Hard As Nails: Sex and Sensuality With Long Nails

Published: MAY 19, 2015
Long nails can hurt, but they can also be pleasurable.

I used to be a terrible nail biter. I'd tear my nails down to bloody stubs. This was partially due to anxiety and partially because I hated the feeling and look of dirt under my nails.


All of that changed about five years ago when one of my sexual partners and I discovered together that they really enjoyed being scratched. Having ragged, bitten nails was more conducive to hurting them more than they enjoyed than it was to pleasure. It was a very good reward system to stop my bad habit. I haven't looked back. Not only did I stop biting my nails, but even after my partner and I amicably went our different ways, I have become very fond of growing my nails long and filing them to a point. This is primarily for aesthetic purposes, but can come in handy for pleasurable pursuits.

My nails are a weapon. I have accidentally broken skin on myself and other people more times than I can count. It has taken a significant amount of practice to become more adept at avoiding those sorts of accidents. But I've learned that with proper positioning and practice, long nails can be ultra-pleasurable for my partners. Here are some tips on how to use them for pleasure - and avoid causing (unwanted) pain.


Vaginal Penetration and Long Nails

Long nails have long appeared in porn, but it's easy to assume that vaginal penetration and long nails don't mix in real life. That isn't necessarily true. Vaginal penetration with long nails is something that needs to be done slowly, carefully, and with a lot of feedback if it is being performed on another person. It is definitely not something that is going to be happening rapidly. It takes a lot of work in order to do it without uncomfortable pokes and prods that will probably happen anyway.

Your nails must be properly manicured with edges filed smooth, cuticles and hangnails trimmed, and dirt removed from underneath. This is really important to a comfortable and safe experience. Ideally, this should be done regardless of the length of your nails because jagged edges and hangnails can cause small abrasions or tears of delicate tissues. You should also be really be clean when it comes to putting anything into the delicate ecosystems that are our orifices, whether you have long nails or not.

Anal Penetration and Long Nails

You shouldn't put long nails into butts without some sort of covering over the nail. The tissues in our rectums are even thinner and more delicate than those of the vaginal region. I wouldn't even really recommend those with short nails go in without a latex or nitrile glove. If you have particularly long nails, you can be even more gentle and safe by stuffing half or a whole cotton ball into the tips of the gloves. This makes things easier and more pleasurable for the recipient.

Sensation Play

There are also a myriad of ways to explore the sensations of long nails. It can be as serious as drawing deep red raised welts onto peoples backs or even drawing blood or gently tracing one's nails across someone else's skin for an incredibly relaxing and tingle-inducing sensation. Long nails, even admittedly scary looking ones like my daggers, do not need to inflict pain. They can be used with subtlety.

When it came to my former partner who loved to be scratched, they described the teasing, the pain of the scratching, and then the gentle tracing of fingers afterwards to all be important aspects of this form of sensation play. When you're scratching someone, there are a lot of different techniques you can use. Here are a few:


  • Straight Lines
    Keep the nail in contact with skin and pull it in a straight line with consistent pressure. It's advisable to start out with little to no pressure and then work your way up to whatever the recipient enjoys.

  • Up and Down Teasing
    Move the nails up and down, using the to tip apply varying pressure on the downstroke and pulling the top of the nail flat against the skin on the upstroke for a soft and almost soothing sensation. Keep the strokes at varying lengths to keep the recipient guessing.

  • Stationary
    Keep the tips of the nails in contact with the skin and do not move them. This can be light or you can really dig in. Digging in often expresses desire or pleasure to the recipient.

  • Finger Pads
    Glide your fingertips without any nail on the skin. This can really set off the nerve endings after a little bit of scratching.
The skin is very sensitive after scratching. A little bit goes a long way. Be sure to lovingly caress or kiss the recipient's skin after scratching. This is great as aftercare and can cause new and intense sensations while their nerves are overactive. My former partner often had a hard time deciding if the scratching or the aftercare was their favorite part of the experience.

There is also something to be said for gently gliding the nails over sensitive skin like the neck, inner forearm, and inner thigh. The skin in these areas is very delicate. Even the slightest pressure can elicit everything from arousal to goosebumps to laughter.

If you don't want to put the work into growing your own nails or don't want to have them all the time, acrylics can be a great option. Some adult retailers even carry polished metal talons that wrap around your fingertips, for an even more temporary solution.

Long nails can be a fun and pleasurable aspect of your play if done properly and with some practice. You don't want to hurt your partner, but many people like a dose of pain with their pleasure. Long nails are a great, sexy, way to deliver it.


Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin began their sex education experience when they received an email in reply to the resume they posted on Craigslist asking if they'd be interested in an interview at an adult store. Though they had never been in an Adult Store at this point in their life, they needed a job and figured "Why not?"

This was ostensibly the moment in which their life changed.

Now more than a year on,...

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