Ear Piercings for Guys Left or Right: A Complete Guide By Brand Name

Ear piercings have become an increasingly popular form of self-expression and body art for men in recent years. While women have been piercing their ears for decades, many guys are now opting to get pierced as well. When it comes to ear piercings for guys, one of the biggest dilemmas is deciding between the left or the right ear. Traditionally, the choice of left versus right ear piercing has carried certain cultural meanings and stereotypes. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the history, meaning, and considerations for getting your left or right ear pierced as a guy.

The History of Ear Piercings for Guys

Body piercings have been a form of self-expression for thousands of years across many different cultures. For men, ear piercings date back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Romans, Aztecs, and Mayans. Sailors began the Western trend of ear piercings for men as souvenirs from their world travels in the 16th century.

In the 1960s and 1970s, ear piercings became popular in Western counter-culture and punk movements. Musicians like The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix sported single stud earrings that started new fashion trends. Gay communities in the U.S. and U.K. also adopted the single ear piercing, typically on the right ear, to subtly signal identity.

Ear piercings for men crossed over into mainstream pop culture in the 1980s and 1990s through athletes and celebrities. Today, ear piercings remain a stylish form of self-expression and fashion accessory for guys across many subcultures and lifestyles.

The Meaning of Left or Right Ear Piercings for Guys

The Meaning of Left or Right Ear Piercings for Guys

Traditionally, getting your left or right ear pierced has carried certain cultural symbolism, stereotypes, and stigmas. Here are some of the historical meanings attached to left versus right ear piercings for men:

The Left Ear is for Straight Guys and the Right Ear is for Gay Guys

This is perhaps the most recognized historical meaning of ear piercings for guys. In Western culture, there was a longstanding stereotype that getting your right ear pierced meant you were gay. The single right ear piercing became a discreet signal within LGBTQ communities. Meanwhile, straight guys opted for the left ear instead.

The Left Ear is for Logic and the Right Ear is for Creativity

Some cultures associate the left side of the body with logic and reason and the right side with creativity and emotion. According to this symbolism, guys who want to accentuate their logical side should opt for left ear piercings, while right ear piercings amplify creative thinking.

The Left Ear is for Luck and the Right Ear is for Protection

In some traditions, piercings on the left side represented luck, prosperity, and an outgoing spirit. The right side signified protection, grounding energy, and introversion. Guys wanting to attract good luck in life chose the left ear, while those seeking protection or with introverted personalities selected the right.

The Left Ear Vs. The Right Ear: A Cultural Perspective

While those meanings originated in many cultures globally, the stereotypes and assumptions took on a life of their own in Western society. Let’s explore how the choice between left and right came to carry certain connotations in different parts of the world:

Western Stereotypes

As ear piercings for guys emerged in Western culture in the 1960s and 70s, so did stereotypes about sexual orientation and personality. The right ear piercing became associated with gay identity, while the left ear maintained a masculine, heterosexual stigma. These stereotypes persisted for decades and led to stigmatization and bullying of men wearing right earring.

Global Perspectives

Meanwhile, other regions did not carry the same associations. Many Latino and Mediterranean cultures pierce the right ear as a common tradition for both men and women. In parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, piercings on either ear are common regardless of gender or sexuality. The strong stigma regarding right ear piercings for Western men highlights the constructed nature of these stereotypes.

Traditional Gender and Sexual Norms

Traditional Gender and Sexual Norms

Beyond just left and right symbolism, the taboo against male ear piercings reflects larger societal expectations placed upon men:

Societal Expectations

Traditional Western gender norms dictate that jewelry and decoration are feminine. Men wearing earrings, especially during the 20th century, faced scrutiny for deviating from masculine expectations. The stigma reflected anxieties over expanding gender expression.

Evolution Over Time

However, norms evolve with each generation. As ideas about gender and sexuality expanded in society, ear piercings became more accepted and mainstreamed for men. With celebrities and athletes leading the way, piercings are now a fashion choice regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

What Does Science Say?

