's hard to understand the placement of mods if you don't remember all the names!
Vertical Clitoral Hood:
The clitoral hood is the flap on skin covering the clitoris just like the foreskin that covers the glans on a male. A vertical clitoral hood piercing goes under and through the top of the hood, resting against the clitoris. This is the most popular female genital piercing because it's easy, low risk and can really add sensation! Some people have experienced orgasms from just walking around! The skin of the hood is very thin and easy to pierce. Many people have said that it hurts less than ear lobe piercings and the healing time is very quick. Unfortunately this is going to be pretty loud if you use a hard vibrator/bullet/egg on your clitoris, but after it's healed up you may be able to remove it during vibrator use. You also have to have enough hood to pierce. Some female's hoods and labia are too short to safely pierce. A simple way to find out if you're able to get a hood piercing is to put a Q-tip under your hood. If it covers the cotton tip, you can safely pierce it. People who have difficulty orgasming may really enjoy this piercing, as it can very much aid in providing stimulation.
This is a variation of the vertical hood piercing. Instead of the jewelry resting in the center of the hood, 2 piercings are placed on the sides of the hood. This is commonly accompanied by a vertical hood piercing.
Horizontal Clitoral Hood:
Instead of going under and through the hood, a horizontal hood piercing goes through the top of the hood and is mostly aesthetic. As with the vertical piercing it's low risk and easy to do, but it doesn't add the sensation that a vertical piercing does because it's not stimulating the clitoris. It won't affect sex much and won't cause the noise that a vertical hood piercing would when using hard vibes/bullets/eggs.
A triangle piercing goes underneath the clitoral shaft, while the hood piercings go on top. Not all people can get triangle piercings, as you need to be able to lift your hood and clitoral shaft away from the body enough to pierce under it. This provides sensation to an area not normally stimulated: the back of the clitoris! If you're interested in genital piercings try a vertical hood first. If you like the sensation it gives, you may enjoy a triangle piercing as well. Because this piercing helps stimulate the back of the clitoris, people who have difficulty orgasming may find that this piercing is a godsend if you have the correct anatomy for it.
Vulva/Labia Minora and Majora:
Inner and outer labia piercings are done on either side (or both) of the inner or outer labia and are mostly aesthetic. While you may not experience much added pleasure from them, a male partner may be stimulated along the shaft. Some people enjoy the feeling of light tugging and weights on their labial piercings, and may choose to get multiple. It is not uncommon to see labia piercings gauged. These are rather easy and safe piercings, though urine may sting during the healing process if they are near the urethra and they tend to bleed, outer labia piercings take longer to heal as they pierce much thicker tissue than inner labia.
A popular place to get a labia majora piercing is at the front of the genitals, above the clitoral hood, where it is visible while the legs are closed, usually done with a curved bar rather than a closed loop. These are called "Christina piercings" or "Venus piercings" but are also commonly just called "pussy piercings". These are purely aesthetic as they don't actually come in contact with the genitals (unless it's positioned low enough to connect to the clitoral hood) and aren't involved in sexual intercourse. These are one of the more popular female genital piercings.
The forchette is the area below the vaginal opening at the bottom of the vagina, before the perineum. While this piercing may not be super stimulating for the wearer, a male partner is stimulated along the bottom of the penis making this a perfect piercing for those looking to please their male partners! This piercing may cause discomfort when sitting and needs thorough cleaning as it is near the anus and can collect bacteria if not properly cared for.
The perineum is the area between the forchette and the anus. This piercing doesn't bring much stimulation to the wearer, but it may stimulate a male partner in certain positions. Because of the positioning of this piercing, you need to take extra care when cleaning and showering since the close placement to the anus can easily cause a buildup of bacteria. Just like the forchette, sitting may cause discomfort with this piercing.
This is a very rare and extreme piercing. Most misinformed people say "clit piercings" when they actually mean "clitoral hood piercings", and there is a big difference! A clitoral piercing can only be done on people who have large protruding clitorises with hoods that do not completely cover them. This piercing literally goes through the glans of the clitoris and can be extremely painful, but cause a lot of heightened sensation and sexual pleasure after healing. This is a piercing that the majority of people aren't even candidates for and they need to be done by a skilled and experienced professional to avoid nerve damage.
