There’s been some interest expressed in having a post on what people find interesting/appealing about needleplay. I’ve taught needplay 101, sadistic needleplay, needle CBT, needle predicament bondage, and using needles for magic & energy work, at some of the top events in the US as well as on KinkAcademy.com, so I felt comfortable answering this one.
The list below is not intended to be every reason folk might like needleplay, and I’ve never met someone who liked it for all of the reasons listed. Note: Some of these reasons apply more to the top, some more to the bottom.
- Sensation – Needleplay provides not only a unique sensation, but offers an immense range of sensation. I can pierce someone with a very small gauge needle (27 – 30g) with next to know sensation, or I can go larger (18 – 16g) and draw from a wide range of sadistic twists, resulting in some of the most intense sensations available anywhere in the BDSM world. For the record, many of my scenes go somewhere in between, and my most commonly used needle sizes are 22g & 18g.
- Penetration Play – There is something incredibly erotic in penetrating/being penetrated bodily in holes that didn’t exist a moment before, and whose only purpose is the excitement and enjoyment of the people involved in the scene.
- Blood – Needleplay doesn’t always involve much shedding of blood, but as a rule, you get pieced, you’re going to bleed, and of course there are techniques for increasing how much a bottom bleeds. Some people enjoy needleplay because they enjoy making someone bleed/being made to bleed, and the needles themselves are a means to an end.
- D/s – For many people, there is a powerful D/s dynamic involved in engaging in needleplay with someone. Submitting to another and letting them violate your body in such intense and intimate ways is a powerful act (see: penetration play). The exchange of trust is also central to the experience. The bottom is trusting the top to safely do play that is not only risky, but requires a high degree of skill and training to be done properly, while the top is trusting the bottom not only to hold still (very few people do needleplay with restrained bottoms in my experience), but also to communicate their needs, internal state, and medical history, not to mention not to report them for what nearly every jurisdiction would consider to be assault with a dangerous weapon (in this it is much like other BDSM techniques) or practicing medicine without a license.
- Phobia – Playing with our fears is a tantalizing and thrilling form of edge play. It is not uncommon to see people drawn to needleplay because of their fear of needles or bad medical experiences. One of the most intense needle scenes I ever saw involved a bottom simply getting to where they could be in the presence of a needle out of it’s packaging.
- Medical Fetishism – There is a lot of medical trappings involved in doing needleplay properly, from surgical skin preparations (why you shouldn’t use isopropyl alcohol for play piercing is a whole other post), to sterilely package hypodermic needles (not sewing needles for gods’ sake), very frequent changes of latex or nitrile exam gloves, sterilely package gauze and bandages, stretcher sheets or chucks to protect surfaces, hospital-grade disinfectant for cleaning all non-porous surfaces afterwards, and of course, the bright red of the sharps box. For many people, all these factors make needleplay as much about medical fetishism as about the sensation of the play itself, and I’ve heard of people who take needleplay way beyond the above list of necessary tools, to include other medical fetish tools such as O2 sat monitors, hospital-surplus tables, *sterile* gloves, and more.
- Artistry – Although my scenes and layouts can be lovely, I am not at heart an artistic needleplayer. However, I have immense respect for my friends and colleagues who are, and some of the work I’ve seen is staggeringly beautiful. There are both tops and bottoms who enjoy needleplay primarily as an opportunity for beauty and adornment, rather than sensation.
- Low Effort/High Result – I have some serious disability issues that prevent me from being able to do many of the more intensive topping techniques (for instance, I can’t swing a flogger for more than a minute or two). Using the tools and techniques of needleplay, especially sadistic needleplay, I can provide my bottom with a powerful experience with a minimum of physical exertion on my part.