B is for Bondage

This is part 1. of a series of posts I will be writing called The ABC’s of BDsM.  In each post, I will break down one letter of the BDsM acronym to delve deeper into what practices and preferences make up the world of BDsM.  This is by no means a definitive discussion of BDsM, but is rather intended to be a primer for interested beginners.

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B is for Bondage

Bondage refers to the act of  restraining another person.  Bondage may involve restricting a person’s bodily movement, or it can extend to restricting speech and ability to see, through gagging and blindfolding.  Physical bondage is most common, however, bondage may also be psychological, when the dominant partner forbids the submissive partner to move or speak.

There are countless different types of bondage, and the tools of the trade range from the simple to the extreme.  Some common tools for bondage include the following:

  • Rope (which may be used for the Japanese art of shibari)
  • Bondage tape
  • cling film
  • Hand and ankle cuffs
  • Hogties, which force the ankles and wrists to be bound together, either in front of or behind the body.
  • Silk scarves or ties
  • Bondage furniture, such as the St Andrews Cross.
  • Bondage clothing, such as mitts that restrict the use of hands, hobble trousers or corsetry, masks, hoods, binders and straitjackets.
  • Gags, such as ball gags, bit gags, cloth gags, rope gags, o-ring gags and spider gags.
  • Blindfolds
  • Portable points of attachment, such as over-the-door restraints and under-the-bed restraints.
  • Collars
  • Spreader bars

 

There are countless ways to employ bondage techniques.  It could be as simple as the dominant partner blindfolding the submissive so that they can’t see what is going on, or as complex as tying their limbs into a fixed position and suspending them in the air.  Bondage play may employ just one technique, or a multitude of tools and restraints.  As with all types of BDsM, bondage may or may not include a sexual element.  Many bondage enthusiasts enjoy it for it’s own reasons, and do not mix sex with play.  Others use bondage to enhance sexual encounters.  Bondage is often an element in role playing scenes, such as a kidnapping scenario or sexual torture fantasies.

 

So, why are people into bondage?  The reasons why people explore bondage play are as diverse and numbered as the players themselves.  It would be impossible for me to list every reason here.  But there are some reasons that are most common.  For example, a lot of players enjoy the feeling of vulnerability, the idea that they are helpless at at the mercy of their dominant partner.  For some, bondage gives them a sense of safety and security, a feeling of being held tightly.  Others enjoy the beauty of bondage, and see bondage as a way to create a living sculpture or work of art using rope, chains and clothing.  Every person’s reasons for enjoying this practice are complex and varied, as with any type of BDsM play.

As I mentioned earlier, bondage may be extremely simple or devilishly complicated.  But any bondage scene must be carefully planned and discussed between the people who will be playing.  All BDsM play should be safe, sane and consensual.  Here are some important bondage-specific safety concerns to keep in mind:

  • You should choose your equipment with care, making sure that any locks and fasteners are in good working order and that there are no sharp edges that might hurt your submissive.
  • Safety shears should always be kept on hand to release the submissive quickly if the need arises.  It’s always better to ruin your equipment than cause injury to your play partner.
  • Any scene should be preceded with a frank and honest discussion of your wants, needs and limitations.  This includes disclosure of any medical ailments or prior injuries that need to be taken into account when constructing the scene.
  • Both parties should make themselves aware of the signs of distress to look for, and keep bondage sessions short to begin with.
  • The submissive should be released immediately if they experience numbness or tingling in their limbs, or if the restrained limb becomes pale or cold to the touch.
  • Safe words or signals should always be discussed and respected.  If the submissive is gagged, a signal such as holding up three fingers, ringing a bell or dropping an object placed in their hand before play can be used.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of education and practice in bondage.  Bondage can be very dangerous and as such you shouldn’t rush into something complex that you are not ready for.  Read books on the subject, take classes or attend events where you can learn techniques from more experienced players, watch demonstrations and practice your techniques well before using them on a partner.

As you can see, bondage is an exciting and titillating aspect of BDsM play, which has endless applications and appeal.  It can be simple and basic or intricate and complex.

 

So now we know that B is for Bondage. Next time, I’ll be taking you through the ins and outs of discipline

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The three common principles of BDsM

I’ve had a few requests for some posts about BDsM.  Some of you might know that I’m interested in BDsM.  I’m both a scholar who likes to learn about new techniques, fetishes and relationships and an active participant who likes to indulge in BDsM  play in the bedroom and in day-to-day life. I’m by no means an expert, but this is something that I’m fascinated by and passionate about. I’m happy to write about this part of my life as long as my readers are interested.  And since I casually mentioned it and got a few responses asking for more information, I’m guessing that at least a couple of you are.

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I thought a good place to begin talking about BDsM on this blog would be to introduce you to the three core principles of BDsM.  BDsM covers a vast range of practices, scenes, fetishes, fantasies, lifestyles and roles.  It can be something very extreme, involving complex equipment and dedicated participants, something light and gentle or anything in between.  Even though the scope of the term BDsM is incredibly broad, there are three core principles that apply no matter whether you’re tying someone up and hanging them from the ceiling or giving your lover a few playful swats with a hairbrush.  Those are the principles of Safe, Sane and Consensual.  These three words are the cornerstone of all BDsM play and should be considered very carefully by all players involved.

So what do I mean by Safe, Sane and Consensual?  Let me break it down for you.

Safe” means that you have taken into consideration the potential risks and how to eliminate or minimise them.

  • You understand any and all equipment that you are using during your scene.
  • You have practiced the techniques that you will use.
  • You are aware of what warning signs to look for that may indicate that your partner is in distress.
  • You are able to administer first aid or quickly obtain assistance if necessary
  • You have safety equipment such as rope cutters close at hand.
  • You have discussed any physical ailments or limitations with your partner.
  • If your BDsM play involves sex, you will practice safer sex.
  • Safe words or signals should be decided upon.  If the word or signal is used, play must stop immediately.

Sane” means that you are in a rational and clear-headed state of mind.

  • You will not practice bondage, impact play, sharps play or other dangerous scenes under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • BDsM should not be undertaken to harm another person, to vent anger at your partner or to exact revenge.
  • Proper aftercare should be employed to ensure that all parties are feeling safe and stable after play time is over.
  • The person who takes on a Dominant or Top role must be aware of the vulnerability of their sub or bottom and not take advantage of them or abuse their position.
  • Extra care must be taken if you have a mental illness.  Potential triggers should be discussed with your partner, as well as any additional needs or aftercare that you may require.
  • You must act responsibly and with self-control.

Consensual” means that all activities are undertaken with full and informed consent of all parties involved.

  • All scenes are negotiated well before play begins.
  • Parties should discuss their limits and boundaries, and those limits should be respected.
  • Honesty is essential to achieve informed consent. You must not lie or mislead a partner about what you intend to do to them during a scene.
  • Make sure that you tell your partner if they are approaching your limits, or if they are doing something that you do not like.

As you can see, there is a tremendous amount of care and consideration which must go into the practice of BDsM.  The amount of planning and negotiation is proportionate to the level of danger or the degree of power exchange involved, but it is always a vital part of BDsM.

 

I’m certainly interested in writing more about BDsM or play.  If there are any topics you’d like me to touch on in future posts, please let me know.  As always, questions are welcome but I ask that you keep them respectful.