Everything You Need To Know About Pearling or Genital beading

Pearling or genital beading is actually quite a unique form of body modification which includes adding some form of beads or pearls made up of various kinds of materials beneath the general areas, that includes, the labia, shaft, or foreskin of the penis. Besides being a sexual practice, it is also used to enhance the sexual pleasure for the female partner during vaginal or anal intercourse.

In this article, we will cover all you need to know about pearling or genital beading which includes the history of pearling or genital beading, the procedure of how to do the pearling or genital beading, the pros and coons of pearling or genital beading as well as the cultural significance.

What is Pearling or Genital Beading

pearling or genital beading

This unusual phenomenon that we call, pearling or genital beading, is a process that involves inserting beads that are made up of various materials beneath the skin of the shaft or the foreskin of the penis which is mainly done for enhancing sexual pleasure during intercourse besides aesthetic reasons. This practice is said to have begun in Yakuza in Japan where they inserted pearls under the skin of the penis while in prison.

Beads are set practicing a manner very related to a frenum piercing, the chief distinction being that the jewelry is sealed completely under the surface preferably than being left with the edges distending. The piercing is done by using large gauge piercing needles and then a taper is inserted inside so that these holes could be made bigger. The beads are then inserted inside the skin and the needle is removed. To remove the beads, the piercer will squeeze the skin that underlies behind the beads and hence forcing the genital skin to be together over the beads. A small chink is made with the needle and then the bead is protruded out too which is kind of comparable to popping out your zits! After removal, you can’t really point out the original modification.

The preferred material for the pearling or genital beading is silicon as not only are they inert but also squishable so that they are flexible during the whole procedure and the intercourse. Other alternate options include implant grade steel or titanium beads or PTFE but they are not used quite as often as silicon. The typical size of the bead includes 3/16” to 1/4”, though seldom smaller (3/32”) or larger (5/16”) beads are employed. Moreover, other jewelry selections incorporate silicone bars—for a “ribbed” impression—or tiny “chains” of beads attached collectively. Despite the bead substance or method, a stochastic exemplar is always favored to a geometric one, as a specific number of moving while healing is determined and this will perpetually throw off the position of an established combination of beads.

The initial holes that have been pierced during the pearling or genital beading will heal quite quickly, usually in the first few days but it will take much longer for the bead to finally set inside the skin and encapsulated by the new skin over it. Thus, it is seldom asked to wait for at least 2 weeks before any kind of sexual activity. The aftercare procedure for pearling or genital beading is quite simple and done using mild soap and water for the first few days.

Pearling or Genital Beading in History and Culture

Subcutaneous penile modification (SPM), also called “pearling” or “genital beading,” might be an uncommon phenomenon in the western culture but might be growing up in popularity with tattoos, piercings, and other kinds of body modifications. The implants have their existence with different kinds of materials such as silicon, nylon, Teflon, stainless steel, and titanium. In the older times, genuine pearls were used for this procedure and that is why the name is given to it, pearling or genital beading.

The implants are inserted into the skin via an incision, most commonly, on the dorsal aspect of the shaft. Some stitches might be used here to close the incision and patterns might be formed which range from a single implant to multiple implants on the dorsal shaft. It might also include multiple implants randomly placed around the entire shaft.

pearling or genital beading

However, here are some of the cultural and historical ways of going through the pearling or genital beading procedure:

