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July 27, 2009 2:10 PM   Subscribe

If I remove my nipple ring, will I experience nipple sag?

I've had a pierced nipple for 19 years (a simple 14 gauge ring), and I'm feeling ambivalent about it now. It was awesome for shocking people and relatives, but at 38, it seems a little bit like I'm trying too hard to hold onto my rebellious youth, and I'd like to remove it for good.

The weird problem is that my girlfriend wants me to keep it in because she's afraid that I'll have a gross, distended, saggy, XXL nipple--and just one, since the other has never been touched by a needle.

As a man, I don't have enough nipple for the piercing, so the ring actually goes through the areola behind the nipple--maybe 3/8" of an inch altogether. Besides the ring itself, it's obvious that something is going through the skin, but overall my nipple/areola isn't saggy or distended now. Mainly, my girlfriend fears that, without the ring, the flesh won't settle back into a very normal looking male nipple.

So, mefites who've removed nipple rings: How did your nipple respond over time? Is it now indistinguishable from its virginal state, or is it obvious that there used to be something there that's now sadly absent?
posted by fatbird to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
I don't think that outcome is likely at all. Maybe she just likes it more than she's willing to admit?
posted by hermitosis at 2:22 PM on July 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Referring to female nipple rather than male, she had a ring for about 10 years, then removed it. The two nipples are indistinguishable from each other.
posted by arniec at 2:23 PM on July 27, 2009

I had both nipples pieced for about a year. (I turned out allergic to the metal). There were no obvious holes soon after I took the rings out and only a small amount of scarring (pretty much only obvious to me). My nipples are still perky, if I do say so myself.
posted by saucysault at 2:26 PM on July 27, 2009

Best answer: 14 gauge is pretty thin, really. You're probably not stretching the tissue enough to really see sagging (like you'll sometimes see with large gauge ear piercings/stretchings). For comparison sake, I had a nipple piercing about 11-12 years ago. I think it was twelve gauge, and like yours, it went into the areola. It never really healed right, so after a year of fussing with it I took it out. There is some minor, minor scarring that makes that nipple raise up a little more. But it's the difference between an almost completely flat nipple on one side and a slightly more raised nipple on the other. Unless I pointed it out, you'd never notice the difference.
posted by ga$money at 2:31 PM on July 27, 2009

Best answer: I had a single nipple ring for a few years, can't recall the gauge, and removed it at least 10 years ago. While it doesn't sag, my (formerly) pierced nipple is still considerably larger than the other and has not gotten any smaller over time. It's probably not as noticeable on female nipples, which are generally larger to begin with, but on my nipple that extra scar tissue "tube" formed by the piercing is not going away and forces the nipple to be larger. Not much to be done about it, or at least that's what I've always assumed, but then leaving it in will certainly not help either.
posted by dhalgren at 3:00 PM on July 27, 2009

I've had a 10ga barbell in my right nipple for ten years. When I take it out one nipple is pretty much indistinguishable from the other.

And if you ever feel like putting it back in, you should be able to. 19 years is a long time. I've gone months without having mine in and I can always manage to get a lubed 12ga back in, and then graduate up to a 10ga in a week or two.

Caveat: I am a girl, and girl nipples are generally not pierced through the areola. YMMV.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:02 PM on July 27, 2009

Oh, and I am a male, in case that wasn't clear. And the piercing was directly through what little actual nipple tissue I have, not the areola, so YMMV.
posted by dhalgren at 3:03 PM on July 27, 2009

I dated a guy who formerly had one nipple pierced, and that nipple was much larger than the other. It wasn't ugly, gross, or distended though, just thick. It wasn't a turn-off or anything.
posted by emilyd22222 at 3:06 PM on July 27, 2009

Best answer: I'm a guy with very small nipples. I had my left nipple pierced for about a year, through the areola. Now my felt nipple is slightly larger than my right due to scarring. It's not something you'd noticed unless you were really, really into checking out my nipples. I'd say you've got nothing to worry about.
posted by Pecinpah at 4:13 PM on July 27, 2009

Best answer: I had 12-gauges in for 5+ years, and within about 2 days of taking them out, you would never have known I had my nipples pierced at all. Nipples are one of the fastest commonly pierced spots to bounce back.
posted by coolguymichael at 5:17 PM on July 27, 2009

i doubt that you have anything to worry about. I had a nipple piercing for three odd years- and they were pretty odd years- that i took out after a while, and apart from some near invisible scarring, you really couldn't tell that there was ever a great hunk of metal a dangling from said nipple.
posted by Philby at 8:20 PM on July 27, 2009

Response by poster: A mefite who wishes to preserve the possibility of a presidential run memailed me the following:
I'm a girl who wore 14ga nipple rings for a total of about five years with a 1-year break in the middle (the first set gave me trouble, and I decided to try again); I'm not sure how applicable my experience is to your situation, but FWIW, I have nothing evident except little white scars -- definitely nothing saggy or distended.
posted by fatbird at 8:26 AM on July 28, 2009

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