Bondage. Question: How does it Feel?


Me, hogtied

On a Pagan camp during the summer I was asked ‘how does it feel?’ right after the question ‘are you OK?’ when the audience (we were doing a demo) saw me flat out, face down, hogtied and very, very quiet.

Very good questions. Of course, I was OK. They laughed when the tone of my reply (‘I’m OK,’) was so obviously one of bliss. And that’s how it felt. My introduction to the world of BDSM at the tender age of forty+ was a bondage demo in a club. A Goth club. I watched a man tying up someone and fancied trying it. I was impressed to see he was monitoring his charge as he progressed with the tying. His approach was safety-led, ensuring no tendons or joints were under too much pressure, that arms and legs were in safe positions and his charge could breathe properly.

So I had a go while friends watched to ensure my safety, as this man was a stranger. The club was packed. Big Goth boots walked around me hogtied on the floor. Goth music blared out loudly. Weirdly in such circumstances I felt…spaced out. It was such a strange feeling. Unexpected but really good. Much better than I’d anticipated. As someone who has done a lot of meditation and has had hypnosis, this felt like some kind of trance. I was blissed out! In the middle of a busy club! I still am not sure why this should be. Is it to do with being swaddled as a baby and being tightly bound made me feel safe? Is it that I had always had to be in control in my daily life as a single mother and business manager, so here was a chance to give up control and relax? I think maybe it’s a little of each.

One thing it wasn’t and isn’t is scary. Fulani was that stranger. He is now my partner. I still enjoy being tied up. He still enjoys doing it. My birthday this year will be special, as we’ve been invited to a Rope Bondage party that very day. Fun! Scary is actually something I like when we’re playing, but bondage alone doesn’t do that. Mind-fucks do that. And they aren’t physically dangerous.

Bondage is only one aspect of BDSM, and it would be a while before I gradually found out about some of its other delights. Fulani has many years more experience than I, and has always treated me with the utmost respect. Our BDSM is a game. We do not ‘live the lifestyle’ that some choose to, but still get a lot out of it in terms of pleasure, as well as it making our relationship stronger. That’s because of the levels of trust involved. Trust is a very important issue when it comes to BDSM. As the submissive, I give my power over to Fulani whenever I put my collar on and we play. If I give him my safeword, I know that he will instantly stop what he’s doing and release me or check with me what’s wrong. This is VITAL. I might feel ill. I might feel upset. I might feel that a rope is too tight or pressing somewhere it shouldn’t. Rope can damage tendons if it presses on them for too long. Your top or Dom needs to know what he/she is doing and be able to correct a problem quickly.

So if you want to try bondage, you should trust the person who is tying you up, be certain they will respect your limits and have a safeword in case you need it for any reason at all. Communicate with your top. Tell them if something hurts when it shouldn’t. Tell them if you suddenly feel scared or upset.  Of course, if you are playing with pleasure/pain as well as bondage, ‘ow’ will not suffice. Be specific and say ‘The knot on my wrist is digging in,’ if that’s what’s happening, so he can correct if for you.

But as for how it feels, two people at that demo had a go once I’d been released. They both experienced the same blissful feeling as I did. They had never ventured into the BDSM world before. I can’t guarantee you will but how will you know if you don’t try it? And don’t forget to try something twice, just in case it was done badly  the first time!


Dangerous Sex

Would it surprise you to know that one in ten adults say they or their partner have fallen off the bed during sex at some point during their adult lives and one in fifty have fallen off the washing machine? That’s only the tip of the iceberg.

According to The Telegraph (OK, it’s an old article from 2010!), the most common injuries are;

1. Pulled muscle
2. Injured back
3. Carpet burns
4. Cricked neck
5. Bashing elbows / knees
6. Bruised shoulder
7. Twisted knee
8. Sprained / strained wrist
9. Sprained / strained ankle
10. Bending fingers back

We think between the two of us, at one time or another we’ve experienced all of these.

The most dangerous locations were:

1. Sofa
2. Stairs
3. Car
4. Shower
5. Bedroom
6. On a chair
7. Kitchen table
8. Garden
9. Lavatory
10. In a work cupboard

And the most commonly broken items were:

1. Bed frame (yup, done that)
2. Wine / pint glass (ditto)
3. Picture
4. Chair
5. Tea cup (you can tell it’s an English survey, can’t you…)
6. Wall
7. Chest of drawers
8. Door
9. Window
10. Vase

From personal experience we’d add that indoor practice with a bullwhip can result in damage to lampshades and light fittings.

The Telegraph doesn’t, unfortunately, give the source of the report. Another equally unreferenced report suggests you should remove your pets from the room before embarking on sex. Apparently, cats are especially prone to clawing at genitals if present (if the cat’s present, that is, not the genitals) when there’s action going on. Ouch! Avoiding oral sex after spicy food is also recommended, after a woman ended up in casualty with burns in a delicate place when her boyfriend went straight there after a hot curry. And of course, be careful what foreign objects you introduce into sensitive areas! Bottles, light bulbs and other glass objects are not a good idea. One report tells of a man’s lucky recovery, which required an operation, following an exploded light bulb in his rectum!

Many didn’t realise they were injured until the following day, when passion (and possibly alcohol) had worn off. If you’re into BDSM and topping or domming, you should have full control of your faculties, but subs beware – both alcohol and painkillers might leave you unable to tell how much pain/pleasure you are actually having.

So take safety seriously if you don’t want to end up recovering from a session for much longer than you anticipated! Clear the room you intend to use, have safe toys available, put the cat out and make a soft landing for yourselves if you’re going to climb on furniture.

So have fun and play safely!

Follow up to ‘Emotional Safety During a Scene’

There’s a Combichrist song we like to use as background music when we play called ‘This Shit Will Fuck You Up’. It was on the other night. I remarked that actually, this shit can sort you out! There’s a good reason for that. The memory I had that prompted the original post Mental and Emotional Safety During a Scene has, over recent weeks, been aired, sorted and ousted from my life and psyche. I had to work at it. I had to talk a little more about it, and I had to act on what I felt was right for me. In this case, I needed to regain my self esteem and self respect that had been damaged all these years by my past, forgotten event. Bringing it out into the open via the vehicle of BDSM, although an accident and a shock at the time, was very freeing and has had a positive effect in many areas of my life, not just the sex.

This is a world where you have to communicate clearly to your play partner. Otherwise you get stuff you didn’t want, and what’s the point in doing it if it’s NOT what you want? That’s not very satisfying for you and not for your play partner either. Dom or sub, you hopefully want your play partner to enjoy the experience in their own way as much as you want to yourself. People with low self esteem find it very difficult to assert their own needs. I am, due to the purge of the past, much more able to do that. Not only in the bedroom/dungeon but in everyday life too.

And that improvement in my life came partly through more play. Another scene. A much more positive one (well, two actually). It’s a great way to act out stuff you can’t in any other arena I can think of with someone who cares enough to see it through with you and be there should you need them to be.

If you have the support of a good play partner go for it. Explore new territory, dare to push your boundaries. Just remember to deal with stuff if it appears, however painful (and I’m not talking welts!). Don’t try to ignore it. You might find it more freeing than you think.


Upcoming bondage suspension demo

For the past few days, our living room has been dominated by the notorious ‘cube’ – a red-painted cube of scaffolding, seven feet on a side, that can be used for bondage in multiple ways. This is because, as you’ll have seen from this previous post, we’re doing a suspension bondage demo tomorrow. Not having done it for a while, felt the need to practice.

The cube is something I put together about eight years ago, and although it won’t be obvious from her profile pic on the left, it’s what Velvet Tripp was suspended from when that pic was shot (by Jon Wilson, more about whom will appear in an upcoming post). It has, perhaps obviously, a great deal of versatility and stability, and fixings can be attached to it at any point along any of the tubes. It’s been used in fetish clubs, with people spread-eagled in the centre and on each of the sides; people tied to the uprights; people suspended from the uppermost tubes; and, in a couple of gay clubs, it’s been fitted with a sling for… well, for things you might use a sling for. I think the largest number of people (subs and doms) playing on it at any single point in time has been 8, four tied to it and four doing nice/nasty things to them.

I thought I’d already posted a pic of it in a previous post, but evidently not: here it is, being used in a fetish performance at a goth event a few years back.