Nipple piercings are popular on females for their aesthetic value. They can nicely accentuate the nipples and also be a good addition to those who enjoy nipple stimulation. Nipple piercings are done at the base of the nipple where it connects to the areola, not through the nipple itself. Getting your nipple pierced too close to the tip of your nipple may cause it to be easily ripped out or rejected while piercings too deep into the areola can cause bad infections in the ducts. A lot of people enjoy having their nipple piercings being lightly tugged or weighted, and there are a lot of options for those interested in BDSM! Two of my friends have pierced nipples. One said he hardly felt them at all. The other (whom I was with when she got hers done) experienced a lot of pain and had to take a break between piercing them.
Suitcase piercings go from the forchette to the top of the anus and are extremely rare due to the depth and risk of infection. Piercings around the anus are not recommended because they take a long time to heal and can easily collect bacteria. Most professional piercers will refuse to do suitcase piercings and anal piercings; they're just too risky and have a low satisfaction rate.
Hard Modifications (not for the faint of heart!)
This is the removal of skin in a pattern to intentionally create a scar which may or may not be colored with ink and/or be accompanied by tattoos. This can be done anywhere on the body and can produce a variety of scar tissue depending on the method. When I was in college, one of the models who regularly came in for our figure drawing class had scarification on her chest and stomach. On one occasion when she was in a revealing pose, we realized that her labia majora also had scarification! It was rather beautifully done and complimented the pieces she had on her chest and stomach.
(from ill-use.com) Healed scarification on the chest
Female circumcision is NOT the same as a clitoridectomy and is often a misused term. Clitoridectomy is the complete removal of the clitoris; female circumcision is removal of the clitoral hood and or vulva. This is done by people into extreme body modification or by plastic surgeons on people who want "cleaner looking genitals", but this is extremely uncommon in western countries where it is considered barbaric (and in some places is outlawed if the female doesn't consent). Many females find the sensations to be too extreme after circumcision and it is not recommended.
The orange is the hood that would be removed in a normal female circumcision. The blue area may be included as well in a full removal of the vulva.
Females who have difficulty stimulating the clitoris due to a large hood or those who are simply less sensitive will sometimes split the clitoral hood. This leaves the clitoris more exposed and easier to stimulate. This is a pretty simple procedure that heals quickly and doesn't need stitches. It's usually done by professional body modifiers, but is not very common.
While this is rare, some females get implants under the skin in the labia majora and vulva (usually silicone or surgical steel beads). These are for aesthetic value and stimulation for male partners. A professional body modifier with experience in implants can safely place implants, but they may need to be removed or re-implanted if they begin to migrate too far and/or begin to rupture the skin. Genital implants and beading are more common on males.
Saline can carefully be injected into the breasts (or labia majora) to increase the size temporarily. For a few days, the breasts or labia will be full and swollen with saline, which slowly absorbs into the body and is safe as long as the equipment used to inject was sterile. This can give the appearance of large perky breasts or a pumped pussy, but you can inject saline just about anywhere, including your lips, butt, or non-sexual areas. (check out these photos of facial saline injections: http://oddstuffmagazine.com/bagelheads-trend-from-japan.html)
Nipple removal is more commonly done on males because milk ducts in females can easily become infected, but it isn't unheard of or undo-able on females. The nipple is clamped, cut and stitched up or burned off resulting in a patch of scar tissue to expose the nerves underneath the nipple. This isn't extremely popular and is usually only done by those into heavy modifications, nullo (body part removal), or those who dislike the appearance/feel of nipples. Many people report that they have more sensation in the area than before the removal because of the newly exposed nerves! Nipple splitting can also be done to expose nerves and gain sensation. Splitting can also accidentally happen when nipple piercings are rejected or ripped out.
Other less common heavy modifications:
"G-spot" piercings (frontal inner-vagina tissue)
This is definitely not a full list of all of the possible body modifications on females, only a brief look! If this is in your field of interest, make sure to check out sites like BME.com (a large body mod community) or visit your local piercing parlor.