You might want to, though. Imagine how helpless you feel when someone “attacks” your feet or sides with playful tickling. While laughter and fun should have a place in BDSM and kink, it can be rare – most people seem so serious! Tickling is one of those times when laughter is almost required. That it feeds into feelings of power and control, even fear, are like sprinkles on a kinky cake.
Originally a medical device used to test for nerve damage, at some point kinksters decided there was a much better use. Known for its long, sharp spines that rotate on a wheel as pressure is applied to the handle, the Wartenberg wheel is (among some of us) a torture device. The wheel creates the feeling of sharp pricks which can make you believe your skin is being cut. A basic Wartenberg wheel is a single row of spines but it has evolved into a bigger, better, and (depending on your perspective) meaner toy with multiple wheels and spines.
Small or big electric pulses passed through skin and muscle can create a variety of sensations depending on the part of the body and how you feel about that kind of play. Violet wands, TENS units, and other electrical toys are used from a little to a lot. The TENS unit is a medical device meant to relax muscles. When turned too high, it can cause pain or a harsh jolt. Depending on where the wand or unit is placed, it can also cause orgasms and lots of pleasure.
Soft or Scratchy
Like hot and cold, soft and scratchy can be used together to create a contrast or enjoyed independent of each other. In sensation play, though, contrast is often a big part of the control and enjoyment for either partner. While you can buy specific toys to create either a soft or scratchy feeling, it’s not always necessary. That said, there are sensation play toys of all kinds, so keep an eye out for the ones that fuel your desires.
Flower petals, soft cotton, fake fur, and silk rubbed against the body may make your partner arch like a contented cat. It can also be soothing in between hot and cold, electrical stimulation, or the scratch of fingernails.
There are different forms of “extreme” kinky play known as edge play. When discussing sensation, the most common forms are needles, knives, and blood. Each of these can be experienced on their own or in some combination. Sometimes no needles, knives, or blood are used. The top or Dominant uses toys and other items to create sensations and play on their partner’s belief in what they think is happening to them.
In other instances, needles and knives are used to cut or pierce the skin or to pretend to pierce the skin. Some kinksters enjoy blood dripping down their bodies. Others want the sharp sensation of a needle or knife breaking their skin. This is an advanced form of kink that should only be tried after establishing strong trust, learning how to play safely, understanding first aid and CPR, and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to prevent the spread of disease.
No discussion of sensation play would be complete without a mention of pain. As you’ve noticed, many forms of sensation play already discussed can cause pain. Hot candle wax, electro-stimulation, and sharp points poking into the skin may cause uncomfortable and potentially painful sensations. Sharp smacks used in impact play do too.