July/August 2003
Why is bondage fun?

by Johnson Grey

Lots of reasons. For many people, the knowledge that they are helpless, that someone else can do things with their body and they can't prevent them, is a powerful turn-on. "I'm going to make you come and there's nothing you can do about it." It's a very strong statement of trust to let someone bind you helplessly, or even non-helplessly. How erotic, to feel yourself spread open, wanton and wet, and to see your lover kneeling between your legs, ready to use you for their pleasure--or to pleasure you unendurably....

For others, the simple sensation of bondage feels good. Tight constriction can create very intense stimulation, and lots of tight bondage can be a sensory trip, just as a whipping scene can be. Bondage can feel comforting, pleasantly confining; you don't need to worry about anything, since what can you do? You're all tied up, and all that's left is to enjoy.

For yet others, it's a charge to struggle, to let your body lose control. It can really intensify an orgasm when you come with every muscle straining against your bonds, trying to get your hands free to smash your lover's face into your crotch, your body shaking. If you weren't tied down you'd hurt yourself!

For me, it's all three of these reasons :-)

An especially intense form of bondage is verbal bondage: putting your bottom in some position (spread-eagled, kneeling, whatever) and commanding them not to move... and then tormenting them! One kinky variation on this is as follows: have your bottom hold their hands out in front of them, fingers splayed, each fingertip touching the opposite fingertip. Put a penny between each pair of fingertips so they're holding five pennies. Now order them not to let a single one drop, on pain of some punishment or other, and then go to work! This works best on a hard floor so you can hear the coin drop.

There are a bunch of common-sense things to know about if you want to get into bondage. Most of these are pretty obvious, but they're stated here because that's what a FAQ's for! The basic idea, though, is to experiment. The first few times you won't really know what you're doing, and that's fine! Take your time trying different positions, different kinds of rope, whatever. And if you've got a new idea that you want to try out before your big date... well, why not try it on yourself? If you can get into a position comfortably, you can probably make your bottom comfortable in that position!

Make sure your bottom's extremities don't start getting cold or turning blue; those are both sure signs that blood isn't flowing the way it ought to, and that isn't what you want to have happen. If your bottom's hands are bound inside mittens or some other place that's not accessible to you, ask them to wiggle their fingers or toes or whatever and see if they're losing any feeling. It can be tricky to tie someone up without making it too tight; in general, a good rule is to tie loosely with lots of turns of rope. You can tighten such a tie with just another turn around all the rest, and it can be a real drag to have a bottom's foot fall asleep in the middle of a scene; this kind of thing can feel very annoying and distracting, and can make it hard for your bottom to concentrate on what you are making them feel.

Silk scarves, bandannas, etc. also have this problem with tightening under tension; sometimes they get so tight they have to be cut off. If you're a novice, you may want to avoid these hassles by purchasing a pair of basic ankle and wrist cuffs (in leather, velcro, or whatever) at an adult toy store; and if you get embarrassed, remember the old standby excuse: "It's a gag wedding gift!"

Handcuffs are sexy, but they can also be a pain. Shoddy cuffs (the kind you buy at the sporting goods store) are liable to break while being worn--then you have to file them off. If you want to play with handcuffs, get a good quality pair; the usual brand is Peerless, and they'll cost about $30, with a double lock so you can snap them on and then lock them so they won't get tighter under pressure (as cheap cuffs will). Handcuffs are also bare metal, and aren't good to struggle against, as they can easily pinch nerves... padded, buckling bondage cuffs are better for those sorts of games.

Do not leave a bound person alone. Though it is a hot fantasy to tie someone up in some precarious position (possibly with vibrators or other devices buzzing away) and leave them to stew, in reality you must consider: what if the house is burgled? catches on fire? earthquake? any sort of emergency? Fun is fun, but a helpless person is just that: helpless. A willing partner is too precious to take risks with.

Be very careful about tying anything around the neck; anything that puts any pressure AT ALL on the front of the neck can lead to unconsciousness quickly, as the carotid arteries go right to the brain. Likewise be careful with gags or things tied in the mouth; as well as restricting breathing, they can trigger a gag reflex, which could be really nasty if the bottom can't get the gag out. You'll need to find another way of using safewords for use while gagged.

