What Is Bondage? Learn About The Meaning of Bondage & The Many Reasons Why Bondage is Great To Try

Updated: Jun 14


Have you ever asked yourself, "what is bondage"? Bondage, by definition, is the state of being bound by or subjected to some external power or control.


However, to answer the more likely question of “what is the meaning of bondage sexually?”, bondage involves practicing consensual (this is extremely important, and we’ll be talking about this much more in detail later in this article) acts of restrain.

Typically, bondage requires having a dominant partner and a submissive partner, with the dominant partner doing the restraining and the submissive being the one that is restrained.

The purpose of bondage is for both the dominant and submissive to derive sexual pleasure from their role and the experience. However, it does not always have to include sex!

Whether you’re a complete bondage newbie, you think you’re into it but you’re not really sure what it entails, or you’re someone that’s been into bondage for a long time and simply wants a refresher, this article is your bondage 101.

We’re going to answering a variety of questions you have, from “what is light bondage sex?” and “what is the meaning of BDSM?”, to “how can I practice bondage sex?” and “why do people get turned on by bondage?”.

So, what is BDSM?in (pun intended!) and ready to take a quick course in bondage!


Is Bondage The Same as BDSM?


Although most people think bondage is the same as BDSM, it’s actually just part of the BDSM term.


So, what is BDSM?


BDSM meaning: Used to describe a variety of sexual practices - BDSM includes bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism, and masochism.


Why Do People Like Bondage?


Once people that haven’t tried bondage before find an answer to the question, “what is bondage?” they tend to then ask, “why do people even want to engage in that?”.


The truth is that many people, from all walks of life, are naturally drawn to bondage for a variety of reasons, none of which should be judged or shamed.


The most common reasons for being interested in bondage and deriving sexual pleasure from bondage are:

  • Shift of Power

Although it’s common for the more powerful partner in the relationship to act as the dominant one during bondage, this doesn’t always have to be the case. In fact, a lot of couples and individuals appreciate bondage so much because they can switch roles with their partners - the partner that’s typically more dominant can actually become the submissive. This can be an incredibly powerful shift and add a unique, new dynamic to a relationship.

  • Aesthetic Pleasure

Bondage, specifically using rope (the Japanese form, Shibari) is seen as a type of art and is therefore often done for aesthetic pleasure. The beauty of bondage, Shibari, in particular, can be appreciated and by both the dominant partner and the submissive, producing feelings of happiness, awe, appreciation, and self-confidence.

  • Erotic Pleasure

A lot of people enjoy bondage simply because it increases and improves erotic pleasure and stimulation. Using specific bondage equipment, for example, whips, paddles, and rope can all stimulate certain areas, increase the sensitivity of these areas, and increase sexual pleasure.

  • Role-play

Role-play is a common turn-on for a lot of people, providing individuals with the ability to release their inhibitions and explore different parts of their sexuality that they may otherwise have felt embarrassed or shy about.


Although role play itself is not bondage, the use of bondage equipment during role-play is common. Therefore, people are often drawn to bondage because it allows them to explore role play further (for example, think of prisoner and prison guard kind of role-play).

  • Sexual Empowerment and Exploration

Bondage allows people to take explore their sexuality and empower themselves through a different type of sexual pleasure. Often, people actually experience an immense feeling of sexual freedom from exploring and participating in bondage.


Common Types of Bondage


Now you know about some of the reasons why people enjoy bondage, it’s time to take a look at the common types of bondage! Remember, there’s an incredibly wide selection of bondage types, these are just a few of the most commonly known types, so feel free to explore more!


Shibari


Shibari is a Japanese ancient form of bondage using rope (specifically silk rope). The art of tying the rope around the body is intricately and expertly done, resulting in the individual being turned into a bound, artistic spectre. Most people that practice Shibari do it for aesthetic pleasure and to enjoy showcasing their skill.


Sensory Deprivation


Sensory deprivation is a commonly practiced type of bondage, from bondage beginners to experts. Sensory deprivation is doing exactly what it says - taking away one or more of a person’s senses during sexual pleasure so that they either become more turned on or have to focus on other senses. Common examples of this include blindfolding and handcuffing.


