Its purpose is the same as pleasure

“But pressing with the nails is not a usual thing except with those who are intensely passionate, i.e. full of passion. It is employed, together with biting, by those to whom the practice is agreeable.” – The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana, Richard Burton translation

Both of us have nails that will grow fairly long before splitting or breaking. I usually cut mine in anticipation of other activities, but have enough to leave satiny marks winding across his skin. Scratching is an extremely under-appreciated act, one that is wondrous in its simplicity and versatility. A gentle scrape across the skin is enough to make the nerves perk up at attention, in my own experience enough to make me shiver and tingle with anticipation. Just barely harder and you dance on the border between pleasant sensation and pain. Walking that tightrope can be the majority of a scene; I experience it almost as sparks burning a chemical trail across my skin, threatening to become a conflagration. It takes so little extra pressure to then make it actually painful, to make someone feel as if they’re being cut when there isn’t even more than the barest of scrapes. I found by accident that things that might be an irritant to cut skin can be quite painful to these scrapes as well, a fact that I’ve tucked away for future reference. I also find that if my nails are too short, I have several bluegrass finger picks that I use as claws. Not being sharp, they’re excellent for digging in and causing pain without actually breaking skin. At some point, I’d like to invest in a set of claws from somewhere like HammerFell Armoury for sharper, more pinpointed sensations and extra threat. I do also love the idea of leaving him to wonder which set of claws I’m equipping, to breathe in his tension as he waits.

The setting is a hotel room, and we’d opened the scene with a spanking, leaving me giggly and pink cheeked in both senses. I love asking him to top, he’s so attuned to what I want that I rarely have to give him direction. He’s gently begun to trail his nails over the sensitized skin, making me tremble ever so slightly. I can take more thud of a spanking or a flogging without experiencing it as pain than I can take the stinging feel when he begins to dig in. My thoughts dissipate as my world shrinks down to the patch of skin he’s working on, the feel of the sheets against new scratches as he rolls and flips me around to reach unmarked areas. It’s intense, not the pain itself so much as the moment being filled with sensations while his words pour over me soothing and stinging as much as his hands. I’m overwhelmed, buzzy and a little frantic. It occurs to me that I could tell him to stop and he would bring me down at my word. I don’t; no point in holding your hand to the flame to immediately shrink back from the heat. At the end, he tells me he scratched a furrow slightly too deep on my shoulder blade; I’ve bled out a few drops. I imagine the blood welling up from the scratch like tiny garnets on the newly blush satin of my skin.

“The love of a woman who sees the marks of nails on the private parts of her body, even though they are old and almost worn out, becomes again fresh and new. If there be no marks of nails to remind a person of the passages of love, then love is lessened in the same way as when no union takes place for a long time.” – ibid