Also, be aware that if someone is standing for any length of time in any sort of tight bondage, it can lead to less circulation to their head; if you suddenly do something intense to that person, it may trigger a headrush which could easily result in a faint. Always use hooks which can be released instantly even with the bottom's full weight on them (these are sometimes called "panic snaps" and can be found in good hardware stores), and keep a pair of bandage scissors handy in case ropes or straps need to be cut loose.

Be careful what you tie your bottom to; if an exposed water pipe is handy, be aware it may heat up. Likewise with candles; be careful when you're waving flame around someone who's bound, as they can't flinch the way unbound people can.

If you don't have anything handy to tie someone to, you can always tie their wrists behind their back and then to their waist. Or if your bed doesn't have any posts, you can wrap ropes around the legs of the bed and spread-eagle your bottom that way. In general, there are a million ways to tie someone up, and a little practice--on your bottom or on yourself!--will let you improvise in almost any situation.

Below I list a few sorts of common bondage devices mentioned here in stories and postings. If you read a term here which you don't understand, write me and I'll add a description.

Mummification or Cocooning: About the most complete form of bondage is to wrap someone up so they are completely immobile. The most popular way to mummify someone is with plastic wrap. A common technique is to wrap each limb separately, then wrap the arms to the sides, and then wrap the legs together--and then help the bottom lie down on an adjacent soft surface. You can then cut holes (carefully!) to access any especially sensitive areas, or wrap duct tape over it all for extra security, or add gags, blindfolds, etc. One way the body releases heat is by sweating, and while mummified you can't sweat too much, so make sure your bottom doesn't overheat--and have a blanket ready to cover them with when you cut them out of their cocoon, using the bandage scissors (obtainable from medical supply stores--one flat blade makes cutting easier) which you of course have ready to hand. And as always, monitor your bottom very carefully; they are helpless, and your neglect or inattention could spell disaster.

Hoods: Many leather stores and artisans make bondage hoods. These are typically constricted of leather or rubber. Some have simple zippers, and you zip them up to secure them. Others have laces on the back and/ or the sides, to enable the hood to be laced more tightly, for greater bondage effect. Some hoods have eye holes, some don't. Some hoods have mouth holes, some don't. Some deluxe hoods have built-in earmuffs or even space for earphones, for sensory deprivation. Almost all hoods have nose holes, for obvious reasons. Hoods can restrict a bottom's breathing quite seriously, and tops must remain continually aware of their bottom's condition while their bottom is wearing a hood--especially if the hood is combined with any form of gag. Do not leave a hooded bottom alone; breathing difficulty can come on quickly. Some people believe that any hood without a zipper or other extra-quick-release mechanism is too dangerous to use on a bottom. In any case, you should have some bandage scissors at the ready if the hood needs to be removed in a big hurry.

Bodybags: If you like being bound, the ultimate extreme is bondage which encompasses your entire body, leaving you with no motion whatever. Bondage bodybags (or "sleepsacks") resemble a well-tailored, snug sleeping bag, often made out of leather or spandex. Spandex bodybags are the least expensive, and if made from heavy enough spandex can be very restrictive indeed. Often bodybags have an opening at the upper end, through which you slide your feet, pulling the bag up to your neck. Many have other openings for genitals or nipples, so your botttom can be pleasured or tortured while immobile. Leather bodybags can be arbitrarily complex (and expensive); some have built-in internal arm sleeves to further minimize motion, or suspension straps so the bag, bottom and all, can be lifted into the air. Some have laces around the outside so the bag can be cinched to a downright painful tightness. If you REALLY have money to burn, you can even get inflatable rubber bodybags--get in it and pump it up, and float away! Caveats about breathing and quick-release apply here as well.

Hobble skirts: Fetish clothing is often designed not just to look good and feel good, but to act almost as bondage in its own right. Hobble skirts are a perfect example: they are simply skirts which fit very snugly from waist down to ankles. Often the wearer can take steps of only a few inches while wearing the skirt (thus the term "hobble skirt"). When combined with a pair of high heels, these skirts can be almost totally immobilizing, even without any other bondage. Leather or rubber are (again) the typical materials, though some dedicated tailors make their own from velvet or satin or other sensuous materials.

Armbinders: Restraints, typically leather, that bind both arms behind the back. Some resemble large gloves that pull up over both arms and buckle around the shoulders. Others are straps that go down the middle of the back and have attached wrist cuffs. In general, there are lots of kinds of bondage gear, and you can even invent your own....

Copyright by Johnson Grey