Dear Ty

Ty shows a reader the ropes of bondage. Illustration: Rame Abdulkader.

Dear Ty,

I’m still very much into my partner, but over the last few months the flare and spice in the bedroom has all but disappeared. One thing we want to experiment with is tying each other up. Any advice on how to try bondage in the bedroom?

—Knotty Lover

Dear KL,

It would be an understatement to say that bondage—the practice of being tied up/restrained or tying up/restraining your partner for sexual pleasure—is perhaps one of the most stigmatized sexual practices one can try in the bedroom.

For many, bondage can be seen as an odd, mysterious, and over-the-top practice to try in the bedroom reserved for the likes of porn stars.

This is probably because bondage is often linked to the practice of BDSM (an abbreviation of bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism—shoutout to Urban Dictionary), and, by proxy, the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey series.

But instead, our definition of BDSM shows that bondage is just one component of the BDSM package and doesn’t necessarily require squeezing into a leather suit (à la American Horror Story) or even experiencing any pain in the first place.

Before I get into how to introduce bondage to the bedroom, some terminology needs to be clarified. In bondage, the person doing the restraining is often called the ‘dom,’ while the person being restrained is called the ‘sub.’ Sexual partners experimenting with bondage often choose a word that either partner can use at anytime—the ‘safe word’—to stop the action.

Now, into the nitty gritty.

Before you begin to experiment with bondage, you must get to know both your partner’s and your own limits and play within them. Being hogtied might be your new favourite thing to do in the bedroom, but your partner might feel more comfortable just playing with handcuffs.

The point here is to take it slow and keep an open line of communication so any concerns or issues can be discussed. On the other hand, it’s also helpful to share your fantasies and what you expect to get out of a night of bondage with your partner so they can help you have the best possible experience you can.

When the night (or day) you’re ready to try bondage arrives, come prepared. Using materials found around the house might seem like the cheapest option, but it’s probably not the safest. It’s best to take a trip with your partner to your favourite local sex shop to buy proper equipment that won’t injure you or your partner or, even worse, break mid-sex and end the fun.

Once you get more used to bondage, you can start trying new things. Take turns swapping dom and sub positions to figure out which you like more. And, if you’re into it, bondage is a great entryway into the wider world of BDSM. Your next experiment could be blindfolds, chains, whips, and beyond.

Love,

Ty