Monday, April 13, 2009

Part 21: how to play with clamps.

Today we are going to discuss an easy and fun BDSM technique: clamps. I held a workshop on this a while back and it was a lot of fun, especially for newbies to sensation play.


OK, first question, students: why do we like playing with clamps? Because ... yep, that's right, clamping is a form of sensation play. Clamps create erotic sensations by cutting off circulation.

You can make clamp play as mild or painful as you like, and this post includes examples of both. Clamps are a good technique for beginners. They don't require any special skill - you'll pick up what you need as you learn how your partner's body responds to clamping. And you might be surprised by some of the clamps I discuss - in fact, you will probably have most of the "toys" I mention at home: clothes pegs (or clothes pins), bamboo skewers, a ball of string, rubber bands, etc... see, told you it was easy! For other toys I discuss I'll provide a link, so you can get an idea of price, where to buy them, etc.

Some points to keep in mind when starting to play with clamps:
  • start with a low clamping pressure and work up
  • start with what your sub can endure, then work up to higher endurance slowly
  • don't leave pegs on more than twenty minutes - keep a clock / timer in your play space
  • the longer the clamping time, the more fierce the sensation caused by removing the pressure


Obviously we are not going to leave clamps in place too long (never more than 20 minutes) or place them on places near blood vessels / nerves, or where damage (such as the corpus cavernosum and corpus spongiosum of the penis, and tissues of the clitoral hood in women) can occur. Are we?!

My favorite places (on both sexes) are nipples and genitals. But I've seen pegs used in many places and for all sorts of purposes. I've sometimes created lines of pegs on sol's belly and flicked them off with a cane.

Places I've used pegs:
  • labia (avoid genital jewelry)
  • cock and balls
  • nipples (avoid jewelry)
  • around the breast
  • perineum and ass cheeks
  • earlobe and sides of ear (avoid jewelry)
  • tongue and lips (VERY painful)
  • around navel (avoid jewelry)
  • webbing between fingers and toes
  • inner thighs
There are many ways to put a clamp on a nipple. The key thing to remember here is placement. A clothes peg placed on the tip of the nipple is much more intense than one placed closer to the base of the nipple.


OK you've decided to give clamps a try. How do you set the scene?

First, make your own preparations. Tidy the play space, place a clock nearby (to time your clamps), light some candles, make sure the room is warm enough for play, then assemble your toys - for this first session perhaps some wooden clothes pegs of different sizes and some preprepared bamboo skewers (see bottom of post)....

I'd have your partner lie down, naked, facing upwards - and if you are new to real time play, try blindfolding them. This will really up the sensation play from their point of view. And from yours, it will add confidence because you won't be worried about them seeing you making mistakes, or checking the clock or whatever. If you don't have a blindfold in the toy box just use a scarf or an empty pillow case.

If you have restraints why not cuff their hands together as well? They'll be deep in subspace before the first clamp is attached.

Now you have your partner naked, blindfolded and bound the world is your oyster! Caress them lightly, especially the areas you plan to focus on. Then move your toys within range ... pick up a single clamp, drag it over their body ... a light touch at first and then heavily ... before attaching it in a less sensitive area...

Observe your partner's response, their breathing, the warmth of their skin ... if all is well proceed with more clamps, finishing up in the more sensitive spots. Attaching clamps to nipples and genitals will set their blood racing ... whether you let them come or not is of course up to you....

Keep an eye on the time, make sure no clamps stay on for over 20 minutes. Some people enjoy removing clamps in the same order they placed them, one by one ... or you can remove them all quickly by sliding your hand down your partner's body. Removing clamps can be more intense than putting them on. This means in terms of play that you can create even more sensation by HOW you remove the clamp - I love to remove the clamp and then press my fingertips onto the skin, forcing the blood back quickly.

Remember too that clamp play can be intense enough to trigger sub space and your sub may require aftercare. Check before the scene what their aftercare needs are. Immediately after the scene make sure they are warm - a blanket would be fine - and have access to some kind of drink.


As I mentioned before, many of the clamps I'm going to mention you will have around the house. Let's look a clothes pegs first.

What have you got at your place? Plastic ones? Good, we can use them. But first I want to talk with you about wooden clothes pegs, which tend to be a bit milder, sensation wise. These are very common in BDSM play because they are practical - and also cheap, which means you can throw them out after a scene, if you play with more than one partner.

They come in various sizes:

The "regular" size, the one you are used to having around the house, is actually second from the left in that photo. The largest one and smaller ones you will find at craft stores. It's good to have a range of sizes because this changes their clamping strength. Keep an eye out for novelty wooden pegs, too. They can add greatly to your toykit:

You can see what I did to sol with those Xmas peg here. So back to the different sizes:

You can have a great time placing these all over the male genitals.
I think sol and I once reached 140 as our record!

The largest craft peg (the really big one) is very mild in sensation, although of course this depends where it's placed. As they decrease in size they become more deadly. My favorite size is the second smallest size, because they have a decent bite but can be tolerated. The tiny ones you only get a few on and your sub is yowling - sol describes the tiny pegs as "just evil" and as intense as Japanese clover clamps. We'll get to those in a minute....

If you only have access to regular size clothes pegs and you find the pressure too much (unmodified, regular size wooden clothespins grip with between four and six pounds of pressure over an area of about one-quarter by one-half inch) you need to find a way to reduce that pressure. I'd suggest weakening the springs of the peg by holding the peg open to it's limit with some type of clamp for a couple of days. This should reduce the clamping pressure by several pounds.

However, most of you will probably want more sensation rather than less....


You lot are worse masochists than sol, honestly! Readers be warned, we are leaving the novice level part of the post behind now and are moving into the intermediate and advanced levels. Stop here if you'd like to go try the scene I mentioned, with wooden clothes pegs....

For those who desire more, the easiest way to increase the grip of wooden pegs is by wrapping the clamping end with elastic bands:

Different types of rubber band and different amounts of wrapping will vary the grip.

This might be a good time to check out the plastic pegs in your laundry. What do they look like? Pick one up an examine it, then open it. What I want you to look for is how it's constructed at the point where it grips. These ones below, can you see they have round grip area:

Sol also found these recently:

Their grip area looks like this:

By rights the top style with the round grip area should be more intense but we find the pegs are cheaply made and tend to twist - and that's bloody painful but not fun. The gray and white ones on the other hand are better made and the oval grip area provides excellent intense sensation.

This is why people call plastic pegs "more bitey" than wooden ones. In fact again sol compared them to Japanese clover clamps. So let's take a look at those:

We are getting into severe clamp play here. Can you see their grip in the photo above? It's ferocious. These you won't have sitting around the house LOL but I really do recommend you invest in a pair. They are invaluable, sol loves / hates them, I rarely have a scene where they are not used. You can purchase them online at places like JT's Stockroom.

Mostly they come attached via a chain like this, which makes nipple play perfect. I love the fact that pulling on the chain tightens the clamps even further (the center section, on which the chain is connected, tightens the ends when pulled):

With metal clamps, you can incorporate temperature play into the experience by chilling or warming the clamps before you use them. Which reminds me that temperature play and wax play are both good forms of play to follow on from clamps.

Want some more ideas to add sensation? Try adding a tiny piece of sandpaper to where the peg grips, with wooden pegs. Or if you really want extreme, insert a thumb tack into the peg. Sol made a very nasty little device doing that here:

When sol made this he told me it was "a two player game", he really could not play with this by himself. It was too painful. He once described it as "being like chili chocolate ... definitely got bite in it!". Here I am gently pressing the sharp bits into his nipple:

The nice thing about this design is that you can alter how much sharpness comes through. It means I can also bring this very scary looking device into play with other play partners, knowing that the internal sharp bits have been withdrawn ... "no no Mistress please don't!!" ... ah the power of the imagination!


Another terrific thing you can do with regular size wooden pegs is make a zipper:

You need to cut off about two meters of string, put a knot in one end, then thread the string through the center of the metal spring in one of the clothespins. Then run the peg down the string, and tie another knot on the other side. Some people like to leave more space between the pegs but because I like using them on sol's genitals I like the pegs as close as possible.

Repeat for however many pegs you want to string together. I have thirteen pegs in the example above, but why not start with five or six? And work up to more if your sub enjoys it. When you've placed your last peg, do a final knot and leave a piece a string at the end as a sort of handle, you might like to put a final knot in it - like on the left hand side of the photo above.

Here's how I use our zipper. Here I am placing the 13 peg zipper on sol's cock and balls. I'm carefully placing each peg on the seam that runs up his balls. I want to pull the zipper from the end I'm starting, so you can see the end of the string hanging below his balls:

Keep in mind that when you place the zipper you can use more skin to make your sub comfortable during placement - however when you remove the zipper that extra skin will hurt more. You also don't need to connect all the pegs on your zipper.

Now the zipper is in place and ready to go. You can heighten the anticipation for your sub by running your hands over the pegs:

And masturbating him. This keeps the pleasurable sensations high ... he also knows what's coming LOL:

You can pull the zipper off fast if you want, but being on the genitals (and being a sadist) I prefer to do things slowly. The first two have come off now .. see the stretch on the skin?:

You might like to move your hand from the thread at the end to the last peg removed, when you get down to the last few pegs, like this below, to stablize the tension when you pull:

Removing the zipper creates a sharp, fast pain. Or lots of short, sharp fast pain if you do it slowly. Afterwards you can reduce the pain by placing your palm flat over the area, or a cold cloth from your aftercare kit.

More advanced zipper play: you can play endless zipper games by adding more pegs and reducing the size of your pegs (therefore upping the pressure on some sections). You can use other types of clamps - Wiki even notes "A zipper can also be created with temporary piercing needles" but that I haven't tried!

(or any kind of pully)

We have a ratchet attached near our bed - you might want to consider something like this, or some kind of pully system so you can indulge in serious clamp play. We enjoy attaching clover clamps to sol and the ratchet and winching up the latter:

Here's a game you might like to try:
"tie one end of a long piece of twine to a clothespin. Run the twine through a pully in the ceiling, and attach a weight to the other end. Clamp the clothespin on your partner's nipple (or any other suitable place!), and have your partner hold the twine in his or her teeth, so that if your partner lets go, the weight will fall and pull the clothespin off. Now, see if you can make your partner let go."

(this one is easy!)

You'll need string and bamboo (BBQ or craft shop type) skewers. If you can't find these try chopsticks and rubber bands. Put two skewers together and tie at each end:

You should be able to put your fingers in like this, and feel the pressure on your fingers:

It won't feel intense. Make about a dozen tied pairs of skewers. Then for your first attempt, decorate sub's genitals with two pairs, like this:

For you second attempt (don't try this with chopsticks it will get too tricky), lie your sub down, torture his nipples for a while with the bamboo points:

Then slip as many skewers over his cock as you can.

He won't last too long, so make sure you get some good photos quickly!


Wiki - Zipper
Fetish Exchange - Clothpins
Sex ideas and tips - nipple clamps
Jack Rinella Clips and clamps

Want to check out more clamp toys - try JT's Stockroom or Sax Leather.

photos: Ms160

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