  • Kamasutra: In fact, historically speaking, pearling or genital beading was first mentioned in Kamasutra as a way to enhance sexual activity.
  • Siam (Chinese Culture): Besides this, in Chinese culture too, especially by the explorers in Siam in 14th and 15th centuries is also recorded. In this culture, pearling or genital beading was done to the penis as a sign of wealth and prosperity and for enhancing the looks. The exact origin of pearling is not known to us, but early records in China show that it had been introduced from Southeast Asia no later than the beginning of the 1400s. Old records relate to the enclosures such as “mianling”, actually decoding to “Burmese bells”.
  • Japanese Mafia (Yakuza): Pearling can also be associated with many Asian cultures which have links to the Japanese mafia and the yakuza who placed a single bead inside the penis for each year spent in the prison.  The best-known traditional practice of pearling includes the Yakuza established crime organizations of Japan, whose constituents perform many important models of body modification, including large body irezumi tattoos and Yubitsume, the modification of finger joints in repentance to their leaders. Pearling is performed in prison by the Yakuza, with a single pearl apparently expressing a year spent in prison.
  • Filipino Seamen: It is also a very common kind of practice amongst the Filipino sailors who are said to have acquired the system for the Japanese seamen. Pearling, also known as ‘bolitas’, has become a standard method among Filipino sailors, particularly among the more traditional ones. Journalist Ryan Jacobs, recording in The Atlantic, published in 2013 that sailors utilize bolitas to distinguish themselves from other foreign seamen, principally to make themselves more known among the prostitutes.
  • Old Philippines: In the Philippines, researchers have discovered that these were existing in different styles from the Visayas to southern Luzon. In the Visayas, bars composed of gold, ivory, or brass were included in young boys into their penis heads, according to an analysis by the pre-eminent archaeologist of pre-colonial Philippines, William Henry Scott. As the guys became older, these pins would be enhanced and they would later connect bluntly spiked hoops for the pleasure of their sex partners. In Barangay, his examination of 16th-century Philippine ethnography, Scott addressed, “these ornaments required manipulation by the woman herself to insert and could not be withdrawn until the male organ was completely relaxed.” Scott continued that there were as numerous as 30 diverse species to “cater to a lady’s choice.”  The method comes from the Pre-colonial era in the Philippines wherein devices such as the Tudruck (Penis-pin) and Sakra (Penis-ring), usually made up of gold or ivory, were injected into the genitals of young adults. Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian historian of Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation, once composed about this fashion in his memoirs:
Both young and old males pierce their penises with a gold or tin rod the size of a goose quill. In both ends of the same bolt, some have what resembles a spur, with points upon the ends; others are like the head of a cart nail. I very often asked many, both young and old, to see their penis, because I could not credit it. In the middle of the bolt is a hole, through which they urinate. The bolt and the spurs always hold firm. They say that the women wish it so, and if they did otherwise they would not have communication with them. When a man wishes to have intercourse with a woman, she takes his penis not in the normal way, but gently introduces first the top spur and then the bottom one into her vagina. Once inside, the penis becomes erect and cannot be withdrawn until it is limp.

Pearling or Genital beading Procedures

There are two most common procedures done for pearling or genital beading, one is similar to frenum piercing and the other being similar to a subdermal implant which requires more medical knowledge and specialized tools. Both these procedures are safe with some risks and healing procedures much like an implant done on any other parts of the body. However, the generous blood flow towards the genitals can reduce considerably the healing time of the pearling or genital beading. Inflammation is a common factor during and after healing procedures although if done carefully, one can minimize this. Rejection during pearling or genital beading is also rare but can occur.

The implants are composed of a broad spectrum of substances including glass, marble, plastic, wood, metal, and silicon. Regrettably, the method to get pearling or genital beading is most generally arranged in unauthorized environments outside of medical stations, hence making it relatively difficult to stick to antisepsis and aseptic etiquettes. Frequently in the Americas, given the stretching rate of the manner, some experts are more conspicuous to the idea of injecting the pearls for patients who want to have it performed in a more protected and more hygienic manner.

In prison, where it is done most commonly and where most studies have been done on pearling or genital beading, reveals that toothbrushes, dominos, dice, melted toothpaste caps, and deodorant roller balls are the most commonly used articles. The method of really installing the implants is quite manageable and is done without any kind of analgesia. The penile surface is punched practicing an article with a sharpened point and the implant is forced beneath the skin into the small hole made till it maintains the coveted position. The implants may be included in any portion of the penis but it is most generally located on the dorsum of the shaft or the foreskin.

As the penis is made up of thin and mobile skin which is attached very closely to the tissue underneath, the implants done can be slid into a particular position. The objects that are not fixed adds to their motility in the subcutaneous muscle allowing the fancied sexual outcomes. The cut is left to be sealed by secondary intention. The method is performed by the person himself or by a nominated non-medical provider such as an appropriate criminal who has earned knowledge of injecting the objects.

Jewelry For Pearling or Genital Beading

A wide assortment of materials can be used for pearling or genital beading which includes, Teflon, silicone, surgical steel, and titanium which are also the most common kinds of materials. Before in antiquity, and before the availability of these newer materials, pearls were used for pearling or genital beading and hence this implant got its name. There is also an alternative form of pearling or genital beading in which short and curved objects are inserted into the penis rather than pearls.

Associated Risks With Pearling or Genital Beading

The practice of genital beading is not without consequences which includes debilitation and mortality too. The risk that is associated with pearling or genital beading is the same as any other kind of body modification. These risks include rejection, inflammation, pain, allergic reaction, etc. Some long-term complications can include scar tissue formation which can even cause chronic pain leading to erectile dysfunction.

Another unique complication with pearling or genital beading is that the sexual partner might not find this method pleasing at all. More recently, this body modification has gained popularity in the prisons of the USA where inmates have attempted to use limited everyday objects to perform pearling or genital beading without any prior knowledge of penile anatomy. This often leads to disastrous consequences and might also require medical and surgical intervention.

Another kind of complication includes penile abscess and pain during sexual intercourse or erection. There are also long-term complications associated with pearling or genital beading. The deep injuries are uncommon but if there is any in the penis, which includes the urethra, a urological consultation is often recommended.

