His pamphlet Body & Genital Piercing in Brief included such commonly reproduced urban legends as the notion that Prince Albert invented the piercing that shares his name in order to diminish the appearance of his large penis in tight trousers, and that Roman centurions attached their capes to nipple piercings.
Some people pierce for religious or spiritual reasons, while others pierce for self-expression, for aesthetic value, for sexual pleasure, to conform to their culture or to rebel against it.
Some forms of piercing remain controversial, particularly when applied to youth.
The display or placement of piercings have been restricted by schools, employers and religious groups.
In spite of the controversy, some people have practiced extreme forms of body piercing, with Guinness bestowing World Records on individuals with hundreds and even thousands of permanent and temporary piercings.
Contemporary body piercing practices emphasize the use of safe body piercing materials, frequently utilizing specialized tools developed for the purpose.
Body piercing is an invasive procedure with some risks, including allergic reaction, infection, excessive scarring and unanticipated physical injuries, but such precautions as sanitary piercing procedures and careful aftercare are emphasized to minimize the likelihood of encountering serious problems.
The healing time required for a body piercing may vary widely according to placement, from as little as a month for some genital piercings to as much as two full years for the navel.
Early records rarely discussed the use of piercings or their meaning, and while jewellery is common among grave goods, the deterioration of the flesh that it once adorned makes it difficult to discern how the jewellery may have been used.
Body piercing, a form of body modification, is the practice of puncturing or cutting a part of the human body, creating an opening in which jewellery may be worn.
The word piercing can refer to the act or practice of body piercing, or to an opening in the body created by this act or practice.
Although the history of body piercing is obscured by popular misinformation and by a lack of scholarly reference, ample evidence exists to document that it has been practiced in various forms by both sexes since ancient times throughout the world.