A sex toy that’s as commonplace as the clothespin in your kitchen, nipple clamps are becoming more popular and play a major role in BDSM. These clamps pinch the nipples to create an intense feeling, and are used in a variety of ways for pleasure in a kink-friendly or sexual setting.

While nipple clamps can be used alone, they’re also the perfect way to kick off a more intimate sex toy session with your partner. They allow your partner to use their hands or other sex toys to stimulate the area while you’re wearing them, and can lead into a range of orgasm-inducing sensations. For instance, licking, sucking, and kissing the nipples while you’re wearing them can feel very orgasmic.

Nipple clamps work by restricting blood flow to the nipples, creating a painful-meets-pleasurable feeling, explains clinical sexologist and co-founder of The Swann Center Valerie Poppel, PhD. Some clamps are even weighted, causing an even more intense sensation.

Whether you’re using them for yourself or as a way to tease and please your partner, the key is to pre-pinch the nipples to get a feel for the pressure and sensation that the clamps will cause. You can do this by gently touching the nipples, sucking on them a little, and then squeezing with the clamps for a few seconds. Then, take a deep breath and release the clamps. It takes a little time to build up to the pain tolerance you want to feel, and it’s okay to remove them when they start to hurt too much.

There are a number of different types of nipple clamps on the market, including those that look like clothespins (like this pair from Fetish Fantasy Gold), and those that resemble tweezers. Cobb recommends starting with a simple, adjustable clamp that’s on the loosest setting and working your way up, so you can gradually increase the intensity. She says that tweezer clamps are her favorites for beginners since they’re easy to use, don’t pinch the skin too hard, and are made of a soft metal so you can wear them comfortably.

Another option are nipple clamps that can be controlled via an app, like this one from Lovense. They’re Bluetooth-compatible, so you can turn them on and off or adjust the tightness from afar. Plus, you can pair them with vibrators to intensify the experience.

If you’re looking to take things to the next level, try magnetic clamps. These have magnets that constantly try to touch each other, increasing the intensity of the pinch as you play with them. The magnets also feel good against the nipples, and they’re sleek and pretty to look at.

No matter what type of nipple clamp you choose, remember to listen to your body and remove the clamps when they start hurting too much. If you leave them on for too long, you may develop nerve damage, explains Carmel Jones, a sex and relationships expert. And make sure to check your nipples for any signs of blue, which are a sign that you’re going beyond your pain tolerance.