My clitoral hood was the only piercing I ever wanted, and thus far, it is my only piercing. So unfortunately, I cannot compare this process of piercing to any other piercing experience. On a zero to ten scale though, with ten being the most painful, I would give getting the piercing itself a sharp four. It only takes a moment, and in my opinion the uncomfortable five seconds are well worth it. For placement, the bar goes straight through my hood, with the top ball on top of the clitoral hood and the bottom ball resting on top of the external clitoris.
So, what has having a piercing changed for me?
1. My relationship with my vulva: Though I like to think I had a fairly positive relationship with my vulva, there was no aesthetic appreciation involved. I never randomly glanced down at my vulva and grinned. This has become a fairly common, and happy, practice.
2. Showering: I've certainly masturbated in the shower before, but showering has never been an intrinsically erotic experience for myself. Now, with a stream of water somehow always hitting part of my piercing, it has become much more fun.
3. Menstruation: I hate tampons; I find them very uncomfortable, probably in part because my vagina is off-center. So I'm a devoted pad user, and thus menstrual blood has gotten on the bottom part of the piercing. This enabled me to become much more comfortable with my menstrual blood and not freak out if some blood gets on my fingers.
4. Running: For the first few days after the piercing, when my vulva was really raw, just walking was an awesome experience. Having healed now, three weeks later, walking doesn't really do anything, but running or going up or down stairs does. In that way I find the piercing similar to kegel balls- once you're used to them, orgasmic walking simply doesn't happen for myself. (Unless I'm consistently doing kegels/trying to orgasm whilst walking.) For myself, the VCH piercing has certainly made it easier to find time for exercise.
5. Underwear Use: Pre-piercing, whenever I wasn't on my period, I would not wear underwear unless dressing up. Now, I tend to wear it as a safety, especially if I'm wearing jeans. I also now see the aesthetic appeal of black sheer panties, when there's a tiny metal glint peeking through.
6. Hair: Pre-piercing, I never had a strong preference for my own pubic hair. I randomly cycled through completely bare, completely there, and somewhere in-between. With the piercing though, I go for bare or a small cute shape to highlight my piercing.
7. Masturbation: This was my favorite, somehow not expected, result of getting a piercing. I knew it would change my masturbation habits, but I didn't anticipate how drastically they would change. Without a piercing, I tend to masturbate with tons of direct clitoral stimulation. With a ball blocking direct access to my clitoris, masturbation (without toys) has become way more playful and indirect.
8. Toy Use: For insertable toys, nothing changed for myself. For external, and usually vibrating toys, my preferences drastically shifted. Pre-piercing lighter vibrators, such as the Toyfriend line, just didn't do it for me. They were fun to play with, but they certainly weren't going to make me orgasm without a great deal of effort on my part. With the piercing, light vibrators, especially Toyfriend's Mystic, became fantastic. While healing, I would not recommend using a vibrator unless you're comfortable with pain. And once you are healed, it may be better to start with light vibrators rather than say a Hitachi.
A few quick tips if you are thinking of getting a vertical clitoral hood piercing:
1. Your Motivation: Think about why you want to get this piercing. Do you want it for aesthetic reasons or for stimulation, or both? If you only want it for aesthetic reasons, and not for stimulation, you probably don't want a piercing that in part rests on the external clitoris. Perhaps piercing the labia majora would be a better place, or getting studs on the mons pubis. Conversely, if you only want increased stimulation and don't care for how the piercing looks, consider investing in a nice set of kegel balls, such as Fun Factory's Smartballs. If you want the piercing for aesthetic and stimulative reasons, is there anything stopping you currently?
2. Safety: Make sure you're getting pierced by a professional with experience- this isn't a piercing that you want to be half-assed. Ask if the piercing is internally or externally threaded; it should be internally threaded for comfort. Ask what type of material the piercing is made of, implant grade stainless steel or titanium are both fine.
3. Deep Breaths: While getting the piercing, I would recommend doing yoga-style deep breathing, in through the nose and out through the mouth. This should help ease any anxiety and relax your body.
4. Recovery: I got lucky with a really short recovery and healing period. The general healing time is 6-8 weeks. During these weeks, penetration and vulva play can happen. If there's pain and you don't like it, feel free to stop, but if you're enjoying the pain, then go for it. You do however want to use a barrier method with other people, even if with a previous partner, as you have an open genital wound.
If you have any further questions regarding getting/having a vertical clitoral hood piercing, feel free to comment below!