A Beginner’s Guide To Basic Bondage Equipment

If the world of bondage is intimidating, scary or just plain alien to you then I’m here to help out with this guide. I know that when I was looking to test the waters I had to do a bit of reading first as I just had no idea where to start. I’ve picked out a few key categories of bondage tools to talk about in this guide to cover the basics and starting points. We’ll discuss some of the other items like clamps, electrosex toys and chastity devices in a future guide. For now, let’s get learning about the most known and widely experimented with bondage basics!

Blindfold; A lot of people start their bondage experience with a blindfold. Why? They’re simple, non-intimidating and come in a ton of different patterns, colours and styles. You can begin with a sleep style mask like the Lovehoney Oh Satin Blindfold and work up to blackout styles that prevent all light getting through like the Fetish Fantasy Blinder. Blindfolds work by restricting the wearers eyesight in order to heighten the other senses. When our sight is restricted, we rely on our other senses which means that any smells, sounds, tastes or physical contact become enhanced. They also build anticipation as the wearer tries to interpret what their partner/s are going to do next.

Mask; Not to be confused with a blindfold, masks are other types of head-gear worn for different aspects of bondage play. A mask is usually a decorative facial accessory designed to transform the appearance or conceal the identity of the wearer. Think back to Fifty Shades Darker and the masked ball that Christian and Ana attend. You can recreate this idea with the official masks. Alternatively, you can use masks for role play. Ever wanted to be Catwoman? Try pairing this Latex Cat Mask with a catsuit to get the look.

Gag; Designed to muffle the voice of the wearer and/or prevent them from speaking. As the wearer can’t speak, or can’t be heard clearly, they have to become more creative with communication. These should always be used in accordance with a safe signal so the partner knows when play must conclude or pause. These are worn by submissive parties and come in different styles and sizes. The most common is a ball gag and plenty of these have small holes through them so the wearer can breathe. Other types of gags include bits, hooks, rings and spiders. More on those in a future guide.

Wrist and Ankle Restraints; When I mention these to friends, the first thing they envision are metal cuffs that are used by law enforcement. Whilst these are available to purchase from most retailers, I wouldn’t recommend them to a beginner. There are a ton of safer and more comfortable options on the market. You can find these restraints in satin, suede, faux leather, real leather, faux fur and even silicone. These cuffs will often have a chain or clip between them which can detach to be clipped to something else. Wrist and/or ankle restraints are used to secure the limbs to prevent the wearer from moving from a placed position.

Collar and Lead; When these items are used together, they are used to control the wearer by moving them using the lead. If you’re a puppy player, you might want to use a collar and lead combination to go for walks and divulge your inner pup. If you’re a submissive, you may be asked or want to wear a collar to symbolize ownership. These are becoming increasingly popular in the mainstream community for fashion purposes, but in the bondage world, these generally mean a person is taken. Many of these collars feature lockable buckles which prevent removal by the wearer and enhance the feeling of being submissive and owned.

Feather Tickler; It’s pretty much what it sounds like. A bunch of feathers attached to some sort of handle that is designed to tickle and tease the skin. The feeling of a feather tickler being traced across the skin excites the nerve endings, usually resulting in goosebumps or a tingly sensation, making you temporarily more sensitive and response to touch. These are often used during foreplay to enhance sensation and anticipation. They can also be used during tease, torture and denial situations.

Spanking Paddle; A flat piece of equipment, usually with a handle, that is used in the same way as a hand. Think of it as an extension of your body. Paddles come in varied textures to cause different sensations. An example of this is a dual sided paddle. One side may be satin to get the giver and the receiver used to the feel of a paddle, then the other side could be faux leather to provide a bit of a sharper sensation. Different materials and textures can amplify or tone down the impact, so be selective and go for paddles that suit your experience level.

Flogger; An implement that have several surfaces (known as fronds) which all hit the skin at roughly the same time. This spreads the force of the hit over a larger surface area. It’s a great starting implement as it produces less pain than a crop or whip. They can also be doubled as ticklers. Tease your partner by running the fronds up and down/over their skin during foreplay to get their senses heightened and their pulse racing. Floggers are available in a variety of materials and I’d suggest starting with something soft such as suede or faux leather.

A Beginner’s Guide To Personal Lubricants

Everyone can benefit from using lubricant, especially with sex toys. The trouble is finding the right type of lubricant for the sort of play you’re engaging in. There is such a vast selection on the market these days that getting stuck pondering the differences between bottles is not a rare occurrence. Some people don’t even know that there are key differences and just pick up whatever is available in their local supermarket. Outside of the different types of lubricants, there are a couple of other important things to consider. The ingredients list and the reviews. Ingredients can give you a good idea of whether the lubricant will be suitable for your skin and the reviews can give some clues as to the texture and consistency. I’ll be writing a detailed post regarding ingredients soon, but for now, I’d suggest staying away from the major problematic ones which are Parabens and Glycerin.

