Why the modern man or woman stretches their ears

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.


  • Blair

    I had my ears pierced as a baby. I realize now, that the first person to show me my consent didn’t matter is my mother for piercing my ears. I got into piercing, through an apprenticeship and as a professional, and realized the insecurity I had about my “fat” earlobes was purely because of poor placement at too young an age to be properly pierced. This was an influence on my stretching but not the whole thesis. In ancestral knowledge, the hole (or stretched hole) was where light enters…or “god” enters (whatever god may mean to you) it was a sign of knowledge and respect, and in divine light. The ignorance is difficult but hold honor to what it has meant to patiently and honorably stretch your skin. When we rush we rush to light, and it burns. Stretching any piercing is a ritual of expanded knowledge and the world would be mindful to understand that it means so much more than we’ve been shunned and misunderstood for. 🙏🏽🖤✨

  • Stephanie

    I stretched mine 21 years ago as a teen. It was cool then. Now I’m almost 40 with 3 teenagers. Whatever. I did it originally to be “cool” in my teen years. As an adult, I just say “he didn’t go to Jared” and laugh. Ultimately I can find plugs with art on them, Bug’s in them, diamonds in them (man the have came a long way since the early 90’s). I not just wear my plugs as fashion accessories along with my legally blind glasses. I’m about 7/8” and my teens don’t mind. I’m a software developer so it works for me I guess. I can’t take it back without plastic surgery at the point. The biggest bother is the smell, depending on materials worn and cleanliness.

  • Courtney Hewitt

    I know this is redundant from another comment, but my stretching story is very similar! I was around 15 at the time when I started. I got my lobes pierced when I was very young. Couldn’t for the life of me wear earrings though that weren’t 18k gold. Metal allergies suck….. I wanted to be able to wear different type of jewelry in my ears. I did some reading and found silicone, stone, acrylic, and wood were good options! So I started stretching from that moment on! I kept them pretty small for about 6 years about to a 4g, but I wanted to wear more available styles now here I sit another 5 years later at a 1/2 inch!

  • Someguy

    Why do you stretch your ears? That’s what I want to know.

  • Kira

    I personally stretched my ears because of someone pulling on one(it was a standard 18g), it had slightly tore my ear so I had to go up to a 14g, afterwards I really liked how bigger ones looked so I kept going. I stopped stretching my ears about a year ago(6g) to give them a break, planning to go up to a 4g in these upcoming months.

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