How to stop sex from becoming a Stephen King plotline.
August 12, 2010 5:45 AM   Subscribe

My wife has expressed a desire to spend the night tied up. How can I fulfil her wishes while minimising the risks of turning this into a scene out of Gerald's Game? [It's probably safe to assume that this AskMe is NSFW]

That's the jist of it, really. We're both into bondage, but my wife has asked that she spend the entire night tied up.

I've got no problem with this (exactly the opposite in fact) but I do worry that there's a risk I'll suffer some horrific accident or medical condition that will leave her trapped. Or that the house will catch fire and she'll be unable to rouse me or escape.

Yeah, I know the chances are slim, but it niggles at me.

So, how can fulfil her desire without putting her in unnecessary danger?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

What if she's tied up... but not really?

Can you tie her up in such a way that she's securely restrained, but also has a kind of rip-cord? Like, perhaps you truss her up, but you tie her wrists together in front of her. Then, if she needs to, she can untie herself. You could make this even safer by tying her hands with a quick-release knot.

The key to this is to make the bonds really secure. She should feel well and truly tied up. But, she has this bailout if she needs it. In my experience, people who like to be tied up generally won't take the bailout. If your wife is the sort of person whose interest in being bound is so that she can struggle against the bonds, this approach may not work, though.

In that case, I think the only thing you can really do is try to stay close-by. Certainly no farther away than the next room. Don't fully gag her (maybe a ring gag?).
posted by Netzapper at 5:51 AM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

If your concern is that you are going to have a stroke or some other medical problem or accident which will leave you unable to release your tied-up wife the following morning, there is a solution to that. Ask some trusted friend to come over and pay you a visit on the following morning, at a specified time (by which time your wife is scheduled to be untied, of course). If you are unable to come to the door because of your stroke, then the trusted friend will either have to enter anyway if you have given that person their own key, or if you haven't, they can still call 911 and get emergency assistance.

If you haven't actually had a stroke and all is well, then you and your wife and your trusted friend can all have breakfast together. We wouldn't want the visit to be for naught.
posted by grizzled at 6:01 AM on August 12, 2010 [3 favorites]

There are other safety issues besides the ones you mention, such as breathing difficulties (so avoid gags entirely!), pressure that cuts off circulation or damages nerves, muscle cramps from being in the same position too long, and so on. That's why the unrestrained person really ought to be right there, conscious, and paying attention the whole time, with frequent checks on the welfare of the restrained person.

However, if you're determined to do this, do you have an understanding friend you could invite over to spend the night at your place (in a separate room, say) as a backup in case something happens to you? That would directly address the concerns you mentioned in your question, and for the right kind of friend, it can be quite amusing.
posted by FishBike at 6:01 AM on August 12, 2010 [3 favorites]

Oh, I see that I didn't address the concern about the house catching fire and your wife being unable to rouse you. Of course, you can always omit the gag, perhaps being tied up is enough, but in any event, you should have a working smoke detector that will rouse you even if both you and your wife are oblivious to the fire.
posted by grizzled at 6:03 AM on August 12, 2010

Put a rescue knife or pair of EMT shears where she can reach it even while tied up, and/or have a cell-phone within reach. Or tie the wrists, but have those go to regular (non-locking) caribiners within easy reach, so that she can shift over, unclip herself, and be free.

But in addition to giving her an escape hatch, make sure that the restraints themselves (be it rope or padded cuffs or whatever) are not too tight or liable to twist uncomfortably in the night. In other words, experiment, which should be a lot of fun.

And you'll want to negotiate things like what if she wakes up at 3am bursting to pee? Tough luck for her? Time to swap favors for a bathroom break? Good excuse to stab you with the rescue shears and claim temporary insanity? I kid, I kid

There are plenty of MeFites over at fetlife which also has bondage-specific forums; there (just as here) you'll want to be careful about evaluating what you read because everyone sounds like an expert on the internet even if they are still 13 and living with mom.
posted by Forktine at 6:10 AM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

a landline phone would be better than a cellphone, since the emergency response folks will know where you're calling from more precisely, in case whoever is calling is unable to speak.

also, if you want to go with the 'bondage she can eventually get herself out of/cut herself out of', test it out, first.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:14 AM on August 12, 2010

