Chapter 8,

In which we consider the logistics of bondage

Comfort, food, drink and drugs

The main reason for tying a man up before subjecting him to sexual stimulation is to keep him from physically resisting you.  This presupposes that if you make physical resistance impossible, everything will go as you like.  Thatís not always the case.  Circumstances can inhibit a manís sexual responses, and sometimes (three hours after his last orgasm, for example) psychological resistance is easy.  If everything is conspiring against you, bondage is futile.  Postpone your plans until a day when physical resistance is your only potential problem.

Before you set about restraining your lover, be sure heís hornyóvery horny.  He should be comfortable too, not ill nor in pain, and not troubled by allergies that will keep him sneezing or itching.  His bladder and rectum should be empty and you should have a reasonable expectation that neither will fill soon.

The place where heís to be tied should be warm, perhaps even too warm.  Physiologically, a cold environment inhibits sexual response, especially when the stimulation offered isnít the cuddly sort.  Psychologically, bondage can be frightening, and a person placed in a situation thatís both sexually stimulating and frightening has a choice, usually made preconsciously, between turning on and getting scared.  The close link between cold and fear is part of your own experience:  itís easier to get scared when youíre cold, and fright gives you chills.  To keep your man from being distracted by either of these creepy twins, be sure heís warm.

Food can be a problem.  A man wonít be nearly so responsive with a big meal in his stomach as without it.

Alcohol, barbiturates and narcotics are disasters.  I advise against restraining a man for sexual purposes if heís had so much as a single drink.  Heíll find you too easy to resist.  His attention is impaired, so he may tune you out.  At the same time, the nerves that carry sensation from his penis to his brain are at least somewhat anesthetized.  If he succeeds in resisting you, it may damage both your confidence and your credibility, so itís better not to take the chance.  Even if he canít resist you, he may later refuse to take your interaction seriously, dismissing it as the result of his chemical state.  And of course, thereís the obvious objection to engaging in any form of lovemaking with a man whoíd under the influence of any depressant drug:  He isnít capable of fully appreciating you and he isnít fully present for you to appreciate in return.

Some drugs, on the other hand, enhance a manís responsiveness and make you harder to resist.  Three that deserve consideration are coffee, chocolate and cannabis.  Coffee contains caffeine, which is a powerful nervous stimulant.  It enhances both sexual sensation and the psychological processes of sexual response.  Unfortunately itís also a strong diuretic, while the substances that give coffee its flavor are powerful bladder irritants.  To top it off, coffee is almost entirely water.  The result is that a man dosed with coffee will soon experience a strong need to urinate, which will cause considerable bother if heís tied in place and distract him from sex whether heís tied or not.  The effect will be somewhat mitigated if he was dehydrated to begin with, especially if heís young and healthy with a large, resilient bladder.

Chocolate is much better.  Its active agent is theobromine, another powerful stimulant, but not so strong a diuretic as caffeine.  Chocolate doesnít irritate the bladder and is easily consumed without water.

Only the strongest chocolate contains enough theobromine to be useful as an aphrodisiac.  Milk chocolate wonít do, and most men wonít eat baking chocolate because itís too bitter.  That leaves semisweet, also known as bittersweet or dark.  Even most of this is inadequate; you have to know which formulations really work.  The bittersweet chocolates imported from Switzerland and Holland are excellent but expensive.  Most American chocolate canít compare, but a few brands can, and at a reasonable price.  See whatís available in your area and try it on yourself to make a selection on which you can come to rely.

Besides being an aphrodisiac, chocolate is food and chocolate is fuel.  If a man is hungry, but a meal will inhibit his responses, a dose of chocolate will relieve his hunger enough so he isnít distracted, but it wonít fill him up.  It will also warm him as itís metabolized, decreasing the likelihood that heíll be turned off by cold or fear.

An ounce of dark chocolate will make a significant difference in the sexual responsiveness of a man of average size.  Two ounces will make a big difference.  Itís hard to get someone to eat more than that unless heís very hungry.

Cannabis, whether in the form of marijuana, hashish, hash oil, space cakes or whatever, has one major drawback:  itís illegal in the United States, though less so in some states than others.  Despite its illegality, itís so readily available that its usefulness as an aphrodisiac is worth examining.

Cannabis enhances sensory appreciation.  If you subject your man to sexual stimulation, his attention is more strongly drawn to that stimulation and he feels it with greater intensity than without cannabis.  Cannabis also encourages the beliefóusually delusionalóthat oneís thoughts and feelings are obvious, and at the same time it discourages reality testing.  This combination makes the Loop inescapable.  Once you start teasing him about his inability to resist you, a man under the influence of cannabis knows you can read his thoughts and feelings, and he wonít test that knowledge for fear that whatever he says will only move the conversation in a direction that will embarrass him all the more.

