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A corset is a form of shapewear that is used to achieve a certain body form. Corsets can be worn for both medical and aesthetic reasons. While this garment is more commonly manufactured for women, men have also been known to wear corsets to achieve the much sought after V-shaped hip. While modern corsets are mainly worn as a fashion statement, this piece of clothing used to be worn to completely alter the silhouette.
Available in various shapes, lengths, and styles, corsets are also used in BDSM play to restrain the partner by tight-lacing. In fact, bondage and discipline corsets are especially conceived for BDSM play and are designed to be laced as tightly as possible.
A corset aims at drastically reducing the waist size while pushing the bust upwards and creating a well-defined curve of the hips. This hourglass shape was regarded as the 'ideal’ female shape for centuries. Victorian and Edwardian corsets were boned with steel to hold the figure into place. Throughout history, the steel-boned corset slowly evolved into plastic bones and then to no bones at all.
However, BDSM corsets steel boned and often come with a padlock to prevent the submissive from removing the corset without the dominant’s explicit approval.
While old-fashioned corsets came with rigid strings that needed to be laced around the wearer’s body, modern ones are more flexible. They are commonly manufactured from stretchy fabrics such as Lycra or spandex and come with hooks or zippers. Discipline or bondage corsets are mainly made from leather or vinyl.
There has been quite a bit of controversy around these forms of shapewear. According to historians, physicians from the 1800s were concerned about the effect of tight-lacing on the internal organs. In 1857, a book titled 'An Examination of Five Plagues: Corsets, Tobacco, Gambling, Strong Drink and Illegal Speculation’ was published by Charles Dubois to warn the female population about the side effects of tight lacing. Physicians at the time believed that corsets were linked to ailments like cancer, liver disease, and tuberculosis.