an expert in bondage techniques takes experience. You're
not going to get from here to "there" in one
easy step, but you will get there with practice, information,
experience, and the right equipment. Starting out is merely
getting the fundamental tools and starting where you are.
You'll hear me say time and time again that you don't
have to do anything with great expense or "whole
hog." It's best to start out small and slow. You'll
have lots of time later for big investments and marathon
come with me this morning as I walk through my local Ace
Hardware and see how we can put together a rope kit for
Bondage 101. The names of the equipment may vary from
supplier to supplier. The numbers in parentheses reflect
suburban hardware rates. You can probably get things cheaper
if you try.
going start off with a good pair of scissors. Ideally
you'll get the kind used to remove bandages after surgery.
They have dull ends so that the skin is safe while you
cut your bottom loose. You'll probably have to make a
quick stop at a pharmacy to get these. I mention scissors
first because in all this bondage stuff, as in all SM,
safety comes first. Never tie someone up without a pair
of good scissors nearby in case of an emergency.
said, our first stop is for rope. There are two types
that I use: clothesline and nylon. Pick up a 50 foot package
of 7/32 inch by 100 feet ($5.79) cotton rope. Cut it into
variable lengths between 7 and 18 or so feet. You'll want
to have shorter lengths for some things such as tying
feet, wrists, or cocks, and longer for others, such as
around chests and arms or thighs. Once cut you may want
to protect the ends from fraying. Nylon cord is easy to
melt with a candle's flame. Heat it enough so that it
begins to melt and then form it into a secure end.
have to be a bit more creative with the frayed ends of
clothesline. I immersed the ends of my first ropes in
glue and then let the glue dry by setting the ropes' ends
on wax paper. Be sure the glue (I used Elmer's) soaks
into the rope. Rubber cement works, but not as well. To
be real fancy, you could wrap the ends with thin twine.
this point I'll refer you to a boy scout handbook or a
book on knot tying. Of course it's not a bad idea to get
one of those anyway, though many bondage enthusiasts will
readily admit that they use only a few standard knots.
is my favorite rope because it ties easily and is flexible.
It tends to get dirty, though, and sometimes the knots
can be more difficult to untie.
on the other hand, seems to stay cleaner and is easier
to loosen. The down side to this is that nylon knots tend
to loosen too easily. You can get it in various thicknesses
( ¼ ($6.79), 3/8 ($13.79), ½ ($23.47) inch
for instance) and lengths (the prices are for 50 feet).
I prefer the 3/8 inch ropes. Thinner is more dangerous,
thicker is harder to work with. In any case, among these
three choices it's probably more a question of esthetics
than safety, as long as you tie knots safely in the first
twine, any thin rope or thread, and any rope made of a
rough material such as jute or manila. Leather thongs
are nice if used with care. Be mindful that the thinner
the cord, the more liable it is to cut or otherwise damage
skin. Thin cords are more dangerous too in that they will
more easily cut off your bottom's circulation.
exception might be the use of nylon twine ($2.19 for 260
feet) where you use lots of twine to weave your bondage
around your bottom. Here I emphasize weaving as opposed
to tying per se, though it may be just a matter of terminology.
If the tying is done so that the twine remains snug enough
to stay but loose enough so as not to constrict, the bondage
can be a real work of art. The details for such artistry,
though, are beyond an intro course. Mentioning it is just
food for thought.
aren't the only tools for tying. Chains and lashing straps
are somewhere to be found in every hardware store. A pair
of 9 foot straps ($4.79) would be useful for bondage to
a cross, chair, or sawhorse or to secure a bottom's arms
to his or her chest. There's a use for stretch cords if
you have the place for them. Lengths of 24, 32, and 46
inches range in cost from $2 to 3.00.
next stop at Ace's is to the aisle where they sell chain.
Quarter inch coil chain is $1.59 per foot. Unless you
want to invest in a pair of cutters, know your required
lengths before you buy them. Add an inch or so to your
measurements as it's always better to have it too long
than too short.
the chains you'll also need bolt snaps ($1.59 each). These
are double-ended snaps and you'll never need less than
the number you buy. I guess I own more than a dozen and
I still find myself in a scene looking for another one.
