Basic Bondage Safety

Bondage can be sensual & fun, but it can also be risky & dangerous. We think information is sexy! What follows are some basic aspects of risk aware consent. Many gray areas are not addressed here – attend classes and study more about bondage!

Quick pointers for aspiring bondage bottoms:

  • DO communicate with your top! Clear communication will impress (and excite) an experienced top much more than a high pain tolerance.
  • DO know your nerves. Nerve damage is a serious risk with bondage, especially suspension. Signs of nerve damage include (usually rapid onset) numbness, tingling, tightness, stress, or sharp, shooting pains. Your top cannot tell when you are having these symptoms – you need to communicate! Note that it’s possible for nerve damage to occur without any warning/symptoms at all, & even with an experienced top who does “everything right.”
  • DO warm up before being tied up, & move SLOWLY after being released from bondage.
  • DO disclose your health history to the top before being tied up. Especially: diabetes, asthma, joint problems, and existing nerve damage.
  • DON’T combine gags and bondage until you know your top well, and always have a safe signal.
  • DON’T get tied up when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Quick pointers for aspiring bondage tops:

  • DO take bondage classes, be mentored one-on-one, & know bondage safety/technique prior to tying someone up.
  • DO communicate with your bottom & check in often. As well as contributing to safety, your bottom will likely experience your check-ins as reassuring and arousing.
  • DO remind your bottom to promptly tell you about any numbness, tingling, tightness, or pain, and immediately take steps to address it. This may sometimes be done by removing or redirecting tension, shifting ropes, or changing position. When in doubt, untie the affected limb completely.
  • DO have safety shears close by at all times.
  • DO consider what would happen if the bottom faints. If the answer is “they would probably die or be seriously injured,” adjust your bondage.
  • DON’T leave someone alone in bondage.
  • DON’T attach rope from the bottom’s neck or genitals to a hard point.
  • DON’T use rope to apply large amounts of tension to joints (wrists, elbows, knees, armpits, groin). The radial nerve in the middle of the upper arms is another common injury site.

What if you’re both topping and bottoming? For more on self-tying and self-suspension, check out this site!

Next: More detailed information on our Introduction and Basic Risks page, or check out our bondage flyer: side one and side two

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