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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.


  • I got my ears pierced when I was 18 and immediately started stretching them. Like most people say I planned on stopping around a 0. I’m 34 now and I’ve been at 3/4 of an inch since I was about 23. It’s just something different, at least to me it is. It’s a way I was able to subtly express myself and do something no one else had a say in. I’ve considered going bigger but I’ve been at 3/4 for so long I’ll probably just stay at this size

    - Corey
  • I started when I was 17. Just something small so no one would know but me. Then as I got older, I kept stretching. Now at 32 I’m at 16mm. I think they look great, my kids think it’s fun to put things through my earrings. I’ll keep going until my ears won’t stretch anymore

    - Corinne O
  • I started stretching in 2020. I needed a change. It was something new and exciting to try. I love how I feel when I get a new tattoo or piercing. I’m staying at 12mm indefinitely. Funny how I used to dislike the look on others and now I LOVE it on myself…

    - Holly Berry
  • I’ll be 39 next month. Just got lobes pierced this past weekend with the plan of stretching. Likely no bigger than 2g-0g. Struggled my whole life with putting too much weight on what other people think and the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve realized I dont value those peoples opinion of me. I dont need their validation or approval. Not doing it to fit in OR be different, just something I’ve always been intrigued with and finally decided to do what makes me happy. I want to support my kids to be their own people and do what makes them feel like they are whole. Use judgment and weigh options as presented but also understand life is short and you shouldn’t put things off you want to do because of what others might think. Just my 2 cents

    - Ken
  • I always thought that stretching were gross when I was younger, but around like 14-15 I started admiring things like split tongues and piercings. I eventually got my ears pierced when I turned 16. My parents never liked the idea of gauges and told me against it. Recently I started stretching my ears mr and girlfriend found and taper kit we liked.

    - Eithan M

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