For more permanent attachment use a quick link for under
can serve several purposes. It certainly works as a bondage
material, though you'll want to get leather restraints
to attach your bottom to the chain. It's not as comfortable
as rope but it does pose less danger. Here again it's
a matter of taste and the kind of scene you're both into.
often chain serves as a great point of attachment. You
can, for instance, run a length of chain around the edge
of your bed and then tie your bottom spread eagle on the
bed. Each link serves as a point of attachment. The nice
thing about an arrangement such as this is that the equipment
is portable, storable, easily hidden, and usable without
altering furniture or walls.
thinking of a scene where the chain encircles the bed
and the bottom is loosely encased in nylon twine, Gulliver
in Lilliputian style. Yards of twine would go from link
to leg and back again, link to chest, link to arm, etc.
Sounds hot to me. I'll have to try that on Michael.
we're past the tie with what question we're faced with
the tie to what dilemma. The answers demand more creativity.
Today's answers will focus on more novice-like solutions.
Just because I'm not going to mention a bondage box built
into the wall of your 16x20 foot dungeon doesn't mean
that you can't use it for restraining your bottom.
purpose, though, is to give advice of an introductory
nature, so if your experience levels are way beyond these
bounds, use the column as a refresher, not a complete
to" breaks down into two categories: first is to
tie the bottom to himself, such as one wrist to another
wrist; secondly is to him or her to some other object,
such as a chair or hook. I guess that tying one bottom
to another bottom spans both those categories.
first alternative, bottom to him or herself, is certainly
the one that takes the least amount of equipment. Rope
and chain around flesh or clothes can be its own erotic
you bind your partner keep several safety points in mind:
Never tie so as to constrict the flow of blood. Either
make your knots loose enough to be safe or make them in
such a way as to insure that the rope is sufficiently
spaced. Putting inner wrist to inner wrist, for instance,
and then tying around both wrists is a good way to bind
of course, tie anything around the neck, obstruct the
nasal passages, nor gag completely.
bottom's position is also a safety factor. Never leave
a person tied face down in a prone position. Never support
your partner solely with ropes or chains unless they are
more than amply strong and the body is fully and safely
supported by adequate harnesses.
mindful of your bottom's position, even if they are standing
or sitting. Elevated arms or legs, strained muscles or
joints, and flimsy equipment all pose dangers, especially
in the long run. Along similar lines remember that a person
who is struggling, excited, angry, or afraid can exercise
strength much greater than we might suppose.
of the reasons we use bondage, such as in a whipping session,
is to insure that the bottom can struggle safely. The
last thing you want is a boy who is flailing left and
right. Bondage that is too loose may cause rope burns.
best use your imagination or a copy of Bound and Gagged
for ideas on tying wrists to ankles, wrists to knees,
cocks to feet, elbows to knees and wrists to ankles, etc.
Remember though that some of the things you see in photos
are well-staged but not practical.
over-riding principal in any bondage scene is to check
with your bottom often to insure that all is going well.
Let him or her know to warn you of impending danger, such
as numbness or dizziness. It's up to you, too, to check
to see that no body parts, i.e., feet and hands, cool
off, a sign of restricted circulation.
to bondage assumes that you want to use what's handy for
equipment. In the long run you'll build or acquire more
elaborate bondage gear such as sawhorse, dog cage, or
restraint table. But what's a beginner to do?
around. Use a footstool, straight back chair, bed, desk,
table, toilet, or staircase railing. All of these offer
innocuous and practical points for attaching, depending
upon your purpose.
work well for bondage for the sake of bondage or to tie
your partner for a tickling session, genital torture,
or nipple play. A bed is more conducive to whipping his
or her back or fucking. A low stool and a bed with a foot
board combine very well. Perhaps you could lay a chair
on its back to restrain your partner on the floor.
good friend Vince has an eye-hook in a beam in the ceiling
of his living room. When his mother asked about it, he
simply said that he thought it was used by a previous
occupant for hanging a plant.
So my discussion quietly moves into eye hooks. If you
have the luxury of inserting them into your home, be sure
to anchor them securely, use appropriately large sizes,
and pre-drill the holes, being sure that the holes aren't
too large. Again, the rule about over-building applies.
are a number of discreet places to insert eye-hooks without
raising your landlord's ire, such as inside a closet.
