What images do you think of when you read the word “bondage”?

When I asked this question to my Facebook followers I got a wide variety of responses from dark dungeons to scenes from movies like Pulp Fiction.

Then there were responses about political and religious bondage.

When I am talking bondage here, I’m talking about being bound with things like ropes and ties as part of sexual play and pleasure.

Whether you’re a bondage aficionado or you’ve been too scared to even try it, I want to give you a fresh perspective on the art.

I bet that you’ve played with restraint at some point during your sexual life. Have you ever held one of your partner’s hands down? Ever used a necktie around your lover’s neck or wrists? Have you ever used your body weight to restrict your partner’s movement?

I know that some of my most pleasurable moments have been from the sensation of my partner’s weight on my body as he moves, or when, in a moment of passion my partner grabs my wrist and places it over my head as he ravishes my body.

Being restrained and taken can feel like being irresistible. If underneath all the activity you feel truly safe with your sexual partner, being bound can allow for total surrender into pleasure.

If you want to play with restraining your partner or being bound yourself, it’s very important that you get consent and that you create code words or signals that keep it safe for both of you.

For all but the most basic types of restraint, it’s also very important that you get training!

A basic structure for safety: My partner and I use a color system to indicate our needs while playing. Red means stop. Yellow means pause. Green means all is good, keep going.

If we’re using a gag of some kind, then we have the person who is restrained hold an object like a small bouncy ball. If they need to stop, they drop the ball and that means stop, they need something. Remove the gag, make sure they are safe and they get what they need.

Here are some guidelines for playing with restraint that take it out of having to know a bunch of rope ties or setting up a dungeon.

1) Look for easy to use objects you already have around your bedroom – Neckties, a belt, a pillowcase, a sweater, socks, etc.

These can become objects that you use to playfully restrain your lover. A tie can become something you use to bind around the neck or wrists. A belt can restrain wrists or ankles. A pillowcase might serve as a hood or arm restraint. A sock or your lingerie might be used as a gag.

2) Use your body weight and hands

First of all, be conscious of where you are placing your body weight.

I advise that you make sure you aren’t crushing your partner’s lungs, floating ribs, the soft tissue where organs are exposed, arteries or nerves or other vulnerable parts of their body.

Basically, you are responsible for not causing your partner any real or lasting damage. I’m not addressing the use of pain for pleasure in this article, but that could be part of your or your lover’s turn on. If you venture into this type of play, get training from a pro.

To safely use your body weight to restrain, large bony landmarks are good places to start. Try restraining your lover’s hip bones, or shoulders.

When you are kissing, hold their jaw or head. Use your hands to play with restricting their wrists, thighs or ankles. If you have agreed and find it erotic, you can also play with hands around their neck. Do not actually choke them.

I learned how to do “stage combat” choking when in acting school and I find using the acting technique just as effective as the real thing. Use your hands to create a choke around their neck (think of your hands as one unit with your fingers on the sides of their neck), but don’t put pressure on the front of the neck, focus more on the sides, not squeezing too tight, instead push upward. You are not tightening around your lover’s neck, but giving them just enough sensation on the sides and upwards for them to feel it.

3) Use products that make tying or binding easy

I’ve tried a bunch of different products out there when it comes to bondage, there are some that require a lot of learning and some that are really simple.

Cuffs that use velcro or simple buckles and have metal D Rings and removable clasps make it easy to get in and out quickly. This can provide some real safety if you’re new to the game

Soft nylon rope from the local hardware store is a great and inexpensive option. Make sure you learn how to tie safely – Youtube can be your friend here, but make sure you trust the expert giving advice. Coaches are the best.

4) Products that feel good

Of course, this is a personal preference, but I really like being bound by objects that feel good on my skin. Silk sashes can be really nice as they are soft and feel wonderful. So are leather or cloth cuffs and blindfolds that have soft fur or fabric on the inside.

5) Mindset reframe – it’s doesn’t have to be about pain

I really feel that bondage and restraint have been given a bad rap.

When most people think of this art they think of something that they would never do, because it belongs in a deep dark dungeon or it’s done as a punishment that involves pain.

But I invite you to reframe bondage as a time to play with restraint in a way that is lighthearted and can add a little spice to your sex life.

If you love the deep dark dungeon, that’s awesome too.

No matter how this type of play turns you on, restraint can offer an opportunity to create some hot polarity in your sexual play. Using control and surrender can instantly add a sexy edge to your intimacy and possibly awaken new turn on.

Have a conversation with your lover about how you want to experiment, get their full consent, address any fears that may come up for you or them and, if you’ve never played this way before, go slow.

There’s a lot to learn about restraint, so keep it really simple when you first begin.

Play safe!

With curiosity and delight,

Jaiya