General Question

girlofscience's avatar

What is attractive about ear lobe stretching?

Asked by girlofscience (7556points) September 28th, 2008

Even if some body modifications aren’t for me, I can understand the appearance-enhancing value of them to others. I can understand the aesthetic appeal of all tattoos, even if they aren’t particularly eye-catching to me. I understand the desire of body piercing as adding places in which to wear jewelry.

The one type of body modification I don’t understand is the extreme ear lobe stretching. I am genuinely interested in learning what people find attractive about this. I do not find it repulsive, but I am unable to understand its appeal. Please enlighten me.

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81 Answers

loser's avatar

Good question!!!

trudacia's avatar

personally, I’m not attracted at all. As you said, tattoos make sense. Big ear lobes don’t.

SuperMouse's avatar

This is a great question, I have never seen the attraction of stretched earlobes.

seVen's avatar

not one single thing, you have to cut a portion of your ear when you get old and it looks even worse, or deal looking like an elephant in your elderly yEARS , lol

glitterrrrfish's avatar

I’m attracted to both

I guess it shows that the person is able to handle pain idk

Snoopy's avatar

Honestly, I put this in the same category as some of the stuff you said you might not like but can appreciate how others might.
I think it is just another form of self expression.
It is always interesting to me that people do things w/ their exterior self (ear stretching as an example) as an attempt to differentiate themselves. Really, to me they are just pigeon holing themselves, IMO.

cooksalot's avatar

I remember as a child my Grandmother and some of my other relatives talking about that. They all were of the opinion that since Buddha had those long stretched out ear lobes that it was a sign of wisdom. Me the only Christian in the bunch just didn’t get it. Oh well.

syz's avatar

Why does anyone like extreme body modification? (I pose that as a rhetorical question.) It’s just another form.

Personally, I think it’s yucky.

deaddolly's avatar

I’ve alot of friends into it. Most of them are artists: musicians, tattoo artists, piercers. I never asked why, but I beleive it’s the thrill of being unique; to stan apart from everyone and how ppl your not afraid o what ppl think.
A close friend does body suspension. It’s spiritual for him. He also has his tongue split and his ears gauged to zero. And he has implant horns, tattoos…everything. He’s a performance artist and piercer. Ppl look at him like he’s a freak, but it’s his choice how he wants to present himself. I often tease these friends about how they’ll look in the nursing home, with lobes down to their toes! I’ll be right there with them with breasts hitting the floor!
My daughter has face piercings and her ears are gauaged slightly. She likes the way it looks – simple as that.
It’s just another form of expression. Sometinhg different; something to shock. Like beatle haircuts, or shaved heads. Extreme yes, but boring – never!
Btw…no, my ears aren’tstretched, but yes, I do have piercings and loads of ink. And I think they’re hot.

acebamboo77's avatar

Hey, I have stretched earrings. I can’t speak for the general population but i can speak for myself.
I’m not much of a “pretty in pink” kind of girl, and the idea of having pretty little diamonds and inches of dangling metal hanging from my ears for the sake of vanity never seemed attractive to me. It didn’t suit me.
I started stretching because it was an alternative to the mainstream “pretty” jewelry, and I still felt as though I was being myself.
Once I began to stretch, I will admit, the feeling is amazing. I’m not a sadist. The pain is almost euphoric, and the adrenaline rush you get from doing it is better than any high.
I planned on stretching to a 6 gauge, but now sit at 00, and even though I would love to go larger (not by much) I don’t want to risk having them never go back to their original size.
Hope that helps.

gailcalled's avatar

My grandmother was no beauty and had a mean and unfaithful husband. He would buy her jewelry however. My earliest memories are of her wearing really heavy gold earrings in stretched lobes, which I found upsetting as a four-year old. Some memories never fade.

