Growing And Playing With Stinging Nettles

Whenever I have posted here about being curious about nettle play, people have posted various “why would you want to do that?” type questions. Not having experimented, I didn’t have a good answer — except, of course, that a totally harmless method of imposing pain expands the “arena of possibility” when doing BDSM of any kind.

Not being a woodsy type, I never seemed to find any wild nettles while out and about, so I finally decided to grow some, like potted herbs. I bought some seeds over the internet (this was awhile ago, I just googled “nettle seeds” and went from there) and (after more than one failed attempt) got them to germinate this spring. Then, I raised ’em in a pot by my window. You know, water, sunshine, and benign neglect.

They did OK — but some conditions of soil or moisture or humidity were not right; they grew but did not thrive.

They did, however, get big enough to play with, as Bethie reports here:

Dan very carefully took a nettle sprig and pressed it along the right cheek of my very warm bottom. At first I didn’t feel anything, but then slowly a stinging, hot line began to move across the area where he’d applied the nettle. I could almost feel each little stinging hair burning into my bottom. I moaned and ground my hips into the pillows.

While I had been busy experiencing the first application, Dan had been preparing the next one. He told me to be still and then he slowly began pressing more nettle sprigs across my bottom. As more were added, the earlier areas where he’d applied them were beginning to settle down into a lovely stinging sensation.

I suppose if my bottom hadn’t already been so thoroughly tenderized and aching for more, it might have been different. But my well-spanked greedy bottom was primed for those nettles. The nettles were adding sensation in ways I hadn’t expected.

And that’s just it — the nettles are a new-and-different sensation with a long historical tradition and reputation for enhancing sexual arousal. They seem to have come by that reputation honestly. They were a lot of fun to play with, although (and I say this in the best tradition of wimpy topping) the one time I accidentally brushed them against the back of my hand it hurt like hell and I did not approve. Ladies, you may laugh now; unless you are where I can reach you, in which case that might be a bad idea.

Sadly, about ten days after the play Bethie describes above, there was a horticultural disaster at my house. Have I mentioned that I do not have a green thumb? No, it’s more like a black thumb, with a little cloud of defoliant swirling around it with tiny lightning bolts shooting out.

I did mention that my nettles were not thriving. Then, one day, the little plants started falling over. It started with one; a perfectly healthy little weed about four inches tall. It fell over and dissolved into a pool of slime, in just a few hours. Then another, and another; and then (over about 72 hours) they all did it. I was left with nothing but a pot of dirt with some little puddles of slime in it.

Well, I cursed, and then I mourned my little nettles, and resolved to do better next time. The dead planter, I ignored. About a day later, up from the soil sprang — like a zombie army — a uniform coating of mold about a quarter of an inch thick, grey in color like smoke, but organized into little structures (like the cell walls in a foam of soap bubbles) with black speckling on top. Nasty; I had to call in an air strike, with lots and lots of napalm. Black mold in your house is double-plus-ungood. Had it been practical, I would have took off and nuked from orbit; it’s the only way to be sure.

I think they are going to take away my Junior Woodchuck badge and my membership in the Society of People Who Can Get Weeds To Grow.

Lessons for next time, and there will be a next time:

1) Nettle seeds are hard to germinate. If you can find wild nettles, even once, grab some cuttings and work from those.

2) Getting nettle seeds to germinate requires a cycle of cold and moisture to convince the little seeds that it was winter and is now springtime. You can simulate this in your refrigerator. I won’t try to tell you how, because I screwed it up; you can Google that sort of thing, as I did, and hopefully implement better. In my case, I suspect that’s where my soil mold issues got started; by the time I got seedlings, I also had visible mold; which went dormant once I got the seedlings into the sun, but came back later with a vengeance, despite at least one re-potting.

3) I used plain old potting soil. In practice, that soil stayed cold and damp under the best conditions available at my current dwelling. More warmth, more and better sunshine, and maybe some sand admixed to improve soil drainage? I’d even consider using a grow light, but in a lot of places that telltale gleam attracts unwelcome police attention, and I think I’d hate to have that “handcuffed in my underwear in my bedroom at four AM” conversation where I explain that yes, officer, I am growing weeds in my bedroom, but no, these are not the weeds you are looking for, and er, why exactly am I growing them? Uh, somebody told me they make a good soup?

All in all, it was a worthy experiment. Bethie and I both enjoyed playing with my baby nettles, and I look forward to growing bigger and better ones next time.

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  1. Sam commented on September 11th, 2008:

    Hey Dan –

    Did you get pictures of the organism that took over? It may not have been mold at all! It could have been slime molds(which are not fungus, but communal amoebae that are closest related to animals in terms of the scheme of animal/plant/fungi. They feed on bacteria. Or it could have been fungus or a bacteria.

    Sorry, the nerd in me is intensely interested in the sensation of nettles. And what killed them. I’m not a biologist AND a masochist…*cough*

  2. Bethie commented on September 11th, 2008:

    I couldn’t believe it when they died! We didn’t get to play with them nearly enough. *pout*

  3. Adam commented on September 11th, 2008:

    Ouch, one of the few experiences I’ve had with stinging nettles was accidentally putting my knee into a whole bunch whilst picking blueberries last summer.
    My knee was in searing hot pain for the rest of the day and a bit of the next. I thought a few times ‘why would this appeal to people?’, but I’m glad that people enjoy them. I think i was a bit turned off by my ‘real life outdoor’ experience…lol

  4. SpankBoss commented on September 11th, 2008:

    No pictures, Sam, sorry.

