Bondage for Beginners – (II)

In celebration of Kink Month, we present the second of a three-part exploration guide for bondage written by an expert Orgasm & Relationship Coach, Michael Charming. Contd. from Part 1.

In celebration of Kink Month, we present the second of a three-part exploration guide for bondage written by an expert Orgasm & Relationship Coach, Michael Charming. Contd. from Part 1.

Trust and Safety

For any kind of sexual exploration to provide a heightened experience, it is important that all the parties involved feel safe with each other. Respecting each other’s boundaries is one way of making the other person feel safe, but only the beginning.  

Trust is at the heart of any BDSM play, including bondage. This can be done by developing trust through various exercises involving vulnerability and intimacy like looking deeply into each other’s eyes for a few minutes, practising consensual touching in various parts of the body, sharing vulnerable life experiences etc. 

Every specific discipline within BDSM play has its own safety practices, and bondage is certainly no exception. For example, it is best to avoid binding near the joints of the body, numbness or tingling is a warning sign that bonds are dangerously tight which can result in permanent nerve damage, and risky practices such as elevating a person in bondage should be practised only by those who have devoted time and energy into learning the art of bondage through qualified and experienced members of the BDSM community. And, a pair of safety scissors tested in advance to quickly cut the materials you are using must be on hand at all times in case knots become difficult to untie and the submissive needs an immediate release from bondage. 

Luckily, there are some excellent resources available for people who want to learn the various safety concerns as well as advanced bondage techniques such as Shibari, a Japanes form of artful bondage. Beginners are encouraged to do some research to learn more about safety and techniques that will make play more fun, safe, and exciting for everyone involved. An excellent starting point are books by Two Knotty Boys, such as Showing You The Ropes. Or, check out video tutorials by The Twisted Monk on Youtube. 

Clear Communication

Regular check-ins throughout a bondage experience are as important as strong communication skills during the negotiation before a scene. Check-ins with each other allow a dominant to know where to take the play. For example, if the intensity needs to be increased or reduced or if someone needs to stop and build an emotional connection, etc. During regular check-ins, space should be created to share physical, mental, emotional, energetic, and if possible, spiritual information.

As a dominant gains experience both with bondage in particular, and even more importantly, with a submissive they are working with, they can learn to pick up many nonverbal cues that they can use to tailor the experience. However, this takes time and excellent communication to develop this skill set. At no time should nonverbal cues be taken to supercede the use of safewords. That is, “red” means stop regardless of any nonverbal cues that may suggest the submissive is in a state of pleasure. 

Triggers

Many people who practise responsible BDSM, including the art of bondage, have a heightened understanding of the notion of emotional triggers that can surface during this edgy kind of sexual practice. In some cases, players want to take their play to the point of a trigger as a means to find ways to process them in the body through bondage play. For example, some submissives may actively seek out play where they will be triggered to a point of panic and learn to work through that with a dominant they trust. 

On the other hand, some players, and for beginners this is more the norm, triggers are to be avoided and limits are often expressed around known triggers. 

In some cases triggers otherwise unknown will show up during the scene. For beginners, the safest course of action is to dial back the play to avoid the trigger, provide and immediate check-in, and make sure that emotional support is available during and after the play to process the trigger. Only experienced dominants and submissives should deliberately explore triggers during play once they have the proper tools, often learned from more experienced players in the responsible BDSM community or with the help of an experienced Orgasm Coach and Bodyworker.  

Aftercare

Aftercare refers to the acts of bonding, emotional and physical support, and extra care that happen after a scene has been completed. Just like preparation is important for creating the possibility of an amazing experience, so is aftercare. The act of BDSM play doesn’t stop as soon as the session is finished but it actually continues for a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months after the session, depending on the experience and the individuals involved.  

After care involves sharing compassion, love, physical comforting such as a soft warm blanket, healthy snacks, and doing some sort of check-in with each other to make sure emotional needs are met. Although often framed as an activity that is necessary to ensure the well being of the submissive, the truth is aftercare is often also needed by dominants who need to know that their actions during the scene did not harm the submissive, created an overall positive experience, and that consent was respected so they can continue to feel good about themselves and their part of the power/submission dynamic as responsible dominants. 

Stay tuned for the next part releasing tomorrow!

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