Restrained Elegance Bondage Safety
The stories on Restrained Elegance are romantic fiction brought to life by professional models and riggers on a professional set.
What we do is safe, and if done carefully can be replicated safely too.
Bear in mind that depictions shown here are rigged by experienced people, on experienced bondage models who know their own limits, and are often only tied for the few minutes necessary to take photos. A lot of challenging stuff that one model can do another model might not even be able to attempt.
So even though everything here was shot safely, we might not have been able to do it safely with a different model (which is why we shot it with the model we did). If you see a model doing lots of reverse-prayer positions or elbows-together positions, it is because that position is comfortable for her to hold for long enough to shoot a set of photos or a video. If we tried to shoot it with a model who cannot hold the position comfortably, it would not be safe and we would decide on set to do a different tie instead.
We have bondage safety and tutorial information to help, but if your model or partner isn't comfortable in the position, do something else.
Do not assume things are safe to do just because you've seen photos on the web!
To find out more, try one of the many fine sites and books out there, such as:
Bondage for Sex by Chanta Rose
Done correctly with a loving partner, bondage and BDSM can be beautiful and fulfilling for both the submissive and the dominant.
Bondage is a physical activity which can constrain and put pressure on the body of the submissive, so like any other physical activity, it is necessary to follow some common-sense safety procedures to minimize the risk to the participants.
In everything we do for Restrained Elegance, the safety of the model is always the first and over-riding priority. If you try bondage at home, it must be your over-riding priority as well.
Nothing in these guidelines guarantees the safety of the participants.
I am not medically qualified, and you should seek medical or specialist advice before doing anything you aren't sure about. They are not exhaustive, nor definitive. They are just intended as some sensible starting guidelines to bear in mind. Only thought, common sense and responsible behaviour from those present can ensure the safety of all concerned.
Safe: Make safety your first priority. Don't do anything until you are reasonably sure you know how to do it safely, and that you've got safety equipment on hand in case something does go wrong. Just simple stuff: if you are doing complicated rope bondage, buy a set of safety scissors and keep them on hand, just in case you need to cut the ropes and get your sub out in a hurry. If you're using handcuffs, even the cheap fluffy ones, make sure you have the keys (and that they actually fit) before locking them on someone.
Sane: Know your own limits, start gradually and get experience before attempting more challenging things. Know the limits of your partner, both as sub and dom. Everyone is different- don't assume that because Restrained Elegance models can be tied with their elbows touching behind their back that your girlfriend can be, too. Some people can, some people can't- and you could cause injury trying to force it. Subs, your fantasy may be for the dom to take total control, but you are going to have to be responsible and give some feedback as well because even the most experienced dom in the world isn't psychic. I'm sorry if it spoils your fantasy to say that you've lost circulation in your arms, but it is better than getting injured.
Sober: Tying someone to the bed posts with a dressing gown cord after you've both had a glass of wine with dinner is fine. Believing you can rig a complicated suspension when drunk or intoxicated is not.
Consensual: Never, ever, ever do anything your partner isn't happy with. It might be hot to launch into some grand kidnap fantasy, but you'd damn well better have discussed it all, in great detail, beforehand. Always arrange a safeword. Never cross stated limits. Respect each other. Take care of each other.
A safeword is used to notify your partner that something is wrong. In a perfect world of psychic doms and double-jointed submissives, we might not need them. But in the real world, you always need to be able to tell your partner that something isn't going right because he or she simply may not be aware that the knot is digging into your back so hard you are seeing stars, or that you the dom have come down with a blinding headache and really just need to stop.
Especially important if you are going to use gags, make sure that everyone present knows your safeword and can distinguish it through a gag. It is quite common to use two different safewords. The first one is used to indicate a current issue which needs attention, but doesn't require the scene to stop. A particular knot needs to be loosened or you need to change position or you really need a quick drink of water. "Yellow" or "Amber" are commonly used for this. The second is where something is really wrong, physically or emotionally, and you just need the scene to stop right now and be let out immediately. Use this if you start to feel faint, or your circulation has been cut off, or someone has crossed a limit (even if unintentionally) and you are really not having fun any more "Safeword" or "Red" are commonly used for this.
