Savage Love, a really top notch weekly sex-advice column written by Dan Savage , preaches over and over again the need to err on the side of caution the first time anyone delves into the world of bondage or works with a new partner. Mistakes made in this world can be costly and even fatal. I can think of one instance where a dude in St. Paul was caught red-handed attempting to dispose of a giant Tupperware storage box containing the body in of a newly acquired bondage playmate down by the banks of the Mississippi. Things had gone horribly wrong during the session (their first), and without intent, the guy died. So – “Danger, danger, young Will Robinson!”
Perhaps that’s a bit alarmist, but taking it slow with this particular Acquired Taste is the smart thing to do. That said, bondage can be a lot of fun. I guess it depends upon the spirit it is entered into. It also depends upon your playmate; his experience level and just how serious he is about it. Bondage is the land where extremes are simply horizons to be breached, stretched and achieved. Pain, both physical and emotional, is a very personal, individualistic thing.
Scope of Activity:
A wide variety of activities fall under the umbrella of bondage:
- Self Bondage
- Couple Bondage
- Group Bondage
These activities may include:
- Role Play: Rape/Abduction Fantasy, Humiliation, Master/Slave, Predicament (being given two choices)
- BDSM (Bondage Domination Submission and Masochism)
- Rope Play
- Restraint (hog-tied, spread eagle, etc.)
- Ball Binding
- Clothes Pins (applied to nipples, scrotum, penis, buttocks, etc.)
- Sex Toys (Dildos, Vibrators, Electro Stim, etc.)
- Edging (repeatedly bringing one to the brink of orgasm)
- Oral sex, Anal Sex, or Masturbation
- Dirty Talk
Self-bondage is complex, and may involve special techniques to apply bondage to ones self, and also to effect release (not the sexual kind, the escape kind) after a lapsed period of time. Self-bondage is also notably risky because nobody is there to help you when something goes wrong.
Safety precautions when playing with a partner or group include:
- Use of a "safeword", or some clear way for the one being bound to indicate genuine distress and a wish to discontinue, temporarily stop, or vary the activities of the play. If the subject has been gagged or can otherwise not verbally communicate, they may hum a simple tune, open and close one or both hands repeatedly, or release an object held in one hand (such as a rubber ball, or a scarf).
- Never leave a bound person alone
- Avoid positions or restraints which may induce postural asphyxia
- Avoid restraints which impair breathing (Gags or hoods which block the mouth can become asphyxia hazards if the subject vomits or the nose becomes otherwise blocked)
- Make sure that the subject changes positions at least once an hour (to avoid circulation problems)
- Make sure that the subject can be released quickly in an emergency
- Remain sober; alcohol and drugs should be avoided before or during play
- Periodically ‘check in’ with the one being bound to ensure that everything is alright
- Periodically check for skin discoloration which can indicate lack of oxygen
The Official Line:
Bondage is the use of restraints (leather, rope, scarves, chains, etc.) for the sexual pleasure of the party or parties involved. It may be used in its own right, as in the case of rope bondage or as part of sexual activity or BDSM activity.
The power relationships that bondage brings to the surface may have a direct correlation to our positions in society. One of the clichés of bondage is that of the empowered business executive who yearns to be dominated, humiliated and controlled by another. Exerting control over another is a definite aspect in any bondage scenario, as is the submission of the person being bound.
If humiliation is part of a bondage scenario and the belittling activity provides emotional and/or sexual arousal or heightened sensation, any number of factors can serve as a possible source: from childhood trauma to a specific instance when the two sensations (humiliation and sexual arousal) were experienced simultaneously. In the latter case, that instance then may serve as a basic script used during role play in order to repeat that experience.
