I view bondage as not a destination, but a journey. I’ve mapped out some potential first, few, faltering steps to help you start out on your travels elsewhere on this site. But once you’ve started, the path stretches out before you as far as you can see, with twists and intersections that may lead you off in unexpected directions and to unforeseen places. Though Joy and I have been travelling this road for quite awhile, we haven’t yet reached the end. In fact, I still can’t see the end from where I stand right now. We continue to explore new directions, make new discoveries, and find new avenues that lead off into fun and pleasurable side roads together.
What are some of these roads? Where do they lead? What should you expect to find as you make your sojourn into the world of BDSM? Oh, they are multitude, and I don’t pretend to know every last path or overgrown trail you might discover and decide to travel down. Bear in mind that the farther down these paths you go, the more severe they become, and I’m not advocating you follow any of them! The choice of which paths, if any, you choose to follow is your own. Whatever way you go, it is strongly suggested that you proceed with caution, and remember that you can and should stop moving forward when you or your partner reach a limit. In that case, turn back, and follow a different road instead, or be content and stay where you are for awhile.
- Extreme Constraint: This is the broad boulevard that continues on from basic bondage. It goes far beyond simply cuffing your partner’s hands behind them or to the bed. It offers side roads into:
- various types of suspension, in which the dominant partner suspends the submissive partner from ropes or chains in a variety of positions, so that they do not touch the ground
- total immobilization (or close to it), which can be achieved in a number of ways, including body wraps
- caging, which unsurprisingly involves cages and various types of cells, boxes, stockades, etc. to confine the submissive
- rope bondage, for those who enjoy the aesthetics of complex rope ties and elaborate knots
- Exhibitionism: Down this busy avenue we find the experiences associated with showing off your dedication to bondage, sometimes subtly and sometimes overtly. Exhibitionist activities include:
- wearing bondage jewelry, often discretely crafted to resemble cuffs or collars, or marked with bondage symbols
- wearing bondage attire and/or bondage equipment out into the public, sometimes hidden beneath street clothes, and sometimes displayed more obviously
- attendance at bondage events, celebrations or parties wearing full bondage regalia
- tattoos, piercings and other marks may also qualify as stops along this way
- Sadism/Masochism: This highway leads into the suburbs of pain, in which the dominant partner uses various means to inflict discomfort on the submissive partner, or the two partners choose to inflict discomfort on themselves. Off-ramps here lead to:
- spanking (generally the first exit on this path), either with a hand or with a paddle
- flogging, using whips, crops or other, similar tools
- needles and piercing, which can be used for decoration as well as a source of “stimulation”
- a variety of “torture” equipment and techniques, including horses, clamps of all types (especially on the breasts and genitals), and various uncomfortable positions in which the submissive partner is restrained, often for long periods of time
- dripping candle wax and other forms of energy/electricity-induced pain, up to and including branding
- Sharing or Swapping: Off this path we find experiences in which people besides the dominant and submissive partner are brought into the scenario. There are a variety of options here:
- the dominant partner may “give” the submissive partner to another dominant (of either the opposite or the same sex) for a period of time (it is strongly recommended if you travel this road that you remain with your partner at all times to ensure that limits are respected and your partner is safe!)
- two dominants may swap their submissive partners for a time period (again, it is strongly recommended that both couples remain together to ensure that limits are respected and their respective partner is safe!)
- an additional submissive may be added to the mix, with the dominant partner directing activities for both submissive partners
- a second dominant may be added, with the two dominants sharing the submissive partner
- Switching: This is a short little cul-de-sac in which partners switch roles, with the usual dominant partner becoming the submissive for a scenario, and the usual submissive playing the dominant role. This idea may be combined with any other bondage practice to enliven it and allow for fresh perspective.
- Bondage Lifestyle: Along this path travel the full-time “master/slave” devotees, who endeavor to extend their dominant/submissive roles beyond the bounds of scenarios they play out and into real life. Practices include:
- living a master/slave lifestyle within the home, but outside of the home standard conduct and roles are resumed
- attempting to live a true, 24×7, master/slave lifestyle, both within and outside the home
- Humiliation: Many side streets lead off from this winding and twisted way, all involving the dominant leading the submissive to subjugate themselves in humiliating ways. These side streets include:
- dressing the submissive partner in ways that indicate subservience (may be somewhat similar to some exhibition activities listed above)
- having the submissive perform acts that either indicate subservience (such as cleaning house in the nude) and/or that are generally viewed as repugnant (eating out of a dog bowl, or other far worse things)
- the pony boy/pony girl fetish, in which the dominant has one or more submissives wear a harness and tack (and sometimes a tail or false mane), and can even involve the submissive(s) pulling the dominant in a cart
As you can tell from this non-exhaustive list, it’s not easy to map out all the highways and byways of bondage—there are too many of them. Joy and I have traveled only a few together—some we know well and have gone a long way on, some we’ve ventured down only a little way, and most we’ve glanced at and passed on by. Perhaps we’ll circle back and take another look at some point—the various roads wind back and forth together and often intersect in unexpected ways, so you get a chance to look down untraveled roads again more frequently than you’d guess.
As I said above, I’m not qualified to judge which route you should take or which boulevard appeals to you and your partner. Many of them lead to places I don’t personally want to go, but that doesn’t mean that you and your partner might not like to travel them. Whichever path you take through the bondage world, however, travel it cautiously, safely and legally, and make sure your partner is willing and excited to ride along with you. If they’re not, you need to choose another direction, no matter how strongly a particular road calls to you. And remember to enjoy the time you spend traveling; savor each stop along the way. Focus on the journey, for eventually you discover that there is no end to it.