Evidence suggests that body piercing (including ear piercing) has been practiced all over the world since ancient times. Mummified bodies with piercings have been discovered, nose piercing and ear piercing are mentioned in the bible and tongue piercing was popular with the elite of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. The most common reasons for piercings throughout these times were for religious or cultural significance. Although it is speculated that piercing for ornamental or sexual reasoning was being practiced as early as 14th century Europe, these are the most common reasons for piercings in today's modern world, primarily dating back to the late 19th century Europe.
In North America, piercing really began to gain popularity in the 1960s by woman and was quickly adopted soon there after by men within the hippie and free love movements, and later the punk subculture. Today, body piercing has become part of mainstream culture as attitudes and values within society have changed. While it hasn't been completely accepted, piercing (much like the tattoo culture) has become more tolerable.