Think back to the 1990s, and start putting together an image of one of the more visible and sexualized body modifications that was all over the place. You’ll probably come up with the belly-button piercing, which technically should be referred to as a navel piercing. We were bombarded with image after image of tightly toned abs from the biggest pop stars on the planet, all rocking some sort of navel “bling”. It was sexy, sexual, and alluring, yet as the decade went along and we transitioned into the 21st century, the navel piercing didn’t seem as prominent.

What could have happened? Considering the sensuality this type of body art conveyed, one would assume that no one would want to let it go. Still, you just didn’t see it as often. Fashion changes were part of it, with crop tops no longer being as chic. Hip-hugging jeans were once considered mandatory for all women, but as time passed, rocking denim on one’s natural waist become the ‘in’ thing.

But if you go right to the source and talk to professional piercers, they’ll tell you that the navel piercing has not really lost its popularity; you just don’t see it as often as you used to. In fact, many of these artists would argue that the popularity of navel piercings is about the same, if not higher, than it was over two decades ago. here are a few reason this might be:

90s Aesthetic Is Big Right Now — If you’re in your 30s and early 40s, you’re probably wondering why the clothing and overall look you rocked in high school and college is back again. Maybe it’s because our kids are wearing their parents’ clothing because it’s ‘retro’. The navel piercing is a part of this aesthetic, and let’s be honest, you’d rather have the piercing over wide-legged jeans any day, right?

Redefined Ideas on Sexual Imagery — In recent years, there has been a bigger push to define sexy as more than just flat abs, perfect facial symmetry, and a killer backside. Moreover, body art and modification has found its way into the forefront of this change, with more people accepting ink and jewelry as being cool rather than scandalous.

Body Positivity — The once-maligned individuals who tried to hide in the shadows because they were too heavy, too dark, or not sexy enough are finding that they just as sexy as anyone else. They are proud to show off their bodies, warts and all. Part of the movement is also rocking body art to accentuate one’s body.

A navel piercing can be many things: cute, sexy, sexual, and even empowering. It can also transcend gender, with many piercers noting ancient examples of males wearing this type of body modification. Even if their heyday was twenty years ago, navel piercings maintain a prominent place in today’s world of body art & modification. Regardless of the reason these piercings have remained popular, it’s safe to say that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon