I got a message recently from someone (who shall remain nameless) asking me for tips on how to get his girlfriend interested in bondage and bdsm. This sounded like great fun (any good writer loves to hear himself talk XD) and I was more than happy to spot him some advice. But then I thought, why just him? After all there's tons of people out there who love bondage but are too scared or embarrassed to introduce the subject to their romantic partner. So I decided to write this guide on how you can bring bondage back to the bedroom (LOL alliteration).
One small note before we begin:
I am a heterosexual man who likes seeing girls tied up, so this essay will focus on how men can introduce their girlfriends or wives to bondage. In the bdsm community we call that an M/f relationship, where the man is the dom and the woman is the sub. While I'd like to think that this advice is generalized enough to apply to any couple experimenting with bondage, keep in mind that what I'm about to say may not apply to someone in an F/m, M/m, or F/f relationship. (Also it gives me an excuse not to have to use neutral gender pronouns. Just a matter of personal convenience.)
And with that, we're off!
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Broaching the topic
This ironically seems to be the thing guys struggle with the most, and yet it's by far the easiest part. How do you bring up the topic of bondage with your girl without freaking her out? Well, and there's really no other way to say this, you just do it.
Seriously, it really is just that simple. The next time she's in the mood, ask her something like "Hey, you wanna try something new tonight?" and go from there. Or if the two of you are having a conversation about sex, ask her if she's ever thought about bondage before. A great time to do this is after you've already had sex and you're in the "cuddle" stage afterward. Ask her to share some of her sexual fantasies with you. I did this with my last girlfriend and was surprised to discover that she was interested in experimenting with bondage but was too embarrassed to say so. If that happens to you, you're made in the shade. All you have to do now is start planning the how and when of your bondage games (more on that later).
But I know what you're thinking. What if I bring it up with her and she says no? Well sorry to tell you this, but if she flat-out says "no, I'm not interested in letting you tie me up" you're probably boned (so to speak). If a woman isn't interested then she isn't interested and bugging her about it won't do your relationship any good. If a woman asked me if I would like to be tied up during sex and I said no, I would expect her to respect my wishes. The same standard applies in reverse.
Whatever you do don't even fucking THINK about forcing her into it. Jettison any and all fantasies you might have about women discovering a secret love for bondage after being tied up against their will. This is pure fiction. It does not happen in real life. What WILL happen in real life is you serving time in the slammer for sexual assault if you're stupid enough to think you can tie your woman down and "teach" her to like bondage. You'll go to jail for it and you'll deserve it.
Yes, there are some women who entertain fantasies about being kidnapped, bound, and ravished by a big strapping he-man. But they are fantasies, nothing more. Those women may enjoy role-playing a scene like that, but I fucking guarantee you not a single one of them actually wants to be abducted, tied down, and raped. And they will not hesitate to tell you so if you ask them.
In short, if the answer is no, let it go.
On the other hand, if you ask your girl about bondage and she gives a vague or lukewarm response without actually saying no to you, you've still got a chance. But it'll take some work.
Gently introducing your girl to bondage
This is the tricky part. You're going to have to introduce her to bondage very slowly to avoid scaring her off.
Before you actually get to the bondage, you may have to do some give-and-take. If your wife/girlfriend is hesitant to try bondage but not totally opposed to it, offer to fulfill one of her sexual fantasies (every woman has a ton of them) if she will at least try some light bondage. For a man, there's a good chance this will mean doing something that you may find difficult or embarrassing (like watching Steel Magnolias). You may have to go a long time without getting any sexual satisfaction yourself. Just grit your teeth and do it. It will pay off big-time later.
Now, once you've got her in a position where she's willing to give bondage a try, remember to go slow with it. Don't think you can rope her into a back-breaking hogtie or start whipping the skin off her back on the first night.
