Sex talk
Speaking of Tit Torture

Simon Sheppard,

Most of us like to have our nipples played with. But some of us like our nips to be played with hard. "I'm mostly not into pain," says one eager tit torturee. "But the sensation of a sadist working over my nipples sends me right over the brink - really gets me off."

A guy's tits can be both tender and tough. As is the case with all pain play, hardwiring matters; some men (and their mammaries) can take rougher stimulation than others. Much rougher. Many a brave bottom takes as much as he can and then just a little bit more. An obliging top will give it to him.

Plenty of things can make nipples sting and sing, and some of them - fingers and mouths - come as standard bodily equipment. Just plain digits can be fiendishly effective, whether twisting, pinching, pulling, or attacking with fingernails. A mouth, meanwhile, can dole out both agony and ecstasy, alternating nibbles and bites with licking and sucking. "I just love," says the aforementioned torturee, " to have some dude bite down on my tit, twist it with his teeth, then suck hard."

If a top would rather keep his mouth and hands occupied elsewhere, tit clamps can serve as a sadistic stand-in. Clamps need not be fancy; even plain spring-action wooden clothespins will do the job. (And, as an added plus, clothespins are readily available when you bring a trick over to your mom's house.) But clamps can also be fancy; the ever-inventive Edisons of sex gear have come up with a panoply of tit toys. Narrow clamps, like alligator clips, concentrate the pinch nastily. Other clamps are broader, sometimes even padded, and therefore more bearable during extended play. Many top-of-the-line clamps have adjustable levels of squeeze. And most pairs of clamps are connected by chains, which can be tugged on for extra sensation; some pervs even hang light weights from them. More unusual tit toys take the form of claws, a hangman's noose, or screw-down wooden stocks. And one gizmo places a tight rubber ring around the nipple, temporarily shutting off blood flow and causing numbness, until removal brings on enjoyable pain.

Ah yes, pain. Whatever sort is used, clamps that have been on for a while will hurt like fuck when they come off. "I love to warn a bottomboy that I'm going to pull a clothespin off, then have him count backwards from five," one sadist confides. "It builds up the tension, though sometimes I surprise a boy and remove the thing at 'three' or 'two,' before he's braced."

Of course, tit clamps aren't the only way to make nips stand up and take notice. Those into hot-wax play find the nipples a terrific target for drips of molten candle, second only to the dick and balls in sensitivity. Hot!

And then there are piercings. Play piercers temporarily slide narrow-gauge needles shallowly under the skin; while the piercings can be done most anywhere on the body, willing nipples provide an especially inviting, pain-prone target. (Note well, though, that any play that breaks the skin requires excellent technique and careful infection control - the low supply of blood to the nipples makes for slowish healing and a highish probability of infection.) Permanently pierced nipples provide hardware to tug on, hang weights from, or otherwise twist and tug. But not everybody's tit rings can take strenuous play. "My nipple piercings can get irritated really easily," says one piercee, "so when someone starts doing chin-ups on my nipple rings, I tell them to back off."

And how much does "hurt" hurt? Carefully applied pain can prompt a flood of endorphins, the body's natural opiates. So it's up for grabs how much so-called "torture" is really just a quest for a natural high. But be it pain, pleasure, or both, tit torture can be one of the most exciting things to happen to a chest.

Simon Sheppard is the co-editor of Rough Stuff: Tales of Gay Men, Sex, and Power (Alyson Books)

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