Basic Play Piercing Guide

Play piercing is all about stimulating the nerve endings within the epidermal skin layers.

It is a form of edge-play and has inherent risks which you need to familiarise yourself with in order to gain the ability you need to play responsibly. The main risk to consider is that you are breaking the blood/air barrier and leaving the body open to potential infection, so cleanliness is of a high priority. You may hear people talking about a sterile room or environment but while seemingly ideal, this is unattainable – even an operating theater is not sterile. However having said this it is a MUST that your needles are sterile and that your environment and tools are as clean as possible. We say always err on the side of caution about what you are doing and consider whether you would want to on the receiving end in the conditions you are setting up for your partner.

Things to consider before starting play:

1. Location: Has your victim/subject/play partner got somewhere they can be comfortable and give you proper access to their skin? Have you got plenty of room to set up a clean area and dirty waste disposal area? Have you got good lighting? Are there people too close by who could knock you or your bunny? Avoid bad lighting, make sure your areas are set up responsibly and you both have enough space to play safely. It’s worth making an effort for.

2. Your victim/chattel/subject/etc : Have they been drinking or taking drugs? Are they on warfarin or any other blood thinning drugs like aspirin? Are they a haemophiliac? All of these factors will make them bleed more and may have unwanted side effects. Have they any STI’s or skin conditions? Have they any heart conditions? Do they have epilepsy? Have they a latex allergy?  Again all of these factors need to be seriously considered in whether you play or not. We recommend doing some research into how these drugs and conditions may affect your victim and yourself. It’s important to always go forward in an informed, safe way. You will get a lot more out of this type of play by amassing as much knowledge as you possibly can and also by talking to and learning techniques from other experienced enthusiasts.

3. Yourself: Have you been drinking or taking drugs? Are you tired? Do you feel you are careful and competent enough to do this? Do you have EVERYTHING (supplies) that you need to hand? If any these adverse conditions apply to you, it’s best to wait until you are fully sober, awake and in control before embarking on this type of play.


What will you need:

a.) A willing play partner in good health and the right frame of mind.

b.) Sterile needles

c.) Skin cleaning wipes or pre-injection wipes

d.) Sterile field or clean area pack

e.) Medical procedure gloves

f.) Sharps bin

g.) Swabs

h.) Dressings

i.) Alcohol gel

Setting up

Setting up is easy. You will need a very well-lit area where you and your bunny can be comfortable and relaxed without having to constantly check if you are going to get knocked into. So if you are starting it’s best to play at home in a clean, well prepared space. Some clubs now have a medical area with specialist equipment such as a massage table or medical examination bed in a well lit area, usually screened off from the main area. If you are at home you want to be somewhere where blood won’t damage furniture and furnishings such as carpets. I find a bed or sofa to be best with a clean drop sheet (such as a cheap plastic shower curtain or a sterile medical bed sheet) to catch any blood spills (this will also stop any contaminants such as pet hair or dirt getting to your victim).

Wash your hands thoroughly and use an anti bacterial spray or alcohol gel on them.

Set up a clean area and a dirty area.

These are pretty self-explanatory. Set up one small. clean table for all your clean needles, swabs, etc. and one dirty area for your sharps bin and empty packaging. Keep them close by but very separate from each other. This is where one of the clean area packs is really useful – just spread it out on a table top and you have a nice little sterile field. If you don’t have a clean area pack; a wipe over with a good anti bacterial spray or 5% bleach solution will kill most nasties lurking about. Be sure to read the bottle for any information about minimum contact times for the solution to work – no point ‘cleaning’ if you dry the surface before the anti-bac has a chance to do it’s job. Again these little details make all the difference and will help allow you to concentrate on making your environment as controlled and safe as possible which is very important.

Clean the med bed or examination chair with anti bacterial spray or 5% bleach solution. It may look clean but who knows if the last person to use it cleaned it after they used it. Alternatively, if you are playing away from home keep a clean drop sheet or sterile medical bed sheet in your kit bag so you can be sure that anywhere you choose to play is clean.

Place everything you will need (skin wipes, alcohol gel, needles, etc) in your clean area.

Place your subject on the bed/chair and get them into a god position.

