Nipple torture, related to breast torture (which is also known as tit torture), is elevating the manipulation of two well-known erogenous zones into the realms of S&M, something well beyond the usual nipple stroking found in conventional sexual contexts. It involves the stimulation of the nipples by a variety of techniques. While sometimes done purely for the pain it inflicts on the sub, the majority of instances are because the receiving individual wants it. Among homosexuals, mutual titplay is usually the rule. The practice, with a male (or another female) dominating a female usually involves not just the nipples but the entire breast and to an outsider, might seem to be entirely pain-oriented; nonetheless, the female nipples are just as great an erogenous zone as they are in males, and certain females enjoy it. There are doubtless many happy heterosexual and lesbian couples where the partners are very much into torturing each other's nipples.
As erogenous zones, the nipples are to a certain extent erectile tissue; they get hard when aroused. Homosexuals into titplay often refer to their nipples as their other two penises, where stimulation of the upper two brings an extreme ultra-hard response to the lower equipment. Anne Rice in her Beauty books wrote of similar sensations amomg women.
The sensations caused are a sexual arousal/pleasure combined with genuine pain, but merged in a hyper-sexuality, one that afficianados regularly attempt to reproduce. Nipple torture is not really BDSM, but simple S&M, as those into it tend to find each other and provide mutual pleasure, but this is not to say bondage is not a part of tit torture; consensual bondage is often necessary to get to the next level.
Nipple torture is a distinct subculture in the leather community. Men into tit torture show up at leather bars with their shirts open, ready for action. They sometimes have nipple clamps suggestively arranged on their habit, or display some serious toys on their jacket or dangling from their belt (using tit clamps joined by a chain to clamp together the cloth of one's wide-open shirt to more fully display both nipples is especially provocative). While many forms of sadomasochism have questionable legality, some practitioners consider the activity entirely legal in most American and Commonwealth gay bars; it certainly goes on in Europe.
Tit rings fascinate those into tit torture, and most into it eventually try them out, but eventually reject them as they tend to interfere in the arousal process.
The techniques are endless. They begin with simple manipulation by the fingers, lips and teeth. The overall best technique is just with the fingers, pinching, pressing, rubbing circularly, now and again applying some sharp nail. Kissing and sucking are also nice, but mainly fetishistic (one kisses the object one adores). Nibbling by the teeth is serious fun, but seriously dangerous. Rapidly flicking the nail-side of a finger against the nipple is the next step up, as is willfully abrading the tit with one's nail.
Various devices may be employed. "Snake bite kits" and other such suction devices are available in sex shops; these suction devices pull fluid (blood, interstitial fluid, lymph, etc) into the nipple, usually very rapidly, engorging them; these engorged nipples are exquisitely more sensitive. For people with large enough breasts (i.e. most women and a few men), breast bondage may be used to similar effect. Suction devices may be the start and end of the scene, but also can be the prelude to something far more intense. One should not allow suction to continue beyond 10-15 minutes (one's nipples go cold at that point and all sexual interest disappears).
Nipple clamps are a very common item in sex shops often taking the form of alligator clamps (roach clips). Alligator clamps should be eschewed as one does not know what the metal is made of, that they are difficult to disinfect, and that the sharp points often cause unwanted damage from the point of view of all parties. Other types are also offered, but as a practical matter, most are not appropriate for the more intense scenes. Vise grips can be used, but some sort of covering for the coarse gripping surfaces is a must. Hemostats (a medical instrument) and related clamps are much better, in that they just about never slip off and are designed to reduce the possibility of damage to tissue.
Weights, in conjunction with tightly-fitting clamps such as hemostats carries the scene further, heightening the erotic pleasure-pain sensations. Lead fishing weights, obtaininable from any sporting-goods store, then attached to S-hooks are a very cheap source and are amenable to fine-tuning for the scene and go from one ounce up to five pounds. Weighty scenes such as this are to be done only with hemostats or other such clamps designed for use with human tissue, in that one does not want something weaker that could slip off a nipple (these devices are easily obtainable (without prescription) at large medical supply stores in major cities). Five pounds per nipple is easily achieveable. Having one's master's boots hanging from your nipples is a fun photo opportunity.
Temporary piercing, most common among leathermen, is also a form of nipple torture, and forms a smaller subset of the larger tit torture scene. This brings in sanitation issues, as blood and other bodily fluids can be exchanged, as well the risk of simple infection. Great care must be exercised in this scene and very thorough cleansing afterwards is a must. Sanitation can be introduced as part of the scene, by the use of full-strength hydrogen peroxide (which stings a little) or even alchohol (cheap straight Scotch, spat onto your tits by your partner can be hot). The pleasure derived is from the sudden prick through the nipple, and then the sub seeing himself so-pierced in a mirror. Weights may be brought into the scene once a suitable supporting scaffold of piercings are in place.
Tit torture is often involved with CBT (Cock-and-Ball Torture). If one is prepared to push needles into the tits, needles in the superficial tissues of the genitalia are also often in order and can also involve weights suspended from a genitally-pierced superstructure.
Abrasive techniques can be used. Emery boards and fine-grit sandpaper can be very carefully applied to the nipple, abrading away epidermal tissue, making the nipples exquisitely sensitive to pleasure-pain. This is often an auto-erotic technique. As this can leave the nipples sensitive for days, it has the added benefit of providing a continuous erotic sensation through one's day, every time your T-shirt shifts.
Chemical applications are known. 'Hot' substances such as Ben-Gay may be applied. Wax can also be dripped on to the nipples but great care must be taken; if the wax is too hot, it will burn the skin. These two practices tend to be part of a larger BDSM scene, and are not characteristic those into mutual TT.
Fire is also sometimes brought into play. The tip of a lit cigar or cigarette can be brushed against the nipple. This has to be done carefully, as serious permanent damage can quickly occur. Getting one's tits burned can be erotically stimulating for some people, with the inherent danger being part of it.
Other techniques involve placing small rubber bands around the base of the nipple to force its protrusion. This can also be done by tying thin string around the base of the nipple. Caution is needed to ensure the pressure provided by the string / rubber band is not enough to cut the skin.
Many, especially those in the leather scene, actually want their nipples to be very sore, even reduced to crusted messes, as the sensitivity of the nipples can last for days, providing continuous erotic pleasure. Once into the scene, many want to have their areolae permanently deformed, by making them become protracted forward through extremely prolonged action, leaving long tubes, and erasing any suggestion of an areola. Men at this state often have areolae tatooed on around their nipples.