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Suspension Bondage

Updated: SEPTEMBER 28, 2021
Reviewed by Jon Pressick
on April 28, 2021

Suspension bondage is a form of restraint play wherein one person hangs above the ground by their restraints. A form of BDSM, the person being bound and suspended is typically a submissive, and the person orchestrating the suspension is typically a dominant. These roles can be filled by people of any gender or sexual orientation. As with many other BDSM activities, suspension bondage may or may not involve intercourse or genital stimulation. Because it can be very complex, it is often a gratifying act unto itself.

Suspension bondage is a dangerous form of BDSM play. Different types of restraints and equipment can be used in suspension bondage. Strong rope, cables and chains are needed to lift the submissive off the ground. Rope can be tied directly around their body in a series of Shibari-style knots. Cables and chains can be attached to specifically designed cuffs and harnesses that properly secure and protect the submissive’s wrists, ankles and other joints. Some dominants use a large, steady frame for suspension bondage. Hooks and rings can also be attached directly to a ceiling, and the rope, chain or cables can be connected with a heavy duty carabiner.

Suspension bondage has three main positions: vertical, horizontal and inverted. In vertical suspension bondage, the submissive is typically hung by their wrists, or sometimes by a harness. By incorporating spreader bars and other types of bondage equipment, the submissive’s body can be arranged and tied in different positions. Horizontal suspension bondage offers more variety in both how the submissive can be bound and the positioning of their body. They can be hung from as little as their ankles and wrists or they can be lifted off the ground from many different bound body parts. The submissive can be placed face up, face down or on their side, and their arms and legs can be placed in many different positions. Inverted suspension bondage is the same as vertical except that the submissive is upside down.

More About Suspension Bondage

Suspension bondage can be an exhilarating paradox, as the restrained participant often feels a great sense of freedom. One of the aims of bondage is to restrict, limit or entirely remove the submissive’s ability to move, rendering them helpless. However, when the submissive is bound and then levitated off the ground, that same helplessness can transform into a sensation of floating, weightlessness and perhaps even entering their own form of “subspace.” Of course, the dominant also enjoys the submissive’s perilous situation, deriving pleasure from putting them in such a state.

This relationship between submissive and dominant is particularly critical in a suspension bondage scene. Consent and communication are cornerstones of BDSM play and relationships, but they must be taken to new heights when enjoying suspension bondage. This type of play requires significant training and study before even attempting one’s first scene. Different resources are available, but some people learn best from a guide during a scene. Many people begin their training by doing partial suspensions, building up knowledge and understanding before embarking on a full suspension. Patience, in both the dominant and submissive, are key to learning and subsequently enjoying suspension bondage.

There is so much to learn in suspension bondage, and patience is so critical, because it is a dangerous activity that can cause serious injuries. In the most basic sense, if a submissive is not bound properly, they could fall and land awkwardly, causing injury. Another important consideration is that the dominant needs to understand the physics of suspension, and the impact of restraints combined with gravity on the submissive’s different joints and body parts. Injuries including nerve damage and circulation issues can result from improper suspension. As part of suspension bondage training, the dominant learns that they must always have a quick release or escape plan for the submissive in case anything goes wrong.

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