The cube

The cube

Anyway: the reason we’re using the cube for practice is partly because it’s what we’ll be using tomorrow, and partly because there aren’t many other useful attachment points in the house. Suspension bondage does require secure overhead fixings. We don’t have the luxury of a large place with exposed overhead roof beams (though contributions to our ideal house fund are always welcome!) and lights, electrical ducting, and so forth are clearly not safe places to hang people from, whatever you may see on amateur porn sites.

I’ve occasionally considered putting some fixings across the rafters in one of the upstairs bedrooms. It can be done, preferably not by screwing directly into a single rafter but fixing a plank across several rafters to spread the load, and screwing a long bolt through the ceiling and into the plank. But on the other hand – I have the cube, so why bother?

For suspensions I always use climbing gear as the suspension point. There’s a great deal to be said for throwing a climbing sling over one of the cube’s top poles and attaching a carabiner. That type of kit is well safety checked, and designed to withstand someone falling the full length of a climbing rope, 50 metres, down a mountain and coming to no harm. Force equals mass times acceleration, so these things are strong.

Safety comes first, so we’ve spent a lot of time revisiting issues like how many times the ropes need to go round V’s hips and chest to create enough spread of her body weight that they won’t cut into her or interfere with breathing. Also, of course, so they don’t become too uncomfortable (there’s a certain unavoidable level of discomfort in being suspended, of course, but that’s an essential part of the experience!). We’ve also had to work out the placement of the carabiners – and double up on one set, because it will become a pulley and two sets of rope running through a single carabiner can jam, which would be embarassing. And we’ve looked at different positions, finally deciding face up but with asymmetrical ties to legs and arms is rather pleasing on the eye (I would have said photogenic but the club we’re going to prohibits all photography, including bringing mobile phones with cameras into the building). The finished result will look shibari-like, though largely as a result of some cheating on my part because I’m not a purist about such things.

Incidentally, suspension bondage does take a lot of rope. If you think that a normal shinju-type tie or even a karada won’t usually use more than 10 metres of rope, the tie I have planned will use 55 metres – and even that’s not a big deal for suspension, I’ve done ties that involved up to about 80 metres before now. In addition, I’ve opted to use thicker ropes for chest and hips – 9mm as opposed to my usual 7mm diameter ropes, simply because the extra width to the ropes adds a little to comfort levels without needing additional wraps around the body. Nor am I using hemp – it’s certainly possible to do so and many people do, though tend to use multple suspension points etc. for safety. But I kind of like the fact that my braided nylon polypropelene, apart from being a wonderful vivid red, has a rated breaking strain of 693 kilos. Overkill, certainly. But it’s one less thing to have to be concerned about in a demo situation.

I’ll be talking through the ties as I go, but I’ve also been working on how I do that while continuously monitoring V’s breathing. If someone is suspended it’s a very bad idea to wander off and get engaged in something else, because for the suspendee, being helpless and struggling to breathe can be… well, certainly panic-inducing, and has all the obvious possibilities up to and including death. A face-up suspension is generally easier because the body is largely supported on the spine. Face-down means ropes running across the chest/breasts and without a lot of fettling to make sure not too much weight is taken on those ropes, it can be difficult for the ribs to expand while muscles are pulling against the person’s own body weight. If you’re a fit 20-something yoga instructor and bondage model without any health issues it won’t be that big a deal. But, ummm, neither of us fit into that kind of demographic these days…

[Edited to add – it should go without saying that keeping an eye out for their safety also means having an effective way of getting someone down really quickly. Like a big pair of scissors. And having a plan for what order to cut the ropes in, so they don’t come down headfirst, and remembering to support their body weight so you’re not putting additional strain on their chest while they’re coming down. Plus, since the effect of suspension is often for the suspendee to trance out, letting them lie on the floor for a while and having a blanket to cover them with is generally a good idea.]

So we’re all set.  Including, I gather, two other models on whom I’ll also be demonstrating ties that don’t involve suspension and can be used for very quick restraint.

Finally, we’ve put together a list of useful resources on bondage techniques and issues, which will be available at the demo and posted here sometime, when I have time.


