There are many bondage guides that focus on the preparation for bondage play. But what about the complete basics? This guide is intended to take those new to bondage through its different aspects rather than simply provide an overview.

If you have decided to incorporate some of the softer or even harder elements of BDSM into your life, what you need at this point is a frank discussion with your partner about exactly what turns you on and what turns you off. First, make a list of all the things you consider acceptable and where you would draw the line, and agree on the all-important safe word. We will look at all of the areas you can indulge in, then at the end you will be perfectly poised to make the list of your dreams and start spicing up your love life. In each category, I will discuss the go-to for beginners and how you might build on that for a more advanced experience.

Restraints

When we think of bondage, we immediately think of restraints because that is a simple way to change (or challenge) the balance of control in the bedroom. One partner is agreeing to restrict their movements for their pleasure and the pleasure of their partner, who will be administering sensations (whatever they might be). Handcuffs are a common starting place and can provide a good indication of whether you enjoy being restrained or whether you enjoy restraining your partner.

We love these handcuffs from Lovehoney. Read our review here!

Restraining can be exhilarating for both sides. One is relinquishing control, and the other is taking charge. For someone in a position of authority at work or perhaps in the family household, that feeling of letting go can be the biggest turn-on. The fact that they can free their mind of any plans and intentions and just respond physically to sensation is very liberating. Equally, someone who rarely has control or simply enjoys taking charge now has their partner completely at their disposal. They can tease them, please them, and torture them at their own leisure. It might be the perfect occasion to turn the tables on your bossy other half and make them beg for that climax. Or just enjoy the feeling of power as you take your time building sensation, making them moan and writhe beneath your touch.

For me, restraints are the necessary first step before full bondage play, which I have deliberately put into a separate chapter. Restraints include under-the-bed restraints, where the arms and feet are spread wide, giving complete access; over-the-door restraints, which leads to standing play (both of these are handy if you do not have a headboard suitable for handcuffs); as well as the classic wrist and ankle handcuffs. This section is fairly straight forward. You simply restrain your partner in increasingly imaginative positions, whether you tie their hands and bend them over the bed, lay them on their front, or on their back, tie their feet and hands and position them on all fours or helplessly laid flat on their back – or perhaps you spread-eagle them by spreading their legs and arms wide, increasing their exposure and perceived vulnerability.

The next stage is bondage and more complex techniques.

Bondage

There are restraints, and then there is bondage. I separate bondage because it requires more creativity and more restriction. Restraining the hands behind the back, above the head, or pinning your partner spread-eagle are ideal for beginner exploration into bondage. However, once you and your partner are comfortable with restraints, it is not a big leap into more imaginative bondage play. Now we get into the hog tie, web restraints, and door swings. For me, bondage means more restriction and also steps beyond routine excitement into the realm of true domination, submission, and humiliation. You are one with your partner at this stage, and you know where they are comfortable, or at least have a strong idea of what they get out of your BDSM adventures, having dabbled with restraints in a more traditional sense.

Handcuffs tend to be popular no matter what level you are at, but there is so much more to bondage. Silk, string, leather, and plastic offer different sensations, while different angles and positions create whole new experiences. Silk, bondage tape, and fur lined cuffs give a softer touch, while rope, metal, and plastic can dig in and make for a more uncomfortable and torturous experience. Again, it all comes down to what sensations you are trying to create. The whole idea of bondage is to leave one party vulnerable and easily accessible while the other party is able to do with them what they please.

You can buy bondage rope through our affiliate, SheVibe.

Control can be held by either party; it should not be assumed that the one tied up cannot be in charge of the proceedings. The verbal commands of the one who also loves being restrained can control every movement the “free” partner makes. Or, they restrained partner can choose to abandon all control and allow the unrestrained partner to steer things like the speed of intercourse, the roughness of foreplay, the level of sensation, and the timing and force of every touch. A web restraint system, a garter belt with hands cuffed to it, a spreader bar, a hog-tie, a jockstrap with wrist restraints, and a door harness are all examples of bondage play that start to push the boundaries of dominance and submission further. Decide with your partner what materials you want to try and how tied up one of you (or both) are willing to get, and let that discussion steer your next purchase.

