Fetish Friday: Let’s Talk Bondage!

Mm mm mm, one of my favourite things. I love bondage play. I love the feeling of struggling against a restraint and knowing that I’m being contained and controlled physically. I love not being able to recoil from a partner I trust implicitly. The struggle-and-fail cycle is one that I, among many other bondage fiends, find very arousing and stimulating. The rush that we feel from being restrained can be rooted in different psychological and physiological factors, depending on who you ask (because as we have established, people are complicated).

bdsmcat

For me, at the heart of it, it’s mostly about confronting and conquering fear: I am claustrophobic, and I tend to panic in confined spaces and situations. Being restrained in a comfortable and controlled environment gets me right up close and personal to the physiological aspects of the fear response, without having to be overwhelmed by the psychological ones. Simply put, my body can kind of freak out and release all sorts of adrenaline and endorphins into my system, heightening sensitivity and mental acuity, increasing my heart rate, making me flush and buzz and tremble with excitement, while my mind remains very serene and focused in the scene and on my partner.

It also forces me to experience vulnerability, which is generally not a comfortable place for me to go (I’m sure I’m not alone in that). The vulnerability is twofold: physical, of course, because I can’t move my limbs, but more significant for me is the emotional side, especially when I’m gagged and/or blindfolded. My partner could do anything to me, say anything to me, and I cannot respond, I can only accept and endure. It’s heady, intoxicating, and intensely arousing.

Being in bondage is a form of voluntary enforced passivity. Bondage play can be done both solo and partnered; over the course of this post I’ll be making a lot of references to partnered bondage, but many of the concepts will apply to solo play as well. Why would anyone want to tie themselves up, you ask? There are as many answers to that question as there are bondage enthusiasts, of course! For me, solo bondage gives me an opportunity to explore how partial or full immobilization effects the way I experience other kinds of stimuli in a controlled environment, at my own pace. For example, I quite like to bind my ankles, either to the bed or to each other, while self-pleasuring; this very basic bondage element can radically change how I experience whatever fantasies I indulge in, and how my body responds to whatever toys I’ve chosen to play with that day. It’s also a fun element to add when I’m playing with my long-distance partner over Skype.

Agreeing to be bound by another is a consensual power exchange, the submissive giving up some or all of their mobility, as well as their ability to physically respond to stimulation. Bondage play often also includes some forms of sensory deprivation and speech interruption, such as blindfolds, gags, earplugs, hoods, all the way up to latex vacuum beds and isolation tanks.

This is a vacuum bed. You're right, it's not for everyone.

This is a vacuum bed. You’re right, it’s not for everyone.

I’m sure you’re beginning to understand, if you didn’t already, that this kind of play takes trust. You don’t want to incapacitate yourself for just anyone; after all, haven’t we all seen the TV shows where dude gets handcuffed to the bed and wily woman makes off with his wallet/manhood blah blah blah patriarchy etc? Yes, it’s a purposefully shitty example, but my point is that you want to be sure that the person who is tying you up is trustworthy and wants to take care of you.

And if you’re the one doing the tying, you’ll want to make sure that you understand your partner’s limits and basic body language, and have established safe words, sounds, or gestures to ensure that you can respond quickly if they become distressed. Remember: you are taking your partner to a very tender place. Respect, honour, and appreciate their willingness to go there with you. Understand that while they are bound, you are fully responsible for their safety. It’s kind of a big deal! Take it seriously.

So! While we’re on the topic of safety, let’s talk about a few basic safety measures. Being able to quickly release the bondage is important, especially for beginners. Many people start their bondage experiments with stuff they have lying around the house (I started with scarves). If you are going to play solo, which many people do (myself included), it is SUPER DUPER IMPORTANT to be able to get yourself free quickly and easily. For this reason, I always caution against using rope (or rope-like things that need to be wrapped and tied in knots) in solo play, because it’s the most difficult to make it both secure enough to be satisfying, and able to safely release.

My favourite bondage medium, and the one I recommend most to beginners, is a set of bondage cuffs with snap-hooks. I don’t mean standard hand-cuffs. Please, never ever ever ever ever use standard or novelty handcuffs in bondage play! They can cause permanent nerve damage and are not meant to be used recreationally. Also, those tiny keys are way too easy to misplace. Got it? NO STANDARD HANDCUFFS.

Seriously. No.

NO STANDARD HANDCUFFS.

I highly recommend something like these, which are comfortable, durable, versatile, and very easy to release. I should know; I’ve had this very set for about a year now, used them regularly (and hard!), both solo and partnered, and they are holding up extremely well. I’ve never been unable to get out of any configuration I’ve yet tried in ten seconds or less, and I’ve tried some pretty complicated setups.

Leather bondage cuffs with hogtie harness

Leather bondage cuffs with hogtie harness

A quick stop at the hardware store to pick up some quick-links (single chain links with an opening mechanism) and snap-hooks (climbing carabiners also work well) will have you well-equipped to begin your bondage adventure in safety and comfort. Protip: you can rig up a lot of very creative bondage options with stuff you can find in the hardware store. Think creatively, and you’ll save a *lot* of cash, rather than buying expensive custom-rigs from erotic retailers.

Get lots of these. The more you have, the wider your bondage position options.

Get lots of these. The more you have, the wider your bondage position options.

Now, if you really want to use rope, and believe me, I understand why you would, there are a few extra things to keep in mind in terms of playing safely. Always make sure there is a little slack in the rope to ensure circulation doesn’t get cut off; rope can tighten up due to squirming. There’s a steep learning curve involved with rope bondage; so much so that the Japanese have made an art of it, called Shibari, a complex and often asymmetrical rope bondage system involving intricate knotting and wrapping with infinite possible configurations.

An example of asymmetrical shibari

An example of asymmetrical shibari

Not all rope bondage play has to be this complicated, don’t get me wrong. Still, though, it’s a good idea to google around for your local fetish community (if you live in an urban centre, there is probably a fetish community), and see if they offer rope workshops. It’s important to learn how to tie knots that don’t tighten the bondage when pulled, for example.

Another thing you always want to have on hand when doing rope play is EMT/medical/trauma shears, which are widely available at low cost and commonly found in your local pharmacy’s first aid section. If you can’t get the knots undone, it will be necessary to cut your partner free, and you’ll want to use the safest possible blade to do so.

Finally, be sure to coil rope around points of restraint several times to reduce rope burn, increase the comfort of the sub, and create a more secure hold. Click here for a step-by-step how-to for a basic rope handcuff that illustrates what I mean.

I’m not an expert on rope (in fact, I’m a downright rookie) so that’s about as far as I can advise you on that topic. If any of you dear readers are rope veterans, do feel free to leave your insights in the comments!

Now, kinksters and rookie kinksters, don’t forget to take things slow and go at a pace at which everyone involved is comfortable. No need to start with full-body restraint if that is too intimidating; some couples find it fun to simply bind the submissive’s wrists and lead them around a little. This is a good exercise to try if you’re curious, as it both builds trust and gauges comfort levels. And with that, dear readers, I leave you for now; I wish you much fun, much adventure, many orgasms, and an excellent weekend.

 

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4 thoughts on “Fetish Friday: Let’s Talk Bondage!

  1. Love the ideas and couldn’t agree with you more! Bondage is one of the most exhilarating experiences to partake in.

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    • Thank you! Yes, it is a very exhilarating experience indeed. I greatly enjoy experimenting with different configurations; seeing how many ways I can tie myself up and still get out one-handed in under ten seconds. It’s a fun game.

      Like

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