A nipple clamp is a clamp that can be applied to the nipples of either men or women. It is a sex toy which can be attached to the nipples to create pain by restricting blood flow from erect nipples by applying pressure to them. Some people derive erotic pleasure from seeing nipple clamps applied. They are used in some BDSM activities, such as tit torture. The use of nipple clamps is often portrayed in the media as deviant or kinky sexual behavior.
The main types of nipple clamp are the clover clamp, tweezer clamp, and clothes-pin style, though any device that applies direct pressure can be used. For self-use, successful application requires the user to find a personal balance between the amount of pain and pleasure by fine tuning the degree of pressure exerted by the clamp. The clamps are typically used in pairs and connected by a chain. Weights may be hung from the clamps to increase the pressure on the nipples, and to discourage the clamped person from moving suddenly (for example, jumping when spanked or caned), since this would make the weights swing and increase the pain.
Another variation involves another chain being attached to the chain connecting the nipple clamps, the end of which is connected either to a clamp to be attached to the clitoris for female or a cock ring for male. This variation is known as the “Y clamps” for the shape of the chain linking all 3 connection points when attached to the body.
A clothes-pin style clamp works like a common household clothes-pin – two short lengths of metal, joined by a spring to keep one end closed. This type often comes with screws to adjust the pressure, screwing in to release it.
A tweezer clamp consists of two short lengths of metal, no more than 5–10 cm (2–4 in) in length. The two lengths are fixed together at one end and open at the other end (just like a regular tweezer). The open ends are curved slightly to improve their ability to grip the nipple. Typically, they have a small 1 cm rubber sheath over this end to protect the nipple from damage and reduce slippage. A small ring wraps around the two pieces of metal and is used to adjust the tension. The user places the two sides of the metal head either side of the nipple, then by sliding the ring along the clamp shaft towards the nipple, causes the two halves to close tighter together. Tension can thus be adjusted depending on the location of the ring — the closer the ring is along the shaft toward the nipple, the tighter the clamp.
The clover clamp, also referred to as a “butterfly clamp”, is of Japanese design and can provide increasing tension if pulled. The clamp itself is flat, about 5 cm by 10 cm (2 by 4 in) in size. The clamp is applied to the nipple and the spring tension holds the clamp in place. The clamp usually provides a very high pain level, and is usually only used by more advanced users. To increase tension on the nipples, small weights such as fishing line sinkers can be attached to the ends of the clamp. As increased pulling tension is applied to the clamp, it will cause the jaws of the clamp to close tighter, depending on the amount of pull pressure. Another method is to use the clamps to keep a person in one place. If cord is tied from the clamp to a fixed place, the wearer of the clamps cannot move away because the clamps will tighten as they move. Eventually the clamps would be pulled off the nipples but not before considerable pain is felt. If left on for too long can cause nipple irritation.