Bondage for Beginners, Part One: What You Need

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, bondage is something everyone should experience.

Too often, things like bondage or use of sex toys or whatever are all obscured by a perception that they’re made for people who REALLY are into sex as a lifestyle. Not so.

But even if it were so, what’s so bad about enjoying sex as a larger part of your existence? Is it really so bad? There’s no admission cost, you don’t have to find parking, you don’t need to plan ahead. Sex as entertainment isn’t the worst fucking thing you could be doing with your time, now, is it? Beats the shit out of watching another Will & Grace rerun.

People get bored with sex. “The Missionary? Again?” With good reason. Sex can get repetitive if it’s the same position, same approach, every time. You wouldn’t eat a hamburger every day, now, would you? (Unless you’re that boring fuck in the States who’s eaten 20,000+ Big Macs. Jesus Christ – don’t get me started. But lemme know when he finally visits an oncologist.)

And this is why there are sex toys. This is why people try bondage, or public sex, or whatever. Now, you don’t have to get all gussied up like the Gimp in Pulp Fiction in order to enjoy bondage. So, what do you need? Well, let’s start first with what you DON’T need.

  • You don’t need to own a copy of The Ashley Book of Knots.
  • You don’t need to be nurturing a passion for the Japanese art of Shibari.
  • You don’t need to own a closet full of leather or gear.
  • You don’t need to have any special equipment at all.
  • You don’t need to own rope.

No rope? Gasp! Really?! Why, yes, Virginia, there is bondage without proper rope. How about neckties? Scarves? Nylons? Even that belt from your housecoat will do. It needs to be able to tie in a standard knot. That’s all you need.

So, here’s the shortlist of your requirements.

  • You need something that can restrain your lover.
  • You need creativity.
  • You need trust.
  • You need inventiveness.
  • You need a sense of adventure.
  • You need to want to enjoy yourself.

And five out of six things on that list ain’t gonna be bought at Paul’s House of Porn, all right?

Here’s the deal. Bondage is about trusting your partner enough to let them tie you up and do what they like to you, or vice versa. It’s imperative you talk about what isn’t going to happen. Don’t like pain? Agree to not go there. It’s pretty simple. You can get all fancy and lifestyle-ish and pick a “stop” word (a word that, whenever you use it during anything experimental in sex, signals that’s going too far, and stopping has to happen) but I find the premise pretty silly for anything less than full-on BDSM experimentation involving serious pain.

Me, I’m crazy, I favour the word “stop.” I mean, fuck, like it’s that complicated? “Hello, stop that, please.” When your lover says to stop, I don’t care what you’re doing, STOP, whether it’s in standard sex, or when your lover’s slung from the roof in stirrups. The more often you stop what they don’t like, whenever they ask you to, the more they’ll trust you in the future. Makes sense, huh?

Not respecting your partner’s boundaries in bondage means you’re breaking the number one rule. The belief in bondage/BDSM is that the person who’s all tied up is the one with all the power. Why? Because if they say stop, you absolutely must. According to anyone who’s played in the lifestyle, ignoring the submissive’s wishes is grounds for an ass-kicking.

Now, if you’re all gung-ho to tie someone up, but don’t want to be tied up yourself, I don’t think you deserve to do the tying, and I don’t care about this “But I’m a top!” bullshit. It is an act of trust. If you expect your lover to trust you, but you won’t trust them, then you might as well get a hammer, ‘cos that’s the first nail in your relationship’s coffin.

When it comes to bondage, I prefer doing the tying up, but I’d never deny my lover the experience of returning the favour, because that’s what good relationships involve.

Once you’ve had the talk and you’ve decided who’s being tied up first, it’s time to play. Personally, I prefer making an agreement to explore bondage in advance, because I think you need to be organized beforehand. There are, indeed, things you need in order to play with bondage Steff’s way.

My shopping list tends to include:

  • Chocolate syrup
  • Caramel syrup
  • Strawberries
  • Nectarines
  • Kiwis
  • Mangos
  • Papayas
  • Apples
  • Massage oil
  • Lube

And whatever else gets you through the night, baby. No, you’re not making a fruit salad. You’re bringing food into the equation because a) they’re at your mercy and b) if you’re doing it right, they’ll be blindfolded for a while. The fruit is practical and sensual at the same time. When the bondage play begins, and they’re blindfolded, feeding them a mystery fruit will have to force them to turn their senses on. It’s a pleasure trigger. They’ll need to figure out what they’re eating, thus making them sensually more alert for when you begin playing. I’ll talk more about the food in the next posting.