Consider, though, the clichť of the double-edged sword.  The use of cannabis is traditionally a social ritual; you donít administer it but share it.  You get stoned too, and that can make it difficult to maintain a confident demeanor in the face of adversity.  If you pull a shocker like trying to get your man to agree to be your love slave, or telling him for the first time that some terrible consequence will befall him if he allows himself to ejaculate, he may not take it well.  Though heís less likely while stoned to make a conscious effort to bluff you off course, he may truly be outraged or turned off, and not know that if you were to begin stimulating him, confidently and teasingly, his orientation would quickly and dramatically change.  If he tells you youíre a bad person or makes threats against the future of your relationship, youíre likely to find it exceedingly difficult to remember that he canít see how worried you are, and even more difficult to test the reality of the situation by going ahead with whatever it takes to turn him on.

For this reason, I advise against using cannabis when your agenda includes anything new and surprising that your man may take badly.  If that means you canít give it to him either, so be it.  There are exceptions of course.  Some people are so used to cannabis that they can handle anything; if youíre such a person, you already know that my cautionary advice isnít for you.  Going one step further, you and your partner may be sharing a continuously stoned existence.  In that case, avoiding cannabis before a particular lovemaking session would be so unusual that it would become an issue in itself, creating more of a problem than anything else that may have developed.  But again, if youíre living stoned, you already knew that.

The only other problem with cannabis is that it drops the blood sugar way down, causing phenomenal hunger and increasing the likelihood that your man will get cold or scared rather than turned on.  It may also make your hands cold enough to shock his skin.  All you can do is make sure youíre in a very warm place and have some good dark chocolate on hand to satisfy the munchies.  The chocolate will raise your blood sugar, keeping your hands pleasantly warm; it will raise your partnerís blood sugar, keeping him from the shivers and the terrors; and it will act as an aphrodisiac in itself.  The combination of cannabis and chocolate, incidentally, is great for sex even if you have no interest in female domination.

 

Positions, materials, knots, toys and safety

The position in which I most often tie a man is on his back with his arms extended to the sides.  Almost always, heís on a wide bed, and I tie his wrists to its legsóthe pair near the head end.  Occasionally, outdoors, Iíve tied a man in this position between two trees.

I donít normally restrain a manís legs.  Unless heís unusually large, strong or flexible, tying his arms is enough to keep him from going anywhere or doing anything.  Tying his legs is even counterproductive.  When he comes, I want it to be spectacular.  I like to see him dig in his heels, lift his bottom, and thrust his hips.  He canít do that very well if his legs are tied.  If I continue to stimulate him when heís run dry and needs me to stop, I want him to be able to squirm and thrash about, trying to pull away.  It affirms my power over him.  Most important, I want his orgasm to overwhelm him, and if I choose to play with his sensitivity afterward, I want that to overwhelm him too.  If his legs are tied, he can maintain some measure of composure by straining against the bonds and concentrating on the act of straining.  If I leave them loose, he canít do that; he gets completely caught up in whatever sensations I inflict on him.

Sometimes I put a man in that position and then decide I want to watch him masturbate while heís tied.  It wouldnít do to simply release one wrist; that would be the same as untying him completely.  Instead I tie his ankles to the nearest legs of the bed, not so tightly as to cause discomfort but tightly enough, then untie his more skilled hand.  If I feel the need to discourage him from trying to free himself, I tie the hand to the same leg of the bed as his ankle, leaving enough slack so he can reach his cock but not his opposite wrist.

Sometimes I tie a manís wrists together behind his back without tying him to anything.

Occasionally I tie a manís wrists together in front of him, then tie them to something overhead so that heís standing with his arms extended upward.  Usually I use a hook thatís screwed into one of the studs that support my ceiling.  When Iím not using the hook for bondage, it supports a potted plant in a hanging basket.

If you try such a thing there are a couple of things to beware of.  First, use only an anchor that will bear a heavy load.  A hook driven into wallboard alone wonít; an expansion bolt in plaster wonít; a shower head wonít.  Second, the position can be so uncomfortable as to inhibit a manís sexual responses; worse, it can dangerously interfere with the circulation in his hands after only a short time.  Leave enough slack in the line between his wrists and the anchor so that his feet are under his shoulders, his elbows are somewhat bent, and the rest of his body is relaxed.

 

Any number of materials can be used for bondage:  stockings, neckties, plastic wrap, rope and clothesline are some of the most common.  Stockings and neckties usually have to be tied together and canít be used for much else afterward.  Plastic wrap should be food grade rather than industrial because the latter may contain poisons that can be absorbed through the skin; multiple layers are needed to ensure resistance to stretching and tearing, and it canít be reused.  Rope and clothesline are almost perfect, but can dig uncomfortably into a manís wrists.