Scientific research provides little evidence that left versus right ear piercings correlate to personality or sexual orientation. However, some interesting studies have shed light on how our brains process ear piercings:

  • A 2012 study found that people perceive others with ear piercings as more rebellious and unconventional. Their brains automatically associate body art with counterculture.
  • Other studies reveal people view those with multiple ear piercings as more artistic, innovative, and eccentric. Our brains automatically associate more body art with greater creativity and openness.
  • Research shows brains instinctively categorize ear piercings as symbols of affiliation to certain social groups or subcultures. We intuitively try to infer deeper meaning from piercings.

Overall, science indicates our brains have been conditioned by culture to assign implicitly meanings to ear piercings. But in reality, left or right ear choices do not necessarily reflect anything innate about our core identity.

The Pros and Cons of Left or Right Ear Piercings for Guys

Beyond any symbolic meanings, there are some practical pros and cons to weigh when choosing left or right ear piercings:

The Left Ear is More Convenient and Comfortable

Since most people are right-handed, a left ear piercing may be more convenient. It won’t get bumped as easily when holding a phone to your right ear or wearing glasses on the right side. Since it’s on your non-dominant side, it may also be slightly less irritating while healing.

The Right Ear is More Noticeable and Expressive

When facing someone directly, a right ear piercing will stand out more in their field of vision. A right ear statement has slightly more visibility to show off your style. If expressing your unconventional side is the goal, a right ear piercing has that benefit.

The Left Ear is More Common and Conventional

Stick to a left ear piercing if wanting something classic and understated. Since historically more guys have gotten left ear piercings, it blends in more with social norms and expectations. A left earring reads as more discreet and mainstream.

The Right Ear is More Unique and Unconventional

Opt for the right ear if you want something bolder and more fashion-forward. Right ear piercings for guys offer a subtle counter-culture statement by defying outdated stigmas. Position yourself as more daring and expressive by embracing the right ear.

How to Choose the Best Ear for Your Piercing

How to Choose the Best Ear for Your Piercing

With all these factors to weigh, here are some practical tips on choosing the most flattering ear piercing placement:

Consider Your Face Shape

Study your face shape in the mirror. Those with oval or heart-shaped faces typically suit a piercing on the right ear better. Meanwhile, oblong and square faces achieve more balance with a left ear piercing.

Consider Your Hairstyle

Your current hairstyle or how you part your hair can impact visibility as well. If your hair naturally parts to the left, a right ear piercing will stand out more. Vice versa for a right parting.

Consider Your Other Piercings

If you already have multiple piercings on one ear, consider balancing it out with more on the opposite side. Asymmetrical piercing placements create distinct styles.

Consider Your Jewelry

Some earrings drape and dangle, while others are tight studs. Larger statement jewelry reads better on the right ear for most. More discreet studs blend well on the left side.


Which side of the ear is pierced on a boy’s body?

Traditionally, the left ear has been more commonly pierced on men.

Why do guys wear earrings in the left ear?

Historically, the left ear has been seen as the standard for guys wanting an ear piercing in Western culture. The left ear avoided the stigma against right ear piercings being associated with homosexuality. It was viewed as more masculine and heteronormative.

Should men wear single earrings on the left or right?

Men can stylishly wear single earrings on either ear in modern times. The old stereotypes against right ear piercings have relaxed over the decades. Choose left or right based on your personal style and comfort.

Should guys pierce their ears?

Ear piercings offer a great way for guys to express themselves through fashion. There are no longer any strict rules or taboos against men having ear piercings in today’s society. It’s an individual choice based on your preferences.

How much does it cost to get an ear piercing?

The average cost for a standard ear lobe piercing at a professional piercing shop or jewelry store ranges from $25-$50. More complex cartilage or upper ear piercings usually range from $40-$100. The cost varies between geographic regions.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, the most liberating viewpoint is that left versus right ear piercings do not have to dictate anything inherent about who you are. The old stereotypes and stigmas around ear piercings have relaxed substantially in modern times. Choose the ear that makes you feel most stylish and expressive. Or go for both ears if you want to project your own unique image. Let your inner spirit and personal fashion sense guide your decision, not outdated traditions. Whichever side you choose, ear piercings allow guys to showcase their personality in trendy new ways.


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