Since pain is a subjective experience, the amount of pain in a body piercing varies wildly from person to person, and also varies depending upon the type of piercing you are getting. While an ear piercing involves a momentary ‘pinch’, body piercings can involve substantially more pain.
The amount of pain felt increases when you involve more sensitive parts of the body (i.e. nipples, cartilage, genitals, etc.). The size of the needle (also known as gauge) can be a factor as well, with the larger the gauge of needle tends to increase the pain felt. The skill of your body piercer can have a great deal to do with the pain felt, as more skilled piercers (known as Master piercers) will tend to use surer and swifter motions utilizing sterile professional tools and piercing supplies. Your best bet to minimize pain during a body piercing is to make sure your body piercer has plenty of experience with the piercing you are receiving and that you are in a relaxed state. Some people have found that taking a few over-the-counter pain relievers about 30 minutes before getting pierced will lessen the pain. However, drinking alcohol before piercing is dangerous – although it may lessen the pain felt, alcohol thins the blood and can lead to increase chance of extensive bleeding.