Check out this spreader bar by Sportsheets, and read our review!

Blindfolds and Masks

I am sure you’ve heard people say, if you close off one sense your others are heightened. That is the principle underlying the blindfold or mask. You take away sight and maximize the use of touch and sound to enhance pleasure. You use the element of surprise and perhaps a little shock as you switch between pleasure and pain techniques. There are a variety of materials and designs to fit your liking. Try a blindfold or mask to enhance your pleasure or torture the unsuspecting!

We love this basic blindfold. Don’t miss our review.

Whips and Floggers

Before I discuss whips and floggers, I want to mention ticklers because they are a useful contrast to the sensations their more sinister counterparts offer. Ultimately, what you are aiming for is sensory overload by whatever means:

  • Tickling
  • Caressing/stroking
  • Spanking
  • Whipping

The choice of tool is also varied:

  • Feather tickler
  • Paddle
  • Cane
  • Flogger
  • Whip

 

The first place to start is with a hand. Finding pain thresholds is best done with the palm of a hand, starting gentle, then building force. A natural next step is onto a paddle, which increases the force and also introduces a different texture and smaller/flatter surface area. Paddles can be fabric coated, made of wood, reinforced with a metal strip, and even studded for varying degrees of intensity.

The Pelt Paddle is a great place to start. Check out our review of this small impact toy.

The cane is a more intense method of spanking and has a sharp sensation due to the small surface area. They usually have a fabric lip that is used to stroke your partner’s intimate areas before the cane is used to deliver short, sharp smacks to fleshy areas of the body. The bottom is the most popular area to cane, although the thighs are also a good target. A concentrated assault on the bottom will leave it marked, which some get a sense of empowerment from. If you are into fetish play, subservience, and dominance, the crop can be used to demonstrate ownership of one’s submissive. It takes skill to master and should be used with caution.

You can get a basic cane at SheVibe.

The flogger is a multi-stranded tool designed to deliver lots of little strikes at one time. There are varying weights, lengths, and fabrics with different intensity – start light and work your way up. The main thing to remember about flogging technique is that it is all in the wrist. Just a gentle turnover of the wrist delivers a mild sting to fleshy parts of the body. More power and speed will of course deliver a more powerful strike with the individual threads. Just as with canes and whips, floggers can leave small welts on the body. While some people look to achieve this and enjoy the sensation, for others it is an immediate turn-off. Buy decent quality floggers as cheap materials do not generate the same sensations and are far cruder in terms of leaving marks. You need one that is responsive to the technique used and for that you need nice quality material.

Finally, we have whips, which I would say with certainty, are not for the faint hearted. You can buy multi-strand whips that are a natural step up from floggers or single strand whips. Whips are far more likely to mark the body than any other BDSM tool. The technique is again all in the turn of the wrist. Whether you use whips to administer punishment or torture in role play scenarios or have a partner who is turned on by that sharp stinging pain they deliver, you must proceed with caution in those first attempts. Start gentle and build up. In fact, start on an inanimate object, like a pillow. Whips require a good bit of skill or use properly. Whips can also be used simply as props to empower the dominant as they strut around their restrained submissive, teasing and tormenting them with the idea of pain, but choosing to deliver pleasure.

Ready for the whip? You can get one here!

All of these tools have a distinct role in BDSM and there are plenty of people who enjoy a good spanking, whipping or slapping. You never know what you are into until you have tried it, so do not discount anything, and incorporate them sensibly, communicating constantly about what you enjoyed and disliked about each experience.

