Sex

A Beginner’s Guide To Nipple Clamps

Some folks can even achieve nipplegasm.

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If you enjoy touching or squeezing your nipples during sex, consider going hands-free with a pair of nipple clamps. This sex toy applies to the base of the nipple to add pressure by pinching the tissue and restricting blood flow, Lisa Finn, sex educator for adult toy store Babeland​, tells Bustle. Why would anyone want to clamp their nips? For starters, nipples are one of the main erogenous zones to explore alone or in combination with other hot spots, like the neck, clitoris, or penis. Additionally, sex and relationships expert Shamyra Howard, LCSW, tells Bustle that the pinching that comes from nipple clamps can heighten sensation to this already sensitive spot.

Nipple clamps, and the pleasurable pain associated with them, are often seen within BDSM play, but they’re for everyone and anyone to enjoy, says Howard. Some folks can even achieve nipplegasm (read: nipple orgasm) through the increased stimulation and blood flow that nipple clamps offer. “Regardless of gender or sexuality, nipple play on all bodies that have them can have the potential to feel amazing,” Finn says.

Navigating Types Of Nipple Clamps

“Although some nipple clamps do look like actual clamps, they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and sensations and are certainly not one style suits all,” says Finn. Whereas some come in a simple set of two separate clamps, others feature weights, chains, feathers, and vibrators for added sensation, pressure, or aesthetics.

If you’re new to nipple clamps, start with easily adjustable tweezer clamps (that, yes, literally look like tweezers). Finn tells Bustle that their starting pressure is mild, and the tips are often coated with rubber or silicone for comfort. Clover-style clamps are another popular shape that apply more pressure. “Because the grip of the clamp starts a bit heavier, these are best suited to folks who have tried clamps or more intense nipple play already,” they add. For experienced clampers, alligator clamps (with or without teeth) can offer higher intensity. “Ultimately, choosing nipple clamps is based on one's own comfort level,” says Howard, who suggests increasing the pinch by (carefully) pulling on the clamp or chain if necessary.

Before buying, Finn recommends reading different product reviews and features to see which one may be right for you. Depending on your experience and comfort level, consider trying Good Vibes’ tweezer clips, Babeland’s vibrating clamps, or Lovehoney’s bondage chain nipple and clit clamp.

Ways To Enjoy Nipple Clamps

Both sexperts agree that nipple clamps are perfect for hands-free stimulation during solo and partnered sex. “Because [they] attach directly to the body (and nipples deserve attention past just foreplay!), you can multitask elsewhere while keeping those nips stimulated,” Finn says.

Wearing nipple clamps can also increase sensitivity or your chance of scoring an orgasm. When removed, she says the restricted blood flow rushes back into the nipples and releases oxytocin (one of the feel-good chemicals associated with orgasm). “For many, this makes any sensation — be it fingers, blowing air, a tongue, a feather, vibration, whatever — feel even more intense and pleasurable.”

Folks into BDSM play typically use nipple clamps to achieve intense sensations that feel (delightfully) painful. However, they remind readers that pain should be exciting and intense in a pleasurable way. If clamps hurt, loosen the grips or take them off entirely.

Aside from achieving pleasure, some people love the look of nipple clamps. “Adorned chains, feathers that match your lingerie, hard steel on the chest — visually, nipple clamps can give off a vibe anywhere from super cute to jaw-droppingly hot,” she says.

How To Safely Use Nipple Clamps

When it comes to nipple clamp safety, start with the lightest pressure and slowly work your way up. “Try them for a minute or two to start, and increase as you get more used to the sensation, considering how you feel with them on and when you take them off,” says Finn. Her rule of thumb: Wear looser clamps for up to 30 minutes; keep it under 15 minutes with tighter ones. “If you are using them with a partner, be sure to discuss a safe word or another safety measure for when the clamps become uncomfortable,” Howard says.

Before applying, Finn says to make sure the nipples are hard, then place them at the base of the nipple at the areola. Always listen to your body during use, and adjust as necessary. “If the nipple clamps feel uncomfortable, even after adjusting them, it's okay to discontinue using them,” Howard says. When taking clamps off, never tug or rip at them. Simply loosen the pressure, then remove.

Nipple Clamp Aftercare

“When we’re aroused, our threshold for pain tolerance can increase, so you may feel great while playing and in that post-O glow, but then find that a few hours later you’re still achy,” warns Finn. If you feel sore, they recommend using a cold compress and avoiding clothes that might chafe your sensitive skin.

During and after nipple clamp use, she reminds you to physically, emotionally, and mentally check in with yourself and your partner. Additionally, don't forget to reflect on the experience. If you tried them while masturbating, figure out what you did and didn’t enjoy. If you used them with a partner, discuss how it felt and whether or not you’d like to try again. Then, cuddle up, hydrate, and lube those sensitive nips until next time. (If not, maybe nipple suckers are more your style.)

Experts:

Lisa Finn, sex educator

Shamyra Howard, LCSW, sex & relationships expert