My favorite is tubular nylon webbing.  I became acquainted with it when I took up rock climbing, and its suitability for bondage was immediately apparent.  Itís like nylon rope, but flat.  Then again, itís different from flat webbing too.  Flat webbing is truly flat and isnít used much in climbing; itís made into the belts and straps found on knapsacks and heavy-duty dollies.  Tubular webbing is shaped like a drinking straw thatís been flattened.  Itís softer and more flexible than flat webbing, and itís readily available in stores that sell climbing gear, as well as by mail.  It tends to be colorful and comes in a variety of widths; the most convenient for bondage is one inch.  Itís easy to work with, and if tied correctly itís quite comfortable and doesnít cut into the skin at all.

I buy it in twelve-foot lengths.  Twelve feet is long for most purposes, but just right for others, and if I have to cut someone out of it in an emergency, I still have a length I can use.  When you buy it, itís cut by being pulled across a red-hot wire.  If you have to cut it yourself, itís a good idea to use a hot knife so that the filaments melt together to prevent unraveling.  Use a worthless knife that youíre never going to use for any other purpose, because heating will discolor it and youíll never get it clean.  Alternatively you can cut the webbing with a cold sharp knife or a pair of scissors and either let it unravel or try to seal the frayed end by holding it over a candle or stovetop burner.  The end may or may not seal correctly, but itís sure to release a cloud of noxious gas which will somehow aim itself directly at your nose.  I think itís still worth it; bondage is truly a labor of love.

If you want to use the sort of material that has to be tied but you donít know much about knots, get a book on the subject, study it, and practice.  Also study the descriptions Iím about to give of my own favorite knots and practice those.  Use your own ankles to substitute for your manís wrists.

You may be tempted to improvise knots rather than studying them.  It wonít go well.  For each purpose, you need a knot with certain characteristics.  To bind a manís wrist, for example, youíll want a knot that will neither loosen nor tighten when pulled.  You wonít be able to make it up as you go along; you have to know the knot.  You also have to know your knots well enough to untie them.  If you manage to invent a knot as you go, you wonít know what you did and youíll have trouble getting it out.  It may turn out to be so complex that it has to be cut.  If you cut knots frequently, youíre likely to give up bondage because of the expense.

 

If I want to tie a manís wrist, I take my twelve-foot length of webbing and circle the wrist three times, taking care that the webbing lies flat against his skin for all three go-rounds.  The short end of the webbing is about a foot long; the long end, about nine feet.  I hold the short end out straight and I tie a half hitch around it, very near the wrist, with the long end.  This involves pulling nine feet of webbing through the loop that becomes the half hitch.  I do the same thing a second time.  The knot in the long end now has a definite shape and can slide freely along the short end.  (If only the short end were held, the wrist would be in a noose; the knot would tighten when pulled.  If the long end were pulled instead, the loops around the manís wrist would loosen and the short end would eventually come through.)  I slide the knot so that the wrist canít come out of the webbing, but I donít make the loops uncomfortably tight.  Then I hold the long end of the webbing out straight and use the short end to tie a half hitch around it.  Thatís it.  The knot will neither tighten nor loosen when pulled, and no part of it touches the manís wristóhis skin touches only the soft loops of webbing.

When Iím ready to secure the wrist to the leg of the bed, the first thing I do is see to the manís comfort by making sure that the knot lies in the natural path that the long end of the webbing will take from his wrist to the leg of the bed.  His wrist shouldnít be resting on the knot, nor should the knot be forced against his wrist; these conditions cause discomfort at first, then later correct themselves in such a way as to slacken the bonds.

When Iíve rotated the knot to the ideal position, I run the long end of the webbing just once around the leg of the bed and tie first one half hitch, then another.  Itís not much of a knot, but it wonít come out unless untied on purpose.  When I want to untie it, I can do it quickly.   I take care to put the half hitches right up against the leg of the bed and not leave a big loop.  Since two half hitches make a noose, a big loop will tighten to become a small loop when the man pulls, leaving him much more slack than I intendedóperhaps even enough to get loose.

To tie a man down, itís best to tie both wrists, then both legs of the bed.  This lets him scratch itches for as long as possible.  To untie him, itís best to untie the legs of the bed first.  The knots there come out more easily, and once youíve undone one, he can help with the knots at his wrists.

If I have to tie a man to a bed thatís on a platform instead of legs (most motel beds are on platforms) I take a length of webbing and tie a bowline in each end.  The bowline is a knot that includes a loop that will neither tighten nor loosen under tension.  I run that length of webbing crosswise under the mattress about three quarters of the way toward the head of the bed, then use the protruding loops as if they were the legs of the bed.

The wooden frame of a futon can be fitted with eyebolts.  If you sleep on a mattress on the floor, you can screw eyebolts or hooks into the wall at the level of the mattress.  (Find the studs first!)  If you own your own home and donít value the floor, you can bolt cabinet handles to it.  When you bring a new partner home for the first time, such fittings make for interesting conversation.

