Nipple shields are a fun way to enhance your nipple piercings once they're fully healed. What is a nipple shield? It's a piece of jewelry that complements a nipple ring and enhances a nipple piercing by partially or completely encompassing it. Nipple shields are typically sold individually and separately from nipple rings, and they are most often intended for use with straight barbells. Nipple shields come in 3 forms:
~ Drop-Down Nipple Shields
~ Circular Nipple Shields
~ Non-Piercing Nipple Shields
Drop-Down Nipple Shields
The star nipple shield shown top-left is a perfect example of a drop-down nipple shield. It's intended to be placed over the nipple so that the holes line up with the entry and exit points of your piercing. A straight barbell with one ball removed is then threaded through the outer loop, into the piercing, and out through the opposite loop. The previously-removed ball is then threaded back onto the exposed barbell end, securing the nipple shield in place. Usually, the decorative shield will literally hang down below the nipple, hence the name "drop-down nipple shield". (See How to Put on a Nipple Shield for step-by-step instructions for putting on a drop-down nipple shield, complete with illustrations.)
Circular Nipple Shields
Circular nipple shields, like the one shown to the right, are worn in a different way than drop-down nipple shields. A circular nipple shield completely encompasses the nipple and obscures the part of the breast surrounding the aureola. It's secured in place by a straight barbell that goes through your nipple piercing on the front side of the shield.
To don a circular nipple shield, you would lay it over top of your breast, with your nipple protruding through the central hole. You have to push the shield back into your breast somewhat so that you can thread a straight barbell through your nipple piercing while keeping it over top of the shield.
Often times, circular nipple shields will have a little divot on either side that the straight barbell can nestle into as it passes through your piercing. You would line up those divots with your piercing's entry and exit points, unscrew the end ball from your barbell, line up the uncapped end with one of the divots, push it through your piercing, and when the end comes to rest on the opposite divot in the shield, you'd screw the end ball back on, release the pressure on the shield (which you were pressing into your breast the whole time you were threading the barbell through), and the barbell should hold the shield securely in place. (This technique is also illustrated in our article, How to Put on a Nipple Shield.)
Non-Piercing Nipple Shields
There's a third nipple shield option for those who don't have their nipples pierced. This type of shield requires no piercing and no straight barbell to stay on. Non-piercing nipple shields have pinchers, like the heart-ringed no-piercing nipple shields shown to the left. The pinchers are placed on either side of the nipple, and then gently squeezed until the body jewelry is secured in place.
Many non-piercing nipple shields look like drop-down nipple shields, with the decorative part below the pinchers that grasp the center of the nipple. However, there are some styles that kind of combine the look of a circular nipple shield with a drop-down nipple shield, with a complete circle of decoration that has a central hole where the pinchers sit and grasp the nipple. The non-piercing nipple shield to the right is a perfect example of this hybrid style.
Choosing Nipple Shields
Once you know what style nipple shield you want, you can hone in on a design you like. It may be as delicate as a gem-outlined open heart or as substantial as a solid metal ring with a decorative pattern embossed on it or cut out of it. Here are two dramatically different styles to show you how much variance there can be from one nipple shield to the next:
|Heart Stones Nipple Shield||Celestial Moon & Stars Nipple Shield|
How do you choose the best nipple shield design for you? It's really just a matter of taste. Do you like the more delicate look common with drop-down nipple shields, or do you like the striking appearance of a circular nipple shield that will grab your partner's attention the moment s/he gets a glimpse of it? You might consider picking up a couple different nipple shields to see if one style feels better than the other on you, too. Comfort is as important as looks if you want this piece of jewelry to remain an active part of your undercover wardrobe!
Are Nipple Shields for You?
Whether you're a naturist/nudist who wants to show off your nipple piercings around camp, someone looking to spice up your love life by surprising your partner with a little extra bling the next time you get intimate, or just a "regular" guy or gal who loves the idea of having a secret treasure beneath your shirt during daily activities, nipple shields can be a fun addition to your body jewelry collection. Even if your nipples aren't pierced, there's no reason nipple shields can't be for you! They're fun to shop for, they're sexy, and they might end up being the coolest jewelry you ever own!