I’ve only bound two guys. One was that guy that wanted me to piss inside him (http://wonderlandburlesque.blogspot.com/2011/01/acquired-tastes-chapter-one-watersports.html). He had leather wrist and ankle restraints, and I shackled him spread eagle, lying face down, on his bed, and then fucked him. The other was this guy I met up with one morning in the woods. He was this cute, slim, little dark-haired dude in his early thirties with a nice ass. We’d arranged a time to meet via one of the websites that I frequent. The scenario: while wandering the woods, I was supposed to “discover” him completely naked which would so enrage me that I would feel compelled to string him up in a tree for the whole world to see. He was to provide the rope. Everything went off as planned. I did my best, remembering what I could of my knot tying days in the Boy Scouts, and managed to suspend him by his wrists from a tree. I bound his feet and put a gag in his mouth. Then spanked his silly ass, cut him down, and fuck him. The end (so to speak).
Blindfolds have held a recent fascination for me, but I’ve never worn one while bound; I want my hands free to remove it in the event I no longer feel safe. For the past two years I have been experimenting, with mixed success, by inviting groups of guys over for walk-in scenes. The blindfold really limits my reaction to whoever happens to show up, robbed of a visual; I end up relying totally on my other senses in order to derive pleasure from the experience. Some of my past posts on this blog have dealt with a few of these experiences (http://wonderlandburlesque.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-you-see-depends-on-blindfold-youre.html). It’s a dangerous activity (which is part of its appeal), and I think I might well be over the thrill of it.
Being bound by others takes a lot of trust, something not necessarily a given when meeting perfect strangers for the first time. You end up taking their word for just how experienced they are binding others, but the quality and quantity of their equipment (and I’m not talking about their dicks) can serve as a good indicator of whether or not they have enough experience to be trusted.
One gentleman, I will call him Pan, had quite the elaborate set up in his basement. Pan had a wild mane of brown hair and a full beard covering his cheerful, cherub face. Everything I needed to know about him was right there in his eyes. Mischievous, creative, and imaginative, I liked him from the get go. After a brief interview, I felt pretty safe as he led me down his basement stairs. It was very crowded down there, as I recall, featuring a series of homemade restraining devices – some vertical, some horizontal. He had a bunch of sex toys, too, but I vetoed playing with those. I have a firm rule about using toys that have been used on others – and that would be a definite “no”. This was not a problem as there were a lot of other things to play with. He spent a good deal of time binding me to his various devices and playing little mind games. I’m always interested in the psychological implications of any given play, so he kept my mind working overtime. At one point he had me crawl, blindfolded, into a hole he had tunneled through the foundation of his house and under his backyard. It was a little “Silence of the Lambs” for me. I really had no idea just where I was, or what I was sitting in. Later, he bound me, lying face down on a table that had holes cut out for my face and my dick. He’d crawl underneath and either milk me or suckle on me. It was odd, but definitely an experience worth having.
Near the end of our session, Pan disappeared behind a curtain. When he emerged he was dressed in a really ingenious satyr costume (hence his code name, Pan). With his beard, hair, and hairy torso he was picture perfect. I liked the little horns that peeked out from this thick mane and his brown wooly legs looked quite mutton-like. His hooves were a little problematic (awkward), but well made, though I remember disliking the sound of them as he walked on the cement floor. All in all, it was very theatrical. We ended up; me naked as a jaybird, and he dressed in his satyr costume, lying together in a giant bean bag chair, where we frottaged our brains (and cum) out. That was our one and only session. Some things should (need to) only be experienced once. It was sweet, but contrary to what Jacqueline Susann wrote, sometimes once is enough.
Years later I met a man on-line whom I will call Master Dick. Two weeks before we were to meet up, he sent me a whole list of rules, requirements and potential outcomes for our session. It all felt very secretive, as if I was being inducted into a cult, but I played along because I was curious. I broke a cardinal rule of mine and met him without ever seeing a picture of his face. Arriving exactly at the appointed time (for there was the promise of punishment if I was even a moment late), I was pleasantly surprised when the door to his loft apartment swung open to reveal a strikingly handsome, silver-haired fox. He was actually younger than me, but his silver coif gave him a distinct air of maturity. Dressed in a pair of leather chaps, a jock strap and boots, he welcomed me and pointed to the spot where he wished me to disrobe. Admiring his physique, I stripped down to my jock strap and black leather boots before being escorted to a room featuring a bed with a welded, steel frame – a custom-made number; it was like a four poster without a canopy. The bed was quite high up from the ground and I was told to stand and face the foot of the bed. Having been briefed on the rules ahead of time, I decided to be a ‘good boy’ and cooperate as much as possible. Looking back, I know I probably cheated myself out of the drama and potential fun of being punished, but I didn’t know this dude from Adam. Who knew what he was capable of or how out of hand these ‘punishments’ could spiral? Not wishing to risk injury or bruising, I played polite and subservient all night.
