Bondage

An Introduction to the Fascinating World of Predicament Bondage

Published: MAY 30, 2023
They say no choice is the wrong choice. Predicament bondage is a fascinating world that requires the bottom to make a choice...and pay the price.

Predicament bondage describes a specific kind of kink play that combines restraint with psychological play. Most often, it involves putting someone in a position that requires them to make choices between one kind of discomfort or another. It can also involve creating a scenario where someone is told to hold still (with or without restraints) and is teased or tormented in a way that encourages movement, forcing them to fight against that impulse.

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Who says choices can't be sexy? Here's an introduction to predicament bondage.

What is predicament bondage?

Predicament bondage is putting your partner between a rock and a hard place - figuratively. Think vibrator or ice cube, tickles or flogger, stillness or pain. For people who enjoy the emotional and psychological aspects of kink and BDSM, predicament bondage can be a vast playground of creativity. And, like all forms of kink, it can be silly and playful as well as serious, depending on the preference of the players.

“Unlike standard bondage, predicament bondage has the extra kick of making the bound person have to get more consciously involved in their situation, as predicament bondage makes them have to choose which sensation they want to experience more,” explains educator, advice columnist, and podcaster Rain DeGrey.

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“While rope can vary from quite pleasant to quite strenuous, usually the tie is what the tie is and the only question is whether or not the bound person can handle the experience. With predicament bondage, there are multiple sensations to chose from, and the bound person has to decide which one they are going to lean into. This puts the bound person into a noticeably different, more interactive, headspace,” says DeGrey.

What is mental bondage?

Because predicament bondage relies heavily on choice, it inherently involves aspects of mental or psychological bondage. And sometimes mental bondage can be even hotter (or more interesting) than ropes or chains.

When you restrain someone with rope or other tools, you’re taking (many of) their choices away. But if you simply tell someone to hold still, they’re doing it because you said so, and because they want to please you - that’s powerful stuff!

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“Something as brutally simple as putting a sticker or drawing a circle on a wall and telling your submissive to put their nose on the sticker/drawn circle and not move, under pain of earning your disappointment, is quite the predicament,” says DeGrey. And the longer you tell them to hold the position, the trickier it gets. “No matter how hard they try to maintain the position, eventually fatigue, both physical and mental, will set in.”

That’s where the real power of this kind of play lies. “The only thing keeping them in that position is the mental desire to obey and please the person that gave them the command. They could walk away from their position at any time. What a predicament,” says DeGrey.

How to Set Up Predicament Bondage

While this form of play might require a higher level of creativity, in many ways it’s more accessible than restraints like rope bondage, which can have a steep learning curve and some particular safety considerations. (That said, there are safer options. Check out 8 Awesome Sex Positions That Are Waaaay Better With Bondage Tape.)

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Author and educator Allison Moon says, “In my world, the ‘predicament’ aspect of predicament bondage is that the bound person has choice. This is in contrast to traditional bondage, where the bound person is pretty much fixed in the position they’re placed in.

Personally, the way I like to play with predicament bondage is giving my submissive choice, but between two emotional stakes: pleasing me and disappointing me.

For instance, I might have them hold a challenging position for the sheer pleasure of making me happy. As they hold that position, I’ll coo at them what a good job they’re doing, or share dirty talk for all the delightful things we’ll do after I let them go. The longer they can stay in place, the more proud I am of them, and the more adoration I’ll offer.”

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Predicament Bondage Positions

There lots of great positions and ideas when it comes to predicament bondage scenes. Mistress Viola suggests, “It can be as simple as having them hold something precarious (like a candle that will burn them if they move) or as complicated as ropes to nipple clamps to genital bondage with weights and gags.”

Moon says, “Simply command your submissive to close their eyes, or stay seated in a different room. Then you can do fun things like masturbate or prepare toys while they have to wrestle with the choice of cheating by taking a peek or not. This can pair particularly well with cuckold fetishes, if you have another lover to play with as your submissive squirms. For people who enjoy the agony of FOMO, this is an easy way to explore that. “

Kink and BDSM educator Annamarie is full of good (bad) ideas as well. “Have a bottom bend their knees slightly and tie their pubic hair to their big toes using clamps and dental floss then tickle, smack, and otherwise encourage them to move.”

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Predicament Bondage Safety

As with any form of bondage, you never want to leave a partner alone. Yes, in some of the predicament scenarios our experts have suggested the person is in the next room, but at a minimum you can hear if they get in trouble, and it’s important to check on them often. If you want to get high tech, you could even have a camera on them for ease of watching from the other room.

It’s also important to be realistic about how long it’s safe to hold any particular position. You don’t want to be dealing with muscle strain or injury because someone pushed themselves too far to please you. And if a scene lasts too long you could also be dealing with dehydration, or even kidney trouble from holding in urine too long.

This is all to say - no matter how sexy it is to think about pushing someone to their limits - when it comes to kink, being safe(er) and risk aware, is essential.

Like all kink, it’s important to carefully negotiate in advance what you’re going to do, and the limits of each party. When you’re engaging in psychological play, it is very important to be ready for emotional triggers. For this reason, it can be safer to do this play when there’s already a relationship of established trust.

Adding these emotional elements, whether it’s the bottom choosing between kinds of pain or pleasing their partner, can make the play far more intense than a scene that’s purely physical, like a flogging. That means you should be absolutely sure to schedule plenty of time for aftercare, where you snuggle, talk about the scene, and comfort and reassure each other.

Predicament Bondage and Sex Toys

“While most predicament bondage puts you in a situation of having to choose what discomfort you are enduring in that current moment, adding in toys allows you to put some pleasure into the mix as well,” says DeGray.

In one memorable experience of mine, I was on my hands and knees like a coffee table. My legs were bound together with plastic wrap which also trapped a wand vibrator against me, and I was teased with ice cubes … all while a freshly poured hot cup of tea sat on my back. If I moved, the tea would spill and scald me. But you can add sex toys to your predicament bondage in far less elaborate (or dangerous) ways.

I was on my hands and knees like a coffee table. My legs were bound together with plastic wrap which also trapped a wand vibrator against me, and I was teased with ice cubes … all while a freshly poured hot cup of tea sat on my back. If I moved, the tea would spill and scald me.

“An easy way to start is simply having the bottom hold coins between each finger and the wall - so find coins for for each hand. Explore their naked body with hands, implements, vibrators. Decide on a punishment for each coin dropped. If they’re not dropping any coins, I find some unexpected tickling or a well place Hitachi or cane stroke can push them off guard,” says Princessa Natasha Strange.

Predicament Bondage Ideas

“My predicament scenes usually include clips, clamps, string, needles, and sometimes even electricity. I am a reaction junkie, and this kind of play really feeds me. I get to restrict movement without having to tie knots. I get to come up with unique and surprising torments for my play partners. There's often a lot of laughter (at least on my part), and I love mixing humor and kink. It gives me perfect moments of getting to comfort a suffering bottom as they torture themselves. If I set it all up well enough, I get to immerse [myself] in those delicious reactions,” says Annamarie.

I am a reaction junkie, and this kind of play really feeds me. I get to restrict movement without having to tie knots. I get to come up with unique and surprising torments for my play partners.


DeGrey has other Kinky ideas. “One of my personal favorite forms of predicament bondage is to tie someone's toes to their nipples. As long as they are able to keep their feet up, they're not going to be putting too much strain on their nipples. Eventually however, they are forced through muscle strain to lower their feet, putting tension on the tied nipple. They get to choose between leg strain and nipple pain. Once the nipple pain gets too severe, they elevate back up their leg and give themselves relief. But then the leg eventually becomes too much for them to take and they have to consciously choose to endure more nipple pain. And all the while I am enjoying the dance,” says DeGrey.

Predicament Bondage For More Than One Partner


Predicament bondage or play also works particularly well with multiple partners. You can set up scenarios that require people to work together or offer traded or collective punishment.

I experienced this style of play in one of Annamarie's classes. She had everyone who was willing to participate, about 20 people, stand in a circle, put on nipple clamps, and then she strung the nipple clamps together. As people in the circle were teased they’d move around, pulling on everyone else in the circle.

As you can see, setting up a predicament can be as simple or as elaborate as you desire, and can be anything from silly to serious. All you need is an active imagination, some clear communication, and two (or more) willing players.

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Stella Harris

Stella Harris is a certified intimacy educator, coach, and mediator, who uses a variety of tools to guide and empower her clients and she teaches everything from pleasure anatomy, to communication skills, to kink and BDSM. Stella has appeared at conferences across the US and Canada, and regularly provides workshops and guest lectures to colleges and universities. Stella’s writing has appeared widely, including a weekly sex advice column in her local paper. Highlights of her...

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