Start off with a very basic plan. Have her lay on her back on the bed with her arms cuffed or tied (very loosely and with something very soft) to the headboard while you have sex. If she agrees to a spanking, have her bend over your knee and give her a few playful slaps on the behind, making sure to ask her if you're hitting too hard. If she agrees to a gag, start off with a very simple cleave-gag that won't freak her out or have any chance of causing breathing problems.
Actually doing the deed
Okay, so you've broached the topic, convinced her to give bondage a try, you have an idea what you want to do, and now you and your woman are in the bedroom about to get busy.
1) Getting started:
Before you actually get down to business, explain to her in detail what you are going to do to her. Do a small demonstration if you have to. If she's nervous about bondage (as many women are) it will put her at ease to know that you do have this planned out and you aren't just going to strap her down and brutalize her all night.
And again, keep in mind that at this point you should still be taking it slow. Unless you've hit the jackpot and stumbled onto a girl who already loves kinky sex, you should only be using very light, very soft bondage. Once you've done bondage enough times to get her hooked on it, then and only then can you move on to more extreme ties, positions, and equipment. Indeed, chances are she will demand it sooner or later.
Explain to her the concept of a safe-word. A safe-word is a signal used by bdsm practitioners for when a sub wants the scene to stop. You don't want to rely on words like "no" or "stop" because those could easily be misinterpreted. I had a rather embarrassing incident with this when I was just starting out in the bdsm community. I was having sex with a girl when she said something to the effect of "Please, oh god, stop, you're hurting me!" Needless to say I stopped immediately and asked if she was alright. She very angrily told me that she was just role-playing and I had stopped right when she was about to climax.
So when you pick a safe-word, pick something your lady is unlikely to shout out in the throes of love-making. "Red" is a popular choice, but it can be anything you want. Lots of people just use "safe-word". You can also use multiple words to signify different things. So for instance, "yellow" for "slow down" or "that hurts, not so hard", and "red" for "OMFG I'm in agony stop everything now!"
Now if your woman has agreed to be gagged you may have to get creative here. She may not be able to properly enunciate a safe-word with a gag in her mouth so you'll have to give her some other way to signal that she wants to be let out. I personally have had some success with keys. Have your girlfriend slip a keyring with a bunch of keys on it over her finger and tell her to shake the keys if she wants to stop. Bells may also work but you have to be careful. If she drops them by accident she may panic knowing that she now has no way out of her bondage.
I cannot overstate how necessary and valuable a safe-word is in bdsm, especially when dealing with someone new to the lifestyle. Knowing that she can stop the scene at any time will do wonders for a woman's nerves. If she gets scared, the knowledge that she can be released at any time will often be enough to calm her down. Also, it establishes a bond of trust between you and your girl, which has OH so many benefits. You'd be amazed how aroused some women get when they see how far you're willing to go to keep them safe.
But please, for the love of Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, and Almighty Cthulhu, do not EVER ignore the safe-word! Ignoring the safe-word is one of if not the worst mistake you can possibly make in a relationship. Bondage is built on a foundation of trust. Without that trust, it ceases to be bondage and becomes abuse. If you ignore the safe-word even one time there are three possibilities, listed here from best to worst outcome.
The first possibility is your wife or girlfriend will never forgive you and may even leave you. Either way, you will have utterly annihilated any hint of trust between you and her and you will never get it back. Not without thousands of dollars worth of couples therapy, at any rate.
A worse possibility is that she will report you for sexual assault and domestic abuse. And you know what? She'd be right to do so. Because intentionally ignoring the safe-word IS sexual assault and domestic abuse.
And the worst possibility of all: Being frog-marched into court to face a manslaughter charge because you ignored the safe-word like a dumbass and your wife/girlfriend fucking died. Bondage is a very dangerous practice even at the best of times. If things go wrong and you ignore the safe-word, hurt feelings may be the least of your worries.
