What Tattoos and Piercings Really Say About You

Your mother might have been right

As a parent, one of my major goals in life was to get my son and daughter through to adulthood without piercings (other than her ears) or tattoos. I worked toward this goal from their earliest childhood, by complaining about the intense pain that sharp objects cause, warning them that vaccinations would prove excruciating, and trying to fish out their splinters with needles—an absolutely futile pursuit that always yielded lots of agonized screams. It seems to have worked like a charm; both kids are blissfully unadorned. Having successfully accomplished this feat, and having worked over the years with a number of colleagues with ink and pierced noses (I’m not sure about other places), I was starting to soften on the topic, at least until I saw the results of this study of college students done at Texas Tech University.

Guess what? “Women with piercings reported substantively and significantly greater frequency of sexual activity than students without piercings.” Pierced men were no friskier than the unpierced, BUT it turns out the pierced and/or tattooed binge-drink more than their unadorned cohorts, and use drugs more often, too. Whip out this study the next time your kid asks to get a navel ring or a butterfly on her clavicle, and say, “You see, honey? I only want what’s best for you.” On the other hand, if you’re interested in advertising your own availability, a nose ring or discreet Thai symbol might be just the thing.