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the most common types of lubricants, the pros and cons to each type and my product recommendations for each category. If you are feeling unsure about whether lubricant would be beneficial to you, I’d recommend reading my let’s talk on the subject. I answered some frequently asked questions and posted my thoughts on the stigmas surrounding these products. For the record, using lubricant is completely normal and people who use it tend to have more enjoyable sex. So, now you’re back on board, let’s get back to the topic at hand!

Lovehoney Enjoy Water-Based LubricantWater based; If you are sexually active, then I highly recommend using lubricant whether you think you “need it” or not. It can truly enhance sexual experiences and I believe that everyone needs at least one bottle of good quality water-based lubricant on hand. It’s a permanent staple in our collection and that’s because it’s extremely versatile. The base ingredient for these products is Aqua, as the name might suggest, which is the most natural ingredient in the world. Other ingredients are then added in to provide texture, consistency and longevity.

As it’s water-based, this type of lubricant can be used with any sex toy material. It doesn’t matter whether it’s plastic, silicone, glass, metal or a porous material that I don’t recommend, it will be compatible with all of the above and more. These lubes can be used for multiple sex practices, which aren’t limited to, but can include: oral, vaginal and anal sex. They’re compatible with latex and other condom types, so there’s no need to worry about these breaking down protective barriers. They don’t stain clothing or bed sheets and can be removed very easily after use with a quick rinse or wipe.

My recommendations? Sliquid Satin, Sliquid H20 and Yes Water-Based.

Just Glide Silicone LubricantSilicone based; Do you find yourself frustrated with lubricants that dry out quickly? If you answered yes to this question, then I’d suggest trying some silicone based lubricant. Silicone doesn’t evaporate and dry up as water based lubes do. As a result, silicone is one of the most long-lasting categories of lubricant on the market. It’s ideal for use during anal sex as the anus doesn’t self lubricate and water-based lubricants can dry out too quickly, resulting in possible friction. There’s really no need to top up on silicone as it should last as long as you do.

Silicone lubricants do not harbour any bacteria, nor do they upset the ph balance in women. Silicone is a hypoallergenic material which makes it great for people with allergies and sensitive skin. It’s mostly tasteless and odourless too.

The main difference between water and silicone lubricants beside the ingredients list is that silicone can be used for water play. Water based lubes are quickly washed away when they come into contact with water in the bath or shower, but silicone stays put and keeps discomfort at bay whilst playtime ensues. This is a downside for some people though as it’s not as easy to remove. Soapy scrubs are necessary when it comes to removing silicone from your body and your sex toys.

On the topic of sex toys – many retailers recommend that you do not use silicone based lubricants with silicone sex toys. The silicone in the lubricant can react to the silicone toy if the standard of both are not on equal levels. It has been promoted by Pjur that their silicone lubes are safe to use with We-Vibe’s silicone and I’ve had no problems using Sliquid Silver on Tantus, but I would always recommend doing a patch test on the base of the toy before using it and avoiding it when possible. It is fine to use with materials such as glass and metal though and barriers such as condoms are safe too.

My recommendations? Lovehoney Indulge, Sliquid Silver and Pjur Bodyglide Original.

Yes Oil Based Vanilla LubricantOil based; Oil based lubricants are not vagina friendly. There’s one exception which is the brand listed below, but I still wouldn’t advise using oil based lubricants on a regular basis if you have this orifice. They can change the Ph levels inside the vagina and because they don’t absorb they can trap and harbour bacteria.

This can lead to vaginal infections and urinary tract infections. If you are prone to UTIs anyway, I’d definitely recommend steering clear from oil based lubricants for anything other than external use. If you have a penis then you can use oil based lubricants to masturbate with, as many oil based lubricants are masturbation creams designed for men, but make sure to rinse well after, especially if there’s a chance of vaginal sex afterwards. You could also use them for body massage but make sure to avoid the vulva region for the reasons listed above.

On top of the problems they can cause for vagina’s, these lubricants also have another issue. They are not suitable for use with condoms, latex, diaphragms or rubber/silicone sex toys. The reason for this is the oil will weaken and break down these materials. They can cause damage to the surface of sex toys, leaving a tacky feeling that cannot be removed, especially on those toys that are porous. They can stain surfaces and sheets too. If you wish to use oil based lubricants, keep play external and only use products specifically labelled for intimate use or pure, refined coconut oil. Do not use things like baby oil and Vaseline as a sex lube.