However, to each his own, as dd says.

deaddolly's avatar

@lacerbabe99 great answer! Why do they stink so much??? lol I can always tell when my daughter’s playing with her lobes in the car cause of the stench! And she cleans them on a regular basis!

arcoarena's avatar

I don’t know how to explain it but I really find gauges sexy in both men and women. (im not gay but I do think that they look good in men) I used to have 00 gauge plugs in my ear and i took them out to start a more professional career after college but whenever I see my friends with their plugs I still get really jealous.

There is just some sort of fun, expressive appeal, especially if they are up to 0 or 00 gauge because you can get different sorts of plugs that you can match to your clothes or change every once in a while. I kind of agree that anything larger than 00 starts to get too excessive. I have friends with up to like 7/8 inch gauges and they are just too big! lol. but I think piercings are just fun and while I’ve taken out my tongue, lip, and gauges I still think about them every once in a while and think about putting them back in if I get a more lenient job.

and hell yeah they smell like ass. you have to make sure you clean them more often the bigger you gauge them.

acebamboo77's avatar

@deaddolly – The stench is from your bodily fluids and basic build up of dead skin on the earring. Cleaningly them regularly does help, and I also find that taking the earrings out for an hour a day, and allowing the holes to breathe helps as well. My only other suggestion is to go with organic earrings, made from bone, or wood. They can absorb the moisture around the earring and reduce the smell.

deaddolly's avatar

@arocarena I hope a day comes where you can work where ever you want to and look however you want too.
I was fired once for having blue hair. It didn’t change how I worked or my work quality…but I was told I was a distraction to others. WTF?
So, it’s ok for ppl to wear super short mini shirts…that’s not a distraction? I hope someday ppl just learn to accept ppl for who they are and not how they look.

deaddolly's avatar

@lacerbabe. Thanks! I will pass that info onto my daughter.

Somehow I don’t think this thread is going the way some ppl may’ve thought.
I love it!

acebamboo77's avatar

i didn’t mean to get off topic, i just thought offering up the answer to your question was acceptable, since it is along the same topic.
besides, the stench can take away from the attraction!

deaddolly's avatar

you didn’t…it’s interesting to ppl, i’m sure.

AstroChuck's avatar

I saw a sign at Claires while walking through the mall that said “Ears Pierced While You Wait”. The alternative just staggers the imagination.

PupnTaco's avatar

Stinking, stretched-out earlobes “just because”: this truly is a first-world problem.

deaddolly's avatar

@astrochuck lol Which reminds me, parents! Take your kid to a piercer to get their ears pierced…much more hygenic and heals faster.

@pupntaco yep, certain parts of the body stink. Ever notice the stench from your wrist when you take off your watch? Take a sniff!

@lacerbabe99 I meant I think ppl thought more ppl would find it disgusting. lol

PupnTaco's avatar

I just smelled my wrist, it’s fresh as a daisy.

deaddolly's avatar

try after a long day at work, right after you take off your watch.

then, later in the day, poke your finger in your belly button and sniff.

tinyfaery's avatar

My ears are at a 4 gauge, which is relatively small. Like lacerbabe, I wanted to have ear decoration, but I’m not into girlie earrings. I wear nice plugs, and they pretty much look like studs. I’m not into the huge gauges, or when you can see through the ear. But whatever; it’s still less freaky than plastic surgery.

girlofscience's avatar

Thank you all for your answers. Those of you who provided actual information as to why this may be attractive were most helpful. I found the Buddha relation and the alternative to “girly” earrings arguments most compelling.

arcoarena's avatar

I completely agree that people should be able to look however they want and express themselves how they want. I do understand to an extent that in certain positions it may not be appropriate to an extreme but in the majority of the cases it really seems kinda pointless. It is a constant reminder of how judgmental other people are.

But actually, the more that I think about it I think that is why I liked having the gauges so much because I don’t really think that just regular piercings look kinda lame of guys. It does seem girly. I think that when they are gauged it adds a sort of more extreme, possibly less girly, aspect to the concept.

lol this also reminds me of mad magazine I read probably like 10 years ago where they talked about trends of the future and it had “skin stretching” and other odd things like that that sound ridiculous now but who knows.

deaddolly's avatar

@arcoarena Don’t know about regular piercings being girly, I never thought so. All in the eye of the beholder.