Gags

Few would consider gags to be hard-core bondage. However, there is one crucial point to consider: if you have a safe word and are pushing boundaries, a gag will prevent its use. For this reason, gags tend to be used at both extremes of the bondage experience. They are used initially when tickle and gentle pain techniques are used as those new to bondage explore with light and controlled play. They are also brought in by experienced partners who can recognize discomfort in body language. As you indulge in different bondage practices, you will start reading your partner’s behavior in response to pleasure and pain and know when to stop and make sure they are okay. This is the time to reintroduce the gag. If one of you is particularly keen on gags, a nice safety measure to begin with would be to have a hand gesture to replace the safe word and/or to simply stop at routine points to make sure your partner is happy.

This ball gag from Tantus is ideal for beginners. Read our review.

The type of gag used is a personal preference as so much of the world of bondage is. You can select a cleave gag which goes into the mouth, pushed back between the teeth. These can be string, strips of material, or ball gags. These are popular because those wearing them can moan whether in pleasure or pain which the pain/pleasure-giver may enjoy. A simple gag for beginners would be the use of fabric tied around the head to cover the mouth. Always start simple and explore what sensations it brings to the play, then decide if you want to incorporate its use more frequently.

For the more advanced, adventurous, and for those particularly turned on by gags, there are many options. The ring gag forces the mouth wide so that the mouth can be filled with a cock – or dildo or fingers, etc. It also adds an element of helplessness, stripping the wearer of control, as the cock-giver decides the pace and depth. The penis gag comes in a variety of sizes and is aimed at silencing your partner. Some can be inflated to cause them increasing displeasure and is perhaps the ultimate in dominant gags. The penis gag can also be flipped so that the dildo is facing away from the mouth which typically contains a ball gag. This enables the wearer to give pleasure to their partner in a completely subservient way.

Check out this simple ring gag.

There are lots of gags to explore and it all depends on what enjoyment you get out of them and what your ultimate fantasies are made of!

Nipple Clamps

Nipple clamps tend to carry a scare factor with them because in many ways they seem barbaric. In reality, most are far gentler than you imagine. Moreover, when you are in a state of extreme arousal, they can add another layer of pleasure to the proceedings.

Nipple clamps are designed to firmly grip the nipples and provide a pinching effect. If you are not sure if you will enjoy the sensation, start with squeezing the nipple between two fingers. You can also use pegs to experience the sensation before investing in nipple clamps.

This is another area where there are lots of types available with slight twists and changes that make each product unique. Some clamps are light and teasing while others are hard and intense. Some nipple clamps can be adjusted and some cannot. The adjustable ones give either partner the ability to tighten the clamps and increase the pain delivered. For first time buyers, I recommend the adjustable clamps because you can control the pressure and increase it when you are ready.

We enjoyed these adjustable feathered clamps. Read the review!

Vibrating nipple clamps accentuate the pleasure by adding a whole new dimension. They also make hands-free sensation possible so you have the feeling that someone is moving the clamps while hands and mouths are put to better use elsewhere. Along with vibrators, you can also try suckers, pumps, and vacuums – all different methods of pleasing the nipple with suction, just like a mouth. These methods increase blood flow and sensitivity, causing the nipples to engorge and become more erect. If used long-term, the nipples can become permanently larger.

Start with an inexpensive beginner nipple suction toy.

An important note here as to the technique: Clamps are simple to apply, but when removing nipple clamps, it is a good idea to suck the nipples hard to make the movement from clamped to un-clamped less intense. It can be a painful process as the pressure is released unless you replace it and gradually pull away from the very sensitive nipples.

Electro Fetish

Electrosex can put people off just because it is relatively newer than other elements of the BDSM scene and not often discussed. The thing is that some levels of electrical stimulation are so faint you barely feel them, and it is equally built to give pleasure as it is to give pain. Whether you want pleasurable pain, pain, or pure pleasure, you can look to electro toys.

As with everything, you should experiment with the toys before you apply them to sensitive areas. The electric charge is designed to stimulate nerve endings, which leads to arousal. It is very much like a vibrator in that lower settings tend to tickle. As you increase intensity, the settings that tickle turns into a firmer tingling sensation. Those who love electrosex compare the experience to a vibrator but with a slightly more intense and heightened experience.

