A friend pointed out that most of my question and answer posts can be left simply at “communicate with your partner.” Its true. Its the one thing that they don’t teach you in school. How to talk to your partner (romantic) / how to pick up a partner, and how to talk about sex and sexuality with that partner. If you’re lucky enough to have communication or sexuality courses in high school and/or college you may be able to pick up bits and pieces of knowledge and use deductive reasoning to figure out the rest. If you’re like many people who never get exposed to this kind of education, you might be left off a bit behind.
Communication is important. And while I can give advice on what you should talk about or when you should talk about it I realize that it only goes so far. I cannot give you direct orders. I don’t know your partner. I don’t know your relationship. Most of the hard work has to be done between the two of you.
But there are a lot of pointers that can work given the appropriate context so I figured that I would do a brief communication 101 on one issue that I’ve been asked about frequently.
How do I let my partner know that I’m interested in bondage without freaking them out?
While a fairly ‘vanilla’ activity, this kink can be the entryway into further kinkifying your relationship. If you are new to the world of toys and roleplay it can be a tricky subject to broach. There are some people that do not understand the purpose of bondage and why someone may want to do it. Simply saying “talk to your partner about it” but not be enough of a push.
As with any sexual desire it’s important to ask yourself what is behind the act itself that you enjoy. If you’re interested in bondage you may want to start small, with a pair of non-threatening plush cuffs. Your desire to be cuffed up may stem from the desire to lose yourself during sex. To let someone else have their complete control over you. To feel ravished, wanted, slightly helpless in the moment. Even still, your partner might not understand.
One possible explanation would be the explanation of control. Often times during sex there will be one person who is in control. This is the person who is on top, deciding which positions to be in, initiating the sex, and essentially being the dominant figure. Bondage takes this “role” one step further, by letting your partner truly have control over you. It is an act of trust, and the act of trusting someone to the point of having no ability to move can be a massive push to your emotional arousal.
You can demonstrate this by telling your partner to lay down and close their eyes. Tell your partner to put their hands above their head, behind their back, on the mattress, somewhere where they will keep them for the next few minutes. Then get on top of your partner and tease them. Do whatever it is that you want to do to them without any reciprocation. Explore, please, tease, touch, grab. Be sure that your partner knows that if some touch isn’t wanted, they can tell you to stop. Sometimes a ‘safe word’ aside from the word no is warranted. Then ask your partner what they felt as you were in control and they were “immobile.” Ask if they enjoyed any parts about it. This may give them some perspective into why it is that you want to use an actual restraint during sex.
If your partner is still unsure, suggest trying it once to see how it works. Talk about the boundaries and the safe word, and then put the cuffs to use. Let your partner experience truly being in control of you and see if that is a role that they enjoy. Not everyone does, and they may feel out of place. Particularly if they are used to your reciprocation in the play. If they enjoy it, continue the cuff play off and on when you have sex until the two of you are more comfortable with it. When the cuffs become routine and if the roles fit, you can broach the subject of adding other types of restraints or other types of dom/sub toys into the mix.
Not everyone is savvy to the psychological gains of letting oneself be dominated during sex, and it can take some genuine practice and patience to get to the point where it makes sense. Even then, not everyone enjoys it. This is why having the conversation prior to sex is most important.
I’ve talked about how to actually initiate the bondage play with a pair of cuffs, but how do you start the initial conversation?
This conversation and any other difficult sexual conversation is best discussed when each partner is calm and comfortable. Discuss this in an environment that is either neutral to the both of you or equally comfortable. Make sure that you won’t be interrupted. Don’t have the conversation immediately before, during, or after sex. Enter the conversation with the understanding that your partner may not know what your desires are, what they mean, or how to go about them. Answer any questions they might have about what you want to try, and offer up to the giving portion as well as the receiving portion of the fantasy if applicable. Ask your partner if there is anything that would interest them about this fantasy of yours and how they would see it playing out if you were to try it. If they are unwilling or uninterested, accept their response and let it go. You can feel free to bring it up at a later date but don’t push your partners decision if it is not something they are comfortable with. Not everyone is down for everything.
Lastly! Most of conversation is non-verbal. This does not mean don’t talk. It means that as you are talking, be aware of how your body is positioned. Do not turn away from your partner when talking. Do not cross your arms. Do not scowl. Talk in a calm, steady voice. Listen to your partner when they talk and fully process what they said before you speak. Do not plan what you want to say next as your partner is talking. If necessary, mirror what they’ve said back to them.
Partner: I am not interested in bondage because I don’t want to take advantage of you
You: You feel that if we were to play with bondage that you would be taking advantage of me
Partner: That’s correct
You: You would not be taking advantage of me, because this is something that I am actively interested in doing
Mirroring shows your partner that you have heard and understood their (valid) concerns and gives you the opportunity to continue the conversation in the right direction.