First off, let’s talk setting. Do you have a headboard you can bind your lover to? No? Then visit your local hardware store. Get standard-issue drawer pulls and screw them in strategic locations. You could even put them on the side of the bed and the bottom, if you want a variety of positions in the night. This scenario runs you about $10 to do four mounts, depending on the price you’re paying for the drawer pulls. It’s practical, cheap, and you can move them around if you’ve chosen bad spots. These pulls pictured here are exactly the ones I’ve used on my bed. Two for $3, and they have plenty of room for getting rope underneath, and allow for a little wiggle room for my submissive (aka Guy). The alternative is bondage bedwear, but it’s such a hassle and it’s expensive. If you’re settling in for a long night of play, it could be useful, but it also might intimidate the shit out of the submissive.

Ah, you’re not ready yet, grasshopper. Now you need toys. If you want to shell out the big bucks on sex toys when you don’t already have them, feel free, but your house is filled with a million things that can trigger some really, really happy feelings in your lover.

Get creative. Go rummaging through your drawers. Make a stop in the kitchen. Find things you know will offer a variety of interesting sensations. Whether you’re lightly dragging the tines of a fresh-from-the-freezer ice-cold fork up in the inside of a lover’s leg, or teasing their privates with the bristles of a silicone pastry brush, you’ll be guaranteed some shivers.

Let me revisit the silicone pastry brush. Run, do not walk, to your local kitchen supply aisle and buy yourself an extra silicon pastry brush for the bedroom. Fuck feathers – the pastry brush is one of the most erotic feelings I’ve found. I sent shivers up my guy with it the other week. Trust me. Go get one, kids.

Buy a curtain tassel at the fabric store and tease your way around their body. Even a piece of paper being dragged up a naked body is amazing. Ice cubes rock, so make them in advance. Even one of those skin-scrubbing gloves for the shower can be pretty wild. It’s coarse, so it’s a change of pace from the soft and smooth things. Sandpaper. Anything works, provided you begin with light pressure and see what the reaction is.

If you don’t trust your ability to judge how something might feel, then do your rummaging half-naked and any time you find something that piques your curiosity, then simply close your eyes and try it on your inner thigh. If it works, great. If not, put it back.

If you plan on getting really sloppy with the syrup, and expect to have to clean your lover up a bit over course of time, you can grab a slow cooker or a rice cooker with a “keep warm” mode on it, put some water and some wash clothes in it, and keep it bedside for a clean, warm cloth to wipe them up with. Or you can save the filth and shower together later. Whatever, but there are options.

Lastly, what you need is a carrying tray. It does no good to have a lover about to be blindfolded if they can see what you’re going to use on them. They should be bound and blindfolded before you gather all your goods to bring bedside.

And that’s where we’ll stop for today. By the weekend I hope to post on how the actual act of bondage itself should unfold in its most basic terms, but you clearly have a couple ideas, I’m sure, of where this is headed. Any questions so far? Any tips on household products that have brought you bondage glee in the past?

Want more? Huh? Do ya, punk? Part two is here.

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34 Comments

  1. Haaaaaaa
    Posted May 10, 2006 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I must be strange. I can’t stand the thought of food in bed or in my mouth when I am having sex. Even chocolate or whip cream aren’t my thing. Maybe I should just try it and not think about it.

    As for household items, let me look around. Hmmmm. How about the stapler? No, that one has a lot of drawbacks.

    Using cliche items like ice, clothes pins, would appeal to me. Anything made of fur could do. Although it’s dirty, a vacuum cleaner might have possibilities for both women and men. Would have to get an extra one though. A steel bowl, chilled the freezer could to place on the stomach. That’s all I can think of now.

    The only other things that aren’t actually items are words. Words you can’t escape from, that you have to process. Questions you are forced to answer. That would be a turn-on.

  2. scribe called steff
    Posted May 10, 2006 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I do plenty of talking without having to do it during sex, so I’m not too big on the questions-you-have-to-answer thingie. I’d answer anything I was asked, any time, any where.

