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Spreader Bar

Updated: SEPTEMBER 30, 2021
Reviewed by Jon Pressick
on September 29, 2021

A spreader bar is a type of bondage equipment used to spread and hold a person's legs or arms apart. Though not exclusively used for bondage, they are popular in the BDSM community, and considered versatile in both physical and psychological scenes.

Spreader bars are most frequently made of wood, metal, or plastic and many have built-in or detachable cuffs or attachment points on each end. Some versatile spreader bars have several attachment points or adjustable attachment points for the most customizable experience. In sex play, a person’s wrists, ankles, arms, or legs are attached to the ends of a spreader bar with cuffs or rope. Expandable spreader bars can be used to increase comfort for the person attached, or test their flexibility in BDSM scenes.

A spreader bar facilitates a number of different sex positions, including suspended ones. For example, a spreader bar spreading the legs is perfect for sex standing up. A spreader bar that attaches the wrists and ankles forces a submissive to bend over for rear-entry and anal sex positions. A spreader bar that pushes the submissive’s legs back allows for deeper penetration and G-spot or P-spot action during missionary sex. A spreader bar can also enhance oral sex by forcing the submissive’s legs apart for multiple orgasms. Changing positions during an extended play session is also simple with a spreader bar.

Also known as a bondage bar, spreader bars are also helpful in bondage scenes where there aren’t objects, such as bedheads or chairs, to tether their submissive to. For example, you can use a spreader bar when you’re outdoors or playing with a submissive up against a wall.

While spreader bars are typically used for couples play, you can also use one for self-bondage. Spreader bars are popular across sexual orientations and genders.

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More About Spreader Bar

Sometimes it takes a zeitgeist moment for something super useful to get the attention it deserves. Despite the fact that objects have long been used to bind people for sexual purposes, spreader bars didn’t really get their due until they were prominentaly featured in the Fifty Shades of Grey books and films. However, after folks saw the potential there, spreader bars soared in popularity and have become more of a fixture in people’s sex play.

Part of that increased popularity is a growing knowledge of—and desire for—BDSM in relationships. A spreader bar can reinforce the dynamic between a Dominant and their submissive partner. The Dominant may feel aroused because they know they have complete physical control over the submissive. The submissive also feels and understands this. Many submissives enjoy sex play more when they know they are completely powerless.

Spreader bars are designed to be restrictive and create a sense of vulnerability, which one or both partners may find erotic. This type of restraint creates more complete sexual submission than other types of restraints because it can keep the submissive’s legs apart. The Dominant then has free visual and physical access to the submissive's genitals, anus, breasts, and other erogenous zones.

When using a spreader bar, it is important to check in with the bound participant to ensure both their continued, enthusiastic consent, as well as their comfort. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, and the Dominant or unbound person should know how to quickly release the submissive from the spreader bar. When used to elevate a person’s arms or legs, or in a suspension scene, it is important to assure that blood flow to hands or feet is not being restricted or nerves are not being impinged. Short breaks are encouraged to allow the submissive partner an opportunity to stretch and shake out their extremities to avoid discomfort or damage.

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