John Lennon once declared: “I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So, I believe in fairies, the myths and the dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who is to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as here and now?”

I confess, I come across genital piercing in my medical career all the time. However, the association of the piercing with the Prince Albert of Queen Victoria is often a myth I considered an urban legend with no solid foundation.

I cannot believe it, apparently, the famous piercing was name after the cousin and husband of Queen Victoria, who was in a position of considerable influence to the Queen.

He helped to expand the Empire’s Education systems across the world and addressed Social ills.

The Prince was well respected for the 1851’s Great Exhibition and also became the Chancellor of Cambridge University.

It is therefore unthinkable to imagine how a genital piercing is associated with this Monarch fondly remembered as “intelligent, good looking, charismatic, athleticism and with social consciousness” Prince Albert was reputed to have the piercing known as the “Dressing Ring” in 1825 when marrying the Queen.

It was rumored the bulge in the “ultra-tight” pants for the prince was deemed vulgar and unsightly, and necessitated a placement of a ring allowing the penis to be position to one side by a hook on the trousers.

It is ironic in modern days, some men would consider to place socks in the pants to enhance the “vulgar” bulge. Though the ultra-tight pants and the bulge is no longer fashionable in today’s society.

The Prince Albert Piercing is still in Vogue, as some men testify the decorative pieces in the genitalia are pleasing to the eyes and pleasurable to the senses. This is our subject of discussion for this week’s query.

Dear Dr. G,

Thank you for answering my email. I am a big fan of your articles. I am 24 years old and engage in a healthy sexual relationship with my girlfriend. My friend recently had an insertion of Prince Albert recently and convinced me the benefits of such genital piercings. He said the insertion of the ring was virtually pain free and risk free, even though it was done abroad in a backstreet tattoo parlor.

According to my friend, the Prince Albert Piercing has been inserted since the Victorian era and considered a norm.

Apparently, both the wearers and partners find the accessory attractive. In addition, the ring also provide sensory enhancement to both and this provide further satisfaction in sexual relationships.

I really would like to find out more. What exactly is Prince Albert? Why is it called  Prince Albert? Which Prince Albert is this referring to? Is genital piercing truly a riskless decision? How is the ring inserted? What are the benefits in having one?

Can the ring be detached and reinserted like earrings? Can the decision reversible? These are important decisions for me and I need your help.


The traditional heritage of genital piercing actually originates from our own backyards in South East Asia and India, instead of Victorian Great Britain commonly believed. In fact, the evidence of male genital piercing was already noted in Kama Sutra in the Second Century.

In East Malaysia and Borneo, The Ampallang Ring, which is passed horizontally through the glans penis is common in different tribes throughout Sabah and Sarawak. Apparently, some believe that Dayak women have the right to insist upon the Ampallang and if the man does not consent, can be a ground for separation.

They say “the embrace without contrivance is plain rice; with it rice with salt.”

In the Victorian Era, it believed the genital piercing had the primary purpose of securing the penis in certain manner, rather than having a sexual or cultural purpose. There were even suggestions the ring was to keep the foreskin retracted ensuring no foul smell in an uncircumcised men.

Although theoretically possible, none of the propositions were substantiated. Nowadays, like all types of body piercing, genital piercings are predominantly decorative and an expression of non-conformal uniqueness. Whether such decorative pieces are purely for aesthetic enhancement or the enrichment of sexual pleasure is open for debate.

Although the wearers of Prince Albert can potentially heighten the stimulation of nerves in the glans and vaginal wall, the total opposite is completely possible. Cases of complications during sex such as injury to the vaginal mucosal to receptive partners and problems such as chipped teeth and choking during oral sex were also documented in the literature.

Some reports of the ring caught on clothing and being pulled or torn out with “cheese cutter effect” were also described. (OUCH! OUCH! OUCH!)

Prince Albert is in fact a Ring inserted along the underside of the glans from urethral opening. The “reverse Prince Albert Piercing” enters through the urethra and exits through a hole pierced in the top of the glans. The piercer may avoid or traverse the nerve bundle in the frenulum.

Piercing is generally centrally placed for circumcised men and off centered for others. The insertion if genital Piercing is normally done under local anesthesia and considered safe when performed in a sterile and fully equipped facilities. The acute complications may include pain, bleeding, bruising, swelling and infections.

In the long term, the ring can result in dribbling of urine and leakages through a fistula (non healing track) once the ring is removed. The famous American mythologist, writer and lecturer, Joseph Campbell once said: “Myths are public dreams and dreams are private myths.”

Dr. G’s advice to James is as the “Myths about Prince Albert remain a Public Dream; Dream in Private and keep the private Parts away from Albert!”

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