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Clamps are the lazy kinkster's best friend. They can create a range of sensations, from mild to quite intense; they're easy to use; they don't require any special skill or any physical exertion; and they're surprisingly versatile.
Using clamps can be a bit non-intuitive, though. If you haven't experimented with them before, you might be surprised to find that removing a clamp can be as intense, or more intense, than putting it on, especially in places like nipples and especially if the clamp has been on for a long time. Clamps provide constant stimulation for as long as they're worn, and removing them tends to make whatever bits they were clamped to much more sensitive; for this reason, I like to use them as a warmup to other forms of sensation play.
Using Clothespins as Sex Toys
There are all sorts of different kinds of clips and clamps, and all kinds of different ways to use them. The cheapest and most commonly available kinky clamps are ordinary household clothespins; almost everyone has at least heard of the idea of attaching these to nipples.
And indeed, simple clothespins do make good clamps for nipples. The drawback to clothespins is that it's difficult or impossible to control how tightly they clamp, and they do tend to be a bit strong for some people; it's sometimes possible to make them a bit looser by storing them for extended periods of time with an object clamped into their jaws to hold them open. Still, despite this drawback, clothespins are very popular as kinky "pervertibles."
When you use clothespins as nipple clamps, the way you clamp the nipple makes a big difference in sensation. Clamping the clothespin onto the tip of the nipple (as on the right side of this illustration) is much more intense than grabbing more of the nipple closer to the base (as on the left):
The size and construction of the clothespin makes a difference as well. Smaller clothespins are significantly more painful than regular clothespins (because the force is exerted over a smaller area), and I have noticed that plastic clothespins seem to be more "bitey" than wooden clothespins.
You can use clothespins in ways that go far beyond just simply attaching them to nipples! You can use clothespins on many parts of the body, and even arrange them in rows and patterns. Some fun things to do with clothespins:
These techniques are good introductions to other forms of sensation play, because the skin becomes more sensitive when the clothespins are removed and blood rushes into the whatever area the clothespins used to be attached to. Some people even like clipping clothespins directly to the clitoris or tongue, though this is often a bit too intense for many people.
The act of placing the clothespins is itself very erotic, especially if your partner is bound, blindfolded, or both. Begin by lightly caressing your lover's body. Run your hands over his or her body very lightly, concentrating on stroking and caressing the areas where you intend to place the clothespins. Pick up one clothespin, carefully clamp it in place, then go back to stroking and caressing. Work your way from least sensitive areas to more sensitive areas; for example, start by placing clothespins down your lover's inner arm, then around the outside of the breast, then finally directly on the nipple. You can play with the clothespins themselves, by lightly tweaking, twisting, or tapping them.
Removing the clothespins is often more intense than putting them on. I usually remove them in the same order I placed them, one by one, for a more intense experience, you can remove them all at once by sliding your hand firmly down your partner's body and pushing them off as you go. Your partner will likely be very sensitive after you do this!
Different Types of Clamps
You can find a huge variety of different kinds of clamps designed for kinky sex play. Different designs all have a unique feel and create a range of different sensations. Some clamps are designed to provide very mild, pleasant stimulation, and can be worn for extended periods of time; others are stronger and provide more intense sensation. Clothespins are moderately painful; if they provide too much sensation, you may find that more mild clamps are more to your tastes.
Among the mildest forms of clamps are "tweezer clamps." These clamps are intended mainly for use on nipples; they don't clip well to other parts of the body. They're highly adjustable and are designed to lie parallel to the body, around the nipple.
Tweezer clamps provide light to moderate nipple stimulation and can easily be worn for quite a while, even under clothes. (Wearing them beneath clothing is a delightfully naughty secret that can spice up even ordinary activities!) They're easily adjustable; simply slide the ring toward the rubber tips of the clamps to increase pressure, and away to reduce pressure. I've known a couple of women who absolutely love the way these clamps feel when applied with gentle pressure directly to the clitoris. Like most nipple clamps, they're made in pairs, usually with a chain between them.
Adjustable "alligator-style" clamps offer a large range of different levels of stimulation. They're by far the most common and most popular style of nipple clamps, and can be used on other parts of the body as well. This versatility and adjustability makes them a great (and cheap!) addition to your toy box.
These clamps look quite appealing when attached to your partner's nipples. The intensity of the sensation can be adjusted from almost nothing to very strong, and a good tug on the chain is guaranteed to get your partner's attention. For men, they can be attached to the underside of the penis; some women enjoy the feel of clamps like these on the labia. The range of sensation they can produce makes them good even for people who don't like strong sensation on the nipples.
The next step up are "C-clamps." These adjustable clamps can be used very lightly, or can be tightened to provide whatever degree of "pinch" you like. They aren't spring-loaded, but instead use an adjustable press mechanism to pinch the nipples. This style of nipple clamp won't accidentally pinch too hard if they're not initially adjusted correctly the way alligator-style clamps can.
Moving up the scale a bit, "clothespin-style" clamps are more intense and offer a relatively hard bite. This style of clamp is generally not adjustable; it's good for people who like intense, localized pressure. And the sensation that you get from wearing these is nowhere near the sensation you get when you take them off once they've been on for a while! If you like pinching, twisting, and general rough treatment on your nipples, this type of clamp is just the thing for you. I've seen people use clamps like these on other parts of the body as well, but their hard "bite" is not everyone's cup of tea.
And finally, for those of you who really, really like this sort of thing: the pinnacle of nipple clamps in terms of intensity of sensation without doubt belongs to the Japanese clover clamp.
These are not for the faint of heart. They're very strong and non-adjustable, and the clamping surface is a small circle, which concentrates the sensation. They're rather ingeniously (or devilishly, depending on how you look at it) designed in such a way that pulling on the chain that connects them makes the clamps tighter, and the harder you pull, the tighter they get. Just to add to the delicious torment, they don't loosen back up when you quit pulling, either. This kind of clamp is extremely popular with people who really enjoy nipple play. They're available either in pairs connected by a length of chain, or in pairs with short chains that end in hooks from which you can suspend weights for a bit of extra fun.
How to Use Them
Start with your partner sitting or lying on his or her back. Run your fingers over your partner's body, and gently tease and stroke your partner's nipples until they're erect. Run your chosen pair of clamps lightly around your partner's nipple; by increasing the anticipation, you can increase the effect. Clamp each nipple in turn, slowly increasing the pressure until it's just at the edge of what your partner can take. You can gently tug on the chain as you touch or tease your partner, to provide a little bit of extra stimulation.
With metal clamps, you can incorporate temperature play into the experience by chilling or warming the clamps before you use them. This works especially well if your partner enjoys cold; keep the clamps in the refrigerator until you're ready use them, and drape the cold chain over your partner's chest or breasts before attaching them.
If your partner is female, you may find that tying or cuffing her hands behind her back, or asking her to sit with hands behind her back and shoulders drawn back, will nicely present her breasts for the clamps I find that this posture sets off the chain quite nicely.
The initial sensation of the clamps will tend to fade a bit after the clamps have been on for a while, then return very sharply when you take them off. Unless you intend to inflict sharp sensation, you'll probably want to avoid touching or playing with your partner's nipples immediately after removing the clamps.
Playing with nipple clamps can be a nice lead-in to other forms of temperature or sensation play, such as wax play or using such implements as a Wartenberg wheel. Nipple clamps can also be a lot of fun when combined with a shinju (breast harness made of rope).
And there are many more interesting things you can do with nipple clamps as well. I'll talk about some of these ideas in the next section.