Sex talk
Speaking of Restraints

Simon Sheppard, He's in your power, unable to move, while the two of you engage in some dick-hardening fun. Or you're that lucky, immobilized someone.

Welcome to the wonderful world of restraints! As one devoted bottom puts it, "I love being forced to give up control. Whether it's light bondage, the kind I can struggle against, or full immobilization, there's something about it that just feels fantastic. It's sexy and oddly relaxing. I can't move, but I feel free."

All sex involves some loss of control - at least at the moment of orgasm - and sex with someone else means placing your pleasure in his hands. Physical restraints make this delicious powerlessness all the more acute. A pig at a play party may love sucking dick regardless, but kneeling in a cage while he's sucking takes him down to a new level of fun. To an uninitiated onlooker, it might seem, well, sick. But who among us hasn't yearned, at least for a split-second, to be just a piece of meat, a pliant sex toy for others? Or, on the other side of the dick, to totally use some guy for our own pleasure, mutual satisfaction be damned? Nasty-but-consensual scenes let us play out those fantasies, safely.

Used as a prelude to a scene involving intense sensation, whether slapping, tickling, or cum-milking, physical restraint adds an extra edge. A scene can be thoroughly consensual, carefully negotiated down to the last detail, but when a bottom feels the restraints go on or the ropes tighten, there's that moment when the loss of power becomes real: Uh oh - now I'm really in for it!

A topman, meanwhile, gains extra power from placing a bottom in physical constraints, in part because it signals that his partner trusts him enough to let the scene proceed. That trust is a bondage master's reward, and should be earned by playing safely and well. For many kinksters, monitored dungeon parties provide safe venues for scenes involving heavy restraint; it's not something to get into with someone you just met online.

While some scenes involve what one experienced player calls "quick and dirty ropework," others incorporate a lot of ceremony. His ropes and restraints neatly laid out, the top guides the bottom through increasing levels of immobility, slowly and deliberately - an intense moment for both. And bondage masters are often artists, relishing the visuals of a naked body tied up, tied down, and wrapped in chains or ropes. Indeed, some bondage porn features photos of ropework that's absolutely beautiful, in a twisted way.

While most scenes involving physical restraint use bondage as just part of the fun - as a prelude to sucking or spanking, for instance - immobilization can be an end in itself. Bondage play in its purest form, this sort of scene can last for hours. Some guys can imagine nothing more romantic than sleeping, tied-up, at the foot of another man's bed. Others seek even more extreme forms of restraint, such as a full-body bondage "sleep sack" or mummification with plastic wrap, which take a bottom out of contact with the outside world. For enthusiasts, it's a truly spiritual experience - meditation with a hard dick attached.

Simpler scenes will satisfy most of us, though. A guy can add spice to his relationship by fastening his honey to the bedposts with a scarf or custom-made restraints. Just holding a man's hands together behind his back or pinning wrists to the mattress has made many a woodie arise. No need to get fancy.

But perhaps the greatest restraint is the mind itself. "The hottest scene I ever played," one guy recalls, "was with a top who told me not to move a muscle while he worked me over. No ropes, cuffs, nothing. Just my willpower struggling with body, him tangling with me." And everyone won.

Simon Sheppard is the co-editor of Rough Stuff: Tales of Gay Men, Sex, and Power (Alyson Books)

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