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Sex, Good Love

Beyond the Cuffs: A Guide To Restraints

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Put the cheapie handcuffs down, you have options!


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When my partner and I occasionally play with others, a common interest we hear is bondage. Both for experienced rope bunnies and for the less kink-initiated, being restrained is a huge turn on for a lot of people. It’s also a lot of people’s first foray into kink. It’s less intimidating than impact play and easier for many people to get into than dominance/submission roles.

But where to start?

There’s a wide array of restraints available, yet many times, couples choose something uncomfortable and decide to never try it again. (Look, it doesn’t have to be the cheapest pair of novelty handcuffs you can find.)

Here are a handful of options for exploring bondage.

Bondage tape

It looks and feels like heavy duty tape, yet it only sticks to itself. That means you can use it to tie someone anywhere and not have to worry about the tape yanking hair out. Bondage tape has just enough give for a little flexibility, but won’t snap if the struggle is part of the fun.

I honestly think this is the single best toy for beginners. It’s cheap (it runs right around $7-10 a roll), it’s portable, it’s highly customizable. It’s very unlikely to cause any damage to most furniture. (Would I use bondage tape on an Ikea piece, yes. On a Louis XIV vintage piece, probably not.)

Under Bed Restraints

I love these SO much! Once you put them under the bed, they’re right there, ready to be used at a moment’s notice. Many under the bed systems have hooks to detach the cuffs so you can easily tuck the clip part into the mattress away from prying eyes.

A good system will have padded cuffs, usually with Velcro binding — these tend to be way easier on your wrists and ankles. The under the bed straps are usually ratchet straps that you can adjust the length on, so you can either be fully spread eagle and bound, or just have a little dose of restraint. It’s also easy to allow for greater use of your hands or legs independently, which can be really helpful for incorporating your favorite sex positions in bondage.

Thigh Sling Bondage

If you’re into the idea of bondage, but have a bit of a struggle with the fear of losing control being tied (fun fact, this is called merinthophobia!), then thigh slings might be the perfect medium.

A thigh sling loops around the back of your neck and shoulders and each end goes into a loop to fit around your thighs. This pulls your thighs back to expose your vulva and generally gives a feeling of helplessness and bondage, but your arms and hands are still totally free. (Also, if you get hip joint muscle pain in keeping your legs up in this position, this is a hot way to alleviate it!)

Spreader Bars

If you like the idea behind the thigh sling, you’ll love spreader bars. These are adjustable lightweight bars with clip-on cuffs for your wrists and ankles. These are amazing if you and your partner are into things like forced orgasm or denial play and anything where having you in a vulnerable position adds to it.

Ball Gags

These aren’t exactly restraints, but they go hand in hand with them. Ball gags are insanely fun for teasing play and if you get the right one, they’re incredible to pair with other bondage systems.

Personally, I am only really comfortable with breathable ball gags that have holes drilled through them for air and vocalizations to pass through, or larger gags with loose head clamps that I am basically choosing to keep in my mouth and can spit out easily if need be. My reasons for this are that if I am unable to breathe or talk to give my safe word, I give my partner taps to let him know I need a break. If I’m bound and can’t give my taps, I need to be able to say something. However, some couples work around this by holding a bell or squeaker or figuring something else out.


These take all restraint systems up to eleven. Highly, highly recommend, and customizable for any situation!