For a while now I have been interested in needle play, something about it just intrigues me. I have to admit; at first the thought of this type of play scared me. Fortunately, I have grown and many of the things I swore I would never do, I have at least tried. Some I have even grown to like. I am also lucky to have such a great Dominant man in my life, someone who pushes me to share my interests and to also learn about them. This paper is for me to gain knowledge about needle play and for me to share with others what I have learned. This is by no means a how-to on needles. You should always learn from an experienced person before attempting this.
Needle play is the practice of inserting needles under the skin of the submissive.
Most often when you mention to someone that you are interested in playing with needles they say “ouch” or “why would you want to do that?” Most people consider this kink to be dangerous and a very hard limit, but for some it’s very intense and extremely gratifying. With proper education and research this can be as safe as any other form of play.
So really what is the big deal, it’s just a little needle. A needle has 3 parts (see pic 1), the hub or plastic part that you connect to the syringe. Be sure not to remove the hub as it keeps the needle from going all the way through the skin and also gives you something to hold onto so that the needle can remain sterile. The other two parts of the needle are the shaft and the bevel. The shaft is the long metal length of the needle and the bevel is the slanted tip. For needle play you should use sterile, hypodermic or acupuncture needles. Safety pins and sewing needles should not be used. They are not sharp, not sterile and are porous so they harbor bacteria. Hypodermic needles are thin, cheap, sterile, disposable, and have the plastic hub to hold onto.
Hypodermic needles come in different lengths and sizes called gauges. The higher the needle gauge the smaller the needles diameter is. So this means that a 22 gauge needle is smaller than a 16 gauge. It is recommended for needle play to use between a 19 and 27 gauge needle that is 1.5 inches long. In general, most areas should be pierced with a 21 gauge needle while more sensitive areas should be done with a 25 or 27 gauge needle. If a more intense sensation is desired a 19 gauge needle can be used in all but the most sensitive of areas. If you are looking to purchase needles, it is best to buy them online or at a veterinary supply store, although the latter isn’t preferred because they tend to not be as sharp since they are meant to go through animal hide. Although you can buy them at some pharmacies, they can be much more difficult to obtain there.
As with all BDSM activities, safety is extremely important when playing with needles. First and probably most importantly, you need to be aware of blood borne diseases such as HIV or hepatitis due to needle stick injuries. You need to follow Universal Precautions and always assume everyone is infected since it’s impossible to tell who is and who isn’t infected without a blood test. If you are doing the piercing on someone else, be careful not to jab yourself after inserting the needle. Wearing latex or synthetic gloves (if you are allergic to latex) will keep the transmission of blood to a minimum, but can’t protect you from accidental needle sticks, so you need to be extra careful. Infection is the primary danger when playing with needles. To avoid infection make sure to use new sterile needles and never reuse a needle, even on the same person. After the first use, the needle, whose shaft is hollow, can harbor bacteria and becomes dull causing the skin to tear, increasing the chance of infection and inflicting unnecessary pain. (See picture 2)
Before starting, you should thoroughly wash your hands with antibacterial soap and warm water. Once your hands are clean and gloved, you can clean the area to be pierced with soap. Wipe it with rubbing alcohol and wipe it down with clear betadine (Do not use if allergic to iodine). By cleaning the skin this way you will lower the chances of infection, once the skin is clean do not touch it. When you are done playing, used needles should be properly disposed of in a sharps container or a thick plastic bottle, such as a detergent bottle, with a lid. While playing, all those involved in the play should be both alcohol and drug free. Both these substances impair judgment and alcohol will enhance bleeding. Like alcohol, aspirin can also enhance bleeding and should be avoided prior to needle play. If done properly, there is far less danger of injury or infection than from being scratched by a cat. This is due to the depth of insertion being controlled and the use of sterile needles.