Injuries to the penis, especially self-inflicted ones are uncommon in pearling or genital beading. In the more modern and current times, pearling or genital beading is performed by professional body piercers where it is much safer to get the piercing done without any complications.

Besides the high-risk of viruses, installation, and replacement of SPMs profess a chance of injury to the corpora, arteries, and nerves of the penis if attention is not exercised to circumvent underlying anatomical arrangements. In case of emergencies, physicians or consultation with a urologist is recommended. This is in particular to the ventrally placed SPMs which might pose a risk of damage to the urethra. Even though SPM position in this place was not found in this case-series, it has been described outside. Furthermore, damage to the tunica albuginea may commence for long-term complexities such as infertility or abnormal curvature, comparable to penile fracture, that may need surgical interference.

To minimize the prospect of injury to neighboring structures during extraction, the doctors and experts recommend that only superficial and dorsally placed SPMs should be cornered in the emergency unit. Similar bedside replacement has been beforehand reported. A cut made immediately overlying the SPM will decrease the chance of extensive structure injury as the SPM can work as a shielding cutting bar. When a virus is there, instant dismissal of an SPM is designated to check the progress of infection and additional difficulties or tissue injury.

It is impossible to think of any surgical intervention that is free of the probability of encountering difficulties. Nonetheless, it is assumed that when feigned penile pearls are included without following the right aseptic standards, the speculations of difficulties grow significantly. The difficulties connected with penile pearls are not only limited to the original method of injecting the pearls but the long-term effect of keeping them in a single position. Although data are limited concerning long-term difficulties, research has revealed that 96.6% of 60 surveyed implant bearers had no difficulties eight years after pearling or genital beading.

This is most probably because the true report of early or delayed complications is not really reported given the illegal circumstances of the practice. One of the most commonly faced problems is that of infection which is more prevalent when the procedure is done outside of the medical facility which is done without the use of proper equipment and sterile protocols. If a patient comes in with established infection, the pearling or genital beading must be removed to enable treatment by using antibiotics. Deeper infections are quite common too.

Because of the loss of such data, there is not much comparison that can be done by the professionals between two patients posing infections. One can only assume the similarities and differences between two people due to appropriate measures that have been put to avoid complications. For example, prisoners are at a higher risk of contracting blood-borne viruses which occurs when there is blood to blood contact during drug use, tattooing, and violence. Pearling or genital beading might also augment the transmission of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), amongst other sexually transmitted diseases and blood-borne infections. Injecting the implants in jail in most circumstances requires the use of shared non-sterile gloves, sharp tools used to make skin cuts, and immediate connection with other people’s blood.

Even though many people claim pearling or genital beading to have an increased effect on a partner’s sexual pleasure, according to studies, there has been little evidence to support this claim. There has been mixed feedback from the partners who went through pearling or genital beading. The feelings can be compared to a ribbed condom in terms of sexual pleasure. Others in a similar fashion have reported significant dyspareunia. There have been reports of vaginal bleeding, ulceration, and other tears and cuts to the vagina and cervix which can cause infections. Other concerns that were put out by the sexual partners were unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases where the condoms are less likely to stay put and break apart instead. Men with pearling or genital beading are less likely to use condoms during sex mainly mostly because of the male egoism which is associated with having implants.

Other less commonly described difficulties connected with penile implants involve uncomfortable erections, erythema, swelling, rejections, functional impotence, urethral stenosis, and well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the penis. The precise device by which the implants create SCC of the penis is not comprehended but it is understood that the penile buds produce a local and repeated shock that can evoke chronic inflammation, which can perform a function in the pathogenesis of carcinoma.

Some research has also attached it to the heightened danger of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection as a consequence of the heightened risk circumstances stated at the beginning. It has been confirmed that epidermoid carcinoma can be generated by damaging circumcision scars. Men with penile lesions stemming from these injuries due to the injection of pearls can have a four to six-fold imminent danger of contracting SCC of the penis.

One such incident was recorded by Thiago Teixeira in the Journal of Surgical Case Reports where a middle-aged man came up with a penile lesion and bilateral lymphadenopathy. He experienced a penectomy and histology authenticated epidermoid cancer which had gone to the glans, coronal sulcus, foreskin, corpora cavernosa, corpus spongiosum, and penile urethra.

A granuloma augmentation is a common host response to take off exogenous elements with incendiary factions. This event can happen with synthetic penile implants which guide to a fixed disfiguring subcutaneous mass, which if really difficult can start to change into erectile difficulties and superficial effects.

A modern systematic study inferred that the low control of various improvements in both men and their spouses is expected to be inferable to underreporting.