They do skin stretching in many other countries as a form of adornment and
as a sign of importance/status.

delirium's avatar

I didn’t find them attractive until I got them.

And they don’t smell if you keep clean. My glass plugs have never even vaguely smelled. Porous materials are more likely to smell.

Darwin's avatar

Interestingly enough, my husband, who is of Asian descent, has the elongate earlobes of Buddha naturally. It is just his genetics, so I always assumed that Buddha had similar genes.

Any decoration you make of your body is self-expression. In some cultures certain forms of decoration are required for a person to “fit in,” such as facial make up on women in the US and Europe, or red clay and cow dung coated hiar in certain parts of Africa. Varying from your society’s norms is a way to make yourself feel unique.

With that said, I find I prefer humans without a lot of alteration to their natural appearance. I find the variety fascinating as it is. I really don’t find ear plugs or various piercings to be attractive. Thus if someone can explain the attraction in terms I understand I may become wiser.

But I still won’t let my kids do it while they are under 18.

deaddolly's avatar

It’s just another form of body adornment. A sign of the times; something different.
My daughter got her ears pierced when she was 5. Her other facial piercings when she was 16. Her first tattoo at age 17.
It all depends on the kid and why they want to get it. She wanted to be different and that was her way to express it (she went to private school and had to have ‘normal’ hair). I see no problem with it. She now has blue hair, btw.
I’m amazed at all the kids in her college of 12,000 that look different. It’s refreshing! it’s easy to look like everyone else; but a challendge to be yourself.

delirium's avatar

(Also, if you keep them below a size 00 and stretch really slowly, they go back to their regular size once you take them out.)

And Ironically… I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 17.

GUAGELESS's avatar

In reality guagers are only differentiating themselves from the majority of people in making themselves part of a minority group who stretch they’re lobes. I think long term guaging appeals to people who don’t feel like they’re in control. Honestly, the guys that I know who do the larger guaging are attention mongering and they use it as a converstation piece. Either they’re arguing with people about why they shouldn’t be judged as a freak because of it or they’re explaining to people why it isn’t as painful as it looks or, they’re constantly versing other interested parties on how to go about getting the same results. I think it gives bashful guys something to talk about and, gives guys who are not particually secure about their appearance something to distract from features that they are not comfortable with? We have no control over what physical characteristic we are born with or, over what society in general finds appealing. But, we are in control of how we repel or, attract others.

cooksalot's avatar

Oh did I also say OUCH!!! Come on! I fainted when I got my ears pierced.

Darwin's avatar

@delirium – I didn’t faint when I got my ears pierced, but then I was 54 at the time. It was a reward for my daughter – mother-daughter ear piercing.

She didn’t faint either, but she was only 14.

delirium's avatar

My ears lobes really didn’t hurt much. My cartilage one, though…. that hurt. Quite a bit.

cooksalot's avatar

It was the sound that got me.

Darwin's avatar

It is an unforgettable sound.

delirium's avatar

I got needle pierced, not gun pierced. Guns freak the heck out of me. They are rubbed with antiseptic, but they cannot be autoclaved. Nothing that went in other people is going in me without going through an autoclave first. Maybe twice.

