Today we are going to talk about “sensual bondage.” This is a kinder, gentler BDSM that just focuses on the simple wrist restraint of a partner who gives you their permission to do so first. Anything more complicated and you’ll need to school yourself thoroughly in the safety aspects of bondage, either with a professional or by reading Jay Wiseman’s Erotic Bondage Handbook cover to cover. Until then, here are our top ten tips for sweet and simple wrist bondage:
1. What to use: Your best bet is a pair of purpose-made cuffs with comfortable lining, that shut with either velcro or buckles (the former is way better for quick release in case of emergency, like your roommate coming home). They distribute tension evenly over a wide area, which is what you want. Many come with straps you can tether to your headboard, bedposts, bed frame or bed legs. Stay away from anything that locks with a key, lest you lose it and have to call the fire department. Rope has too high a learning curve to recommend here, and police-issue metal cuffs are too hard on the delicate wrists. And while they may look good, silk scarves and stockings have a tendency to get too tight under tension, making them unsafe and nearly impossible to untie without a pair of scissors. Also avoid thin ropes, twine, thread, and phone or electrical cord, as they’re more likely to cut off circulation. Leather thongs may look good, but they cut into the skin and are a bitch to untie, so just go with the purpose-made ones like we told you.
2. Restraint snugness: Don’t make the cuffs too tight. You should be able to fit one or two fingers between the bondage and skin.
3. Circulation: Having a limb fall asleep is a sign of bad bondage, a definite no-no. The tie-er-upper should check for cooling or discoloration (i.e. whitening) of parts past the restraints about every few minutes. If the bound one starts feeling an uncomfortable tingling or numbness, they should pipe up. If you fail to follow these simple instructions and a limb gets totally numb, then remove the restraints, lower the limb, massage the area to help with blood flow, and cover up to help warm the limb.
4. Nerves: If you tie someone up incorrectly, very important nerve paths can get pinched. The result is usually shooting or focused pain. Untie immediately to avoid serious nerve damage!
5. Positions: Don’t restrain someone in a standing position–you don’t want any pressure on the restraints. Instead, make sure they’re lying comfortably on their back on a bed–it’s the least stressful. With a little practice, healthy dabblers can stay in a comfortable position for about a half hour. You can extend play by varying positions often and leaving enough slack (sometimes a few inches is all you need) for the bound person to move their bod a bit to readjust when necessary.
6. Breathing: Let’s keep it simple and focus on wrist restraint. Don’t obstruct nasal passageways, or gag someone. Covering their eyes with an eye mask is okay, so long as you get their permission first.
7. Alone time: Don’t leave a bound person alone. If abandonment is part of your thing, pretend to make a dramatic exit and keep an eye on them from afar, checking on them every few minutes. But really, why not just stick with them and tease them mercilessly?
8. Check-ins: Whoever’s in the driver’s seat is ultimately responsible for the safety of their bound partner. Check in with your partner often, make sure they are comfortable, encourage them to let you know of any numbness or dizziness, feel for cooling due to compromised circulation, and look for signs that they might be on the verge of freaking out. But if you follow all of the above advice, there should be nothing to worry or freak out about.
9. Trouble-shooting: Be aware of medical conditions like joint pain, heart problems, bad backs, asthma, sexually transmitted diseases and infections, etc., since you’ll be responsible for their well-being once they’re tied up –a good idea with any kind of sex, really.
10. New partners: If a brand new partner lets you tie them up, they’re a dumb-ass and you probably shouldn’t be playing with them in the first place. So it goes without saying, never let yourself be tied up on a first date. While we’re at it, don’t stare directly into the sun, don’t play in traffic, don’t stick your hand in boiling water, and don’t jump off bridges.
More advice can be found in our book SEX: How to Do Everything