Bondage demonstration at the Folsom Street Fair. A subculture of gay men , sometimes called leathermen , were among the first groups to make obvious hints of their tastes in bondage in public. Other groups, including pansexual and heterosexual BDSM enthusiasts, later followed suit.
Early public displays were mainly limited to the wearing of certain fashion items, such as collars and cuffs. Over time, more explicit public displays arose. These events are few in number and highly controversial in most regions. Exhibitionist displays are another manifestation of public bondage. They are typically undertaken by individuals who fetishize public displays of sex and sexuality.
However, some exhibitionist bondage is done as a social or political statement. This could be an effort to raise awareness of alternative sexuality or a political metaphor for oppression. BDSM clubs feature semi-public bondage. While the clubs and events are considered private, play parties feature open spaces where play occurs that allows other attendees to watch scenes in progress.
Public play of this variety is more rooted in social activity and the safe space afforded by such clubs than exhibitionist fetishism. Even so-called "vanilla" people can become masters of the technical aspects of tying their partners up.
Bondage has a sexual appeal to people of all sexes and all sexual orientations , in a switch , dominant top or submissive bottom role. There are also some common fantasy settings in which bondage may be a component. Rape, ravishment or abduction: The top fictitiously seizes or abducts the consenting bottom and has complete control. A training session occurs in which rewards for obedience and punishment for defiance are given. Humiliation is usually involved. The bottom is given a choice between two tortures.
For example, caning on the rear or flogging on the chest. If the bottom cannot stand one any longer, the top will start the other. This can also be done mechanically, like having a bottom squat and rigging a crotch rope to tighten if they attempt to stand. Bondage is often combined with other sexual and BDSM techniques.
Self-bondage is more complex, and may involve special techniques to apply bondage to oneself, and also to effect a release after a lapsed period of time. Self-bondage is also notably risky: Self-gagging A woman wearing an armbinder. A large variety of bondage equipment is available for use in BDSM scenes for a number of results. These include rope, straps, or harnesses which can be used to hold limbs together; spreader bars , x-frames which can be used to keep limbs apart; the body or limbs can be tied to an object, such as to chairs or stocks; the body may be suspended from another object, as in suspension bondage ; or it may used to restrict normal movement, such as use of hobble skirts , handcuffs , or pony harness.
Bondage may also be used to wrap the whole body or a part of it in bindings, such as cloth or plastic saran wrap or cling film "mummification" as well as sleepsack bondage. This may involve simply tying the hands together in front or behind. Other positions involve the use of a waist belt to anchor the hands to the front, back or sides.
Other popular positions are the spread eagle , with the limbs splayed out and fastened by wrists and ankles to bedposts, door frame or some other anchoring point; the hogtie , which secures each wrist to its corresponding ankle behind the back wider, padded restraints such as bondage cuffs are recommended for this ; the balltie , which secures wrists to ankles, in front, with the knees drawn up to the chest; the crotch rope , which involves pulling a rope between the labia to apply pressure to the female genitals.
Sometimes a knot is placed in the rope at the position of the clitoris to intensify the sensation. A crotch rope can also be used on males, either placing pressure directly on the scrotum or including a tie to capture the scrotum.
Other positions include the reverse prayer position not recommended unless the subject has flexible shoulders , and an over-arm tie , in which the arms are brought over the head, and the wrists fastened together behind the head and then by a length of rope, chain or strapping to a belt at the waist. The types of restraints used in bondage include rope , which is often preferred because of its flexibility. Rigging , however, requires considerable skill and practice to do safely.
Other types of restraints include chains, handcuffs , thumbcuffs and belly chains. Institutional restraints, such as straitjackets may be used in some roleplays, and purpose-made bondage gear, such as monogloves , sleepsacks , bondage hooks and bondage tables , are also available.
Some BDSM play parties offer "bondage workshops", where couples, or people otherwise consenting with each other, can practice tying under the instruction and supervision of an experienced bondage rigger. Safety[ edit ] Areas vulnerable to damage in classic upper body bondage are marked out in red. Bondage is safer when conducted between sober, trusted partners who are fully aware of the risks involved and the precautions necessary to ensure safety, such as informed consent.
Partners who are in committed relationships may have a greater basis for trusting each other. Performing acts in a supervised location, such as a dungeon , or with a group of trusted friends may also increase safety. Avoiding positions or restraints which may induce postural asphyxia. Making sure that the subject changes positions at least once an hour to avoid circulation problems. Making sure that the subject can be released quickly in an emergency. Avoiding restraints which impair breathing.