The gun also does a great deal of damage to the tissue because it takes something solid and crams it through another thing. In the case of a needle piercing, the needle is actually hollow and super duper sharp, so it takes a bit of the skin with it. (I know it sounds gross, but its SO much better.)

arcoarena's avatar

oh jesus yes. when i got my rook pierced i could hear it pop. definitely a cringeworthy sound. lol

jcgeist's avatar

My girlfriend and i have our ears gauged out pretty big hers are 5/8 and mine are up to an inch. At this point i couldnt even imagine waking up in the morning and not seeing my ears all big. I couldnt imagine her without hers either. They are what make us who we are. I dont do it to make myself feel different or special. I like the way that i look with them and i do it for that reason. I grew up liking body modifications and am now a piercer. Alot of people come in to get there ears gauged that are not your average pierced out “Freaks.” They are the people that you wouldnt expect to have gauges. its becoming more and more socially acceptable. I think that you can grow to like gauges but that dosent mean that you will ever be truly ok with them. The way that a person was raised and which enviornment plays a huge role in the like or dislike of gauges. I have always liked them and truthfully dont care what other people think of me

girlofscience's avatar

@jcgeist: You said:

They are what make us who we are.

I hope this was an accidental overstatement or something.

jcgeist's avatar

I didnt mean just or gauges i ment all of our piercings and the culture that we like and submerse our selves in. We are what we make our selves out to be

girlofscience's avatar

@jcgeist: I would still hope that there is more that makes you who you are than your piercing culture.

jcgeist's avatar

Thats very true. If someone was to ask me to tell them about myself i would first tell them about my past and then how my piercings and tattoos saved me. They are some what of a vise that make me feel more of myself

girlofscience's avatar

@jcgeist: I don’t really think piercings are a vice. In fact, I like a fair number of piercings.

Is your name Jeff?

jcgeist's avatar

No. I think that they are. They are different for every person. For you they are an act of beautification and for me i feel more like my self. I think that i am a good looking guy with and with out them. I feel weird not having them. Everyone can have different vices. A vice for you wont be anything for me.

girlofscience's avatar

@jcgeist: ??????

From Wikipedia:

Vice is a practice or habit considered immoral, depraved, and/or degrading in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refer to a fault, a defect, an infirmity or merely a bad habit. Synonyms for vice include fault, depravity, sin, iniquity, wickedness and corruption. The modern English term that best captures its original meaning is the word vicious, which means “full of vice”. In this sense, the word vice comes from the Latin word vitium, meaning “failing or defect”. Vice is the opposite of virtue.

Vice is also a generic legal term for criminal offenses involving prostitution, lewdness, lasciviousness and obscenity. Illegal forms of gambling are also often included as a vice in law enforcement departments that deal with gambling as a crime.

I don’t see how piercing could be vice in any way, at all.

jcgeist's avatar

i know i just researched vice to and i agree with you that vice was not the best choice of words

It was a really bad use of words
I guess what i ment to say was that piercings are what keep me going. They are socially taboo and they might not be the best thing for me but i can hold on to them and no one can take that part of me away

girlofscience's avatar

@jcgeist: I don’t think (all) piercings are socially taboo.

In any event, I understand piercings. I think a fair number of piercings are attractive. I, myself, have a number of (non-facial) piercings.

As a person who likes/understands piercings, I was asking specifically about the attractiveness of earlobe stretching because, that, I do not (did not) understand. Some of the above answers were useful.

ethereal's avatar

Hi There-

Not everyone stretches purely for aesthetic purposes. I find stretched earlobes incredibly beautiful (yes, even when they sag from age!), but I stretched my own earlobes for spiritual reasons. To honor my ancestors, and to open and clarify my spiritual ‘hearing’.

Thank you for allowing me to share….

whisper666again's avatar

Um actually people stretch there ears because they find them attractive or they want to see how much pain they can indure. Also they do body mods as a part of culture and religion…I have my ears stretched to a 16mm (5/8)

elijah's avatar

I like 0 or 00 on a guy. I think its super sexy. I dont like the little ones, because my theory is whats the point? Go big or go home lol. I dont find them attractive on girls, but Im not opposed to girls having them if it makes them happy.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I always figured it was so that when your arms got tired, you could stick them through the big lobe hole and have a place to hang them. That does however create an odd mental image.

