Shallower = More Pain
Larger Diameter Needle = More Pain
The surface to be pierced should be disinfected first. There are three types of substances that may be used for this:
- Iodine - this is opaque (which may be a problem) and shouldn't be used on someone who is allergic to shellfish.
- Alcohol - this should be 70%-90% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl). One shouldn't use it on someone who is on antabuse.
- BAC - these kill a broader spectrum of pathogens than alcohol, and allergic/ irritation reactions are rare.
Allergic reactions (distinct from irritation) are characterized by pale skin, sweating, localized redness, and asthma-like symptoms. At some play parties, it is required that one cork the tips of needles. This is not always easy to do without sticking oneself, though. The black corks can be autoclaved.
Some people like to spray the area with their disinfectant of choice and/or apply a gauze bandage after the piercing.
Some people prefer to wear latex or nitrile gloves as they do needles, and to use the needle sheath to press down the skin in front of the needle as it is going through so that their hand or finger is not in the needles way. Although most gloves will not protect you should you stick yourself with a needle, they can protect your hands against any blood (of uncertain infectious status) that may flow from skin punctures.
The primary danger in needle play is infection. Be sure that the person you are playing with would recognize the signs of infection should they occur, and if so to go receive proper medical care.
As for the play itself, be sure that the person is comfortable and perhaps have them take a deep breath before you insert the needle. Have them slowly release it while the needle is inserted,and be sure to check in with them regularly, just to make sure they are still ok . Make sure that they are not faint or going pale. Shaking is another sign that they are being flooded with hormones and neurotransmitters and maybe need a breather before continuing. Be careful of shallow piercings especially if you intend to leave them in for a bit, they can easily be ripped out or tear the skin. Bleeding can and probably will occur, so wear gloves. Remove the needles slowly when you are finished, and watch for any bleeding. Make sure that you don't leave them unattended. After care is very important with this type of play, looking for any signs of shock, their metal status, and further bleeding.Now there are still a few safety issues to cover. There are some areas of the body that aren't recommended to use for this type of play. You should not try piercing the wrists, hands, any internal organs , eyes or the spine. It is also not suggested to pierce the armpits, sternum or areas of the body that contain many veins. I am not sure that I specifically agree with that, as the vagina lips are very venous, and that seems to be a place that is played with often. Either way, it will cause more bleeding and increase the potential of spreading any infections, so please use caution and be clean. Maintain as sterile an environment as possible. Alcohol and aspirin increase bleeding so it would not be wise to take or use either before this. Make sure your partner doesn't have bleeding disorders. People on blood thinners should really reconsider doing this or even get a hold of a D/s friendly doctor and ask about the risks.
On a good note though, I have read that you can glue feathers to your needles inside the plastic cap on top if you wish to make patterns, such as angel wings, or eagle wings. Just be sure to negotiate the patterns and number of needles ahead of time. So you don't scare the begeepers out of the bottom. Please be safe and happy poking.