While playing with needles you have plenty of options about where to pierce, but there are also areas to avoid. Internal organs, bones, and eyes are all areas that should never be pierced with a needle. Do not pierce the hands, wrists, or spine and be careful to avoid joints, bones close to the surface, armpits and the sternum. Also, do not pierce the penis shaft; it contains both arteries and blood vessels that should not be pierced. Not to worry though, even with those areas that need to be avoided, there are still plenty more areas to play with. The surface skin of the thighs, buttocks, arms, stomach, shoulders, cheeks, chest and breasts are the easiest and least painful areas to pierce. The easiest places to pierce are the fleshy areas like the thighs or the bottom of the navel pointing down. The genitals can be pierced and can be quiet intense to play with, but before playing in these areas you should obtain further training by someone who is familiar with and competent at genital piercings. With that said, the foreskin, scrotum, labia, clithood and the underside of the penis can be pierced to obtain a moderately intense sensation. When playing in these areas, special care needs to be taken to avoid blood vessels and irregularities in the skin. Also the nipples, cockhead, and clit can be pierced but are all extremely painful. The nipples are thick and tough, making them more difficult to pierce. Piercings in these areas should be kept shallow and are expected to bleed a little. While piercing, you can experiment with placing the needles into patterns, using ribbon to lace around the needles to make a corset look, or even gluing feathers to the hub to make wings.
Now with a good idea of where is safe to pierce and where isn’t, it’s time to have some fun. It’s a good idea to practice before actually piercing a person, a thawed roasting chicken works well for this purpose. It takes about the same amount of pressure to pierce a person’s flesh as it does the chicken’s skin and provides good practice. Once you are ready to pierce a person, start by getting all the needed supplies together; soap, clear betadine, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, needles, cork, towels and Neosporin. Wash your hands and put on gloves. Clean the area to be pierced to avoid infection. Pick a fleshy area to pierce such as the thighs or buttocks. Handling the needle carefully, touching only the plastic hub, pinch a little of the surface skin and then place the needle so it’s aimed to go through the skin with the longest side of the needle against the skin. When ready, push the needle all the way through in one smooth movement until the plastic hub rests against the skin. The needle is very sharp and should need very little pressure to penetrate the skin. To help get in the right mind set and to help cope with the pain once the needle is positioned to pierce, take a deep breath and hold it for a second then breathe out while pushing the needle through. Once the needle is in, you should allow time between piercings to adjust to the sensations and time for you to be able to judge their reaction. Everyone is different and some people do find it easier if the piercings are done quickly with little time between them. With the needle in, you can gently move it for a greater effect and more sensations.
Once you are ready to move on to the next piercing, you can put a small piece of cork on the end of the needle to keep the needle from jabbing into nearby areas. If you use cork it should be put in the microwave to make it sterile. Remember that the needle has to go back through the skin and needs to be kept sterile the whole time you are playing. When ready to remove the needle, you need to be just as careful as when you put it in. Keep the needle straight and pull it out in one fluid movement. You may see a few blood spots but these are normal. When the needle is removed, wipe the area clean with rubbing alcohol and then dab a small amount of Neosporin where each needle had been. Check your partner often, watching for the common reactions to this type of play. These reactions include being faint, turning pale, and shaking. This happens because of the flood of hormones and neurotransmitters circulating through the body. Be safe when playing, excessive bleeding, reactions, and infection are all reason to contact a physician or to go to your local emergency room. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Now that you know the basics of needle play and how to be safe, you may be wondering why. Why do people like this type of play? For some it’s a psychological kick, a feeling of being so intimately and invasively penetrated. While for others it produces an intense natural endorphin high which can last hours and can even induce orgasm in those who experience it. Yet for other people it’s about self expression and sexual pleasure. This experience is very different from the experience most people have had with phlebotomists in medical settings. This is in part because the needle is placed through the skin at a tangent so that both ends are accessible rather than “into” the skin. So we know why submissives might enjoy it, but what about the Dominant? What makes them want to pierce an innocent willing victim? Well for many Dominants there is a feeling of total awe and wonder for the submissive that would trust them with so much of their well being. It is also just as much of a rush for them. If you are into pain, you may already know that it is possible to feel pain, not as pain, but actually as pleasure under the right conditions. This often happens when playing with needles.
Just remember to research, learn, and practice before ever trying this.
For me, I was one of those people who said no way am I going to ever do that, it’s a hard limit, no way!! Oh how I know better than to say those words now. While searching the web I came across a picture of a girl who had many needles pierced though her back and then laced up with ribbon like a corset. It looked elegant, sexy and so incredibly hot. Since then, I have been very intrigued, wanting to learn about it. I already love pain and get extremely turned on by it, so to me, this is something I want to experience. I want to be pierced. I want to feel the endorphin high that so many people talk about. I want to try this!!
BDSM – Needle Play
IC Needle Play
Illuminations – Breast Torture
Needle Play 101
Wikipedia- Play Piercing
** Special thanks to Donriser & TheWiz666 for helping me edit **