Astrochuck had the best comment here. Do you think he meant, Ears Pierced While You Walk By?

vegelizabeth's avatar

I have size 4 gauged ears (6 mm) & i almost would find it to be a hobby now.

jo_with_no_space's avatar

I think the point of doing it isn’t for it to be attractive to others..

kayysamm's avatar

I have my ears gauged. I’m not sure why I like it but for some reason I like the look. It’s something different and makes you stand out compared to the normal piercings.

As for the pain of it all, as weird as it may sound its like a addicting pain. Once you pop the next size in it stings for about a minute and then your like “oh okay, sweet” and then it is sore for about 24-hours. Its more for people who like the pain and can endure it.

mitten13's avatar

First,its not ‘i gauged my ears’. Gauge is a term of measurement,thats like saying i millimetered my ears. Anywho, I’m currently taping to 5/8th’s so they’re getting fairlly large. I personally like stretched earbloes on anyone, i think they look beautiful. My original attraction to stretched ears was seeing native peoples with them. I have a fascination with native or tribe people,my lobes aren’t the only thing i’m stretching. I’m also stretching my septum and tongue. I guess for some its a pain factor but if you’re actually stretching properlly they shouldn’t hurt at all, the best method to stretch with is using the taping method,which stretches slowly. Otherwise your going to develope scar tissue and your naked lobes will look like a cats anus.If you’re interested in learning more about stretching has a great encyclopedia section all about body modification.enjoy.

gailcalled's avatar

And I love “earbloes.” A wonderful addition to my list, which is almost as painful to read (for me, at least) as stretching earlobes.

mitten13's avatar

I guess its a good thing this isn’t a question about proper spelling,huh?

jcrosslin8's avatar

my ears are stretched to 1 1/8” (about 32mm) and i have to say, for me, i honestly love the way MY stretched ears look on ME…. and i don’t really care about what other people think, or stretch for any spiritual reasons. i live my life for me, and if i’m honest, i really love my tunnels. i think they look pretty bitchin. and as a musician looking a bit left of center isn’t really a bad thing.

as for the smell…. you just take your jewelry out when you shower and give the piercing and the jewelry its self a nice “how’s your father?” before you put them back in.


and to answer the question i think stretched piercings are sexy as hell ON THE RIGHT PERSON. i have a big frame, big head, and big ears so my body accepts such a large gauge. if you are 95 lbs. 1 1/8” plugs will look HUGE! but on me, they really add to my raw sexual magnetism. hope this helps

jeffrey- cheers!

J3SSK4's avatar

It looks bad ass and makes the guy look hotttt.
Cos everygirl loves a bad ass!

gailcalled's avatar

Not every girl. This one likes a good speller, for example.

Response moderated
tinyfaery's avatar

Totally unnecessary.

delirium's avatar

That was a… productive reaction.

gailcalled's avatar

@XR3507X: Too bad Charm School is completely filled and has a long waiting list.

FictionWeLive's avatar

Everyone is attracted to a certain type of guy or girl more than another. Even people that say they do not have a type, still find certain aspects or assets of people that will always be attractive to them. For some people, like myself, it is tattoos, body piercings, & body modification. For me, it is the ties to hardcore/screamo/punk/alternative music that is 9 times out of 10 associated with these types of looks. Music is one of the most important things in my life & going to shows or playing/writing music is what I do in my free time. So, I think the attraction stems from the fact that I know when I see a guy like that, he is more than likely into the same type of music, which is huge for me. It’s honestly a deal breaker if you have a horrible taste of music. Some people may not understand that but when the music you love encompasses everything you do, down to your exterior (tattoos, piercings, body mod, even clothes) it’s extremely attractive to those who feel the same way. More simply though, there are people that are attracted to them simply because of the ‘bad boy, bad girl’ stereotype that goes along with it though.

nostopping's avatar

i am currently at 1 inch or 25mm, its a wonderfull experience. to be able to express yourself is a given right !!! it is attractive for some, like me. for others… dont have to look, but you know you will !