If I want to tie a manís wrists together, I start by tying one of them as if I were going to tie it to the leg of a bed.  I run the long end of the webbing back and forth between his wrists in a moderately tight figure eight, then wrap a few loops of webbing around the middle of the figure eight in the third dimension, and finally tie the loose end with a couple of half hitches.

 

There are alternatives to learning how to tie knots.  One is plastic wrap, which sticks to itself so well that you donít need good knots.  Because multiple layers are needed, itís best tied using techniques that rely on its tendency to cling, and such techniques are easy to improvise.  (Quite the opposite of nylon webbing!)  Since plastic wrap canít be reused, you can cut it when youíre done and not feel wasteful; indeed you probably wonít be able to undo it any other way.

Another option is the purchase of ready-made restraints, either at your neighborhood adult boutique or by mail.  I donít use them.  First, I donít need to; Iím proficient with webbing.  Second, webbing feels natural to me, probably because I handled so much of it during my rock climbing days, while ready-made restraints feel alien and would seem to be intruding into my lovemaking.  Third, I donít want to spook a new lover with hardware thatís likely to remind him of that mean dominatrix in the fetish magazines.

If youíre considering ready-made restraints because you find knots daunting, the first two of those reasons are irrelevant to you.  The third will be irrelevant if you and your partner have been together a while; heíll know that your interest in kink is new.  It will also be irrelevant if kinky toys are consistent with the image you want.

I donít recommend metal handcuffs.  They can tighten painfully unless double locked and theyíre uncomfortable to lie on.  Neither do I recommend anything that the wearer can easily remove; many of the toys one finds in an adult boutique are just ornaments and suffer from this deficiency.

The one toy thatís most useful is an apparatus for tying your partner to a bed.  Typically it consists of two wrist cuffs and a length of flat nylon webbing that can easily be anchored to the bed.  The wrist cuffs are usually leather, often padded.  They close with either a buckle or hook-and-loop tape.  The closure is simple enough that the wearer could easily undo it if his hands werenít separated.  The cuffs attach to the band of webbing by means of a pair of quick-release fasteners.  These fasteners take a variety of forms, but most commonly they resemble either the clip by which a leash is attached to a dog collar or the flexible plastic buckle on the waist strap of a knapsack.  Theyíre secure only because theyíre beyond the wearerís reach when the apparatus is set up properly.

Another useful toy is a pair of soft handcuffsóagain, usually leather and often padded.  If soft handcuffs are to be secure, the closures and fasteners have to be much more tamper-proof than those on a tie-to-the-bed apparatus because anything on the wearerís left wrist is within reach of his right hand.  The really secure models rely on small padlocks.

 

I never put anything around a manís neck while heís bound, nor even allow anything with hazardous potential to remain there.  (If heís just seen a vampire movie, I hang his crucifix from my own neck.)  I never leave him alone for more than a few seconds, nor do I allow a locked door to come between us.

I almost always have a pair of surgical scissors within reachóthe kind with a blunt end.  Theyíre sharp and they cut well, so if I have to release my partner quickly, as in case of fire, I can.  The blunt end makes it possible to force the blade between his skin and whatever material heís tied with, without cutting him.  Such scissors are a necessity if you use plastic wrap; theyíre superfluous if you use a ready-made apparatus with quick-release fasteners.

The most likely emergency is sudden illness.  Digestive viruses strike with frightening speed.  Itís unpleasant enough to have a bed messed up, but it would be devastating to have a man I care about choke to death on his vomit while I fumble with my knots.  The police in my part of the world have encountered kink before and would accept my explanation, but I couldnít.  Safety first!

When Iíve settled into a stable relationship with a love slave, we agree on a word he can use to let me know he needs to be released immediately.  Francesca gave Roy such a word after tying him down only half a dozen times; some couples who set out to experiment with bondage agree on a safeword before the first knot is tied.  I wait longer because when I get involved in a new relationship, I like to keep my agenda hidden at first and reveal it one surprise at a time.  Also, a man will normally use his safeword the first time a woman plays with the post-orgasmic sensitivity of his cock.  By the third time, heís learned he can take itóand even if he canít, thatís not what the word is for.  I wait until the man is emotionally committed to being my slave and knows that thatís what he wants more than anything else.  Thatís what I think is necessary to prevent him from using a safeword frivolously.  But when weíve got that far, I donít wait longer; I make sure we have a word.

A safeword shouldnít be one that might be uttered accidentally, such as mirror or birthday, nor, obviously, should it be something like no or stop; those would interfere with the natural flow of conversation.  Madagascar or periwinkle would be good, but both require a degree of composure to pronounce.  Rhubarb is just about perfect unless you or your partner eat it or grow it; likewise smallpox unless one of you is studying it.