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How to Get Tied Up

Such Pretty Packages Tied Up With String: A Few of Our Favorite Bondage Things

Bondage, even with its kinky rep, has a totally charming sort of cross-sex-cultural cachet. For many people, it’s both sincerely perverted, yet sinfully delightful. No wonder it’s part of many, many fantasies.

These days, having the desire to tie up and tie down your lover is hardly limited to any one kind of sexual orientation or subculture; if it ever was. Could this be because bondage itself defies stereotypes, and is just so versatile; capable of moving from intense and passionate, to lighthearted and mischievous?

As confining as it is by its nature, bondage’s aesthetic and erotic aims run the gamut and refuse to be pinned down to just one way to be played. Whether your bondage games are about teasing, torment, or turning your beloved into a tightly wrapped work of art, there are some fundamental tools & concepts that are worth considering that will add equal parts skill and hotness to your bondage repertoire.

Bringing out our bondage fantasies – how we’re tied, how we’re exposed, how we get that way, and then what happens next – depends on our ability to describe those in enough detail to our partners, but still leave them generous room to improvise and embroider those fantasies with their own unique sensibility. In addition to explicitly sharing consent in getting bound or doing the binding, negotiating the finer points of a bondage scene carry that initial consent into a mutually devised, mutually devious time.

For some bondage enthusiasts, the act of being put into bondage itself is the core of their turn-on, enjoying the constricting sensation of rope or leather on their skin, or savoring the momentary loss of control. A bondage bottom may also bring an element of role playing or dominance and submission into their being bound, which, though far from mandatory, can turn up the psychological heat of a scene.

For the bondage or rope top, the plan may be to immobilize their bottom, to decorate them with ornate ties, or to take them down quick and dirty; and maybe with a little struggle. For every top who wants a docile and compliant subject, there’s another who thrills for the chase given by a bratty bottom. Discovering your bent as a bondage top, bottom, or switch can start helping you to map the kinds of scenes that will be possible with your lover, or inspire you to play in new territory drawn from their desires.

If you’d like some inspiration, check out our collection of erotica with bondage themes.

You can get all sorts of great ideas to fuel solo fantasies, or to share with a partner. One fun way to share them with a partner is to have each person read the stories and mark their favorite sections with different colored highlighters. Anything that gets both colors is a great place to start!

Fantasies about bondage span as much erotic terrain as would all the rope in all the dungeons in North America tied end to end, and probably even then some. The image most often conjured up by the request “tie me up!” is only the one that’s most managed to penetrate sex pop culture: a sweet thing tied spread-eagle to a bed, ankles and wrists bound to the corners.

In reality, we come in all shapes and sizes, and flexibilities, and most likely, we’ll need to make a few modifications to our bedroom furniture to accommodate our fantasies.

That said, that classic bondage position got that way mostly because it works. Having one’s legs spread open leaves one’s genitals fully revealed, and with the arms secured, suddenly, we find ourselves with “no choice” but to enjoy whatever trouble the person who’s so ably tied us down wants to get into with us – with our permission, of course. Likewise, this is a position that’s reasonably safe to try out even for your first time, unlike some pop culture bondage clichés.  The hogtie, for example, might be a fixture in Hollywood bondage imagery, but is not ideal for playing due to the risk of injury. A chair-tie, however, right out of film noir interrogation scenes, is a great jack-of-all-scenes technique to learn; chairs being as plentiful as they are in our apartments and hotel rooms as they are in the fantasy offices and classrooms of our imaginations.

If you’re concerned about comfort, check out the Wedge and Ramp pillows, which offer firm support and are easy to clean.

When it comes to maintaining both the flow and safety of a bondage scene, anticipating possible complications is key, as either a responsible top or bottom. Safety, here, includes not only keeping a pair of Safety Scissors nearby – the kind you can safely cut rope with and not risk cutting your bottom – as well as an extra set of keys to your cuffs. It also entails discussion (before playing) about the limits and limitations of our bodies and what we want to do to and have done to them.

One of the most common fantasies, using stockings or neckties for bondage, also carries a lot of risk. While these tools are easy to find, the knots often tighten too much, especially when someone is pulling or struggling against them. A fun and safer alternative is a set of restraints, such as the neoprene and velcro Super Cuffs or the leather and buckle Leopard Restraints. Whichever method you use, make sure that you can easily fit two fingers between the restraint and your partner’s wrist or ankle and check that their hands and feet aren’t getting cold (a sign of possible reduced blood flow).

Knowing how to gracefully transition throughout a bondage scene is as much about having your toys ready at hand as being aware of the mobility of your bottom; about having asked them, teased them gently, or charmed them into revealing what is so erotic about going under your hand and your restraints. If you’re worried about your knot-tying skills, Bondage How-To Books will help you master the basics. Or you can avoid the issue entirely with the Sportsheet, which uses velcro and lets you put the restraints anywhere you want.

Being able to tie a safe knot is important, but so is knowing how to apply that knot to a sexually-charged game. We’ve got several books that will help you look suave and keep the intensity up...check them out.

It’s People, Tying People

This point is borrowed from JD of San Francisco’s bondage teaching duo, Two Knotty Boys. His adage – that bondage isn’t about tying knots, but about tying people – can give comfort to the aspiring rope wrangler who’s still feeling a bit on the klutzy side, and illustrates how easy it can be to get caught up in the minutiae of engineering cool rope tricks rather than focusing on the connection between you and your lover.

The turn-on of bondage as an erotic power exchange, then, can be as much about technical skill as it is sensitive attention to our desire; about being contained as well as being vulnerable. While wielding, or in, restraints, there’s the potential to reveal what we crave when we “just can’t help it;” what really gets us wet and wanting, what we still are hot for even when the ties are undone.

If you’re near one of our stores, or planning a trip our way, check out our listing of workshops. We often have classes on bondage, as well as lots of other great topics at both our Boston or San Francisco and Berkeley stores.