Glove up

If you are right handed double glove your left hand. Double gloving really is a great safety precaution against blood transfer! No, it won’t stop you getting a needle stick but it will help reduce the amount of potentially contaminated blood that you are exposed to, see here for more information.

I like to then give my hands in the gloves a quick spray of alcohol gel or anti-bacterial hand cleaner as they are generally out of a multi-pack box but you do not need to do this if using Individually packed sterile gloves. Keep the alcohol gel or anti-bac close by as you’ll want to reapply it throughout the play session, especially if you need to touch something other than the needles and your play partner.

Now you are ready to play!

The Play

A quick word about needles and the skin:

Needles have a bevel on them a little like a ramp.

If the needle is placed with the long edge down to the skin this ramp will lift the skin over the needle making placement easier

For me the whole point of needle play is the sensations the needles make hitting the nerves. The skin has several different types of nerves most of them in the dermis layer. The skin is made of 3 layers the epidermis (the outer most layer) the dermis (the middle layer) and the subcutaneous or hypodermis (mainly a fat layer). The thickness of these layers varies from area to area on the body, the eyelids being the thinnest and the soles of the feet being the thickest, but on average the dermis is about 1mm under the epidermis (about 0.5mm in the eyelids and 2-3mm on the soles of the feet) this is the area you want to aim for. If you put needles too deep all you do is miss the nerves and increase the chance of infection. While some people enjoy the sensation of deep needles, we don’t generally recommend doing this due to the higher chance of infection.

Basic skin anatomy:

The location and placing the needles is something that can’t be really described. It’s down to personal preference on speed and design but there are plenty of pictures on and the like showing good and bad needle formations on a consenting subject. One of my favourite people on FetLife is Das_UberDom – This guy really is amazing with needles!

Remember to place the empty packets in your dirty area.

Once the needles are in you can play further with them: poking, stoking, twisting, pulling. All these things will create sensations from tickles to pain. What you do with them is up to you.

Removal as the Haynes Manuals say is exactly the reverse of putting them in… but again this does not have to be a case of just withdraw them. If you are feeling particularly evil you can ‘snake’ the needles out. This will almost flay the skin under the surface causing more sensations. Removing multiple needles at once can intensify the sensations of the needles hitting the nerve endings again. Just experiment with what feels good. Remember the removal process will still cause sensations.

Place used needles straight into your sharps bin – do not put them on the side to clean up later, do not resheath them as this is both unnecessary and hugely increases your chance of a needle stick and do not try to clean them!

Clean up the blood with gauze swabs and allow the holes to clot then you can clean up any dried on blood with alcotips or warm soapy water. If your subject/victim/partner is not clotting and you need to move them away from the play area, use dressings to cover the wounds.

Again depending on how evil you are being you could just squeeze some alcohol out of the alcotips onto the open wounds just for some added sting.

  • Do not place an alcotip or gauze swab over the needle when removing it thinking this will clean the needle, it wont, all it will do is possibly drag particles if the gauze back under the skin leaving foreign bodies under the skin.
  • Then everything on your clean and dirty table (apart from the sharps bin) that is open or used can be put in a bin. Always place used (or unused open needles) needles in a sharps bin and dispose of it responsibly at a chemist, needle exchange, health center, doctors or hospital. Some tattoo and piercing studios will also dispose of these for you or you can always drop it off to me at Edgeplay when we are at the LFF or BBB. If a sharps bin is not disposed of properly you could end up with a hefty fine.
  •  Needles are designed to be used once. After one use the needle is blunt and full of decomposing body tissues – DO NOT REUSE them, even if you have the facilities to resterilise them.

Here is a picture of the end of a needle after use under a microscope. Note how badly damaged it is after just a few uses.
Remember putting a needle in the way we do it would count as a needle used twice so if you lace a needle in and out 3 times it looks like the needle used 6 times.

I hope you have found this informative as a little introduction to how to begin in the art of needle play.

I strongly recommend you attend a needle workshop or have some one to one 
training with someone you feel is competent in needle play. 

We wish you a very safe, enjoyable and happy play piercing!

All of the items you need for a wide range of edge-play scenarios are available on our website or from our stall at one of the fetish markets we attend. We are always happy to take time to answer specific questions and offer help and advice, so please don’t be shy!