Bondage Positioning

Positioning for bondage

  • Always consider what would happen if the bottom fell or fainted– what would they hit? If they sagged in the bondage, where would the ropes (and their limbs) end up? If the answer to the question of what would happen if they fainted is “well, they would probably be seriously injured or die,” adjust your bondage.
  • Hogties are dangerous– there is risk of positional asphyxia (impaired breathing) and also the potential for damage to the wrists or ankles.

Faint or fall after bondage

  • There’s danger of a faint or fall as the bottom is being released from a standing position (or standing after laying down for an extended period of time).
  • It can be helpful for tops to talk their bottoms through the process of untying the ropes (“it’s not attached anymore, don’t put weight on it”) and support the bottom as they’re released. Once they are fully released, sit or lay the bottom down, if at all possible.
  • For more information about fainting and BDSM, read this article.

Immobility

  • IMG_5656Tying the limbs so they have no movement at all is very difficult for the bottom. Leaving a bit of “wiggle room” will result in safer and more sustainable bondage.
  • Being held tightly immobile for extended periods of time, especially if the legs or arms are hanging lower than the heart, can cause a host of problems, including blood clots in the legs and pooling blood in the lower extremities. Even slight movement (such as flexing the calves) can mitigate this.
  • A bottom hanging unconscious or completely immobile/unmoving in bondage could theoretically suffer from something similar to “harness hang syndrome”- this is primarily a suspension bondage issue, but could conceivably be an issue with some non-suspension bondage as well (especially if the bottom faints into it). Onset of harness hang syndrome takes about 6 minutes- none of us would leave someone hanging passed out for that long, right? Get the bottom down from bondage as quickly (and safely) as possible.

Private bondage

  • The inherent risks of bondage are greater in private vs. in a public dungeon or play space with safety monitors and others available to help if something goes wrong.
  • Consider the health of the top, especially if the bottom is going to be tied “inescapably,” and especially if the location is isolated.
  • Check references- talk with others the bondage top has tied up, ask who they learned from, etc
  • Don’t get tied up in private on the first date, and negotiate carefully (safewords, etc) first.
  • Arrange a “safe call”- have a trusted friend who knows where you are, who you’re with, and what you’re doing, and who expects to hear from you by a certain time. Discuss what they should do if they don’t hear from you by that time (Come and knock on your door? Call the police?).

Other notes

  • Don’t use rope around the neck or a collar as part of potentially weight-bearing bondage (no attaching the leash to a point on the cross, etc).
  • Don’t tie rope from the genitals to a hard point.
  • Often, hands are the first area where the bottom experiences problems. If possible, arrange bondage so the hands can be released easily and without having to undo everything else first.
  • Many bondage experts recommend a “two finger rule” (being able to slide at least two fingers under the rope) for bondage tightness. Keep in mind that bondage will shift as the scene progresses, especially if the bottom is struggling/squirming.
  • Load bearing rope around the upper arms (in “box” or “TK” ties) is particularly high risk for nerve injury.

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