If you have ever had your labia massaged or tugged on during foreplay, you may have noticed how good it feels. This is because putting pressure on the labia can stimulate the internal clitoris. That little button above the top of the vaginal opening that most of us know as the clitoris is really just the tip of a much larger iceberg. It is attached to an additional three to seven inches of sensitive tissue called the clitoral legs. These internal clitoral legs extend under the labia, on each side of the vaginal opening, in the shape of a wishbone. Often during external play, we concentrate on the head of the clitoris but ignore the thousands of sensitive nerve endings that lie beneath the surface of the vulva. (For more fascinating facts about the clitoris and more, check out 10 Things You Don't Know About Vaginas.)

Why Do Labia Clamps Feel Good?

People enjoy labia clamps for a number of reasons. First of all, massaging, tugging, or gently pinching the labia with genital clamps can cause the hidden portion of the clitoral complex to come alive, thus aiding in arousal and intensifying climax.

Dominix - an exclusive Lovehoney.com range of luxury bondage gear For those of us who like pain, stronger genital clamps can feel deliciously wicked, and can deliver the harsh sensations we crave. Whether you use mild or strong clamps, removal can prove erotically intense. When blood rushes back into the area that has just been clamped, every sensation is magnified. The simple act of blowing warm breath on the area or lightly caressing it with a finger can bring about unexpected sensations that are incredibly arousing.

What Kind of Clamps Should I Use on My Labia?

You don’t need to buy a bunch of fancy equipment to indulge in the pleasures of genital clamping. When experimenting with any type of clamping, it’s important to start lightly and gradually increase the intensity over a number of sessions. Wooden clothespins are a great tool to start with.

For your first session with wooden clothespins, try clipping a number of pins along each side of the vaginal opening, on the outer labia. When you stand up, you should feel a gentle and pleasing tugging sensation. The act of running your fingers gently across the clothespins should also be enough to incite arousal. To hold the labia open, tie a wide silk scarf around the top of each thigh, pinning the ends of the clothespins to the legs. (Beyond clothespins, read our sexpert's advice about other Household Items That Make Good Sex Toys.)

How Do I Use Labia Clamps Safely?

It’s important to take safety considerations into account when using any type of genital clamp, even ones as gentle as wooden clothespins. First, never leave a clamp on one area for longer than 15-20 minutes. Even less time is advised for extremely tight clamps or for areas where the tissue is less meaty. Check the area every few minutes; if you notice blue or purple discoloration, or if the area becomes cold to the touch, remove the clamp immediately. Always avoid clamping nerve packed areas like the clitoris or clitoral hood. You can clamp either the inner or outer labia but keep in mind that because the outer labia are generally thicker, they can usually withstand more intense clamping. The inner labia are thinner and more delicate, so clamp accordingly.

What Other Types of Labia Clamps Can I Use?

If you're game to try something more intense than wooden clothespins, plastic clothespins, which clip more tightly and deliver more of a bite, are a good option. Other household implements like chip clips, hanger clips, or binder clips can all double as labia clamps.

Most types of nipple clamps can also be used on the labia. Nipple clamps connected by a chain add extra weight, thus increasing sensation. BDSM retailers also sell clamps with interchangeable weights so you can increase the heaviness as you become more accustomed to it.

As you progress in your genital clamp play, you may choose to combine this activity with blindfolds or arm restraints, or incorporate it into role-play scenarios. You can even wear labia clamps under a skirt in public and revel in the sexy secret only you and your partner know.

Removing Labia Clamps

Any type of body clamp, be it for the penis, nipples, labia, or any other part of the body, hurts the most when it is removed. This is because, upon removal, circulation suddenly returns to the area, causing it to swell quickly. In order to subdue the rush of pain that occurs during clamp removal, certain steps need to be taken.

First and foremost, make sure your hands are dry. Any lube or moisture on your hands may cause the clamp to slip out of your fingers during removal and snap back down on the skin. This hurts. A LOT.

When removing the clamp, grip it firmly with the pointer finger and thumb of your dominant hand. Release the pressure slowly. As soon as the clamp breaks away from the skin, lift it up and away from the body swiftly. If the skin sticks to one side of the open clamp use your other hand to gently tug it away. Just before you remove the clamp, have your partner (or yourself if you are clamping solo) take a deep breath in. As the clip is being removed, they should relax their body and exhale. Breathing with the pain will make it easier to manage.

In the moments after clamp removal, do not touch the area. It will be extremely sensitive and likely painful. For some, the pain may be a welcome treat and for others it may be undesirable. The tighter the clip you use, the longer you should wait to touch the area. When you do start to touch, even light tickles or the simple act of blowing on the area will feel intense. The period of time after the initial rush of pain subsides, but before the swelling completely goes away, is the best time to gently play with and tease the area. The labia are hypersensitive at this stage and every touch will feel erotically magnified.

Try It Out!

Now that you know the basics, is labia clamping something you’d like to try? You can start tonight by picking up a pack of clothespins at your local grocery or dollar store, or checking out some genital clamps at your local sex toy retailer. You might even already have some at home. Remember, since wooden clothes pins are porous, they should not be shared with partners and, in the case of vulva clamping, they should be discarded after use due to exposure to moisture. (Keep it clean and read our Top Tips for Sex Toy Sanitation.) If you find that the wooden clamps aren’t tight enough for your liking, loop a rubber band around the head for a tighter grip.

Happy clamping!