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Bondage

Updated: FEBRUARY 8, 2022
Reviewed by Kinkly Staff
on February 8, 2022
Bondage is a form of sex play in which one person restrains another for sexual pleasure. There are also people who practice self-bondage during masturbation. As the B in the acronym, bondage is commonly practiced in the BDSM community. However, many couples who identify as vanilla can also enjoy experimenting with sexual bondage.


Physical bondage can involve anything from handcuffs, blindfolds and basic restraints, to ropes, gags, sex furniture, and even cages. Household items like neckties and pantyhose can also be used as bondage aids.


In most bondage activities, a dominant partner (often called the "rigger") restrains a submissive partner (sometimes called a "bunny") using one or more of these devices. They may fasten body parts, such as ankles or wrists, together. They may also fasten the submissive’s body to ordinary household furniture or sex furniture. The fastenings may be purely functional or aesthetically pleasing, as with the Japanese rope art of kinbaku.They may use a single restraint or many, as with mummification and sensory deprivation. Some dominants like to restrain their partners and use them as human furniture.


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Safety is an important consideration when playing with bondage. Restraints should be secure without being too tight, especially around joints, the neck, and major arteries. As a rule, you should be able to slide one or two fingers between the skin and restraint or harness. Having a pair of safety shears (that cut through tough materials but are blunted at the ends so you don't accidentally stab anyone) on hand is imperative.

Some couples prefer psychological bondage, where the dominant orders the submissive to stay still or hold a position. Keen to obey the dominant, the submissive doesn’t need any physical restraints to do as they are instructed. Many dominants give their submissives a collar to remind them of their obligation to submit, even when they are not physically restrained.

The process of applying bondage restraints can be very arousing for the partners. Once the submissive is fully restrained, the dominant may tease them with toys or their hands, have oral or penetrative sex with them, or use them in any way that they see fit according to what has been agreed upon.


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More About Bondage

While the submissive gives up some of their power during bondage, the dominant partner must always respect their limits. All sex acts that occur during bondage must be mutually consensual. Discuss each other’s interests and limits before starting a bondage scene to make sure you’re both on the same page. During this time, you should agree on a safe word either partner can say if they want the scene to stop or slow down. A safe action can also help if the submissive is gagged or otherwise unable to speak.

It’s also up to the dominant to monitor the submissive and make sure they’re comfortable throughout the scene, emotionally and physically. When people feel aroused, their body may be able to withstand higher levels of pain than usual.

The dominant should make sure their submissive’s body stays warm and retains its color - skin that pales or goes purplish is a sign you need to remove the restraints immediately. It’s a good idea to keep a pair of scissors close by, in case the dominant needs to release the restraints quickly. It’s also important to stay close to a restrained submissive at all times, never leave them alone when they are tied up.

Although it may feel counterintuitive, bondage can actually make some BDSM activities safer, particularly if having your sub move quickly or unexpectedly could cause one of you to get hurt. Keeping a partner immobile during wax play, for example, can stop them from flailing and knocking the candle out of your hand. Bondage can also make it easier for dominants to whip their partners safely. The restraints hold the submissive in place, so the dominant can easily strike only parts of the body they are unlikely to harm such as the buttocks and not accidentally strike their kidneys.

People enjoy bondage for many different reasons. The submissive may do it because they want to please their partner, they like the feeling of being out of control, or they like the idea of being "used." Some people believe that the delayed gratification involved in bondage can make for a more powerful orgasm.

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Dominants often enjoy the feeling of being in control of a partner’s pleasure. It can be a real turn-on to see someone out of their mind with desire, knowing their gratification relies solely on you. Bondage is best when the dominant and submissive have compatible interests. It’s a good idea to really get to know a play partner, what they like, and why they like it, to see whether you’ll have fun together.

When starting out with bondage, it’s a good idea to go slow. Try restraining just one body part at a time, then adding more bondage elements as you both become more comfortable. This approach helps you both feel comfortable during your play sessions.

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