In other news: Velvet Tripp’s latest story is, we’ve heard, to be released on the 26th and I’ve just had confirmation my own collection of short stories will be out by the end of the month. More on those as we have cover pics to crow about, and URLs and suchlike to direct you to. And word has also reached us that Velvet’s review of  the Fun Factory vibrator was not only picked up by Fun Factory but reposted on their Facebook page. Ah, fame at last…

Bondage how-to no. 1 – a useful bondage knot (by Fulani)

Velvet has a running joke that despite the amount of bondage I do, I still can’t tie my own shoelaces. It may not be entirely accurate, but it does make the point that you don’t have to know much in the way of knots to be effective at bondage. In fact, 99% of the time, you really only need to know one knot.

It has several technical names and may be familiar to people who ride horses or go rock climbing, since it’s sometimes used as a hitch-knot. However, when I first learned it, it was just called ‘the bondage knot’ and that’s good enough for me.

It’s based on the use of repeated loops, and it has one serious advantage for bondage work – done properly, it will neither loosen nor tighten up. Your sub remains secure, but at the same time the use of this knot avoids one of the main ways in which hands and feet can end up with their circulation cut off.

You can use the knot in almost all situations. The description below is based on one wrist, but with slight modifications it can be used on two wrists together, or a torso, as a tether around some suitable fixed point, etc.

If I’m using this to tie one wrist – for example so I can tie the wrist to a bedpost – I tend to use about three metres (ten feet) of rope. It’s always surprising how much rope you end up using once you start tying someone, and out of a three-metre lenth around one metre will be taken up in the tie itself and there will be two one-metre lengths left over you can use to secure the wrist to the bed, chair, rafter or whatever…

Figure 1

Figure 1

1. Find the mid-point of the rope, and double the rope. A lot of people, incidentally, make some kind of mark on the rope at the mid-point because almost all bondage relies on having the rope doubled. This is especially true of ‘Japanese’ bondage, or shibari (how much Japanese bondage is actually Japanese in origin is a whole other question and I may post about this some other time!). Place the mid-point on the wrist and bring both ends all the way – the same way – around the wrist and pull them through the loop. This gives you a basic hitch called a lark’s head (Figure 1).

Figure 2

Figure 2

2. Now bring the two strands back around the wrist the way they came.  There’s a loop of doubled rope formed where the two strands fed around the centre of the rope, and you put a loop of the strands through that (Figure 2).

Figure 3

Figure 3

3. Pull the ropes through about 6 inches/15 cm – and put another loop through the one you just made (Figure 3).

Figure 4

Figure 4

4. Finally, pull the whole remaining length of the rope through that last loop, and snug the knot down against the wrist (Figure 4).

If you’ve done all that properly you should have one wrist, four strands of rope around it, one biggish knot made of repeated loops and two ends that feed out of the knot from the same place. And if you give it a good tug, you should find it doesn’t tighten up.

I normally arrange the knot so it’s at the front of the wrist and the person who’s tied can close their fingers around the knot, which give them something to hang onto. Unless they have double-jointed fingers they won’t have the purchase on the rope to pull the loops loose.

If you’re tying two wrists together, the process is very slightly different. You tie the same knot, but around both wrists thather than just one, and do it loosely because your next move is to repeat the procedure on the loop of rope itself, between the wrists. Take the two ropes and feed a loop between them, feed a loop of the rope that’s left into the ‘tongue’ that sticks out, loop through that loop, the rest of the rope all the way through that. You should end up with the first set of loops around the wrists and the second set, between the wrists, cinching the first set tight.

While I’ve described this knot as if it’s going around a wrist, you can use it in most situations. The same knot – though obviously using rather more rope – is the basis of a tie that can go around the body. Once you know the knot, you’ll find plenty of ways you can use it.

And you should also find that once you pull the ends back through the last loop you made, the whole knot should unravel all the way back to the original lark’s head with one pull. This means it’s quick to get off when it needs to come off in a hurry.

Safety stuff

First, keep the knots off the wrist pulse and base of the thumb, because pressure there will make the hands numb quite quickly.

Second, do a ‘pinky test’. If you can’t slide your little finger underneath the ropes, they’re too tight (though obviously if you can get much more than that underneath the rope your captive is going to pull free quite quickly).

Third, have scissors handy. In an emergency, it’s better to lose a few pounds’ or dollars’ worth of rope than have someone struggling with permanent nerve damage.  I don’t know anyone who does bondage who doesn’t have scissors in their kit bag, and most pharmacies sell useful bandage scissors with sharp blades and blunt ends.