    Bethie, I still say you’re lucky that mold forest (or whatever it was) sprouted — until then, you were a suspect in a potential plant murder! ;-)

    Adam, the whole question of how and when people enjoy painful sensations is fascinating and complex. Sometimes they enjoy suffering, sometimes the pain is remapped and experienced as pleasure. Going further, often the same objective stimulus is experienced radically differently by different people, or even by the same person on a different day, or a different hour, or even across just a few minutes.

  5. Bethie commented on September 11th, 2008:

    About the way we process stimulus, Dan tried to let me test the nettles a couple of weeks before this experience and I didn’t enjoy them at all! He rubbed the nettles across the back of my hand and I didn’t think the pain would ever go away. I didn’t like that one bit. But the day we played with them, my bottom was primed and the sensation was completely different. It didn’t burn in a bad way but in a completely arousing way.

    Well, except for that one sprig I managed to clench between my cheeks, but even that was just a temporary bad sensation before becoming a good one. LOL

  6. Lord Storr commented on September 12th, 2008:

    Nettles require a high phosphate level which is why they grow best around the edges of playing fields where athletes and fans have relieved themselves. Incidently archeologists use nettle patches to locate old settlements as they grow well on abandonded middens.

  7. A commented on September 12th, 2008:

    They do make a good soup! With onions, potatoes and chicken fillet.

  8. Goddess with a Whip commented on September 12th, 2008:

    Nothing to add about growing nettles; had the same short-term slime destruction happen to one of my aloe plants. It melted like a gremlin in water. But I did want to compliment your blogging style. Double-plus-ungood? Take off and nuke it from orbit?

    Someone likes their sci-fi. Made me laugh.

  9. Mia commented on September 12th, 2008:

    Lord Storr: So what you’re saying is they need to pee in the nettle’s pot?

  10. SpankBoss commented on September 12th, 2008:

    Mia! Bad girl! These days the petrochemical industry will happily sell you all the phosphate fertilizer you want in nice neat dry odorless pellets.

    But I am reminded of the civil war poem that resulted when one John Harrolson attempted to organize the collection of urine in Selma Alabama for production of gunpowder:

    John Harrolson! John Harrolson!
    How could you get the notion
    To send your barrels ’round the town
    To gather up the lotion.
    We think the girls do work enough
    In making love and kissing.
    But you’ll now put the pretty dears
    To patriotic pissing!

    John Harrolson! John Harrolson!
    Could you not invent a meter,
    Or some less immodest mode
    Of making our salt-petre?
    The thing, it is so queer, you know-
    Gunpowder, like the crankey-
    That when a lady lifts her shift
    She shoots a bloody Yankee.

  11. SpankBoss commented on September 12th, 2008:

    Goddess, I do like my science fiction, and I do not like the Slime Creature From Beyond Venus devouring my little plant friends. There’s a whole word of microbiotic predators out there, but it’s disconcerting to have them rise up out of the soil and taunt me on a macroscopic scale. DO NOT WANT.

  12. Miss Ann commented on September 12th, 2008:

    I’ve a patch of those nasty nettles in my yard. If you decide to try and grow them from root cutting, I’d gladly provide!

  13. SpankBoss commented on September 12th, 2008:

    Awesome! I’ve got too much travel coming up this winter to plant any houseplants at the moment, but I might be in touch once all that settles down.

  14. commented on September 12th, 2008:

    I can imagine that Gardeners World episode: Now we’ll show you how to grow a crop of stinging nettles that’ll fill all your punishment needs.

    Here in the home counties there are nettles everywhere.

  15. Spanking Bethie » Now what have I done??? commented on December 31st, 2010:

    […] sure if I mentioned it or not, but Dan’s crop of nettles died a slimy death as he recounted here on his blog. That was all about a year ago and we haven’t had a chance since then to revisit the subject, […]

  16. Lady Koregan commented on May 15th, 2013:

    May Bethie forgive me!

    Being that this post is so old I don’t know if you will see this, but I thought I would let you know that I was recently able to purchase nettle plants through the Local Harvest website.

    Mine came nice and happy and healthy and seem to be doing well. I have very interesting plans for them.

    As for your mold problem… sprinkling cayenne pepper or ground cinnamon on your potting soil can help keep it in check, so can spraying with cool chamomile tea.

    Make sure your pot has good drainage, and don’t overwater!

  17. SpankBoss commented on May 15th, 2013:

    Yowza! That’s an expensive source. But it looks like I’d get good cuttings. Thanks!

  18. K.. commented on August 5th, 2013:

    Folks… Three words for you: COME TO FINLAND! Here, they are everywhere. The whole idea of someone having hard time finding nettles is totally astounding to me. Ever since I was a child, I remember the sensation when you unguardedly played in the bushes and… Ouch. Impossible to avoid. I just got some “bites” last week when picking raspberries in shorts and a T-shirt, which wasn’t the cleverest thing to do.

    By the way, as weird as it may sound, nettles make nice food. When boiled, they lose their sting and you can use them like spinach. We make delicious nettle soup and nettle pancakes, and they are very healthy food too, rich in vitamins. Of course you have to wear gloves when picking them. :) We have some boiled ones in our fridge even now.

    Never tried nettle play though. Maybe I should!

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