Bondage

What is bondage? Complete guide

Okay, so you read it – or maybe you just watched it. For better or worse, Fifty Shades of Grey has entered your psyche, and you want to explore the wild world of bondage. This sexy way to get intimate is a major rush that permanently expands your definition of pleasure. But it's about way more than leather. Bondage play is a journey of trust, control, and also your sexual awakening. And that kind of pleasure with a partner takes effort.

Unlike a new sex position, diving into the realm of bondage means you better be prepared to do your homework. Whether you want to restrain someone or be restrained by your fantasy dom, before you get started, you’d better acquaint yourself with these fundamentals of bondage.

Tops and bottoms and switches, oh my!

The first step to understanding you and bondage is to know where you fit in the rope community and the world of play as a whole. There are three different roles people take on in bondage that all feed off one another:

  • The Top: This person is the one who operates the restraints. They get their kicks tying or otherwise holding back their partners.
  • The Bottom: They like to be restrained. Ball gags, rope, or flogging posts, a bottom feels that sweet release when they surrender to their top.
  • The Switch: The hardest to pin down (sometimes literally), a switch enjoys the power of topping and the surrender of bottoming. Often, they’ll enjoy different roles with different partners – or just shift from scene to scene.

Regardless of where you fit in, knowing yourself is key for the next elements of bondage: trust and consent.

Bondage is nothing without trust and consent

Don't trust BDSM porn and bondage videos. The things you find on YouPorn leave something big out: if you're going to try bondage, you need to start by getting enthusiastic consent from your partner first. Bondage play is nothing without trust, and when someone else surrenders control over to you, it's your duty to make sure they feel safe. Think about it - you are bound, unable to move, and there's no way to try and wriggle out of the position without your play partner also helping you out of it. When you first try out the practice, it's imperative you test it out with someone who you trust to control you completely.

Because trust is the heart of bondage. When you agree to be tied up, you’re expressing an unwavering faith in your partner's ability to handle your body in bondage correctly, keep you safe, and guide you to that sweet release. Likewise, when you decide to tie someone up, you’re trusting them to do the work of bottoming (because make no mistake it is work). You have faith that they’ll voice their safe words during a bondage scene, express their boundaries, and be able to take what you’re giving like a champ.

Of course, there is no trust without active and enthusiastic consent. Although movies would have you believe you’re whisked away to a whirlwind of whips and blindfolds in one thrilling night, the reality is much different. Lengthy communication is an enormous part of all BDSM practices - including bondage.

Be prepared to talk with your partner about how equipped you both are for certain toys or experiences. Together, identify each other’s hard limits (like no anal, or nothing covering your eyes). Although many people think that bondage immediately leads to penetrative sex, it often doesn’t, so be open to whatever your partner needs to have the best time – and respect their boundaries without any pressure. After all, coerced consent is never consent.

Safe words

No bondage scene is complete without established safe words. When someone’s ability to see or move is restricted, being able to voice or otherwise signal a stop is imperative. That’s why a word that you both know means “no” is vital. 

Some people only have one safe word for stop, but others have two: one to slow down, and one to pump the brakes immediately. This two-level safe word system is often paired with stoplight colors. You can say “yellow” to have someone not take it further just yet, while “red” means to stop the scene completely, break character, and check in with what each other needs.

Red and yellow are so common because they’re easy to remember, but you can choose whatever you’d like – like one sub, who uses the middle name of her partner. That word is jarring enough in and of itself, that any sexual situation would immediately stop. Fruits are also a common safe word choice you see in the bondage community. Whatever you choose, make sure it isn’t a word you ever see yourself saying for any other reason while getting sexual. The point is to vocalize your sexual/bondage limits to your partner, so they know how to take care of you best. A silly word can help bring levity while keeping you safe - being bound can feel stressful when you want the scene to end, so a word you both know is a light safeguard to hold in your palm.

But sometimes, bondage also means you or your partner can't speak. If you anticipate a mouth gag in your scene, set up a hand signal to substitute as your safe word. Before you start a bondage scene with a partner, make sure you state the safeword(s) or hand signal you want to use clearly, and repeat them at least once to make sure. See what your bondage partner is comfortable with also, to make sure they can hear you and you can transform your partner into one satisfied customer.