Fourth, check for circulation every 5-10 minutes. There are several ways to do this. Unless you’ve gagged someone they can probably tell you they’re losing feeling in their hands. Other tests include: put a finger in the captive’s hand and ask them if they can grip it (if they can’t, they need out); squeeze the end of a finger, which should go white, and make sure colour returns when you take the pressure off; stroke the inside of their thumb and ask if they can feel it. If you have someone’s hands above their head do this rigorously because by elevating their hands you’re reducing the blood supply to start with, and pressure on the ropes will reduce blood supply further. And while people may get pins and needles as circulation returns when they’re released from bondage, a feeling of pins and needles while tied up is a clear indicator of pressure on nerves. Release them straight away!

By way of a disclaimer, I should point out that like most things in life, your knot-work will improve with practice. I regularly use this knot on one wrist, invite people to suspend my full body weight on that one wrist, and then show them that (a) it hasn’t tightened and (b) I have no bruising. However, telling you how to do a knot doesn’t mean I have any control over how you use it and if you have (or cause!) any problems I’m not going to take any responsibility for them. There are no substitutes for knowing your sub, being aware of any medical or other problems that may be an issue for bondage, and using a modicum of common sense…

But that said – have fun!


Text by Fulani. Illustrations courtesy of SintheticNation. Text and pics first appeared in a now-defunct fetish magazine, Midlands Fetish Scene, several years ago.


If you found this item useful or interesting, you may also like the following stories by Fulani which include some technical descriptions of bondage ties:

Sex, art and aromatherapy, by Fulani. Xcite Books

‘Zen and the Art of Bondage’, by Fulani, in the Cocktales: Kiss in the Dark collection. Xcite Books

Bondage – Why do People do it? Plus safety tips.

Have you ever wondered why people allow themselves to be tied up, dominated by another person, male or female? Is it something that you’d like to try or appeals to you but you’re too scared to give it a go? Or maybe you think that anyone who does do this must be mad.

Fulani and I have been asked many times ‘what’s it like to be trussed up like that?’ and ‘why do you like it?’ The answers aren’t simple, and won’t be the same of course for everyone. But for me the whole thing started with simple curiosity and a tendency to like the strange and different. I went to a fetish ball, met some friendly people who invited me to another event, and after going to several and seeing Fulani tie other people up while taking great care over their safety decided to ‘have a go.’ Yes, right there in the club. The advantage to this was that I asked the friend I’d attendedwith to keep an eye on me, so I felt very safe.

The result was unexpected and the start of some new fun in my life. I found myself relaxing and eventually zoning out while trussed up. The feel of the rope around you is not only quite sexy but quite comforting. I feel secure, safe and totally not in control. Of course, you can only feel safe and not in control when the person who is doing the bondage can be trusted. Obviously Fulani and I got on really well, and met up again many times at events. Eventually I felt safe enough with him to start seeing him in private. Now we are a couple.

If bondage is something you’d like to try, I’d recommend going to a fetish club initially. There are some very good ‘doms’ and some who think they are good but aren’t. Take your time to get to know people. Make friends. Watch how they play with other people. If you fancy playing with someone, it may be a good idea to ask the ‘dungeon monitor’ who is likely to know many of the people at the event. Tell them you’re new. Tell them you’re inexperienced. Don’t be shy. One of the best way to make sure you are safe is to lay your cards on the table and take advice from more experienced people. I’ve found that there is always someone at these events who is willing to help a newcomer. Use your instinct, too. I avoided one man like the plague at three separate events, only to find out he is not the best at respecting a subs wishes, so was right to avoid him.

Always remember that the sensation or feeling of being out of control is not the same as actually being out of control. YOU, as the sub, are in charge. YOU say when it all stops or when you are released if you’re bound. The dom only controls you for as long as you let them. Ultimately, this play is about power exchange. You give the control over to your dom, complete with an understanding of your limits, and he/she gets to behave as if they own you for a while, hopefully giving YOU a good time. He gets his enjoyment out of being control of you.

So if you are thinking of giving something new a try, just do it in a safe environment and don’t be afraid to speak out if you don’t like it. This is not a situation to keep quiet and end up feeling abused. Clear communication is paramount in fetish. Only you can decide what’s right for you. A good dom will listen and act on your feelings.