Gags or hoods which block the mouth can become asphyxial hazards if the subject vomits or the nose becomes otherwise blocked.
Remaining sober; alcohol and drugs should be avoided. A woman being hung upside down using adequate precautions at Bound Con event, Germany, Accidents and lasting damage can generally be avoided by very simple security precautions and a rudimentary knowledge of the human anatomy. One very simple safety measure is to ask the subject every so often if he or she is all right. Another is to check body parts like hands and feet for numbness or coldness, which can happen if nerves have been pinched or blood circulation has been blocked.
Another is to check for skin discoloration. Skin that does not get enough oxygen turns bluish. If blood can get in, but cannot get out because one of the veins has been blocked, that part of the body turns purple. If the subject has been gagged or can otherwise not verbally communicate, a different form of the safeword is needed. For instance, they may hum a simple tune, or opening and closing one or both hands repeatedly, or releasing an object held in one hand such as a rubber ball, or a scarf.
Suspension bondage by hanging upside-down can be especially risky. The danger most often associated with it is falling on your head. Other dangers include nerve compression, circulation problems and fainting due to increase in blood pressure. It is common  for people especially those on diets to faint during a long session.
Having a regular meal beforehand is recommended; being fed small snacks during play may also help prevent fainting. A pair of EMT scissors is recommended useful for safely cutting rope and tape off skin. Keyed-alike padlocks, if chains are being used. Scenes depicted in bondage photographs and videos are chosen for their visual appeal and fantasy value.
Sometimes these positions are dangerous or cannot be maintained for more than a few minutes i. In many cases they cannot be "acted out" with good results and are only for extremely physically fit and very experienced BDSM participants. Especially in highly artistic Japanese bondage, years of experience of bondage is required to avoid the risks. Self-bondage carries a higher risk, particularly because it violates an important principle of bondage safety; to never leave a bound person alone.
For the feeling of being tied up to be as authentic as possible, practitioners of self-bondage can use time-limit clocks, freeze their keys in blocks of ice, or use self-invented devices, in order to temporarily abandon power over their own restraint and freedom called "tunnel play".
Without someone to release them in the event of an emergency or medical crisis, self-bondage can lead to severe and permanent physical damage. Especially in combination with asphyxiation , self-bondage can be lethal to its practitioners. A woman mummified in black tape, restraining her entire body. Bondage techniques can be divided into six main categories: Binding body parts, such as arms or legs, together.
Spreading out body parts, such as arms or legs. Binding the restrained partner to an outside object, such as a Saint Andrew's Cross , a chair, or a table. Suspending the restrained partner from the ceiling. Hindering or slowing down the movement of the restrained partner, such as with a hobble skirt or a corset.
Wrapping the restrained partner up in soft, elastic material, thus restraining their entire body. This is known as mummification. Many people feel that bondage must be "rough and tough", as seen in many images of bondage erotica, but this is not always true.
In so-called "soft bondage", the active partner can simply hold the restrained partner's hands together with their own hands, handcuff the restrained partner, or simply order the restrained partner not to move their hands, without using any physical restraint. This latter case, called "verbal bondage", appeals to many people and is far more common than most people[ who? A popular variant of bondage considers the artistic and aesthetic part of tying a person up more than the transfer of power and control, or the sexual pleasure.
This type of bondage is called " shibari " or kinbaku , and comes originally from Japan. Techniques of rope bondage[ edit ] Rope bondage is perhaps the best known and most used form of bondage. There are several forms of rope bondage. Rope weaving A more complicated technique, where a rope is first wrapped around the restrained partner's body in a zig-zag pattern, and then a second rope is woven around it.
Double rope technique The restrained partner is bound by two ropes at once, allowing decorative rope patterns to be applied quickly. Single rope technique A sure technique, most often used in conjunction with sadomasochism, where the restrained partner is bound by only one rope.
In the American-European bondage scene, specific terms have developed for different kinds of bondage. The terms most often used in the European bondage subculture are in English, although some bondage term come from the Japanese language, such as kata bondage position or musubime bondage knot. Examples of simple bondage techniques are the "spread eagle", where the restrained partner's each limb is tied to a different corner of a bed,  or the " hogtie ", where the restrained partner's hands and feet are both tied, and the ropes tying these are connected with each other, holding the restrained partner in a bent position.
A "crotch rope" is sometimes used, where a rope is passed between the partner's legs, applying pressure to the genitals.
Materials[ edit ] Just about any material that can be used to hinder or restrain a person's movement can be used in bondage.