I lived in a studio apartment I built a frame of two by
fours that fit into the doorway between the bedroom and
bathroom. By clamping one board to another no nails or
screws defaced any part of the building.
I went to a metal working shop and had the craftsman make
me a heavy gamma-shaped hook that fit over the top of
a closet door. It is of thin gauge steel with a ring welded
to one side. Hang it over the door, shut the door, and
it becomes a very effective place to which you can attach
give your partner a fuller bondage experience, try mummification.
Though it is best done with an assistant, two people (the
top and the bottom) can perform it.
First of all gather your equipment: plastic wrap, duct
tape, ace bandages, balls of cotton, a large towel, and
of course those scissors.
Have your partner stand at the foot of the bed facing
away with hands behind the neck. Begin by wrapping his
legs, spiraling up his or her thighs and torso. As you
reach the nipples place a piece of cotton between them
and the wrap. Once the arm pits are covered, have her
lower her arms and encase the arms against the torso.
You may want to use a hood or cover the eyes with an Ace
Now comes the tricky part. Spread the towel on the bed.
Standing behind your partner, gently and carefully lean
him or her down onto the bed. If he or she is larger than
you, you'll see why the assistant is helpful.
Now that they are prone you can get fancier with the wrap,
covering the feet, for example, or the head. Be certain
that there is plenty of breathing room and that the mouth
and nose hole is quite large and unencumbered.
Now I would use the scissors to cut holes to expose the
tits. The cotton helps to make sure you don't cut skin.
Likewise I free the genitals for play. After all, most
of my bondage is for the sake of later play!
You can get still fancier by covering the wrap with duct
tape, creating a complete mummification scene.
Be sure to monitor your bottom's progress and vital signs.
Never leave such a person, or any person in bondage, unattended.
Excuse me, I have to go check up on Patrick's ropes.
my friend David pointed out in response to this essay,
I haven't yet mentioned leather restraints: "Some
very practical applications of bondage, thanks. I was
surprised that you didn't mention pre-made wrist/ankle
restraints as part of the scene, [as] they are easier
to attach than plain rope for the novice & just as
effective. Just my ideas," he writes via e-mail.
Good ideas too, but I was saving them for last. It's my
experience to start your toy collection slowly and cheaply.
That reflects my pocketbook, of course, but I'm probably
not too much poorer than most readers.
The first leather purchase I would advise has nothing
to do with bondage. Get yourself a bar vest, (priced as
low as $29.00, but more usually between $60.00 and $100.00)
as it's the equipment that's most necessary and the one
that's the least easy to make yourself.
Most everything else I'm going to list today can be home-made.
Take a walk around a Tandy leather store. My first leather
restraints were made from remnants purchased in a "grab
bag" for a dollar. The necessary tools and buckle
don't cost much more. Making it yourself is a great way
to spend these cold winter nights, when the wind chill
(that make-believe number that the weather people use
in order to make their news more newsworthy) is low enough
to keep you home.
Besides, spreading a piece of leather out on the kitchen
table is a great way to tell your lover that you want
to start a new hobby!
Enough jokes, Jack.
The first leather toy then is a pair of wrist restraints.
They come in either buckle or D-ring varieties. The buckle
types are self-contained. The D-rings allow you to use
padlocks. Some buckles can be locked as well and some
restraints come with locking posts. Wrist restraints,
as most leather toys, come padded or unpadded. The major
difference between the two has to do with utility. If
you are going to have long-term or more strenuous bondage
scenes, the padding can be very helpful, even imperative.
For ease of use and carrying convenience, the plain ones
work well. ($40 unlined, $69 padded)
Prices quoted are from Eagle Leathers, 5005 N. Clark St.,
Chicago. Similar equipment, of course, is available at
Male Hide Leathers, Cupids, and the Pleasure Chest. The
same can be gotten by mail order from Mr. S. Leathers,
With the restraints you'll want to make sure you have
those bolt snaps mentioned in part one. Leather restraints
have the advantage of being safer, since constriction
is more easily avoided. Still, be careful to check extremities
for circulation. I keep my locks locked so that I have
to unlock them in order to use them. Doing so insures
that you have the key handy when and where you need it.
