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From prehistoric days mankind has needed, used and hated the stinging nettle. An enemy of the farmer and gardener, the bane of children’s bare knees, and an instrument of torture with which medieval monks flagellated their bare backs, the plant has been reviled by one generation after another. Since the discovery of the holly leaf being a great torment to submissive and slaves alike… the idea of the stinging nettle came into question in the BDSM world.

In places where stinging nettles are abundant, such as Northern Europe, every child learns quickly to fear and avoid this plant. When fighting or doing nonsense, a child may sometimes chase or fling another child into nettles – a possibly traumatic experience which can amplify a fear into a phobia. The concept of being deliberately punished with stinging nettles is therefore extremely fearsome.

Hot, intense burn of a nettle can last for up to 24 hours. The sensation takes a long time to cool and you’re aware of it the entire time due to the almost electric tingle through the area effected. Reactions vary, but most spankees show an intense burning irritation, which is also visible as reddening, and a series of little lumps, like small mosquito bites is common. The effect is very similar to the warm feeling that comes just after the sharp pain of a whipstroke fades. This is wonderful for longterm BDSM sessions or verbal and light play in public. However there is an opinion that regular use of nettles for many spankees seems to lead to a partial immunity.

Click hete to see full gallery with nettle play photos.

There are a variety of ways in which the nettle plant can be used. Stinging nettles are soft and lightweight, practically any body part can be punished this way, if desired, including the breasts, genitals and similar sensitive areas. Nettles are best used in a gentle stroking or dabbing action, which will cause those stinging hairs that come into contact with the recipient’s skin to work their effect, without damaging the remaining hairs. Some lie the stems down and press the hairs into the skin, others hold them in a cluster and tap it against the chosen area, or put them into a bottom’s underwear.

People administering diaper discipline may choose to line the bottom’s diaper with stinging nettles to enhance their discomfort and humiliation. Taller stems can be used as a gentle whip. The active ingredients in the stinging nettle do not spread to other areas but are restricted to the site at which the plant comes into contact. The skin becomes sensitized without the injury that certain types of flagellation can produce.

The stems are tough and fibrous and will last for a while in this mode. They are light enough to be used with little inhibition, though the rough stem surfaces can cause very minor surface cuts and abrasions. Floggings with nettles in this way has a history of use for ‘inflaming the passions’. The stings may be less effective when nettles are used in this mode, through the tips of the shoots may sting while “wrapping round” causing areas of greater inflammation along the sides of the body (an effect that may be either desired or avoided). Doubled up, the stems have enough weight to start being effective on sensitive areas such as the testicles.

Other games might involve a blindfolded sub being required to carry out tasks, with vases of nettles forming part of an obstacle course. Nettles can be used to limit the sub’s movement. Pots or vases of nettles can be so placed that the sub cannot move without being stung. This could perhaps be used as part of a conventional whipping scene.

Nettles can be used for control, to create a form of “bondage” without restraints. Nettles can be placed between a standing sub’s parted legs. The nettle is placed just in front of the genitals and just behind the buttocks. This creates limited movement, a cage type situation. This is a refinement of bondage, where the nettles are placed so that they are difficult, but not impossible to avoid. This has something in common with scenes where the bottom is bound by tender parts like hair, balls, or piercings to punish excess motion.

Leaves or pieces of nettle may also be inserted into the recipient’s clothing. Nettles can be used under things. They can be put into bras, pants, tights, or other close-fitting gear, even into condoms. Men who wear condoms have found that briefly applying nettles to the penis before putting on the condom can compensate for the sensation lost by the latex barrier. They can be added to body suits or mummification wraps. The tough stems of nettles can be strung together, so it is also possible to make a skirt or garland for the sub, one that would discourage unnecessary movement.

A woodland walk with a naked, blindfolded sub could be very interesting.

Nettle, as well as the usage of any foreign object not specifically designed with BDSM in mind, should be used with caution. Keep away from the face of course, but apart from that it depends on the sensitivity and tolerance of the recipient. The mucous membranes (e.g. tip of the penis, vaginal area, anus) are the most sensitive and are best avoided until it is known that the recipient will suffer no unwanted after effects.

The top should handle nettles with care. The stem ends can be wrapped with tape or cloth to make a handle. Leather or heavy rubber gloves are recommended, even though there are few hairs at the base of the stem where the top is likely to be holding the plant. The hairs are sharp enough to penetrate cotton or thin latex gloves.

A possible health risk that comes with nettle play is an allergic reaction. Some people are more sensitive to nettle stings than others and it would be foolish to continue any BDSM session if there is generalised swelling and unusual inflammation. This is good reason, in BDSM practice, to establish the responses of the recipient before any extensive use of nettles. Both top and bottom should be ready to stop the scene if there is any evidence of an unusual response.

We’ll discuss nettle play safety tips and other nettle play questions in our following articles. So please click here to subscribe to our news.

Attention! This is an evaluation version. Do not use this article as the guide to action!


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