We reviewed – and loved – the Electric Eric e-stim vibrator.

If you give the controls to a partner, there is always that hidden threat that they will turn those controls and catch you by surprise. Some will find that a turn on while others will create strict instructions from the beginning that any abuse of the controls will lead to the loss of something important!

On their highest settings, electric toys can cause muscles to contract, and the tingling sensation is more like pins and needles. Find the best setting for you with gradual exploration and enjoy some new sensations while you try out new positions!

Collars

A collar can instantly turn some people off as it is gives a very real portrayal of the slave or submissive. If you are happy relinquishing control to someone you trust in order to relax entirely into the pleasures a dominant partner can administer, then the collar may be for you.

Let’s be clear that those who introduce the collar into their sex play are often confident, powerful people who wish to let go of that profile for a time. They want to stop leading and just be led, be the center of someone’s world in the most open and uninhibited way possible. Again, the submissive can always call the shots and simply enjoy the fact that they are restrained and trusting their partner entirely.

Collars make it easier for one partner to be moved around and placed in revealing and exposed positions. For the full-on master/slave role play or lifestyle choice, it is a necessary mark of servitude. Collars can truly strip an individual’s identity away, and that can be erotic because then sex, pain, and pleasure are the focal points. Items like this make the whole experience more immersive and intense.

For many relationships, collaring is an important milestone. Picking out the perfect collar to represent the submissive, dominant, and/or your relationship might take time, but will be a rewarding and memorable step in your relationship.

Cock and Ball Toys

The last section of our guide is dedicated to cock and ball toys. The level of bondage within this category can soar quite high: we are talking about binding and restricting a very sensitive area of considerable importance when it comes to sex and stimulation.

Simply, a cock ring is a ring that is placed around the penis, usually at its base. This slows the blood flow from the erect penis tissue and forces the erection to last longer. Cock rings can also be used around the scrotum alone or with the penis, usually called a testicle cuff in this usage. The type of material you use can have a huge impact on the level of bondage: they come in leather, rubber silicone, nylon, and metal.

You can get a cock and ball strap from SheVibe.

A prolonged erection can clearly be very useful in the bedroom, but there is another side to cock and ball toys: torture. This involves the application of constriction or pain to the genitals.

The ball stretcher is used to elongate the scrotum so that it feels as though a weight is pulling the testicles down. This increases the level of orgasm, making it more intense. It is not recommended for continuous use though, as it can permanently stretch the testicles, making them hang lower, and can be harmful if the circulation is cut off because of an over-tightened stretcher. Be careful!

Check out this ball stretcher and cock ring set.

Next comes the ball crusher which, needless to say, is not for the faint-hearted. It can be made of metal or acrylic and is used to squeeze the testicles with the slow turning of a nut or screw. The ball crusher works well combined with bondage as a form of torture.

The testicle cuff is ring shaped and goes around the scrotum between the body and the testicles. When it closes, it prevents the testicles from sliding through it. It can also be a dual cuff placed around the scrotum and penis. There are so many more devices used to restrain the phallic genitalia. There are padlocks and chastity belts, all designed to torture, deny pleasure, or increase pleasure. You need to try each to find the ones you enjoy the most. Take your exploration slow and steady, and never over-tighten any device as the genitals are precious cargo!

Whatever you choose to try, always follow the two clear rules of bondage and BDSM:

  1. Be SAFE.
  2. COMMUNICATE throughout (and before and after) your likes, dislikes, pleasures, and pains.

I hope you feel more empowered to explore the world of bondage and are racing to spice up your sex life as I speak. Always approach with caution, but there is a world of pleasure and pain to explore. Do not settle with vanilla if you enjoy other flavors. Enjoy!

Note: Some links are affiliate links, which help support the site. All opinions are 100% honest and my own. I only recommend things I would use myself! Read more about our affiliate links.