To help the bound partner leave the situation as fast as possible if they use their safe word, make sure to have a pair of bondage scissors on hand, so you can cut through whatever restraints they're in in a snap. It's better to have broken rope and a soothed partner, than to let someone stew in a panic attack as you fumble with the knots. Sexual exploration is only fun when you're both feeling safe - and the freedom of bondage comes in surrender and trust.

Whatever happens, remember that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using your safe word. Bondage is so wonderful because we test ourselves and each other – and when you find a limit and need to voice a stop, then congrats! You’ve learned more about yourself and your sexuality.

What kinds of toys can I use for bondage?

The most popular kind of bondage uses ropes. For people on the outside, learning how to tie those knots right can be a stressful enough deterrent to keep you from ever putting those Girl Scout camp skills to use. But learning the (literal) ropes can be done with help from existing members of the bondage community, and a communicative partner. Over the years, the rope scene has become dominated by shibari, or Japanese rope bondage. With this form of rope bondage, people use rope (often aesthetically pleasing, thin red ones) to bind their partner and control them through suspension and restricted movements. But while most people think bondage only means ropes, there are actually many different forms to lose yourself in.

Start with a sample platter of bondage that includes handcuffs, blindfolds, and other basic restraints. These add fun to the bedroom without being too intense or high pressure, and don't call for deep skill. Even so, they still build trust, foster amazing sensation play for all parties, and are an excellent addition to any sex life.

A pair of cuffs is a perfect springboard into bondage. Attach them to the bed and learn about all the ways being bound and surrendering control can taste so sweet. Looking for a free way to try bondage with your partner? Have a great session using a necktie, your bathrobe sash, or any other thing you see on hand that can be used as a bondage tool in a snap.

Once you really sink your teeth into the world of bondage, you’ll find more intense ways to play, like elaborate restraint systems, ropes, ball gags, cages, and sex furniture including whipping crosses, stocks, impact ponies, and more. These toys deepen your relationship to bondage and give you even more options as you explore this exciting new kink.

For more adventurous spreaders and elaborate restraint systems, skip Amazon. Com. Place your order with a sex shop that has good price points and is informed in the world of sex, like www. XXXIndulgenceBoutique. Com. Indulgence Boutique is your best bet for a wealth of bondage gear and sex toys to try that will leave your partner bound, gagged, and eager for more.

Don't see the restraints you want? Browse www. SpectrumBoutique. Com. This sex-positive toy shop wants you to be your finest sexual self, and knows that includes experimentation. With a host of BDSM and bondage toys, Spectrum cares about delivering spicy, quality goods to help you explore the furthest bounds of your fantasies.

Whatever you purchase, the world of sex toys is fun enough to try them all, so feel free to dabble in multiple categories of restraints until you find your bread and butter.

Resources and reading

Once you begin exploring bondage, you’ll quickly realize that you can never fully master it all. To get a head start, porn is always your friend, but it may be an idealized version (like Fifty Shades of Grey). If you’re looking to the web for guides, be sure to type “rope 101” or similar to get more thorough ideas of what to expect. Likewise, the site Kinkly. Com is a good reading reference for all things bondage. 

While not quite a rom-com, Secretary is a seminal film that teaches about BDSM, including bondage and restraints of all kinds. This film came out in the early 2000s and is listed as a top sexual awakening moment for many a bondage-loving person today. In this day and age, you can find more explicit content all over the web, but this classic foray into sexual identity and bound love still slaps (sometimes quite literally).

Nothing compares to hands-on learning though, and for the most thorough education, you’ll need a group or play party. Find one through FetLife. Com, the top kinky social media site. There, you’ll find a bustling community of kind and communicative folks eager to induct you into the world of rope.

Bondage is a thrill and a journey, and one of the sexiest ways to spice up your life. Whether you’re looking for some light kink to broaden your sex life or are eager to embrace a whole new lifestyle, you can get started with a little ingenuity tonight. Let us know what first piqued your interest in bondage below!