And don't think for a moment that if your girl gets scared and says the safe-word you can just calm her down and go on with the scene. You don't know the kind of fear you're playing with here. Bondage is fucking terrifying for an inexperienced sub and the only reason she lets you tie her down at all is she knows you'll listen if she suddenly wants out. If she doesn't think she can be let out at a moment's notice, she'll never try bondage again. So if your girl says the safe-word, don't dick around. Stop and get her out immediately. I have heard so many depressing stories of women who were turned off of bondage for good because their jackass boyfriends didn't respect the safe-word.
General bondage tips
If your wife or girlfriend is a bondage virgin, choose your materials very carefully. You want things to be as soft and as light as possible for her first time. Therefore the best possible option is anything made of silk. If you don't have silk or something similar, cotton is probably your next best bet. Cotton is soft, breathable, and cheap (and it won't make the cashier at the hardware store give you funny looks).
Hemp rope is safe when used wisely, but it also chafes. If you're stuck with using hemp or other rough materials, be sure to only use loose ties for her first time.
Leather and rubber products can be quite safe and comfortable, but they're also intimidating for a first-timer. Probably best to leave these for later.
For her first time in bondage, stay away from metal restraints. You might be able to get away with fuzzy handcuffs, but it's better to go with something else. You don't want to be fumbling for your keys when your lady is screaming out her safe-word. And you can't cut her out of a pair of handcuffs if something goes badly wrong. Plenty of experienced bdsm players (including yours truly) never use metal bondage at all for precisely that reason.
Women who've never tried bondage before are extremely intimidated by gags, and rightly so. For one they're dangerous, and for another they can be quite a strain on the jaw. There are few things that can freak a bondage virgin out more than being gagged. You really want her first experience with bondage to be as loving, supportive, and positive as possible, so it's probably better to save the gag for next time.
However, if you do want to use gags in your bdsm play, there are some ways to go about it. First, start small. Use a simple cleave-gag (with no mouth stuffing) for her first time with a gag. It's the safest possible gag you can use and the least likely to scare her. (A tape-gag is also quite safe and comfortable, but you shouldn't use it unless you're lucky enough to have an adventurous girlfriend.) Second, let her get used to it. Gags put a serious strain on the jaw muscles, so don't start pushing her to try a 3-inch ballgag right away. Let her build up a tolerance for smaller gags before you move on to the huge gob-stoppers.
A friend of mine once shared with me that when he introduced his wife to a gag he encouraged her to wear the gag around the house, unbound and able to spit it out at any time. It not only helped her muscles become accustom to the strain, it helped make the gag seem less intimidating.
Keep the following items close at hand for every bondage session:
- A knife or, preferably, EMT scissors to cut her out of her bondage should the worst occur.
- Lotion, ointment, or other topical pain relievers (see After-care).
- A first-aid kit.
- If you do use handcuffs, several sets of spare keys. Spare keys are like cowbell. You need moar of it. No exceptions.
Keep a close eye on your sub. If at ANY time she becomes non-responsive, get her out of bondage immediately.
Circulation is a serious issue with all bondage, but especially rope bondage. A single loop of rope around the wrists may be an effective restraint, but it can also restrict blood flow. The thinner the rope the greater the circulatory danger. That's why straps are usually the best kind of bondage. If you don't have straps (or your girl is intimidated by them) use multiple loops of rope to simulate a strap or use very loose ties on her extremities.
Be aware of any and all medical conditions your wife or girlfriend might have. If she does have a serious condition (especially heart, circulatory, nerve, breathing, or anxiety issues) consult a medical professional about whether bondage is safe for her to engage in.
Suspensions are a serious no-no for a first-timer. This is an extremely advanced bdsm technique that multiplies all the safety issues listed here ten-fold. Don't suspend a woman for her first time, and don't use suspension at all unless you really know what you're doing.
If you do use a gag, put the gag on last. It makes it easier for your sub to tell you when something is pinching, straining, or otherwise hurting. Only the most experienced bdsm practitioners who know each others' non-verbal signals backwards and forwards should ever try putting a gag on first.
