If you're intrigued by the somewhat taboo art of needle play and you don't know where to start, these tips will help you with everything from understanding needle play to gathering the right supplies to placing play piercings safely.
Permanent Piercing Play vs. Needle Play
Piercing play involves stimulating a partner by playing with their permanent piercings using your hands, mouth, adult toys, or even electronic stimulation devices, whereas needle play involves placing temporary piercings through a partner's flesh to create unique designs and stimulate them. You should wash your hands before engaging in permanent piercing play, whereas needle play requires a number of precautions for your and your partner's safety.
Needle Play Supplies
To maintain a safe play ground, it's important to stock up on a few medical supplies before you engage in needle play:
- Disinfectants (e.g. alcohol or iodine)
- A Sharps Container (for discarding needles safely)
- Sterile Play Piercing Needles (usually in a range of sizes from 20g - 27g, with 27g being the finest)
- Gloves (to protect your hands while you work)
- Gauze (to clean skin and mop up excess blood)
- Dental Bibs (to lay under your partner before you begin piercing)
- Surgical Skin Markers or Gentian Violet Ink & Toothpicks (for marking the skin before doing more elaborate needle play designs)
Engaging in Needle Play
Before beginning needle play, talk to your partner about any potential risks you could cause each other--for instance, transmission of a bloodborne disease or allergies to certain disinfectants. Have your partner lay on a dental bib during needle play to catch excess blood. Put on gloves, and clean your partner's skin where you plan to pierce him or her using alcohol or another disinfecting skin cleanser. If you plan to create a design during needle play, mark your partner's skin with skin markers or toothpicks dipped in Gentian violet ink.
When you're ready to pierce your partner, pick up a packaged sterile play piercing needle in an appropriate size for the part of the body you'll be piercing. (For instance, it's better to use heavier 20g-22g play piercing needles to pierce the tougher skin of the breasts or back, whereas you can use finer-gauge play piercing needles in more tender areas like the thighs and abdomen.) Pinch up a small fold of skin, if possible, and insert the needle, beveled edge up, horizontal to your partner's body. Try not to angle the needle more than 15 degrees so you don't go too deep. If you're concerned about poking yourself when you push the needle through, you can wear a sewing thimble or use a piercing cork to receive the needle.
Once the play piercing needles are placed, you can use them to stimulate your partner. You can thread dental floss through the needles and use it to pull on them gently, flick them, slap them (preferably with plastic wrap covering the needles), hold a vibrator against them to tingle your partner, freeze needles with ice cubes selectively, or even use an electronic stimulator to move over the needle pattern you've created. You're only limited to your imagination and your partner's comfort level.
At the end of your play piercing session, soak gauze pads with rubbing alcohol, and place the pads over the needles. As you remove a needle, push down gently but firmly on the gauze covering it, which will have multiple benefits; it will help clean the area, allow blood to clot, reduce bruising, and minimize swelling. Be careful to pull each needle out swiftly but while keeping it horizontal, so it won't cut the skin on the way out. Dispose of the needles promptly in a Sharps container.
Additional Needle Play Resources
For more information on needle play and piercing play, check out our full Guide to Needle Play. If you're interested in seeing needle play designs to get ideas for your own sessions, check out the Play Piercing Pictures section of our photo gallery. You can also utilize our forum to learn more about play piercing and talk to other community members who have tried it.