Bondage involves one person placing themselves in the hands of their partner, and trusting that they will take good care of them.  Now, that “good care” might involve anything from restraint to flogging to forced multiple orgasms—it all depends on the pleasures of the participants.  But the trust being given is that the bound partner will not be treated in ways they do not want to be treated, and that they will not be harmed (with “harmed” being defined somewhat loosely in the case of some particular festishes). 

So if you are playing the dominant role, how do you know if your partner likes or does not like something?  Well, usually they’ll tell you, both through their actions and their words.  If Joy says “Stop!”, I know she means it, and I stop.  If she pushes me away, I know she means that, too, and I move away.  This is normal and typical communication, and I’m sure everyone’s familiar with how it works!

However, remember that bondage is about fantasy, and sometimes the lines between reality and fantasy can become blurred.  Usually this isn’t an issue, but sometimes the partner playing the submissive role may want to pretend that they are in pain, or that they’re being forced to do something.  By acting this way, they strengthen the fantasy they are immersed in, both for them and for you.   There’s definitely a thrill for both you and your partner when they can safely cry out, “No, please don’t do that!  Stop!”, and you know that they don’t really want you to stop at all.

So, imagine that you and your partner playing out a scene in which you are forcing them to give you oral sex.  If your partner sobs, “No!  I don’t want to do that,” how do you know whether they really want you to stop, or whether they are simply getting into their role?  Probably you can tell from their voice tone and body language, but what if they are good at acting?

Many people are already familiar with the concept of “safe words”, but for those who are not, this is the conundrum they are meant to solve.  You and your partner choose a word that is uncommon in ordinary speech, such as “rutabaga”.  If your partner says “rutabaga”, you know that they are invoking the “safe word”, and that they really want you to stop.  If they don’t say “rutabaga”, then you know that they are simply acting.  So in the example above, if your partner says “Rutabaga!  I don’t want to do that!” you know you should stop immediately.

Gags can add another level of complexity to this, as it can be hard to understand someone when they have a gag in their mouth.  If you’re playing with a gag, consider using a “safe action” instead, and make sure it is one that you’ll notice and one that your partner will be able to perform if you have them bound.  A good potential action might be snapping fingers, for instance.

Bondage is a passion best explored with someone you know very well.  That way you are certain you can trust them, and you (hopefully) already have good communication skills in place.  As a rule, you should never play bondage games with someone you don’t know.  However, having said that, I also know that placing yourself in the hands of someone you don’t know so well appeals to some–it’s that whole risk-taking thing at work.  If you are going to play that sort of game, be smart and make sure you have a clearly understood safe word in place before you begin.  And if your potential partner says they don’t use safe words, or if they show any signs of not being responsive to the safe word idea or your safe word itself, my advice is to leave quickly and not look back.

Enjoy yourself!


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