Any tips for bondage beginners? My girlfriend and I are ready to give kinkier sex the old college try. But neither of us have tied a knot more complicated than the ones we accidentally put in our shoelaces. Any tips?
--New to It
You're in luck. A friend of a friend of a friend of mine just happens to be the editor and publisher of Bound & Gagged, which is, with the possible exception of Christian Family Today, the finest special-interest kink lifestyle magazine in America today.
B&G features reader-written accounts of real-life male-male bondage experiences, "from Cowboy-and-Indian kids' games to college frat hazings to adult erotic bondage experiences." When it comes to tying up boys, B&G's editor and publisher, Bob Wingate, is an expert. Since tying up a girl really ain't all that different from tying up a boy, I turned your letter, plus a few others, over to Mr. Wingate.
How long has Bob been into bondage? "Since I was four or five. I was in prekindergarten and there was this unruly little kid, and the teachers tied him into a chair with a jump rope to make him sit still. I thought it was very exciting and wished they would do it to me. But I was a good little boy, and I never did anything wrong."
Here are Bob's bondage-for-beginners pointers: "To my mind, there are three types of rope bondage: too tight, too loose, and just right--just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Just right is snug without turning the extremities cold." For equipment, clothesline will do, "the kind that doesn't have a wire or plastic string running through it. Nylon rope, which is softer than cotton, is also good, as are neckties and stockings. It is not a costly game, or it need not be a costly game."
When it comes to knots, "the ones you put in your shoelaces should do the trick. It's not a question of how you make the knots, but where you put them." Bob doesn't understand why bondage beginners are intimidated by the prospect of tying knots--or tying each other up at all. "Cowboys and Indians is a game children play. If children know how to tie each other up, adults should surely be able to do it. You never hear one child say to another, 'Oh, I don't know how to tie a knot!'
"Be sensible--don't leave someone alone, tied up too long, don't gag someone with sinus problems, etc." A common first-time mistake, Bob concluded, "is to keep asking your partner, 'Are you all right? Are you all right?' It ruins the sexual tension. If the person getting tied up isn't all right, he or she should say so without having to be asked." And, most importantly, have fun. "Think in terms of children's games [Bob apparently does] with sex added. Enjoy yourself doing it, and enjoy it if it's being done to you."
My girlfriend, who is 29, wants to explore leather/SM. We have been going together for six months. Soon after we began having sex, she suggested I tie her to the bed and have my way with her body. I did so. She loves it, and I must admit I like the power I have over her.
Now she wants us to attend a "bondage night" in a nightclub, and she wants me to lead her around on a collar and leash. The bed routine is not all that normal, as far as I am concerned, but at least it is in private. But doing what she suggests in public? Will she want to go further into territory that I find strange and kinky? And why would she want such public humiliation?
What should I do about this? --TW
"This relationship is doomed," Bob said after I read him your letter. "If she's too kinky for him, then she needs to find someone else, and so does he. Neither is 'in the wrong'--they're just not right for each other." Harsh! To run through your other questions very quickly: yes, she'll probably want to "go further"--have a frank conversation with her about the extent of her SM desires. She wants public humiliation because why? Because it turns her on, du-huh. What should you do about it? Set aside your reservations and give it a whirl. Visit that bondage nightclub, just observe. Then if you feel more comfortable, go and play. As Bob said, "He may find that he enjoys it more than he anticipates he will."
I've always been into bondage, and lately I've been getting into heavier SM and sex slavery. I've been playing with one man in particular who is pretty demanding and very hot. Recently he bought a cage--it's steel and really cool. Big enough to lock a person in, namely me. Well, last time we played, he locked a collar around my neck, handcuffed my hands behind my back, and locked me in the cage. So far, so good (so hard!). Then he got dressed and left! And he didn't come back for almost eight hours.
I was pissed. What if there had been a fire? What if I had to pee? I broke out of my "role" when he got back and told him how pissed I was. He refused to let me out until I calmed down, so I had to sit in his cage for another couple of hours.
Now my trust in him is shattered, and I don't feel comfortable letting him tie me up. He insists there was nothing to worry about and is angry about how I reacted. Was I wrong to be pissed? Or was he wrong to endanger my life? --Slave Boy
"Clearly the guy was wrong. You shouldn't leave a person alone for eight hours with their hands cuffed, and in a cage. You should never leave a person in bondage alone at all. There is no question about it. We have to be sensible about this. There are simply too many unknowns, too many 'unlikely possibilities' that can occur. It's one thing to seem to leave someone alone but actually be monitoring them through an intercom," or quietly observing someone you've blindfolded or put in a hood. "But you should never actually leave them alone. He's absolutely in the right to be angry and to have lost his trust." Bound & Gagged stresses safety. There's even a column dedicated to health and safety issues: what to do if someone passes out or gets a cramp, how to avoid cutting off someone's circulation, etc. "But," Bob says, "there are some people who are into long-term bondage scenes and 'sense of danger' play--people who enjoy doing very risky things. People who like danger are going to take risks whatever our advice may be."
If you'd like to get your hands on a copy of Bound & Gagged, write to Outbound Press, 89 Fifth Avenue, suite 803, NY, NY 10003. The mag comes out six times a year; a sample issue costs $8.50 ($6.95 on newsstands) and a one-year subscription costs $36. You must be over 21.
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.