Play Piercing

Play piercing is the BDSM practice of making temporary piercings. Play piercing produces a strong endorphin high. Scene people who work in medical professions seem to be particularly likely to give or receive play piercings. All of the people I have seen pierced had strong positive reactions.

I have watched a lot of play piercings, assisted in some, practiced on myself, and pierced a sub under the supervision of an experienced play piercer. I have also witnessed a fleshhook suspension.

Some people have overcome their needle phobias through play piercing.

Piercings, temporary or permanent, can be a form of body modification.



Needles should be sterile and only used on one person. Accupuncture needles can be used or hypodermic needles. Needles are designated with their diameter (gauge) and length. The gauge is roughly the number of needles which would need to be laid side by side to make one inch wide. I have typically used 20 gauge needles. Lancets (used for diabetic blood suger testing) can also be used.


You should use latex or other surgical gloves on the hands.

A fluid control pad or drop cloth should be used under the person being pierced to contain any dripping blood. Clean the skin with alchohol prep pads. Use a spiral motion from the center out; this pushes contaminents away. Next clean with Betadine or other provodone alchohol using the same spiral motion. You may want to clean again with alchohol to remove the yellow stain.

Many people are seriosly squicked by seeing other people being pierced or people with needles in place. You may want to conduct piercing in an area not directly visable from the main play area at play parties.


If needles are inserted perpendicular to the skins surface, be careful about the depth of penetration. Typically, needles half an inch long are used this way.

If hypodermic needles are inserted perpendicularly, you need to orient them with the bevel up or down but not sideways. Good light is needed to see the orientation. Operating room lights are frequently used for this purpose.

Common areas to pierce are the chest/breasts, back, thighs, and labia. When piercing, be careful to avoid needle stick injuries. You can use the sheath of the needle or a sterile thimble to back up a fold of skin being pierced rather than your fingers. If you back up the fold with your fingers, be sure they are positioned so the needle will not stick your fingers. Pinch a fold of skin and slide the needle in one side through the fold. If you can't pinch a fold, drive the needle in almost parallel to the surface of the skin and then angle back up so the tip sticks out.

Controlled breathing can help manage the pain. Have the bottom inhale when you are ready to pierce and then tell them to exhale just before piercing.

The portion of nerves which detect sensations are normally close to the surface of the skin. Shallow piercings (parallel to the skin surface) will hurt more than deeper ones. The needle will hurt more during entry and exit than while traveling parallel to the surface of the skin.

You may wish to arrange the needles in decorative patterns. Use a surgical marker if you want to mark the areas to be pierced.

You can fiddle with needles which are already in place for more stimulation. It is preferable to use the blunt end.

You will likely find that it is easier to pierce in one direction only based on whether you are right handed or left handed. I have seen a pair of piercers, on right handed and the other left handed, work on opposite sides of someones back (not at the same time); one did the needles in one direction and the other handled those in the opposite direction. This allows for better control and reduced risk of needle sticks for symetric patterns.

If you do multiple piercings from top to bottom, this probably reduces the risk of needle sticks from protruding points since your had will usually tend to rest naturally below the area being pierced. For more complicated patterns, the direction you proceed should still be considered.

If you want blood and/or bruising. you can deliberately withdraw the needle at a slight angle so it scrapes on its way back through. Alcohol can cause more blood to flow from piercings which have recently had the needle removed.

You may want to hold an alchohol prep pad oor a piece of sterile gauze over a recently vacated piercing until the blood clots.

Slapping pierced areas after the needles have been removed can be pleasurable for those into pain; I have seen one woman achieve orgasm this way. See safety note about microbial blood spray below. Slapping increases the likelyhood of bruising.

Cold/Ice may reduce bruising immediately afterwards. Heat increases the chances of bruising. After a day or so, heat may reudce the longevity of bruising by encoraging the reuptake of blood. Wetted aspirin tablets or crushed aspirin and visine used toghether reportly reduce bruising.

Some people like to inject sterile injectable saline solution into the breasts for temporary bresst enlargement. I don't know too much about this practice.

I once was accidently pierced by a 16 pin DIP integrated circuit. Ouch. Autoclaved IC's, or alluminum socket collet carriers, could be used for an intersting piercing effect. There is some concern about the metals, however, particularly if you are sensitive to certain metals.


Sterile surgical scalpals can be used for shallow cuttings. Surgical markers can be used to mark the area to be cut. Needles can be cut out from the skin. Some people have thick skin, others thin skin; this should be taken into account. There are probably lots of precautions I am not aware of for cuttings. I know for brands, fully enclosed areas of a pattern can cut off blood circulation to the enclosed area; similar precautions might be appropriate to cuttings. Sometimes tattoo pigments or even ciggarette ash are rubbed into cutting to leave a more permanent mark. Exacto knife blades are sometimes used; these are considerably duller, hurt more, are not sterile unless autoclaved, and their use is discouraged.


Play piercing is actually safer than having a cat. Cat scratches are distinctly unsteril. Still, there is a significant risk of blood born disease transmission.


Diversified Services sells single use 20 gauge/half inch long sterile accupuncture needles for about $1.50 per package of ten.

Hypodermic needles are difficult to procure in many areas due to rediculous laws. These laws are largely responsible for the transmission of HIV among IV drug users; it is quite possible that the HIV epidemic would have died out of its own accord if these stupid laws did not occur. Without these laws, the incidence of HIV transmission might have been low enough to not reach critical mass. These laws jeopardize the health of everyone, not just IV drug users.

In Virginia it is legal for adults to posses hypodermic needles if they is no evidence of illegal drug use. It is also legal, I believe, to sell or purchase needles. Pharmacies in virginia and other states often have more restrictive rules regarding the sale of needles and syringes. In Virginia, you can purchase needles at pharmacies but you are required to sign a control log; purchasing significant numbers of needles might attract attention from law enforcement. You do not need a prescription. Many mail order medical suppliers are reluctant to sell needles, particularly if either the seller or the purchaser is in one of the states with regressive laws.

In Virginia, you can purchase hypodermic needles without hassle from farm or veterinary suppliers (such as Southern States) with out a prescription, having to sign a log, or other hassles. These sources are likely to be less problematic in other states as well.

If you store or carry blood glucose meter, test strips, lancets, lancet launcher, and possibly insulin vials in the same place as your needles and syringes, you are likely to have less problems if you are searched by law enforcement or border police. First aid supplies stored/carried in the same place will probably also reduce suspicion.

Surgical Scalpals are availible from eperimental animal laboratory suppliers, such as Kent Scientific with minimal hassle. I understand they have expired so they may not be completely sterile although they are probably sterile enough if cleaned with alcohol/providone-iodine before use. Almost everything else they sell is absurdly overpriced. American Science and Surplus has some non-sterile scalpals for sale at the time of this writing if you have an autoclave availible.

Some snake bite kits, such as those sold at Walmart, have several suction cups (for cupping play), a sterile scalpal blade, and an ampule of providone-iodine solution.



Use this information at your own risk. I do not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.


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