Being tied up is one of the most mainstream depictions of BDSM culture. Cue an individual with carefully knotted rope around their arms, chest, legs, and feet and you’ve got a traditional sub and dom scene. It’s painfully sexy—even just in written form—and a symbol of provocative allure. But, how many of us have actually tried tying someone up before? It may seem more intimidating than it actually is, especially for those who have leaned towards the more vanilla side of all things sexual. In actuality, it doesn’t have to be that difficult.
According to a study on Slate, 80 percent of people have experimented with bondage. In 2015, OkCupid found that 58 percent of their users had a desire to participate in bondage.
Here’s the basics if you’re interested in getting your tying, or being tied, up tonight:
Talk it out
Bondage 101 begins like most facets in the world of kink: communication, communication, communication. Begin by communicating with your partner what type of bondage you’re interested in experimenting with in the bedroom. Try and compile a list of yes/no/maybe’s that are off limits and what would turn you on. Creating an open dialogue with your partner is essential as submissive and dominant roles should be a consensual and safe agreement.
“First check if your partner has any injuries, physical limitations or medical conditions that would be important to know about. Then ask about any bad experiences or fears that need to be addressed and discussed. Thorough negotiation of all activities beforehand is the foundation of all BDSM play,” says BDSM Educator and Dominatrix Simone Justice.
You Might Also Like: 7 Habits That Make Someone Good In Bed
Contrary to belief, the sub is in charge. Before beginning any scene, partners should discuss what is acceptable and what is off limits. Since a submissive will be the individual experiencing any pain or discomfort, their voice is at the core of a BDSM scene.
San Francisco journalist, Michael Castleman, M.A. writes, “Bottoms can invoke the stop signal, and tops vow to obey immediately. Meanwhile, tops act dominant, but they must also be caring and nurturing, taking bottoms to their agreed-upon limit, but never beyond it. In this way, BDSM provides an opportunity for everyone to experiment with taking and surrendering power, while always feeling safe and cared for.”
Ready to shop for a restraint? Here’s what to look for:
The best and easiest way to dive into bondage is to buy actual restraints which are padded and don’t require much effort in terms of learning knots. Restraints are also very easy to remove if the submissive seems to feel uncomfortable. However, if you’re interested in rope, begin with silk or a soft rope like cotton. That way you or your partner can move around easily without feeling incredibly restrained, but with a little bit of confinement. For a cheaper route, invest in a nylon rope from a hardware store. Rope for bondage can also be used for handcuffs, floggers, harnesses, or belts. The opportunities are endless once you purchase a rope for the bedroom.
How do you actually tie someone?
Remember, tying someone up doesn’t involve cutting off their circulation or creating deep skin indentations. You want to be able to slide your fingers under all knots and restraints. During your first controlled experience, make sure to test out circulation and comfort. What works for you, or another partner, might not work for this specific partner. Every body reacts differently, both mentally and physically, to being tied up.
Simone advises practitioners to not “keep anyone in one position too long.” She says, “Mix it up every half hour or so. If using rope, be sure you watch for rope burn by putting your hand underneath so the rope touches you instead of their skin. And also be aware of your rope ends, don’t let them fly and hit either of you.”
A few important pointers to always remember:
Never leave someone alone while tied up
Never bind someone’s breathing passage with rope
Agree on a safe word before binding begins
Keep scissors nearby in case of an emergency
Experimenting with various hitches, positions, and knots will take time and patience; however, most of them are simple to learn with a few knot tying lessons. The most basic knots are the square or reef knot and the bowline knot.
Okay, now what?
So your partner is tied up, but now what do you do? This is where you can decide—consensually of course—how to tease, bite, please, smack, and control your submissive.
For a first time experience, try something more basic. Nipple play, ice cubes, oral sex, edible treats, or spanking can be some of the initial games you play with your sub. Defining those boundaries is extremely important before tying someone up so make sure you’re aware of what your partner wants and what areas you should avoid.
Advanced bondage can include nipple clamps, gags, and whips. BDSM scenes include sub-space and top-space where both you and your partner will ultimately, and hopefully, experience a euphoric feeling that is different but emotionally and mentally linked.
What’s so exciting about bondage, and being tied up, is that there are endless knots and hitches to incorporate when you tie someone up.
Simone says, “For some, to be bound tightly is a sexy combo of safety/anxiety. Akin to how babies like to be swaddled…you just feel very comforted. And at the same time it is also exciting to be tied up because you feel so vulnerable.”
Keep in mind that you won’t magically be an expert the first time you tie someone up. Go slow and steady. BDSM is about learning, paying attention, and listening to your partner. An Adam & Eve study found that 71 percent of people tell their partner what they want in bed. Practitioners of BDSM have to exemplify communication and trust before anything else can ensue. That’s what makes bondage such an incredibly intimate experience. Simone agrees: “If done right, with safety, care, proper negotiation, and skill…bondage is extremely freeing, relaxing and sexy for both partners.”
Your communication is traversing the bedroom and your skills are navigating vulnerable areas of your love life to solidify an intense bond to one another, quite literally.