Sex talk
Speaking of Slings

Simon Sheppard,

When it comes to sex-based furniture, nothing has quite the cachet of the sling.

Slings are, basically, hammocks for humping. The classic model consists of a big slab of black leather suspended a couple of feet off the floor by four chains, one in each corner. And when a bottom lies back in one and puts his feet up, his hole is perfectly poised for penetration. "I love getting screwed in a sling," says one enthusiastic user. "My body is just so relaxed, and my top has the freedom to thrust just right."

Tops, too, enjoy sling play. "I'm really fond of face-to-face fucking," says one, "but there are usually problems with a guy keeping his legs up, or with me supporting my weight. With a sling, though, I can remain standing for maximum leverage, but still plow right in."

And slings are ideal for fist-fucking, which requires a bottom to be thoroughly at ease, and his ass to be wide-open. Unsurprisingly, the arm-insertion crowd uses the term "sling party" to semi-tastefully denote fisting orgies.

Not everybody is crazy about slings - one top says, "It's like trying to screw somebody on a seesaw." But at kinkier sex clubs, the slings are often fully occupied with happy homos getting humped. (And, of course, the well-behaved partygoer, no matter how piggy, never hogs a play station.) Certainly, commercial sex venues are supremely suitable spots for sling-hanging. Slings usually require a lot of space and strong ceilings, and represent a sizable investment, the better ones costing at least several hundred bucks. They fit better into bigger homes - especially those with dedicated dungeons - than studio apartments. But one sex fan recalls, "A buddy of mine was really into fisting, but he had a small place, so he put big hooks in his kitchen ceiling and hung the sling over the table. Fortunately, he put plastic tarps down to prevent the Crisco from dripping onto the cookware."

The sling shopper will find a variety to choose from. Some slings are constructed of leather-and-rivet webbing, while others add or subtract suspension points. Perhaps the best accessory is a pair of adjustable foot stirrups that permit positional fine-tuning. A leather pillow under the head makes things comfier, while dudes into bondage can hook on ankle and wrist restraints to secure the screwee. One handy innovation is the collapsible sling stand, a metal gizmo that stores under the bed and negates the need for hooks in the ceiling: It's just the thing to take to that sleazy motel party.

And if you're into fuck-furniture that's more packable and affordable, there are portable models made of fabric rather than classic cowhide, including minimalist "sex swings" with adjustable nylon straps that support the butt, back, and legs. They're fabulously functional, but lack the kinky cachet of gleaming cowhide.

Whatever the bells and whistles, quality counts. "A well-made, heavy-duty sling," says one purveyor of sex toys, "should, properly cared for, last a lifetime."

Nothing's perfect, though, and perhaps a classic sling's biggest downside is the safety issue. (No, not the hooks pulling out of the ceiling, though that can be disastrous, too.) Leather is tough to thoroughly sanitize, and playing in a previously occupied sling might transmit nasty bugs from one bottom's butt to the next. Many conscientious dungeonmasters wipe up between bottoms with antibacterial soap or spray on a diluted bleach solution, but that can be hard on the hide. So if you're bottoming in a group situation, it's smart to put a personal latex sheet under your business end.

Remember: There are few things more exciting than a good, hard fuck. So if you're in search of a sexual E ticket ride, why not get your ass in a sling?

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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