How to Use Bondage Restraints

by Amy Norton – Coffee & Kink

Have you ever wanted to restrain someone, or be restrained, for sexual or kinky purposes? If so, you might be into bondage! Restraints are incredibly popular both as add-ons to kinky play, and as the focus of a scene in and of themselves. 

But you need to know how to use bondage restraints if you want to play with this kink safely and responsibly. Read on to learn how to get started with bondage.

Defining our terms

Before we go any further, let’s look at some common terms you’ll hear as you explore this kink and what they mean. 

  • Bondage: Though some people use bondage interchangeably with “kink” or “BDSM,” this isn’t strictly correct. Bondage refers to restraining someone or being restrained in the context of kink. Bondage often refers to rope, but can also be applied to other forms of restraint (we’ll look at these a bit more closely shortly.) 
  • Shibari/kinbaku: Both Japanese words referring to specific kinds of Japanese-inspired rope bondage. Leading rigger WykD Dave explores the terms, their differences, and their similarities here
  • Top, Dominant, or Rigger: The person doing the restraining. 
  • Bottom, submissive, or bunny: The person being restrained. 

To keep things simple, in this article I’ll refer to the person getting tied as the bottom, and the person doing the tying as the Top. I’ll also use the term “bondage” to refer to all kinds of restraint play. 

Types of Bondage Restraints

There are more ways to tie someone up than you might think. In this section, we’ll have a brief look at the most common forms of bondage restraints and the situations in which you might use them. 


Rope bondage has an entire subculture built up around it. Some people view rope bondage as very sexual, others purely as an art form. Tying someone up can be part of a scene, or the centrepiece around which the whole session is built. Rope is also the most aesthetically-focused bondage kink. Check out Mark Varley or Dave and Clover’s work to see how beautiful it can be. 

There are many different kinds of bondage rope. If you’re purely looking to do decorative harnesses or tie-them-to-the-bed-and-have-your-way-with-them bondage, cotton rope is cheap, soft, and washable. If you’re looking to do more traditional shibari or kinbaku, some high quality natural fibre rope will serve you better. We love hemp, though jute is also popular. 

You can learn basic rope bondage ties through books like Two Knotty Boys or Shibari You Can Use, or through online video tutorials. 

The Kink Bind and Tie Kemp Rope Kit including three lengths of hemp rope, a pair of safety scissors and a drawstring bag. Contains everything you need to get started with rope bondage restraints

This Hemp Rope Kit comes with everything you need to get started with rope bondage.


No, not the pink fluffy kind you once got at a hen party! 

Cuffs are a wonderful option if you want to restrain someone quickly, easily, and safely. There’s no fiddling with knots or learning time-consuming harnesses. Simply put the cuffs on, fasten your bottom to a nearby bedpost (or whatever else you’re fastening them to), and have fun. 

Cuffs come in a variety of materials. Metal cuffs are a classic for a reason. Be aware, though, that metal cuffs aren’t a good idea if the bottom likes to struggle against them, as they’ll cut into their wrists painfully and could cause cuts or bruises. You can also get beautiful cuffs in leather or faux-leather materials, which are comfortable to wear. Silicone is another great option. 

A pair of upturned hands restrained by a set of Bound Noir wrist cuffs

Bondage tape

Bondage tape is super affordable (The Pleasure Garden sells 20m for £5-6) and a great way to try out bondage for the first time. That said, it’s also fun for more experienced players. 

Bondage tape is unique in that it sticks only to itself. That makes it safe to put directly on your partner’s skin, and easy and painless to remove – even from hairy areas – without leaving any residue behind. 

Bondage tape is also incredibly versatile. Fashion a pair of makeshift cuffs, wrap it around your partner in a form of mummification (never around the head or neck,) or use it to tie them to a bed or chair. 

Restraint systems

There are a variety of different restraint kits and systems available. Under-bed restraints go under your mattress and use four cuffs to achieve a spread-eagled position, while door jam cuffs are a great way to restrain a standing person without needing to put hooks in your ceiling or drill into your wall! 

Using Restraints Safely – Safety and Consent First 

Bondage can be dangerous, some types more than others. It’s relatively rare, but bondage done badly can result in injuries from bruising up to broken bones or even long-term nerve damage. In general, cuffs, bondage tape, and restraint systems are all safer than rope bondage. 

If you’re doing rope and you want to do anything more elaborate than a basic harness or tying someone to the bed, it’s a good idea to get some tuition. There are “Peer Rope” events in many towns and cities, and some venues (like dungeons and swingers’ clubs) offer special masterclasses with experts. 

Whatever type of restraints you’re using, there are some basic safety protocols to bear in mind:

  • Never try to suspend someone (take their bodyweight off the ground) unless you’ve had the proper tuition to learn how to do it safely. 
  • If the bottom gets pins and needles, experiences numbness, or feels any kind of pain that isn’t an intentional part of your kinky fun, release them immediately. 
  • If you’re using rope or tape, keep a pair of safety shears handy. 
  • If you’re using anything with keys, know where they are at all times. 
  • Never tie around the face, head, or neck. 
  • Never leave a bound person alone. 

It goes without saying that you should fully negotiate any play with your partner, get consent, and respect limits. Always have a safeword – a word that means “no” or “stop.” The traffic light system – red, amber, and green – is a popular way of doing safewords, but anything that cannot be mistaken as part of the scene will work. Fun fact: my first safeword was “canary.” 

Combining Bondage with Other Types of Kink

When you’re first learning how to use bondage restraints, you might want to focus on just that. But as you and your partner get comfortable with it, there are numerous ways to combine bondage and restraint with all kinds of kinky play. 

Of course, tying someone up and having your way with them is a classic for a reason. Bondage and impact play also go really well together, so why not restrain your partner and give them a good spanking, paddling, or flogging

Bondage pairs well with various kinds of sensory deprivation play. If you take away someone’s sight using a blindfold, or their hearing using earplugs, other senses are heightened as a result. If you want to tie someone up in a more interesting position, try a hogtie set. 

Still need some inspiration? Try a few of these ideas:

  • Incorporate your bondage as part of a roleplay scene. 
  • If you’re into tickling, tie someone up and tickle them with your hands or a feather tickler.
  • Tie your partner up and use a vibrator or stroker on them until they beg you to make them come. 

Get creative with it – you’re limited only by your imagination! 

Bondage is for Every Body

Bondage is an incredibly versatile kink. In short, it’s for anyone who wants to do it. Unfortunately, representations of bondage in popular culture and porn are still pretty limited, depicting mostly thin cis women being tied and cis men doing the tying. But don’t let that put you off. 

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do bondage because you’re in a bigger body, disabled, or not flexible. It’s an infinitely adaptable kink. The most important thing is to listen to your body and communicate with your partner. 

The bottom line? As long as you’re having fun and taking safety precautions, you’re doing it right! So dive in and start playing.


Header photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash