This time last year just the mere mention of nipple clamps was enough to send most women scarpering to the other side of the bedroom in fear. In 2012, however, the huge impact of the Fifty Shades erotic trilogy by EL James has seen sales of nipple clamps at Lovehoney increase by 400%, as women cease to be scared of these fearsomely-named sex toys and start enjoying a little pleasurable pain, Ana Steele-style.
The thing about nipple clamps is that their bark is often worse than their bite. Most are designed for light to moderate pressure, causing more of a warming and slightly pinching sensation that intensifies your response to touch anywhere on your body. Nipple clamps might sound scary and some clamps do look terrifying, but most are designed to feel pleasurable and only a tiny bit painful. Many recent designs look like jewellery rather than of instruments of torture, providing those outside of the BDSM community something to relate to.
A little pleasurable pain is the aim for most of us experimenting with clamps - erotic novels haven’t turned us (yet!) into a nation of hardcore masochists. If like Ana you’re not into the hard and heavy side of bedroom bondage you can still enjoy the sensation of clamping, you’ll just want something more like a clip-on earring than a workbench vice. Choosing the perfect pair of nipple clamps requires relatively little background knowledge, you just need to know where to start.
Let’s Talk About Your Nipples
The sensations that nipple clamps deliver vary from playful to painful and what you experience depends on how sensitive your nipples are and how strong a grip the clamps produce. One pair of clamps will feel hard to some and softer to others, so it’s worth reading several customer product reviews to learn more about how they feel. Focus on reviews written by women (you’ll see their gender below their username on Lovehoney product reviews) as we tend to have larger and more sensitive nipples than men which, of course, affects our clamping sensations.
Some companies use a three-level system to describe how intense the sensations you’ll feel are, making it easier to choose clamps to suit you. A similar system can be applied to your own nipples to decide which nipple clamps are best for you. To find out if you’re super-sensitive (level one), sensitive (level two) or responsive (level three) there are a couple of things you can try at home without any specialist equipment.
Super-sensitive nipples are hyper responsive to touch, which means that squeezing may feel great but nibbling and twisting might be a little too much for your tastes. If the idea of putting a plastic clothes peg on your nipple makes you squirm and you’d prefer teasing with slow and sensual motions, you should opt for level one nipple clamps or suckers.
Sensitive nipples can endure a little more pressure than super-sensitive nipples. If you enjoy squeezing, pulling, nibbling and a little twisting then level two clamps should be perfect for you. To differentiate between super-sensitive nipples and sensitive nipples, try the clothes peg test. If you don’t find the feeling of a plastic clothes peg on your nips too intense, you should enjoy level two play.
Responsive nipples prefer firmer pressure. If long, hard squeezes, tugging, biting and twisting press your buttons but you’d still like a little more, you’ll enjoy the more intense sensations of level three clamps.
Choosing the Best Nipple Clamps for You
Even responsive nipples need a chance to get used to new sensations, so it’s always best to be left wanting more than to take on too much too soon. If you’re not sure whether you’re a level two or level three, always opt for level two clamps first time around.
There are generally three kinds of nipple clamps - adjustable, non adjustable and suckers.
- Adjustable clamps allow you to vary the pressure by tightening the clamp via either a sliding adjuster or a screw, causing the clamp tips to widen and narrow to exert different levels of pressure.
- Non adjustable clamps have a single level of pressure that cannot be changed but may be intensified by pulling or twisting the clamp.
- Nipple suckers do not clamp the nipple, but instead exert pressure by forming a vacuum that gently pulls on the nipple to increase sensation.
Adjustable clamps or suckers are generally the best choices for beginners as they offer a gentle and more tailored way to experiment with clamping.
Different Types of Nipple Clamps and Who They’re Best For
If you’re super-sensitive and looking for a level one clamp, your best choices are nipple suckers, nipple clips, nipple loops and gentle peg clamps. These offer very light pressure that accentuate your sensitivity in a pleasurable way rather than causing you any pain.
Customer reviews of level one clamps includes words such as ‘gently’, ‘pleasurable squeeze’ and ‘not painful’.
If you’re sensitive and wanting more of a pinch from a level two clamp, your best options are tweezer clamps, adjustable alligator clamps, magnetic clamps and adjustable screw clamps.
These cause sensations from a medium to firm pinch that is deepened by playing with the nipples or tugging on the clamps during wear. Product reviews of level two clamps use words like ‘pleasurably painful’, ‘firm pinch’, ‘light pain’, ‘building pressure over time’, ‘moderate’ and ‘more intense’.
If you’re responsive and want something firmer with a more intense sensation with level three clamps, your best choices are nipple vices, nipple sticks, weighted nipple clamps, clover clamps and firmer alligator clamps.
Product reviews of level three clamps include words such as ‘sharp’, ‘strong’, ‘hard’, ‘intense’, ‘high level’, ‘challenging’, ‘painful’ and ‘ouch’.