Using leather wrist restraints and chains, he strung up my wrists to the bar that ran above the foot of the bed in quick fashion. Obviously he’d done this many times before. In the notes sent prior to our session, Master Dick promised that he would take it slow and ease me into his world. I think he really did let me off easy. He broke out a brand new butt plug and, after lubing it up sufficiently, shoved it up my waiting hole, telling me to hold it in for as long as I could. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but I adjusted to the pressure. After placing a ball gag in my mouth he proceeded to lightly spank me and work my nipples really hard. My nipples are a little sensitive and it was his intent to make them even more so. By the end of the evening they were horribly sore, but it was somewhat perversely enjoyable. Periodically he would take me down and order me to my knees. Once given permission, I would nuzzle and lick the pouch of his jock. I fell in love with his voice; a deep, rich baritone, which lulled me into compliance. Eventually the pouch of that jock was pushed aside and I got to deep throat his rather nice 8” cock. He complimented me numerous time on my oral skills, which only made me work all the harder.
Stringing me back up, he removed the butt plug and proceeded to fuck my hole with a great deal of vigor, before working my nipples again, which were not quite painful. He was good to his word; at the first sign of discomfort, he would back off and move onto another activity. A leather riding crop was produced and applied to my scrotum, alternating seductive caresses with slight, sharp taps. It got a rise out of me and he seemed pleased. Pleased enough to let my arms down. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he ordered me to suck his cock. I complied and as I continued to work my magic on his dick, he began to inch back toward the headboard, until we were both fully on the bed. He spoke to me the entire time, his voice mellow and authoritative, right up to the moment he volleyed a nice hot load in my eager, wanting mouth. Encouraging me as I jerked off and until I shot my load, he then allowed me to nuzzle into the nook of his arm.
I have done a shit job capturing the tension that electrified the air throughout my encounter with Master Dick, but it was there. I know, because once orgasms had been achieved and that tension released, I found myself, still sweating and panting for air, luxuriating in the warmth and safety of his arms. The come down was as intoxicating as the high itself. I suspect that downtime is really important to these types of sessions, serving as a kind of decompression chamber before returning to the real world.
And that was it. I never went back. I don’t know if I was supposed to ask to come back or if he just wasn’t interested, but, again, once was probably enough. My nipples hurt like hell for a week, but they are indeed now more sensitive (for which I thank you, Master Dick, wherever you are).
Having never experienced first hand anything even close to the extremes of hardcore bondage, I don’t have a lot to base an opinion on, save my reactions to some of the photos I have seen. I guess I prefer my bondage to be rather vanilla in nature; I cringe at some of the photos I’ve seen and constantly find myself asking “and how exactly is THAT fun?” Maybe this is a case of you had to be there, where caught up in the moment limits are breached and exceeded by great bounds (no pun intended). I’ve certainly done things with men while caught up in the moment that I probably would not have consented to do if that had been presented as the starting point. And therein lies what is at the heart of what constitutes whether something is cool or beyond the pale – consent. No matter my reaction, I have to assume that those featured in the photos of extreme bondage are there, in the circumstances depicted, because they consented to what is being done to them (the alternative being something out of a horror film, too horrible to contemplate). In other words - they enjoy it, which is their right.
It’s not for me, but then I’m discovering there are a lot of Acquired Tastes that aren’t my cup of tea, though I do admire the creativity and perseverance of those involved.
But no clothes pins… those fuckers really hurt.
Next week: White Trash and Rednecks