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Handcuffs are used in sex play to restrain one partner's wrists or ankles. They are comprised of two metal bracelets linked together with a chain. The handcuffs used in sex play may also be covered with a soft material to prevent chafing.
Handcuffs can be tied different ways: wrist to wrist, wrist to object, ankle to ankle, or ankle to object. The ratchet mechanism prevents the cuff from being removed without the key.
Handcuffs are popular BDSM accessories. Depending on the length of the chain, it can be impossible to move one’s arms or feet when wearing them. They can also be used in light, bedroom bondage scenes, usually with two pairs, each attached to a wrist and an object like a bed post.
Despite their advantages in restraint, handcuffs also have disadvantages. First, they can be very painful, especially when worn for a long period of time. The metal tends to chafe the skin and hit delicate bones in the wrist or ankle. Moreover, handcuffs can only be removed with a key once they are locked. If the key is lost, there are few ways to free someone without embarrassment.
For long-term bondage and safer play, leather bondage cuffs may be preferable.