    As for no food during sex, this is during foreplay, and if you don’t enjoy it, or haven’t ever tried it in a really sensual way, then you’re missing out, or yes, just a strange guy. But everyone’s got different tastes.

    If a lover ever takes a vacuum cleaner to me during sex, I’m walkin’ on out.

  3. myself
    Posted May 10, 2006 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Sigh.

    My Queendom for someone to try this all out on. Yummy!

  4. Rob
    Posted May 10, 2006 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Sheesh, I’m surprised that a smokin’ hot post about bondage like this one hasn’t attracted more comments. I think your readers aren’t kinky enough, Steff. ;)

    But we appreciate it, believe me. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to find someone who treats bondage the way I think it should be treated, as a fun and occasional game for lovers. A lot of the stuff out there is that whole master-slave, 24/7 lifestyle thing. That’s fine for them as like it, but I’m not into that. I don’t want to own another person, not even in a fantasy. Your comments about trust I thought were dead-on. To me, bondage is the greatest trust one person can place in another, and you don’t get sexier than that.

    You’ve covered all the household products I can think of, but I’ve got another suggestion. When you’ve got someone tied down and blindfolded, make them tell you where they want you to touch them and how, and don’t touch them in any other way. You said it right that the bound person is the one with the power, but the sensation of controlling what’s going on even while helpless adds a whole new dimension to the game.

  5. scribe called steff
    Posted May 11, 2006 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    But I think the whole point of being tied up by yer lovah is so they get the opportunity to do things their way. I can see your point. I’d be into giving a few orders or vice versa, too.

    As for no comments, YEAH, DON’T THEY SUCK? Ha! I hate not getting comments on the big, long, thought-out comments, but at the same point, I almost expect it when I announce there’s another part. I better get the fucking comments after the next one, though! :)

  6. Romantic Perv
    Posted May 11, 2006 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Steff, please forgive my tardiness in commenting thus far. I checked too early yesterday i am afraid.

    Lets see some items to add to the fun…try a cup of hot chocolate standing by. The added heat and the way it coats your tongue makes for a very warm and smooth change of pace. Alternating with something cool adds to the sensations.

    A section of a chamoise (what you use to dry your car off with…a clean fresh one for this though!!) is nice and smooth.

    For when your lover is blindfolded, try standing off the side of the bed. That way your lover cant tell my the way the bed moves where your touches are going to be next. A kiss or lick on the neck follwed by a light caress on the calf to a nibble on the inner thigh…all with no tell tale bed motions to give a warning.

  7. Vixxxen
    Posted May 11, 2006 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Very good post, it gave a good view of what bondage can be for those that consider themselves more ‘normal’ then all those ‘other’ people that like bondage. Your shopping list made me chuckle and the idea of running about my house half naked to find intersting toys…well it sent me to do just that.

    ~Vix

  8. A Reader
    Posted May 11, 2006 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Very good start Steff.

    Since Shibari is down the road (ahem)…and as an aside…last Halloween, my friend showed up in her Officer Naughty uniform (something kinda like this except she had an officer’s cap to wear http://images.forplaycatalog.com/product_large_size_images/FPSKT17.jpg ), so handcuffs, feathers (you’re right, feathers didn’t do much for me), etc. Fun was had!!!

    A(nonymous) Reader

  9. Haaaaaaa
    Posted May 11, 2006 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    One reason comments might not be coming in is that Blogger is having problems with them. Yesterday I was unable to leave a comment anywhere for most of the day. Sometimes the word verification thing is blanck too. My previous comment on this post took me three tries.

  10. john
    Posted May 11, 2006 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    THANK YOU Steff, for explaining to people that its all about ~ TRUST! Its not an exercise in who can bloody who the most, that crap is half retarded. Its a VERY beautiful slow intimate process of building trust with your lover. It really is SO sweet and I wish people’s minds didn’t jump right to whips and chains. It can and should be very gentle and subtle. Love, Trust, Play.

  11. Rob
    Posted May 11, 2006 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    But I think the whole point of being tied up by yer lovah is so they get the opportunity to do things their way. I can see your point. I’d be into giving a few orders or vice versa, too.

