Updated: MAY 19, 2021
Reviewed by Dr. Sunny Rodgers
on May 18, 2021
Forniphilia is the practice of using a submissive person as a piece of furniture. Dominants typically use rope, harnesses, or both to bind their submissives into furniture shapes. They may also gag them so they are silent, just as real furniture is. However, in some cases, the dominant may not use any restraints, expecting the sub to hold the position on their own. The term forniphilia can also refer to the sexual objectification of people bound or positioned in this way.

The term forniphilia comes from the Old French term furnir, meaning to furnish, and the Greek word philos, a love or attraction for. People of any gender can participate in forniphilia, although turning women into furniture is the most common practice.

Erotic fetish performance artist Jeff Gord says he coined the term forniphilia in 1998 after observing his House of Gord webmaster, Aaron Bradley, performing it. However, the history of forniphilia predates this. British pop artist Allen Jones made his Hatstand, Table, and Chair sculptures in 1969. In an obvious nod to forniphilia, it features women dressed in corsets, gloves, and boots posing as the different furniture pieces.

Creating a human table from a submissive partner on all fours is one of the most common forms of forniphilia. The dominant may use the partner’s straight back as the table’s surface or lay a flat material, such as a piece of wood or glass, on top of them. Alternatively, the submissive could lie on their back and hold up the flat material with their hands and knees. A partner on all fours may also become a footstool for their dominant to rest their feet on at the end of a hard day. A submissive may also be bound as a chair for their dominant partner or a friend to sit in. A standing submissive can also become a hat stand or coat rack.

Forniphilia is an extreme BDSM activity as subjects are often tightly bound and expected to remain still for extended periods of time while they function as furniture.

Due to the way dominants position their submissives for forniphilia, it is sometimes called human furniture or furniture play.

More About Forniphilia

Dominants often transform their submissives into furniture for house parties with other members of the BDSM community. These get-togethers can be a way for dominants to show off their submissives to like-minded individuals. A dominant may also take their submissive out to a fetish club and perform forniphilia. Many couples also practice forniphilia in private as part of their regular BDSM interactions.

Forniphilia is also a common subject matter for fetish art. Fetish models pose as furniture for professional photo shoots in fetish magazines and for fetish websites. People share photos and art celebrating forniphilia on popular websites including Tumblr, DeviantArt, and Reddit.

While the active partner typically enjoys the complete domination that comes from forniphilia, the submissive partner often becomes aroused as well. The practice makes them feel useful to the active partner. Pleasure often increases as the subject remains immobile and hopes someone will use them.

A submissive that’s tightly bound for an extended period, as forniphilia often requires, may experience nerve damage or circulation problems. At times, a submissive may also be placed in positions where they might be smothered or their breathing impeded by a gag. The weight of coats, spreads of food, and other people using the “furniture” can also put pressure on muscles and joints. To ensure safety, the dominant partner should regularly check on the submissive's health and well-being. Because of the potential risks, only experienced bondage practitioners who understand their partners' limits should try forniphilia.

Some critics argue that forniphilia is misogynistic as it reduces (mostly female) submissives to objects. However, fans of forniphilia argue that this view is too simplistic. They note that submissives are willing participants who are every bit as aroused by becoming furniture as the people admiring and using them. So long as the activity is consensual, as all BDSM practices should be, there’s no reason people shouldn’t experiment with and enjoy forniphilia.

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