My recommendations? Yes Oil Based.

Sliquid Silk Hybrid LubricantHybrid; A combination of water and silicone. Hybrid lubricants are primarily water, but they contain a small percentage of silicone. Silicone is added to extend the life of the product. Water based lubricants don’t last long and often need to be reapplied during a session, but silicone lubricants are the opposite. So adding a small amount of silicone into the water-based formula adds extra use time to the product.

It also changes the consistency. Many water based lubricants are thin and provide a very limited amount of protection from friction, where silicone lubes are slick and slippery. A combination of the two varies between manufacturers, but in my experience, the majority of hybrid lubricants are creamy and slick in comparison to water-based products.

These lubricants are safe for oral, vaginal and anal sex, although I personally wouldn’t recommend them for oral as the taste isn’t the best. Hybrid lubricants will not damage latex condoms, although I recommend checking (if possible) what lubricant the condom manufacturer has used to be sure that there’s no reaction between different grades of silicone. If I want to use a hybrid lubricant and a condom at the same time, I opt for a unlubricated rubber. As for use with sex toys, they can be used safely with most, but it depends on the formulation of the product and the grace of the silicone used. I would suggest a patch test on the base of the toy before use to make sure they are compatible. If you feel a gummy, sticky texture on the toy after the patch test, I would rinse it off and stick to water-based.

My recommendations? Sliquid Silk and Sliquid Organics Silk.

Flavoured LubricantsFlavoured; Almost always water based, these lubricants are designed with oral sex in mind. The brands I’ve recommended below can also be used for vaginal and anal sex though. There are so many flavours of lubricant to choose from now. Some are wonderful, some are weird and some make me wonder why on earth they were made.

The most popular flavourings seem to be fruit based and there are a ton of brands out there that offer their own take on foods such as passion fruit, cherry and strawberry. There are some unusual flavours out there too, ranging from bacon and whiskey to coffee and champagne. There’s flavours to suit everyone and they can be a great incentive to improve oral sex or change things up.

My recommendations? Lovehoney’s flavoured line and Sliquid Swirls. My favourite is Green Apple.

Lovehoney Discover Anal LubricantAnal; These can be water based or silicone based. They are described and labelled as an anal lubricants because they are thicker than the standard versions and thicker lubes provide more comfort for back door play. The anus doesn’t self lubricate, so bottled lubricants with a thick consistency are essential.

Some anal lubricants contain ingredients like lidocaine and benzocaine which numb the nerve endings in the nether regions to limit sensation. Some people think this will stop anal sex being “painful”. It should never be painful in the first place. If it is, something is wrong and your body is telling you to stop. These desensitising products can stop you from knowing when something is wrong which can cause damage back there. I would avoid these at all costs as they’re not particularly safe. If anal is painful, stop. Come back to it later. You can try thicker lubricants, taking play at a slower pace and build up (over a period of time) with smaller sex toys.

My recommendations? Lovehoney Discover and Sliquid Sassy.

Sliquid Sizzle LubricantSensation; These lubricants are usually water based and contain ingredients that leave a mild cooling or warming effect. It can be a fun way to add a new dimension to play and they are ideal for people who enjoy sensory and temperature fun. It’s unfortunate that a lot of these lubricants contain Glycerin, as this isn’t great for vaginas, and as a result I tend to avoid these products.

If you read my post about Durex lubricants, you’ll understand exactly why. I find these lubricants provide a stinging sensation more than anything pleasurable. If you are sensitive and/or prone to UTI’s, I would suggest an orgasm gel or balm that’s used externally instead. Always check the ingredients on these products before use and do a patch test on all parties to ensure there are no allergies or nasty surprises waiting ahead.

My recommendations? Sliquid Sizzle.

A Beginner’s Guide To Spanking Safety

Want to try spanking? Make sure to follow these starting points so you can learn how to spank safely. It can be a dangerous activity if you’re not sure what you’re doing and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Read on for my Beginners Guide to Spanking Safety.

Step One; Educating Yourself

There are some parts of the body that you should avoid spanking at all times. Hitting these areas can result in sometimes fatal damage. From here on out, these areas are going to be known as red areas.

Red Areas

Face – There are many sensitive areas on the face that can be easily damaged and left with permanent injuries. Avoid making contact with the face (including ears) at all times.

Neck – This is another absolute avoid area as it’s where many major arteries, glands and tendons are located.

Kidneys – Located in the area of the back between the bottom of the ribcage and the top of the buttocks. The kidneys are extremely delicate and it doesn’t take much to do some damage. I’m also going to include the Tailbone here, which is located at the base of the spine as this can be broken/cracked if hit.