The investigation is normally candid and the hardness of the implanted beads is pathognomonic. These articles are regularly tangible as portable non-tender, hard subcutaneous bulges and when accompanied with aspects of clinical history shouldn’t feign any difficulties for the Urologist. Nevertheless, these may create diagnostic uncertainty in specific patients if they are connected with genitourinary illnesses. In situations where an MRI scan has to be produced, having the pearls in position can prevent such studies depending on what kind of elements they are made up of or if the quality of the substance is unexplained.

It is also worth mentioning that injecting various kinds of oils into the penis for developing size can also create granulomas and one should be mindful of that. Differentiation within the roots can be by acknowledging the scattered creation of the granuloma due to implanted elements as opposed to being limited to pearls.


In more recent times, with the increase in body modification, people and health care practitioners need to know that there are different forms and styles of complications that have raised. One such discusses complication is that of pearling or genital beading. Although the application was originally started as a representation regarding the length of sojourn in jail by some Asian groups, the center of its primary use has changed drastically to enhance sexual stimulation and satisfaction. The practice of pearling or genital beading remains more prevalent in prison but has increased by other groups of men in society too.

There are many holes in the procuring of evidence of the rate of complications that are associated with these kinds of practices. What we now know is that there can be a wide array of problems that are linked to pearling or genital beading from simple infection and abscess formation, to sexually transmitted infection, injury to partners, and even malignancy.

Celebrities with Pearling or Genital Beadingpearling or genital beading

It made headlines when Demi Moore’s boyfriend, Will Hanigan, came up with his version of pearling or genital beading. According to the news reports and hi interviews in various magazines, Will Hanigan went through the procedure of pearling or genital beading.“He had a pearl inserted in his penis when he was in his late teens. It is pearl farming tradition and he would always joke about it in Australia. He’d boast it’d give girls extra stimulation in the bedroom,” said an unidentified source.

He was asked many questions, especially related to how his family and friends took the news of getting a pearling or genital beading. He responded that it was definitely a crazy move on his part. In his words, “Oh no, my dad disputes that. I’m the only one who’s crazy enough to do it in my whole family. It’s a pearling tradition, and it was started originally by the Japanese pearl divers, and it’s been adopted by mainly the Yakuza back in Japan. So it’s a really small market of people. Apparently, Polynesians have been known to do it as well. I got into it through being around all the other pearl divers. I grew up on the pearling boat. And so, guys did that, and I thought it seemed like kind of a funny thing to do.”

In fact, how and when he did it has a very interesting story behind it too. According to his statements, “I witnessed it happening on the pearling boat, and the boys would just do it to each other. They’re using a sharp knife, and pearl opening tools, or the tools that the Japanese were using to operate on the pearl shell. I didn’t think that that was very sanitary. When you’re pearl diving, you’re wet all day, and you’re in a wetsuit, and very prone to infection. So I waited until the off-season, in the summertime, and I found a doctor in Sydney. I started selling him pearls to do the procedures on other people, and then I decided to do it myself.”

For Will, the location is of the primary importance. According to his personal experience, he says, “I think location. I started with two, and I lost one. Just to infection, I guess. It probably wasn’t set deeply enough, or far enough back along the shaft. But it’s all about location. The idea is that it sits like a dorsal fin on a shark, and when you’re in missionary or cowgirl, then it would be stimulating the G-spot. That’s the whole theory behind it.”

However, for him, he did it when he was quite young. In his words, “Yeah. It was more of a thing for my 20s [laughing]. I’m pretty settled down now.” His recovery took him at least a month but he couldn’t wait to have intercourse for a whole month. Thus he failed and he lost the first pearl in about two weeks. In his own words, “He gave me a month, but I couldn’t wait a month [to have sex]. I failed. The first one I lost in about two weeks. It was a bit further towards the end and wore through. It just kind of popped out.”

Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t even that painful. Will explains this experience by saying, “No, because the skin was dead by then. It’s like inserting an implant, so you have to cut a pocket under the skin and separate the skin from the fascial tissue. And then you insert the pearl, and then you put four stitches per pearl. The time frame is really just for those stitches to heal and to make sure you don’t get an infection.”

Clearly, this was something that he did when he was young and he played around it for quite a while. However, he made sure that he tells his partner before getting involved. He says, “Well, this was in my 20s, and quite often my friends would just go around and tell all the girls at the bar because they thought it was funny, and to pique interest. So often people found out about it before I even told them. And yeah, I would generally tell someone, otherwise, they might think that it was a genital wart or something.”

Will has had the pearls ever since and it complies more to his profession and culture as he has matured than his youthful playfulness. In his words, “No, it’s still there, it’s still doing its job. In its time, it was something that might be a point of difference, something to intrigue and incite. But I guess now it’s more to do with my pearling tradition. It’s a cultural thing.”

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