The line between pleasure and pain can sometimes blur, so that the two mingle and mix. Pain can become pleasure in the right circumstance, and exactly what that right circumstance is varies from person to person. This is part of what drives the enjoyment of spanking or flogging for many people, and it plays the major role in hot wax or needle play.

One product that uses this principal to good effect is the nipple clamp. It’s not hard to figure out what to do with a nipple clamp—basically, you open it, insert a nipple, and then let the clamp close on it. If the tension in the clamp is light, it may simply cling to the nipple, but as the tension increases, it squeezes more tightly. Generally the clamps are sold in sets of two—one for each breast. A properly-adjusted set of nipple clamps ought to hurt a little—that way they remind you that they’re there. And somehow the wearer’s body often translates the small pain in the nipples into a large increase in excitement and pleasure.

If trying nipple clamps for the first time, my suggestion would be to wait until the wearer is fully aroused and highly excited before applying them. This will help ensure that the pain feels more like “Oh! Mmmmm…” instead of “Ouch!”. Let each clamp close gently around the nipple, so that the sensation is of a gradual increase in pain rather than a sudden pinch. Many types of clamps have tension adjustments, so you can start out with light tension and then increase it little by little as the wearer’s body gets used to it.

Getting used to it definitely happens, by the way, even during a single scenario. What felt tight and slightly painful a minute ago may be virtually unnoticeable now. In fact, if nothing is done, it’s quite easy for the wearer to forget they have the clamps on after a little bit, which kind of defeats the purpose. One way to ensure they aren’t forgotten is to tighten the clamps up occasionally during the scenario. Another option is to attach some kind of small weight to the clamps (many are made to allow for this). The theory of the weight is that it will move and tug lightly at the clamps, which tends to restore the original pinching sensation.

You probably don’t want to leave nipple clamps on for too long—they can cut off blood flow if they’re too tight, and might even cause bruising. As a general rule, fifteen minutes ought to be about the limit.

Here’s an overview of the various types of nipple clamps available on the market. Joy and I have experimented with many of these, and I’ll try to share our experiences with them in the descriptions…

  • Basic Clothespin: Actually, if you have an old-style clothespin (the wooden or plastic kind with a spring to hold it closed), you can use that. However, there are many BDSM-specific types available if you prefer to go with a more modern feel. These work pretty well, actually—my only complaint would be that usually there’s no ability to adjust the tension, so you take what you get. I generally prefer the kind that have a chain that connects two clothespins to make a set—that way you can attach a weight to the chain, as described above. Plus, you don’t lose one and get stuck with an orphan!
  • Alligator Clamp Variants: Because they have teeth, I don’t recommend using real alligator clamps. However, there are many varieties available for BDSM use that cover the jaws of the clamp with rubber or other substances to ensure they don’t break the skin. Some types also come with screws to enable the tension to be adjusted, and many come in a pair with a chain connecting them. Again, the chain comes in handy for weights, though some types have a ring on each individual clamp to enable a weight to be hung.

    My experience with this type of clamp has been generally poor—the adjustment screws can be hard to turn, especially when you’re a little excited, and I’ve had repeated problems with the rubber jaw covers coming off and getting lost. I haven’t tried them all by any means, but I tend to stay away from these types at this point.

  • Japanese Clover Style: Neither Joy nor I have tried these, but in principle they look good. As usual, they come in sets of two with the two clamps connected by a chain for weight attachment. These squeeze the nipple between two metal pincers attached to a clover-shaped ring of metal (hence the name). Adjustment in tension is possible by pulling on the chain that connects the two clamps, as the pulling leverages the clover-shaped apparatus to tighten the clamps (and by the way, this makes attaching a weight an even more effective strategy). A pair of these is probably somewhere on our wish list.
  • Tweezer Style: Made of stiff wire with a rubber-coated end, the pincer closes around the nipple nicely. Generally there is a way to adjust the tension on these as well, often simply with a slide that increases the pressure the further up the pincer you slide it. A set of two often comes connected by a chain to allow for weights. This type is Joy’s favorite—it’s adjustability lets her start out slow and increase the intensity as the scenario progresses. In addition, the rubber coating is permanently attached, and therefore won’t come off.
  • Vice-Type: These clamps are essentially miniature vices that tighten around the nipple. The tightening action is usually governed by a screw, and so they are highly adjustable in tension. A set of two often comes attached together with a chain. These clamps are simple and effective–Joy and I generally tend to approve.
  • Vibrating Nipple Clamps: We haven’t tried these either, but the principal is good. Combining vibration with the pinching sensation ought to up the ante, and should make sure the clamps aren’t forgotten about even after wearing them for awhile. My big question about these, and the reason I haven’t bought Joy a pair to try yet, is whether or not they are made well. They seem to be a new product on the market, and I’m not sure all the kinks have been worked out yet. We’ll probably give them a try one of these days, though, and I’ll be sure to share our findings.
  • Snakebite/Suction Cups: Note that I’m not talking about the powered suction devices you may have seen online for various interesting uses. Instead, I mean small, plastic or rubber suction cups that purportedly originated to “suck the poison out” of snake bites. These have now been modified (or at least re-packaged) to be applied to nipples.

    These don’t pinch so much as suck, and while you’d think that would be an interesting idea, Joy has not been a fan to date. Her feeling is that the sensation is more unpleasant than fun—perhaps they aren’t stimulating enough? I’ve also found that unless you get them on right, they can fall off mid-adventure, which can derail things for a moment. All in all, not our favorite, but your mileage definitely may vary.

I’m certain there are other types I’ve overlooked–there seems to be a lot of innovation in this particular area. However, I believe these are the major types, and should definitely be enough to get you started. If you or your partner have sensitive nipples, then it might be fun to give a set of these a try!

Enjoy Yourself!

Jake

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