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The Beginner’s Guide to Bondage

By Sophie Saint Thomas

Sometimes, to gain control, you have to give it up. And in the bedroom, an exciting way to do this is through bondage. The term “bondage” is pretty self-explanatory. One partner literally binds the other using restraints. These can be ropes or handcuffs created specifically for the purpose of sex, or you can get creative and use what you have at home, such as the silk tie of a bathrobe or a leather belt. So, once you’re all tied all, what’s next? Read on for a beginner’s guide to bondage, and remember, it’s something that people of all orientations and genders can enjoy.

First things first.

Any sexual activity requires consent to even be considered sex. If there’s no consent, it’s assault. Before we move onto sexy tips, let’s do what you should do first with your partner: discuss consent. I won’t judge if you’re enjoying bondage with your husband or a stranger you met at a sex party. However, you need to discuss boundaries (what you’re comfortable with and what’s off limits). For instance, you might be okay with being tied up, but any name-calling doesn’t make you feel good. As with any BDSM sex act, establish a safe word, and as with any sexual encounter, discuss STI status and the last time you were tested. There doesn’t have to be penetrative sex or fluid exchange in bondage, but it’s still a good conversation to have. Set a safe word. If at all you feel uncomfortable, use it and stop. And if before you start, you’re feeling uneasy about the situation, perhaps this isn’t the right person or time for you to try it. If all consent conversations go well and you’re feeling turned on, then hell yeah, let’s learn the ropes.

To tie or be tied?

Most people interested in D/S, or dominance and submission, typically either a more dominant or submissive role. Those who enjoy both call themselves “switches,” as they can switch between being the dom and the sub. When it comes to bondage, figuring out which one you would prefer is this simple: What turns you on? The idea of being tied up, or tying someone up, or both? If you’re unsure, experiment (it’s a fun homework assignment).

What are the risks?

As far as BDSM activities go, bondage is pretty low-risk. That being said, I do have a friend who once tied up his girlfriend to what he thought was just a pipe next to their bed. It turned out to be the heater, and as it was winter time, turned on while she was tied up and he was going down on her. He couldn’t untie her in time, and she ended up in the ER with severe burns on her hands. This does not happen to most people. So, to start, do not tie anyone up to a heater. Additionally, keep a pair of safety shears around. You can grab a pair on Amazon, they’re just scissors that you don’t have to worry about accidentally cutting someone with, as used by paramedics. When using rope, the biggest risk is tying a knot that is difficult to undo. Advanced bondage practitioners can explore advanced rope play suck as Shibari, or Japanese rope bondage. You can buy books on the subject, or even better, attend a Shibari workshop, which are held in most major cities.

If you want a worry-free bondage session, your safest best is to grab some Velcro handcuffs. They make them in all colors, and if any partner wants to stop, can be easily removed. Yes, part of the fun of bondage can be slightly dampened if you “know you can escape,” but seriously, just use your imagination. If you’re a submissive and your partner has your arms restrained while penetrating you from behind while holding the Fin finger vibrator against your clit, your thoughts won’t be on Velcro.

How to enjoy pleasure through pain.

If you’re the submissive, while you’re tied up, activities such as spanking become all the more delightful. Why? Because you are surrendering control to your partner. The anticipation heightens, your adrenaline is up, and when your dominant’s hand finally makes impact with your booty it’s even more intense. And, for the dominant, watching your sub squirm around is mega hot. To make the bondage even more intense, add some sensory deprivation, such as a blindfold.

It’s more than whips and chains.

While we associate bondage and BDSM with activities such as impact play, it doesn’t have to hurt at all. Since you’re (this is crucial) enjoying bondage with consensually someone you trust, you know there’s no real danger. The thrill is psychological. To up that ante, add some name-calling, or role-playing, such as professor and school girl, or daddy dom and baby girl (yes, light incest play is normal). Or, rather than ouchy or psychologically edgy, you can make your bondage session a sensory delight. One partner can tie up the other, blindfold them, and then use a feather to tickle the nipples. If a pinch of pain turns you on, along with spanking, try nipple pinching, or simply having rough sex.

With the right amount of lube, being tied up can be a crazy hot way to enjoy anal sex, and who can forget oral? Tie me up and make me go down on you? Yes, please. If you have a clitoris, while you’re tied up, try wearing the hands-free Eva II vibrator (since your hands will be tied up and you won’t be able to touch yourself).

One last thing.

With any time of dominance and submission play, as oxytocin, endorphins, and adrenaline will be running high, when you’re done with your sex session and everyone is untied, remember to practice aftercare. It’s just a fancy name for taking care of one another and making sure everyone feels good and had a good time. If you have any light rope burns or bruises, maybe this means applying ice. Most likely, it just means cuddling with one another, enjoying a post-orgasmic glow, and reminding each other that even though you were just tied up and called a slut, that you really truly care and respect one another.

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