As a rule, the size of the gag and the tightness of the bondage that any woman can handle is inversely proportionate to the length of your bdsm scene. The longer you plan to keep her bound and gagged, the lighter her bondage and gag should be. Ignore this rule at your peril. You will end up with a very sore and very angry woman afterwards.
One final safety note: Never, never, NEVER leave a bound and gagged woman alone! This is almost criminally dangerous even for the most experienced bdsm practitioners. Don't ever do it. You can pretend to leave her alone as part of a role-play, but you should never actually leave her alone. If something happens to her while you're out of the room you will be unable to help her, and seconds may mean the difference between life and death. So to sum up, if you have to leave the room for any reason, by god, you'd better either untie her or sling her over your shoulder and take her with you.
Some in the bdsm community would argue that this is the most important part of the bondage experience, and I tend to agree.
After-care is what you do after you've had your fun and your girl is no longer tied up. It means taking care of any scrapes and bruises, sore joints, or rope-marks she may have acquired during the scene. Depending on how intense the bondage was, after-care may last quite a while.
That said, it's not quite as involved as it sounds. Unless you're a Klingon you shouldn't have to set any broken bones or stitch any open wounds after sex (lol reference). But you probably will have to deal with some minor aches and pains. If your girl was tied with her arms above her head or behind her back, her shoulders are probably going to be quite stiff by the time you're done. If you used rope for your bindings, there's a fair to decent chance of some minor rope-burns or at least some deep marks. If you gave your girl a spanking, she may have welts or bruises to deal with. You need to take care of these things now, or they will hurt a lot worse later. If your lady is feeling sore, give her a nice massage to rub the aches and pains away (in fact that's good advice after every time you have sex). If she's a little bruised or scraped up, rub some soothing ointment on her. If she's feeling tired and worn out, go get her something to drink.
And for god's sake man, get your cuddle on! You think women love to cuddle after sex? You have no idea how much they love cuddling after kinky bondage sex. Women need to cuddle. It's how they know we're emotionally invested in the relationship. That we appreciate them for more than just letting us fuck them.
Cuddling is doubly-important after bondage sex, particularly if it's her first time. No matter how much she might enjoy it, bondage is still an inherently traumatic experience. Your wife or girlfriend has literally been tied down, beaten, and forcibly penetrated by the man she loves. She may have agreed to it, but I guarantee you it still scared her a little. No matter how much she enjoyed herself, no matter how many times her logical left-brain tells her "it's okay, I agreed to this, and he didn't hurt me just like he promised", her emotional right-brain is still buzzing with confusion and fear. Understandably so, since what you just did to her has a superficial similarity to rape. If you leave her alone to stew in her own thoughts her brain may start unconsciously drawing parallels between bondage and rape, and that's definitely something you want to avoid. At best it will make her never want to try bondage again, which will leave you stuck with boring old vanilla sex. At worst it will mentally scar her and she will start displaying common symptoms of rape victims (i.e. anxiety, depression, disassociation, etc.). Which outcome occurs will depend on how emotionally stable your wife or girlfriend was to start with, but obviously neither are preferable and both are preventable. All you have to do is cuddle. It's not so hard, is it? Just stay with her for a while and do all those cheesy mushy things from those Lifetime movies every woman is contractually obligated to watch. Spoon with her. Kiss her on the neck. Gently brush her hair out of her eyes. Rub her feet and shoulders.
And most importantly, talk. I swear I will never understand why men hate talking after sex. How much of a caveman are you if you can't string two words together after you've just made love? Besides, talking about it afterward is by far the best way to banish the rape imagery from a woman's mind after her first taste of bondage. Ask her how it was, what she liked or didn't like, whether there's anything else she wants to try next time (though for some women it might be best if you leave this until the next morning), and so on. It will help her associate bondage with love rather than pain and abuse, and it will make her much more willing to try more extreme stuff later on.
In short, post-bondage cuddling can literally make or break your chances of ever having bondage sex again.
Plus, cuddling gives you a perfect excuse to touch her boobies again. Everybody wins!