Restrictive Bondage


Although you assume that all bondage is restrictive, and to an extent, it is, specifically categorised restrictive bondage is typically the most extreme type of bondage. This type includes using metal chains, ropes, under bed restraints, and other restrictive devices.


Another restrictive bondage favorite is a sex swing, allowing one partner to be restricted whilst also increasing the pleasure felt by both partners during each slightly bouncy move! The purpose of restrictive bondage is so that the submissive person feels as if they can’t escape. However, due to the intense nature of this type of bondage, clear boundaries, safe words, and explicit consent are even more essential (although always important!).


Head Bondage

Head bondage, also known as facial bondage, is a broad type of bondage that includes the use of things such as gags, blindfolds, collars, and face masks. Although safety is clearly important in all sexual practices, this type of bondage requires serious safety awareness.


Impact Play


Impact play is a type of bondage that, you guessed it, involves physically impacting the submissive partner. This can include anything from light spanking to whip and paddle use. After impact play, it’s important to do some aftercare - care for the physical bruises or sore spots with your partner and, of course like any bondage experience, discuss the experience.


What Is Light Bondage?


If you’re a little daunted by all of the things mentioned above but still interested in potentially dipping your toes in the bondage water, light bondage might be for you.

Light bondage typically involves using restraints such as blindfolds and handcuffs and engaging in more gentle types of impact play like gentle spanking.

Light bondage is the perfect way to test bondage out and see if it’s for you before full jumping in.


How Do You Know If You Like Bondage?


So, now you know a little about bondage, you might be wondering “is bondage for me?”. Like most things in life, you’re most likely not going to know if you actually like bondage until you try it. However, when exploring bondage, especially in the early stages, you do need to be careful - don’t jump straight into restrictive bondage, maybe just start with some light spanking and blindfolds!


One of the most important things when practicing bondage or experimenting with it is doing it with someone you trust. You have to implicitly trust the person you are practising bondage with, because after all, whether you’re dominant or submissive, you’re entering into a sexual power dynamic and taking on a role.


However, it’s not just good enough to trust the person you’re exploring bondage with, you need to discuss in detail what you will be doing, set some boundaries, choose a safe word for when things get too much, and explicitly consent to each other.



Consent and Bondage - It’s VITAL


One of the only things that’s essential in bondage, as well as sex, of course, is consent. Consent isn’t just saying yes to being intimate with someone or bringing a new type of sexual experience into your relationship, it’s about taking away the limits that make it difficult for you or your partner to discuss sex or stop things from happening if you’re not enjoying them.

Of course, the first step in consenting is by saying that you consent - no, unsaid and undiscussed consent is not enough.

You need to discuss consent with your partner before doing anything, you need to explicitly state that you consent to your partner (and they do the same, of course), you need to ensure that both of you feel uncomfortable saying no to something at any time during your sexual practice, and finally, you need to both understand that consent can change at any time during your sexual practice, and if it does, you both need to vocalise that you don’t consent to whatever is happening sexually at that moment.

A lot of couples find that using a specific “safe word” that’s mutually decided on can help, especially when engaging in bondage, and even more so when practicing role-play, as other words such as “no” and “I don’t like that” could be mistaken for being “in character”.

You also need to ensure that as a pair, you trust each other enough so that when someone says “no” or uses the safe word, the other person immediately stops what they’re doing.


Safety and Bondage


As well as consent, which obviously is a type of safety, you do need to be very aware of physical safety in bondage, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. If you’re not serious about the safety precautions that come with bondage, you shouldn’t be practicing it.

Here are a few tips to keep your bondage experience safe:

  • Use a safe word or a safe signal if unable to talk.


  • Never tie up someone in a way that will restrict or stop blood flow.


  • Keep scissors close in case you need to quickly release yourself or a partner from the situation you’re in.


  • Impact play should only be practiced on fatty areas of the body where you are not going to harm the organs - stick to the bum and thighs and avoid areas near the heart, kidney, or stomach.


  • Never practice bondage alone. You should always be accompanied in case anything goes wrong. Most bondage-related incidents occur when alone - so don’t do it!

Have Fun, Experiment, But Always Be Safe!

Bondage can bring great joy and sexual pleasure to you, both as an individual and within a relationship, so if you think you’re interested, or you’re already practicing different types of bondage and trying new bondage positions, have fun!


However, always, always make sure you are safe!