Why the modern man or woman stretches their ears

I have always been intrigued by the social behaviors of humans.  I love people watching.  Sometimes it gets me wondering why people choose to express themselves in certain ways.  The question today is, "Why do people stretch their ears?"  The following is meant to refer to  society as a whole.  (I know there are many varied reasons why an individual may want to stretch their ears.)

History has shown us that ear stretching was initially used to show that an individual belonged to a group or a tribe.  It was accepted by the group and they were marked as being "one of us".  When someone did not have stretched ears they were considered to be an outsider or someone who did not belong to the tribe.

Why do people stretch their ears

The Modern Day Ear Stretcher

Fast forward to the modern day practice of ear stretching and you will see quite the opposite.  People seem to be trying to break out of the mold and express their individuality.  Maybe they want to steer away from their current "Tribe" and join a new "Tribe" that better understands their beliefs and ideas.  It seems that the individual is expressing who they are or want to become.  The person who was once accepted as part of the tribe is now shown to be the "weird one" or "outcast."

20 - 30 years ago ear stretching seemed to be very different from what it is today.  Body modifications like stretched ears were rarely seen (except in traditional tribes).  In the Western culture they were mostly seen in groups like punks or goths.   Nowadays it continues to be on the rise.  Ear stretching is growing in popularity with both men and women and it does not seem to be confined to any one type of group.  It is truly an artistic accessory to add to the look or style of each individual.

The point of no return

There is a point in stretching your ears that is known as the "point of no return."  In a lot of cases, when the ear is stretched above 10mm (00 gauge), it is not able to properly heal and will never go back to what it was before.  Below this "point of no return" seems to be what is more accepted these days.  This was not the case in the 80's or 90's.

It seems that the higher the ear is stretched past the 10mm mark (00 gauge), the more one might receive judgmental looks or opinionated remarks.  Comments like "That is disgusting.", "Can I stick my finger through your hole?",  or "Didn't that hurt?"  If you have stretched ears, these comments and questions are all too familiar.  It's just the way our society is.  Perhaps in another 10-20 years it will be a nonissue.

The New Tribe

No matter for what reasons people decide to stretch their ears, one thing is for sure.  The art's popularity is growing.  The New Modern Era Ear Stretching "Tribe" is growing.  The tribe is expanding around the world and immensely diverse individuals are finding common ground through the art of ear stretching.

What's Your Story?

I am taking a survey to hear your story.  Please comment below and tell me your story of why you stretch your ears.


  • Elena Lee-Arwen

    I know everyone has to choose his or her way of life, fashion…but this is just gross in my opinion.

  • Michael Bennett

    To mutilate your ears is a sickness. Piercing is totally different and looks great. Indigenous people ear stretch because of tribal identity. It looks awful and makes me feel ill. Sorry to offend, but it’s absurd beyond belief! It’s one on many issues in our sick society

  • Jamie

    I started stretching my lobes 18 years ago. Things were a little different back then. By age 17 I had 30mm lobes and they are now at 34mm. They may get bigger one day.
    I’ve also been collecting tattoos for the same length of time and I think it was tattoo art that introduced me to stretched lobes. I also remember at around 8 years old being taught about the practice in ancient India and finding it fascinating. I’d feel strange not having them at this point. I feel that there may be a negative view on stretched lobes within employment, but I have never been unemployed and work for a university and have had many front of house jobs. I also run my own small business and have had a management job for a reasonably large company. Employment opportunities are certainly something that may be effected, you just have to out shine the competition. My message to people considering this body modification is people generally do judge people by their appearance, and ear plugs don’t go unnoticed.

  • Victoria

    I have stretched my ears since I was 13 and am now 19 with a size 20mm. My reason for this is because I love the fact that it make me more of an individual and I can collect different style of stretches ,it also makes me feel pretty and awesome!

  • Adriana

    I stretched my ears to a 00 because i love earrings but i couldn’t wear the regular earrings because they are super uncomfortable. They would stab me while sleeping, If o took them out i wpuld forget to put them on in the morning and just having them on would cause a headache or neck pain. I stopped wearing earrings all together. I then decided to stretch. I wear super light plugs and i can’t even feel that they’re in! They cause me no pain. I can even wear them while sleeping and they look so cute. I’m turning 30 this year and i have no regrets. I plan on wearing them for the rest of my life.

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