I suspected that something was up when I received the third email in two days asking me about beading. I mean, as a special consultant I am regularly contacted about even more unusual sex practices… but whenever a flash fad like this pops up, you can be sure some popular media started it. So I searched online a bit, and there it was: a well-shared article from the Atlantic, reporting about… competitive market pressure on Filipino sailors?
According to that rather interesting news, it turns out that seafarers from the Philippines are excellent workers, yet they are victim of a cultural bias that portrays them as “soft” giving them a serious disadvantage on the international job market. This bleeds into other social areas, and to cut a long story short, they overcompensate by “toughening up” in many unexpected ways. Hence the bolitas – which are most definitely not for the squeamish.
Bolitas, meaning ‘little beads’, are 0.2 to 0.35 inches plastic balls or discs, although other shapes are not unheard of. They are usually handmade, boiled to sterilize them, and… inserted under the skin of the penis, via a similarly-sized incision. If no infection takes place, if the cut heals well, and if no rejection occurs they noticeably increase the pleasure for their sexual partners – especially considering that the average Filipino cock is just 4.2”, the seventh less-endowed nationality according to an infamous comparative study.
Most of all, however, bolitas-modified genitals become the ultimate cojones proof, worn by more than half of the surveyed sailors. And in case you are wondering, the final ‘s’ is there because they are often applied in pairs: above and below the shaft, laterally or all over the place. The marine job market, by the way, doesn’t seem to care at all about how many implants they have. Rank-wise, Filipino sailors keep getting the worst jobs in the industry.
More interesting for our heartless and lustful sensibilities is however an entirely different question: do the bolitas… work? Are they worth the discomfort and risks? And that, my dear readers, is my cue. In fact, I had researched this topic back when I was writing XXX – The dictionary of unusual sex, where this practice is listed with its more common name of beading. I can thus confirm that it was first mentioned in the Indian and Pacific diaries of XVI century explorers, but also that in modern times it is far from being a Filipino exclusive.
For many decades beading was most frequently found among the Japanese yakuzagangsters. For them it was customary to insert one subcutaneous pearl – of the oyster kind – for each year they spent in prison, as a mark of honor of sort. The fact that Japan scores ninth-worst off in the above-mentioned report probably has something to do with this penis obsession. From the Eighties of last century, however, the idea of placing stuff in there struck a chord with the body modification scene, and it spread relatively well all over the planet.
Most genital modification enthusiasts use surgical steel or Teflon beads to minimize the risk of infections – the latter are usually preferred because they don’t retain heat or cold as much as metal does, making for a slightly more comfortable feeling. When done in a properly sterile setting instead than a trawler hold the procedure is pretty safe, but it still involves some risk. I found at least one documented case of someone whose own balls got repeatedly impacted by the beads underneath his dick, resulting in serious trauma.
I also spoke with a few actual users and their partners, and all of them confirmed that the beads do provide a much more intense stimulation – even too intense for the men, sometimes. And one last thing: the beads have a tendency to migrate freely, so there is no guarantee that the striking design pattern you are thinking of won’t get all bent and deformed with time. Of course, approaching this modification as a DIY project is strongly advised against: if you really want to do it, go to a serious piercing and body-mod artist. This is really all there is to it. Now, can you please change the subject of your emails?