I know nothing about this lifestyle, but I am in healthcare (and obviously not your provider). My concerns are venous return and blood clots. I think I would consult more folks who participate in this lifestyle about their experiences with long term bondage, and I would not attempt at all if your wife is over 35, a smoker, diabetic, pregnant, on hormone-based contraceptives, or has other identified risk factors for thrombic events. So, all things being equal, and she's confirmed to be healthy and you have good info from folks in this lifestyle, I would still say that you have to be her safety net and every two hours should:
*check all of her distal pulses, including her pedal pulses
*check her calves for redness, edema, or tenderness (google "Homan's sign")
*check for brisk capillary refill in her finger and toe nails (blanch nail with pressure, should pink up in less than 2 seconds)
*check her hydration--is her mouth still wet? Can she make tears? Offer hydration.
She needs to be able to take full, effective breaths and to cough to avoid respiratory distress. She should be able to struggle enough to move her large muscle groups in order to get good venous return. She should not experience numbness or tingling. It takes less time than one would imagine to have cardiovascular or respiratory complications due to immobility. Be safe lovebirds!
posted by rumposinc at 6:21 AM on August 12, 2010 [12 favorites]

Have you read any Jay Wiseman? He's an EMT-turned-kink-author, and his books are very good at answering the question "How can I be very very careful about such-and-such a kink?" The guy is seriously gifted at thinking of things that could go wrong — including, f'rinstance, possible health problems that won't necessarily occur to us ordinary non-medical perverts.

I'd start with the bondage chapters of SM 101. In particular, if I remember right, there's a discussion of the risks of self-bondage in one of those chapters, which seems especially relevant. After all, in your worst case scenario, the scene essentially turns into self-bondage for your wife because you're not awake/around/alive to keep an eye on things.

(And yeah, come by Fetlife. I've never tried anything like this myself, but I'm willing to bet someone in the group has, and might be more willing to talk about it in a more private setting.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:56 AM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

(Sorry if this is disjointed and this is in no way comprehensive, I can't guarantee at all that if you do these things she will be safe. I don't know everything and can't foresee everything--so be careful!)

I have seen bondage go very wrong fast so my first advice is don't do it, roleplay it (more ideas later). But if you do:

Don't actually leave her alone. Have a way to, at the very least, hear her at all times.

How is she going to pee without making herself miserably uncomfortable? Stay warm/cool (getting a chill when you're immobilized fucking SUCKS, as does getting way too hot)? Access water? Spit that water out so that she doesn't inhale it? If all of these things are taken care of, she can survive for a decent amount of time without you. Not in a fire, of course. And it won't be pleasant. (Man, I feel paranoid just thinking about it.)

Put a fully-charged (maybe even plugged into the wall) cell phone within her reach, and put it where she won't knock it over. Make sure she knows how to use it and it has useful numbers in it (I always thought those little phones made for kids that only have three or four HUGE easy-to-see buttons would be useful for this but never tried them).

So really important, DON'T TIE HER UP STANDING UP OR HANGING FROM ANYTHING. Tie her in such a way that you can cut her out without her falling. She needs to be able to faint, struggle, fall without harming herself. Nothing hard/sharp where she can hit herself or cut herself (especially her head).

Avoid delicate bones and cutting off circulation. NOTHING THAT COULD SLIP OR WIND AROUND HER NECK. NOTHING. No knots that get tighter and tighter over time or with resistance. (If you don't know what I mean, ask a boy scout). She will get tired so nothing that relies on her supporting her own weight. Watch the wrists, make sure she won't end up hanging from them if she gets tired.

Another thing to think about: she will be sleepy. One of the more "I am an idiot" things I've ever done is let a bottom fall asleep in bondage and then chill where I could see them (but the couldn't see me. They woke up and, being pretty sleepy, decided to get up and go pee or whatever without remembering that they were tied up. BAM. Ouch. And then they freaked because they couldn't see me.

I have also seen people panic after long periods in bondage or if they can't see their top for whatever reason--experienced people, too.

So, that said, my first inclination is to find a way to fake it or roleplay it. Maybe let her think you're going to leave her all night, take the clocks out of the room, and after a good hour or two, head on in there.

My second inclination is to tie her up in a way that doesn't immobilize her, just gives her that nice yay-tied-up feeling. This might not work for you depending on what gets you going, but a nice, loose tie connecting the hands together in front and maybe going around her back so that she can't get at the knot might work.

My third inclination is do it when you're both very well-rested and ask a buddy to check in on you and if they don't answer, come over to check things out, and give them a key (although this kind of thing is notoriously unreliable and you run the risk of being busy having hot sex, not hearing the phone, and then having a concerned friend come over and let themselves in only to find you all naked and stuff.)

HARNESSES! can be good at giving that bondage feeling without actually restricting movement all that much.

Some other quick ideas, some of which are probably paranoid and really depend:

--Scissors, of course, glow in the dark ones, have a designated spot for them (hanging on a nail on the wall?) where anyone could find them, and practice grabbing them until you don't even have to think about it

--Flashlight, same as above

--If you're not using rope, can you unlatch/unhook the restraints easily in the dark? When you're nervous? Without looking? Does she know how to direct someone else to do the same?