Ankle restraints are a bit bigger than wrist ones ($49
to $79). Some come with attached chains, a nice feature.
A set of ankle and wrist restraints serves well as the
basic bondage kit, as it is useful for the spread-eagle
position we all favor.
Next, I would go for cock and ball restraints. There are
a myriad of varieties of stretchers, separators, and sheaths,
too numerous to list here, but including figure eights
to go around the nuts and cock and two-snap ball stretchers
to pull the testicles away from the cock. Parachutes are
a favorite of mine. They encircle the nuts leaving small
chains dangling for the easy attachment of weights or
cords. Eventually you'll want to buy weights as well.
You'll have to experiment with your bottom's tolerance.
easy and add weight as you see how much his nuts can take.
Eight to ten pounds isn't unheard of. I've even seen a
photo (was it real or Memorex?) of much more weight being
lifted by the scrotum, but caution and reason is necessary
here. I don' want anyone going to the emergency room saying
that "Jack sent me."
Thigh and wrist restraint combos ($119) are straps that
go just where you think, fastening the arms at the side
and out of the way. Up in the neck department, collars,
again in a wide variety, sell for $30 to $65. Some have
D-rings for attaching wrists to neck, some come with wrist
straps already attached. The variations are endless.
A simple Ace Bandage is sufficient for blind-folding,
but you can get fancier with a leather blind-fold ($25-$39).
Jon, the manager of Eagle Leathers, showed me a great
blind-fold made of latex. It was inflatable. Now there's
a neat present. More on latex later.
To get fancier in the blind-fold department, you can get
a spandex hood ($20). The advantage of spandex is that
you can breathe through it and see shadows. They come
off very easily and quickly, just the kind of thing to
use with a novice. He won't be spooked by total darkness.
Later, of course, you'll want to put a leather hood over
it, but they are more expensive ($115 or so). Again the
varieties of hoods are endless. I prefer the kind with
open mouths, since I love to use a bottom's mouth. They
come with detachable gags and blind folds, and some have
In a similar category, a head harness acts much like a
hood except that much more of the head is exposed. I like
to immobilize my bottom with it. He can hear, see, and
use his mouth, but his head can't otherwise move, once
I've attached the harness to the ceiling, cross, bed,
or bondage box.
Harnesses come in chain and leather ($45 to $149) and
encircle the torso in a number of ways. By and large you
will find them strictly decorative, though there's nothing
wrong with dressing for the part.
At this point, I'd suggest you get a hold of a catalogue
($20) from Mr. S Leathers (800-746-7677). You can tell
them that Jack sent you. Seeing pictures of all this gear
will explain it much better than even my writing can do.
Besides, the people at Mr. S have great looking models.
Sorry ladies that there aren't any women in the photos
but I know you'll still get the idea.
I say that about the catalogue (I mean to get one) because
the visual presentation really does explain a lot. Not
every novice has to learn only by doing or having done.
That said, I'll recommend a few books: The Master's Manual,
A Handbook of Erotic Dominance by Jack Rinella, Daedalus
Publishing, ISBN 1-881943-03-8, $14.95; Learning The Ropes
by Race Bannon, Daedalus Publishing, ISBN 1-881943-07-0,
$12.95; Leathersex by Joseph Bean, Daedalus Publishing,
ISBN 1-881943-05-4 $14.95; and Leatherman's Handbook II
by Larry Townsend, Carlyle Communication, ISBN 0-503-09999-6,
I promised, a quick note about latex bondage, with a nod
to my friend Ryan Johnson. Depending upon the size of
your bottom, three to six rolls of latex make a great
mummification wrap. The rolls are 4 inches wide by 16
feet ($20 each). They make immobility easy, though not
really cheap. Latex is a great turn-on and very versatile,
though you really have to take care of it and learn a
few of the do's and don'ts.
2000 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in
any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact
Other possibilities, well beyond intro bondage, are leather
straight jackets, sleep sacks, and suspension equipment
(from $200 up, and I mean UP). All I've ever been able
to afford is to look, but it sure looks good. This kind
of bondage, though, takes expertise, both on the part
of the top and the bottom. Make sure you've graduated
with honors from Intro and Intermediate before you go
for the gold.
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