    Well, you wouldn’t do everything they say. ;) In my mind you’d do just enough to get them really aroused, and then when they plead for the release they want, when they’re straining against the ties and begging you to touch them there… that’s when you start doing things your own way and teasing them until they can’t take it any more. (Why yes, I am evil, why do you ask?)

  12. Aphrodite
    Posted May 12, 2006 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I am SO on the edge of my seat right now! But J won’t be home this weekend to play with.……but that means maybe your part 2 will be up in time for me to steal shamelessly from it!

  13. Sabrina Morgan
    Posted May 16, 2006 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    “Now, if you’re all gung-ho to tie someone up, but don’t want to be tied up yourself, I don’t think you deserve to do the tying, and I don’t care about this “But I’m a top!” bullshit. It is an act of trust. If you expect your lover to trust you, but you won’t trust them, then you might as well get a hammer, ‘cos that’s the first nail in your relationship’s coffin.”

    …Yes. Exactly. And this is why you rock so very, very much.

    A top who doesn’t trust their bottom enough to be bound by them is, to me, giving off all kinds of red flags. It’s one thing to not be submissive, but never letting go with a lover?

  14. scribe called steff
    Posted May 16, 2006 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Sabrina — Thanks. :) I agree… I think bondage is the kind of thing that can test a relationship. Can you both let go and trust each other? It’s a good thing to find out, that’s for sure.

    Rob — Yeah, but i prefer to gauge their reactions and do it all through control, delivery, denial, etc… my way, my how. I could see that changing if it was bondage over an extended relationship, which I’ve never had (bondage in an ext. relationship — none of my lovers have been interested, sadly… trust issues, naturally, but this time might be different).

    Aphrodite — Hope it works out for you. :) Steal shamelessly? Never. Borrow boldly. :)

    John — Thanks for echoing that sentiment. There’s a negative perception of bondage and I want to do my part to change it.

    A reader — I’ll probably never get into Shibari on here, we’ll see. It’s not my thing and I’m probably not the advocate for it; there are so many sites dedicated to that pursuit, that I’d be watering it down, really.

    Vixxxen — TEE HEE. I’m glad you enjoyed the try-before-you-buy search around the house. Fun, huh? :)

    Pervy — you’re not on a comment clock, you know. It happens. :) I doubt I’d ever do a hot chocolate during bondage. I’m not interested in fucking up and spilling it on my lover. I’ll stick to the things I like — cold and tidy.

  15. Goose and Gander
    Posted May 18, 2006 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    You so totally rock. Love this post! It is extremely right on.

  16. Linda
    Posted May 23, 2006 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Steph.… that was a VERY good synopsis on BDSM for Beginners or else Adventurous Vanilla Lovers.… I like BDSM, also… I fantasize about it, have experienced enough to know I want more… now it’s a matter of finding a partner or lover(s) I trust enough to practice safely and pleasurably with… I’ve got whips, velcro handcuffs, vibrators, and lots of sexy BDSM how-to literature… I own “The Ethical Slut” and other such books…

  17. Larry
    Posted May 24, 2006 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    I am going to show this blog to MyLady. She has always shown revolt at the idea around bondage, but this angle may well inspire her.
    Looking out for your next post.

  18. Merris
    Posted May 28, 2006 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Sensible and sensuous. Articles like this one are a treasure. It shouldn’t take a degree in BDSM to have some fun with your lover.
    Looking forward to the next post.
    Merris

  19. Naughty Girl
    Posted May 30, 2006 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Great post!!

  20. Essive
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    The big problem with using scarves and nylons and “standard knots” (which brings to mind basic overhand knots more than the safer square knots and bowlines) for bondage is they can slip and jam very easily — much more so than rope — cutting off circulation, pinching nerves, and becoming very difficult to remove.

  21. Teehee
    Posted February 6, 2009 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Hey Steff, I realize I am commenting on a fairly old post of yours but I just wanted to say this was a great read and exactly the kind of intro I was looking for. Also.. you NEED to check this out.. http://www.feelztoys.com/playbrush.html I am pretty sure whoever designed that reads your site :-)

  22. udjcu
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    steff, your articles were exactly what i was looking for in my beginning bondage research! (yes, i do research…) i would be interested in any beginner type book you could recommend too. i trust your advice and can’t wait to tie up my man!! and the rest of the inhibited world…well, you know, fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke. cheers to good lovin’.

