There are myriad different bondage products available today. Actually, we live in a golden age of bondage–you can order just about anything you’d want to satisfy your particular need or desire online. However, having all those choices can be confusing. I thought writing a series of posts on the different categories of equipment might be helpful. And, since they’re my own, personal favorite, let’s start with cuffs…

First, let’s acknowledge that it’s perfectly possible to create do-it-yourself impromptu cuffs from lots of materials. An old necktie can do the job quite nicely, or a silk scarf (that’s where the “silken bonds” part of this blog’s title comes in). All types of rope, cord or even plastic ties can work as well. However, these don’t really qualify as cuffs in my book–they fall either into the rope bondage side of things, or into an impromptu bondage area, and those are both different topics. So, with that out of the way, I divide cuffs into two primary categories:

  • Soft Cuffs
  • Metal Cuffs

Soft Cuffs

Soft cuffs can be made from a variety of materials, with leather being the most common. The big virtue they bring to the table is comfort–soft cuffs can usually be worn for extended periods of time and in more extenuating positions without chafing, and they generally provide for more flexibility than metal ones. Soft cuffs are best for beginners precisely for this reason. The less comfortable metal cuffs are more likely to result in a negative experience for those just getting started.

The purpose for cuffs, however, is to restrain, and to be worth while, a soft cuff must be able to perform this task effectively. The good news is that most available on the market today, even the ones covered with fluffy fur, can do so. I’ve occasionally had issues with the kind that close via velcro, especially after they’ve seen some use, but barring this, as long as you get real cuffs and not toys or novelty items, you should be okay. A few cuffs come with a length of chain (avoid anything that has plastic chain, please!) holding them together, but most simply have attached d-rings which you can clip together with a snap hook.

I believe that appearance counts for a lot when it comes to cuffs. While it’s important to me that Joy be comfortable wearing them, it’s also important to me that they look serious–it helps fuel the fantasy that she can’t escape. Therefore, I tend to stay away from fluffy or brightly-colored pairs, and instead gravitate toward plain leather. The leather ones, by the way, are plenty strong to hold a grown woman (or man) in the throes of passion.

Most cuffs have metal buckles that allow them to adjust to various sized wrists. These work well, but can sometimes be a little arduous to get all fastened on in the heat of the moment. Some types use velcro as a fastener as mentioned above. This makes them quick to put on and highly adjustable size-wise, but the tradeoff is that they’re not as secure. If you want to create an even more serious feeling to your adventure, some types of cuffs come with locking buckles, which can be secured with a small padlock.

Metal Cuffs

Every police show you’ve seen on TV has the cops with a pair of metal handcuffs securing the perp’s hands behind their back. This is the basic form of metal cuffs–two adjustable, metal bracelets linked with a chain. Unlike the leather cuffs, a metal pair usually comes pre-chained together–no snap hook required.

The virtue of metal lies in it’s real and perceived strength and severity. Police use metal cuffs for a reason–they can’t be cut or broken. More than that, the metal looks hard, and that brings a severity to the proceedings that can be very stimulating.

The down side, of course, comes from that very hardness. Metal cuffs are generally not comfortable to wear, especially if there will be a lot of movement, rolling around, or stretched positions. The metal will chafe the wearer’s wrists, and it’s definitely not comfortable to find yourself lying on top of a metal cuff, especially if it’s also around your wrist. Of course, there are some folks who actually thrive on the discomfort, so perhaps that’s not a drawback for everyone. Another downside to locking metal cuffs will be discovered if you somehow lose the key while they are locked in place.

Varieties range from the familiar police handcuff on up to full-fledged manacles, which may even be fixed in place on a wall, St Andrew’s Cross or stockade. Be aware that there are many toy versions of handcuff available, usually sold to kids to play with or as costume props, etc. These are not recommended–buy the real item if you’re going to go this direction.

Miscellaneous Others

In addition to these two, primary categories, there are some miscellaneous other varities. Suspension cuffs, for instance, are specially made to enable someone to hang from them with their full body weight being borne by the cuffs (picture someone dangling by their wrists from a rope above their head). If this is something that interests you, be aware that it is not at all comfortable for the dangling person, and definitely needs to be practiced with care. Read up on it before you begin to understand risks!

Some security companies market plastic wrist or ankle restraints, similar to the plastic cable ties used to hold wires together. These rank poorly on the comfort scale, and while effective, in my mind, the low-key way they look doesn’t add much to the feeling of the adventure. There are also thumb cuffs, which hold the hands together by connecting the two thumbs.

There are probably others I’m not familiar with, but this is a pretty good general round up. As a first purchase, I’d recommend going with some sort of soft cuff. From there, you can branch out in whatever direction you and your partner desire.

By the way, if you’re interested in my recommendations for creating a starter bondage kit, suitable for use by any couple interested in adding bondage to their sexual repertoire, I’ve listed them on my Basic Bondage Kit page.

Enjoy yourself,

Jake

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