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I don’t find ear plugs at all attractive. An ex of mine had them and though small gauge, they didn’t do a thing for me. Same thing with tattoos, he had what seemed like an excessive amount of them but I didn’t find them attractive, thankfully the man had other attractive qualities.

alyssamkrause's avatar

I have ½ inch plugs, and I love them. I love how they feel, how they look, and the beautiful jewelry that they allow me to wear. (For instance, natural stone, wood, ornate metal ones, etc.) I have hand carved turquoise ones in now, and I get so many compliments from all sorts of people.
Really, people from many cultures around the world have been doing this for a long time, and continue to do so. They do it for religious, cultural, ceremonial, and aesthetic reasons. So why does this issue come to be so questioned in a western society?
I think for those who find it attractive, then do it. Your outside is just an expression of whats inside. We paint, draw, dance, sing, make music, why shouldn’t we also take creative liberties with our bodies?
Body mods are beautiful…

ar19dir's avatar

Thanks for info. I’m concerned that my 17 year old cousin has started to stretch his ear lobes. I’m glad to know that his ears will go back to normal if he doesn’t stretch them too much. My feeling is that with the job market so tough these days, you don’t want to give people a reason to not hire you. I feel the same way about neck tattoos. If you are an employed adult, by all means, knock yourself out. Do people ever get their stretched lobe caught on something and rip their ear? That’s something that would happen to me. When I was a kid I got a double ear piercing, I think that went through the cartilage, very painful! I don’t know how people deal with it.

RandomDudeA7X's avatar

I like both. I personally find it as a way to stand out, to be different. It’s also appealing due the endless designs of plugs that you can buy. I see nothing wrong with it at all. Even many businesses are opening up to the idea of these larger piercings. Really it’s just one of those things that are different for everyone.

crazymofostretched's avatar

the great thing is it doesn’t have to appeal to you and you don’t have to understand why it appeals to others. thats why they are our own opinions. you have the right to yours and other people have the right to theirs. the fact is, is that people most of the time do it to please themselves. it’s not always becuz other people like it! i know amazing right?

nikkiknc's avatar

Since the origin of our species, we human beings have been busy modifying our bodies. Stretching, piecing, tattoos, branding, scarification, implants, binding, body building and hair cuts have been around for about as long we have. Ear stretching has become more popular in Western culture recently for a variety of reasons. For some it is fashion while others are drawn to the primitive energy of ear stretching. Some feel a deep spiritual connection with the patience involved to create stretched ears while other people simply find it fun. The reasons are as different as the cultures on the planet but one thing is for sure; stretched ears have always been and always will be a part of human history. The size of the jewelry can correspond to things like value, wisdom, bravery, etc.
As for myself, I like the process of stretching. It is a different feeling than piercing- less like a shock of damage, and more like a natural acceptance of your body. I do like the way big stretched ears look- it is impossible to overlook that, though, as a modification is in part something to look at, a statement that one does, at least in part, because they find it visually attractive, as well as any number of other reasons.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

When I was living in Africa, there was a tribe who did ear lobe stretching. Some of them had a disk in there as big as a dinner plate. At the time, I never thought in a million years that American kids would ever do this – on purpose!

Dyronl's avatar

A) would like to joint out the startling number of people with jellyfish pictures on this thread.
B) I think there are several reasons people find it attractive.
1. The “Underground/Rebel” part of our culture; skaters, tattoo-artists, rock-stars and other musicians, taggers…etc.. are embracing the trend and amalgamating it as a part of their individual sub-cultures, so the people who are attracted to those parts of society are coming to view stretched ears as attractive.
2. Stretched ears, and the plugs, tunnels, tapers, and ear-weights, that come with them can come across as much more artful and expressive than atypical ear piercing. Many of the jewelry items available for those with stretched ears are much more ornate than a regular old stud, or hoop available in standard gauge.
3. On a level, Bod-Mods in general can exude a certain aura of control over oneself, and stretched ears are a very visible Mod.

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