  23. DevilDuck
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m replying for a second time to a very old post. I wanted to say what A VERY GOOD IDEA the silicon pastry brush is.My wife and I have straps that suit under themattress for restraining purposes. I got them on AdamandEve.com but I’m sure you can get them other places. They can stay there all the time and no one else is the wiser. Anyway I’ve used a number of household items to tease her with cold metal padlock, broken plastic hanger, old credit card, and both regular and silicon pastry brushes. The silicon was definitely her favorite. Since it has a nice handle you can tease her clit with the bristles and then flip it real quick and insert it for a few strokes. A must have.

  24. Tailz
    Posted November 23, 2011 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    Hi, little late on commenting to when you wrote this but I have to say I am very grateful that it is still on here 5 years later. I’ve been in a relationship for 8 years with my bestfriend and ended up married. We’ve always liked the idea of trying bondage and have had some bad experiences from not understanding fully along the way but finding your blog has given me a good starting point to work from again and I look forward to reading the rest of the blogs.

    We have a lot of trust in our relationship and I understand that Stop is a good word but we’ve used “banana” purely for the fact that stop has become more of a submissive word for “more”. :D
    I look forward to reading the rest and having another go.

  25. C
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Bravo! This is a great read for a bondage virgin. My lady has dropped tiny hints about the desire to be tied up, I was a bit apprehensive at first thought but since reading you post I am now very exited to dive in! This is gonna be a great weekend!

  26. TJ
    Posted January 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Do you think pantyhose would work?

  27. MichelleS
    Posted June 10, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Way late to this post, but oh YUM. One of my favorites to share — pixie sticks or other course powdered sugar. The course sugar on the tongue getting smoother as you lick and it dissolves…OMG — try it!

  28. Strick
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    I was wanting some input on some of this, My wife and I are very new to allot of this. We have tried the tying up and blind folding, Very fun but also a pain in the ass, Tying one down makes for awkward positioning, Also we sometimes bring another male into the picture. Im looking for some helpful tips to 1. Get more into bondage. 2. Try to get us both to open up a little more into foreplay and adding an extra person every now and then. It makes it a bit hard as my wife is very shy. Any input?

    • TiffyBear
      Posted October 5, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      There are all sorts of knots and configurations that can help with your situating situation. An author I would HIGHLY suggest to help with this is Jay Wiseman who has been a respected member of the BDSM community for decades. His Erotic Bondage Handbook is a comprehensive guide explaining all sorts of bondage techniques.

      While we’re at it, anyone who is beginning any sort of play that involves restraint, impact or power exchange should take some time to check out his most popular work: SM 101. It gives sound, comprehensive explanations of everything that is covered by the term BDSM. If memory serves me, he also has resources listed for poly couples, or couples whose play does not always involve just two people.

      One last thing I think ought to be said for the people who are looking up “Beginners Bondage” and are lead here by Google — I don’t think it is silly at all to have a “stop” word, or, as it is more commonly called, a “safeword.” Part of the beauty of this sort of play is that we are able to make believe anything that we want, and sometimes, what we want is to struggle a little against our lover, or to resist. Safewords make that possible by putting in place a word that is unique (you wouldn’t normally scream out JFK or sailboat during sex,) that tells your partner that you need everything stopped immediately.

      This allows you to squirm and struggle and holler and hoot all you want, but until your partner hears the words “Gargamel’s Lair,” they know that you’re still having fun.

      Don’t feel embarrassed to use a safeword if you have one, or to tell your partner that you would like to have one. If you don’t use it (which, hopefully you never will,) it hasn’t hurt you to have one, but when you need one it’s a good feeling to have that security there.

  29. Tracey
    Posted August 26, 2012 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Awesome blog for beginners.
    Worked a treat for both of us. I was never a talker, but when he was tied up I felt able to do anything!
    Thanks for the tips on supplies.
    He didnt mind a bit of light spanking either.….

    Guess thats me no longer a first timer! many more to come.

    Thank you so much again!

  30. Kelly
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I love This post! This is quite informative and helps take away some of the stigma there is about getting creative in the bedroom :)

  31. Joey
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Just wanted to say thank you for your site — it’s just what I was looking for to begin mine and my boyfriend’s exploration of bondage. ;-)

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