--If rope, anchor her with a harness or tie her in such a way that ALL the ropes you need to cut are in one place so that you don't have to find and cut the rope that ties her arm...the rope that ties her leg...the rope that ties the other get the picture. Harness with one rope anchoring her to the bed so she can stay in the harness but have complete freedom of movement? Harness that is really easy to cut off? (Now I want to experiment with this!)

--Use a different color rope for anchor/get-me-the-fuck-out-now ropes, make sure they contrast with her skin/the sheets so you can see them easily in low or practically no light.

--Make sure SHE knows exactly what ropes someone else has to cut to get her out and how to describe them (another way different colored rope comes in handy, "cut the black rope" is really easy compared to "cut the rope next to my, not that one...")

--If you give her lots of freedom of movement make sure she can't get herself in a spot where she falls off the bed or her head goes below her heart for a long period of time or anything too uncomfortable

--Nightlight in the room, maybe one with batteries if the power goes out

Good luck
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:12 AM on August 12, 2010 [6 favorites]

I would absolutely not use a gag; even if airflow is not blocked (e.g. the ring gag Netzapper suggests), most of them cause drooling and you can choke on your own saliva. I wouldn't use rope; too much of a propensity to chafe and bind. I also wouldn't go with anything that constricts leg movement, like plastic wrap/bondage tape, for the reasons that rumposinc mentions. Google "deep vein thrombosis." Absolutely definitely don't use handcuffs.

I'm a really deep sleeper so I won't tie him up overnight unless he can definitely get out on his own. If she needs that long-term bondage feeling, schedule a weekend day. The "long-term" part is the real appeal for him, not the "it's dark outside" part. Sometimes I bring the laptop into the bedroom and keep him company while he struggles, because frankly it's boring to watch someone tied up for 6 hours.

In my experience, neither of you are going to get much sleep anyway. You can't make her immobile for the reasons discussed above, and she's probably going to be uncomfortable and/or turned on. She'll probably be writhing about. In my experience I get woken up about 2 am for sex; it's extremely rare that we've gone the whole night.
posted by desjardins at 7:12 AM on August 12, 2010

Please take the time to read books or attend a workshop or two before you venture into bondage like you describe. It takes skill and a lot of know how to do it right and avoid injury or worse. I highly recommend a sexual health educator named Midori, you can explore what range of education she provides by starting with her website She conducts workshops all around the world, and her books on the subject of rope bondage are very popular and respected.
posted by kuppajava at 10:54 AM on August 12, 2010

My third inclination is do it when you're both very well-rested and ask a buddy to check in on you and if they don't answer, come over to check things out, and give them a key (although this kind of thing is notoriously unreliable and you run the risk of being busy having hot sex, not hearing the phone, and then having a concerned friend come over and let themselves in only to find you all naked and stuff.)

...unless, of course, you want that to be part of a scenario.
posted by Deja Stu at 2:04 PM on August 12, 2010

Sportsheets! Easy to get out of if you really need to, easy to pretend that you totally can't get out of.
posted by troublemenot at 2:55 PM on August 12, 2010

i have/had this same fantasy and when i broached the topic i was told that he understood why i found it hot, but that the safety concerns were too large to overlook. even though i was initially disappointed, i appreciated the way he cared for me and looked out for my safety.

we found that being restrained all day is potentially better than overnight anyway - way more times to consider it and struggle. for super simple and fun, take a set of good wrist cuffs, with D or O rings, and then just join them with a lock. having full mobility except for your hands is weirdly far more frustrating/sexy/submissive feeling than being bound spread eagle without an inch to wiggle. ymmv, of course.

if she's looking more for the emotional comfort bondage can give - let her have a nap and you stay up and play games on your phone or something.
posted by nadawi at 3:06 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

I find Jay Wiseman to be a bit "OH MY GOD DOOM", so if you read his stuff remember that he's considered by many folks to be pretty conservative on the subject of acceptable risk (at least for certain activities). On the other hand, there's something to be said for listening to the more doomful folks if you're doing a risky thing for the first time.

If you want to play around with her being immobilized while you are (or even might be) asleep, you might consider some kind of very loud alarm she can trigger that would be sufficient to wake you up or even just get your attention if you've nipped off to the kitchen for a drink of water. The compressed air can type air horns that boaters use would work well for this purpose. attach it to her bondage via a lanyard (link to a recent lanyard-related post on the blue) so that she can bring it to her hands if needed and trigger it. One advantage to the mini air horn is that it's easy to manipulate and trigger if you can't see what you're doing, as opposed to a 110db alarm like the screaming meanie.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:32 PM on August 12, 2010

« Older Can I de-etch this sketch?   |   Period but still pregnant? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.