Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Clamps: A Primer

Clamps are an old BDSM standby; one of the most commonly used play toys after whips. And so of course they appear in many BDSM erotic romance stories. They are low effort on a Dom(me)'s part once they are placed on a submissive's body. They can be as inexpensive as the ordinary spring clothespins most commonly used, though many other items can be hijacked for the same purpose: paper clips, mousetraps, tubing clamps, small vise grip pliers. Ouch! I know I always feature a selection of clamps in my stories. Many clamps have a somewhat flat surface to prevent damage. Alligator clamps (saw-tooth) are more likely to do damage as they cut into skin.

It's wonderful to be able to adjust the tightness of a clamp if you can purchase or rig ones with this ability. Different submissives vary in the amount of tightness they find erotic. Although if yours are not adjustable, you can always stock a variety that have different degrees of tightness. In addition, if you are using them on male nipples you will have an added challenge if the man has particularly small nubs. Smaller clothespins will be a must, although they also sell nipple clamps that take this problem into consideration.

Popular spots to try your clamps? Nipples, genitals, ear lobes, lips, folds of skin on your neck, belly button, and your perineum. Trying them out on yourself is always a good idea to gain understanding of what a sub will be experiencing. Don't forget that clamps hurt continuously. Most folks, according to Jay Wiseman's classic SM101: A Realistic Introduction, can take about four clamps for up to a half-hour. Since they hurt non-stop, a good dominant with NEVER forget that they are on their submissive and let too much time pass. Clamps cut off circulation to the pinched area. The very longest to leave on a clamp in one area is an hour, although I am sure this point can be debated.

Another important point--only apply clamps if a submissive is feeling aroused. The more turned on someone is, the more pain they can take. This is also important to remember when you are removing the clamps. Don't let too much time pass after orgasm, or simply remove them before orgasm, to ensure sexual excitement is still balancing out the pain. Clamps hurt like a son of a bitch coming off because the blood is rushing back to the tissue and re-expanding it. This is particularly true of clamped nipples. They should be removed gradually and since clamped tissue is sensitive to movement, you should keep the area still during removal. And don't rub freshly unclamped skin. It hurts more.

So why clamps? If you provide a lot of sexual stimulation after you have pinched on those lovelies, then you are providing a delightful contrast between sexual pleasure and erotic pain. Mixing that pain with prolonged sexual pleasure makes a deep impression in a submissive's mind.

Want some other tidbits on clamp types, placement, and safety? Check out that Jay Wiseman text I mentioned. SM 101: A Realistic Introduction. It's a classic.

Safe, sane and consensual,

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