Spine – In fact, I’m going to include the spine as a whole. It’s made up of disks that can become dislodged or impacted, which is extremely painful and definitely something you want to avoid.

Other red areas include the collar bones, fingers, toes, hip bones and any other joints where bone is close to the skin.

Yellow Areas

Yellow areas are places that can be spanked or flogged, but proceed with caution as these are still high risk locations that should only be touched upon with experience. These areas include hands, breasts, thighs, backs of calves and the chest.

Green Areas

Many opt for the buttocks or two areas of the upper back below the shoulder blades.

Notice how this list is much shorter? It’s very important to stick to the areas outlined as safe and work into the yellow areas if you wish after some time and experience.

Step Two; Safe Words

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What is a safe word?

Simply put a safe word is a word that is used during a play session that means stop.

How do I choose a safe word?

Opt for something that you wouldn’t normally say during a session to avoid any confusion. My partner and I use the traffic light system as this has proved to be most affective for us. Red means stop, amber means I’m unsure so approach with caution and green means I’m fine with this, you can continue.

How is a safe word used?

It should be agreed before any sort of session that your chosen word will only be used in serious situations and all activity will stop immediately if either party says the word. Do not feel ashamed of needing to use your safe word, it’s in place to keep you feeling comfortable and able to enjoy the play.

What should I do if my partner uses their safe word?

Stop. Remove any restraints/put tools down. It is sometimes the best option to just take a time out and talk about what went wrong and what made you uncomfortable/want to stop. This will help your partner to understand what to do or more importantly, what not to do, next time.

Step Three; Technique

buttocksStart close and use tools that move further away as you progress. This basically means start out with fingers and hands, then gradually move up to tools that increase in distance. This way you will develop the necessary control to use them. Implements with further reach such as canes and bull whips will often be the last implement you learn to use, rather than one of the first things you reach for. I would not advise using either of these tools unless you have some spanking experience.

Practice before using your implement on a human. You could use a pillow to practise your aim and distance. If you don’t do this, you may not be able to control your chosen tool with precision, making it dangerous for yourself and the other person, increasing risk of injury. Until you can gauge your intensity, speed and area of impact, do not use the implement on your partner.

Start slowly, sudden, sharp hits without warm up strokes can do greater damage to the body and cause long-term harm. It’s very important during any kind of BDSM activity to warm-up and work your way up from the bottom. Start with softer taps/flogs and work up gradually to harder ones. Your partner is much more likely to enjoy this and want the session to continue. As the taps progress, the blood will start to rise to the surface, increasing the tolerance of the person being spanked.

Remember, too many hits in one place can become extremely painful. Alternate your target and frequency and always make sure the area of impact has recovered before moving onto a harsher implement. Always use the lighter implement first and work up to the heaviest. The harsher your tool, the more likely your partner will bruise. This is nothing to be concerned about, but if they’re not ready for long-lasting marks, stick to something softer until they are.

Improper technique can result in:

  • Nerve damage
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Ruptured organs
  • Lacerations

Proper technique still could result in:

  • Abrasions
  • Bruising
  • Soreness

Make sure to check in with your partner regularly and make sure they’re happy for you to continue. Communication is very important during this kind of play. Watch out for your partner’s body language also as this will tell you things that their words may not. If they flinch or move after a hit, it’s possible it was a little too sharp, ask them if they want you to decrease the force a little before delivering the next.

Step Four; Aftercare

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Aftercare is a very important part of any play session. After a session with the kinky or hitty toys, take care of your partners physical, mental and emotional health by engaging in some aftercare. My partner and I have actually made our own aftercare kit and find this comes in handy after a particularly rough session. You can tailor your kit to your situation, the type of play you’re engaging in  and your partner, but here are a few suggestions.

What to put in an aftercare kit:

  • Water bottle – I often find myself dehydrated during a play session. A small snack may also be useful. I don’t do this, but it’s something that many people do keep close by.
  • First Aid Kit – Just incase anything has gone wrong, it can be taken care of quickly.
  • Blanket – I often feel cold after a session and the rush has worn off.
  • Wet wipes – Great for cleaning up if necessary.
  • Cleaner – We always clean our impact tools after use with antibacterial cleaner or wipes.
  • Some sort of soothing product – We rather like the Fifty Shades After Spanking Cream, but have also used sudocrem, body butter, aloe vera or a soothing lotion of some description. You could even use a heat pack/ice pack if you wish.
  • A cuddle – I like to spend some time with my partner by having a cuddle or back rub after a session. It makes me feel protected and cared for, so this is the most important one for me.