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plug and stretching vocabulary

Even if you happen to have your own piercings, tattoos, or stretch mods (or all of the above), chances are that at one time or another you’ve had a conversation about plugs in person or on an internet message board that left you scratching your head a bit.  So what is the universal language of modification?  At this point, it’s so widespread that very few things are strictly defined or finite, so here’s a little something to help overcome the language barrier:


This one is pretty self-explanatory, but there are a few other things people might say that also mean they’re stretching a piercing.  Depending on the region you might here somebody say they’re “gauging” their earlobes instead, or that they’re tapering, or sizing up.  Less common methods of enlarging the lobes can also effect the way that they’re talked about.  For example, somebody might be “dead-stretching,” “scalpeling,” or “punching” their ears, all of which mean that they’re enlarging the size of their piercing.

 stretching or gauging piercings


It’s no surprise that plugs are also referred to as expanders or gauges, and you’ll probably here these terms several times during conversation.  Other names for tunnel plugs however, may be a little more surprising.  Regionally they could be called just tunnels, or you might here them labeled as flesh tunnels, tubes, eyelets, or even spools.  And the size that they are can get confusing too, as some prefer to use millimeter references and others will adhere to the fractions or “inch sizes.”  So a five eighths inch plug and a fifteen millimeter plug are actually the same thing.

 sizing in millimeters or inches

As you make friends from more diverse and further flung places, there’s bound to be a few terms thrown around about modification that will still require further explanation, but hopefully a few things are now slightly less perplexing.  As they say, “keep calm and continue stretching.”

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