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HomeArts & CultureThat three-letter word: The basics of bondage

That three-letter word: The basics of bondage

that three letter word tackles bondage (photo by Mel Hattie)
that three letter word tackles bondage (photo by Mel Hattie)

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, bondage refers to the practice of restraining someone or being restrained for sexual gratification. The means vary, but the end remains the same: dominating or being dominated by your partner. This is an activity that should be practiced with someone you fully trust, and (of course) only if you’re sure you’re both down.

For those who feel ready to take the plunge, consider these things to think about before you dive in:

Safety & Communication

In terms of kinks, bondage is on the tamer end of the spectrum, but it’s still a step away from missionary, and it’s important to keep a few safety measures in mind.

If you’ve never participated in bondage, it’s important to discuss it with your partner beforehand—make sure the lines between “OK” and “no way” are well defined.  A safeword—a word agreed upon by both parties to signal “stop” or “don’t go any further”—is a good idea. As always, choose whatever works best for you and your partner—and communicate, communicate, communicate.

Informed consent is the most important factor when it comes to safety. Once you’ve got that covered, there are practical things to consider as well. How sensitive is your partner’s skin? Are you as skilled at untying knots as you are at tying them? If not, can scissors take care of any problems that might arise? (You should probably keep a pair handy, just in case.)


As opposed to your regular ol’run-of-the-mill sex (ha!), bondage requires preparation. While there are some specialty ropes out there, I wouldn’t spend the money until I knew I’d get a lot of use out of it. Especially if you’re new to the scene, scarves and neckties are a good place to start—just make sure you have something that will be soft on your partner’s skin. (Unless, of course, they request otherwise.) Another popular choice is handcuffs. Furry, metal, plastic, pretend—sometimes the illusion is just as good as the real thing. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, throwing a blindfold into the mix can be fun, too.


As this is an intro to bondage, I’m going to keep this basic. A good place to start is simply raising your arms above your head, allowing your wrists to be bound together. While you’re giving up some control to your partner, you’re not tied down to the bed itself. This allows you to retain more freedom, which can be more comfortable at first. For a more submissive experience, lie on your stomach; it’s a much more vulnerable position, but you still retain some autonomy.

Once you’re more comfortable with being tied up, you might find you enjoy being tied *to* the bed. This gives your partner much more control—especially while you’re lying on your stomach. This is, however, where your safeword would be the most important. When you’re not facing your partner, it’s much more difficult to gauge their level of comfort, and communication should increase accordingly.


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Joelline Girouard
Joelline Girouard
Joelline was an Online Editor and the Copy Editor for Volume 146 of the Gazette. She was an Assistant Online Editor for Volume 145.

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