We use repeated blinking as a back-up safeword when models are gagged (see our video here) .
Some people use a rubber ball which the sub holds in their hand- if they let it go, they are calling to be let out immediately. This is not so good for photography, but is great for personal play.
Human beings are not psychic. You can read the mental state of your partner to some extent, but only they really know what is going on in their body or in their heads or in their emotions. If something is wrong, resolve it or stop the scene. You can always discuss what the issue was and start again then or another day. Safety first, last and always. Using a safeword as a submissive is not being a wimp or a failure or failing to submit. It is just being sensible and recognising that bondage is for play and for fun, and sometimes you have to back off a bit for safety. Using a safeword as a dominant is not being a wimp or reducing your authority, either. Dominants aren't perfect, and if you find the scene is getting away from you, stop it.
I have heard of photographers letting models faint in the ropes while they are untying, because they didn't want to cut their expensive rope. People are more important than rope. If you need to cut the rope, do it. Talk to your partner. Figure out what the problem is and take immediate action. If she seems to be getting faint or not talking clearly, let her out right now.
If you want to start rope tying, buy a book (eg Bondage for Sex by Chanta Rose, as seen on this site). Get some idea of what is safe to do and what isn't. But here are a few starting pointers.
Never, ever tie anything around someone's neck or across the front of their neck or in a way which can tighten or pull on the neck. This is extremely dangerous.
Consider what could happen if the submissive fell, slipped or fainted. Could anything in the neck or shoulder area slip, or pull, or tighten? Even something as simple as a collar chained to a fixed point could be lethal if the submissive were to faint and fall. Make sure it couldn't catch or pull and make sure that any fastening rope or chain is PLENTY long enough that she could fall to the floor and still have no tension on the neck area.
Avoid areas where nerves and veins run close to the skin surface. Tie above and below joints rather than on the joint. Tie wrists facing together rather than facing apart (so the rope doesn't press directly on the veins on the inside of the wrist). Avoid the inner biceps, elbow, inner thighs and backs of the knees.
Learn to tie the basic bondage knot which prevents the rope slipping or tightening. We will be adding more tutorial material on this shortly, but Chanta's Book is the best place to start.
The most common cause of injury in bondage is... falling over. Take precautions, or just start off on the floor.
Some positions are inherently stressful. If tied elbows together behind the back, you WILL lose feeling in your hands. It is just a question of whether it takes 30 seconds or 30 minutes. Losing feeling is not immediately dangerous, but it could be a sign of losing circulation or pressure on nerves which can cause lasting injury. Numbness can mean you don't feel ropes cutting in and doing yet more damage.
So... don't leave your submissive in there too long. If something is turning blue, get her out. If she can't feel her fingertips, let her out. If she's got pins and needles start getting her out now, before you need to cut her out in a few minutes' time.
Don't launch straight into a complicated rope suspension. Learn to tie basic stuff first. Suspensions bring a whole raft of new safety issues, and you shouldn't try them until you can tie the simple stuff safely first.
A very common mistake is to tie the ropes too tight. The "one finger" test is a good start- make sure you can slip a finger under the rope. If tied correctly with ropes in the right places this will still be just as effective in tying up your submisisve, but she will be able to hold it for longer and in much greater safety.
Be careful not to run rope too fast over skin- you can cause rope burn. And be careful not to poke someone in the eye as the end of a rope gets whipped around. These problems are more likely when untying than when tying up, so be extra careful of them then.
If she is tied up, do not leave her unattended. Ever, ever, ever, ever.
If she is gagged or in a stress position, don't let her out of your sight.
If she is tied in a very simple, non-stressful position lying comfortably on the floor and is not gagged it might be OK to go next door to get a gag or go to the bathroom, but don't leave her for more than a few moments, and never if she might fall or injure herself.
And although it isn't hot, you should really keep the keys within her reach if she is in metal bondage, especially if she is chained to something solid. What if you were to faint or fall or injure yourself and you needed her to call an ambulance? And always bear in mind what might happen if the place were to catch fire. It just isn't worth the risk. Consider having a phone within reach as well, especially for longer scenes like sleeping in a cage.
Especially when you are starting off, both dom and sub are going to have to compromise their fantasies by talking "out of character" about how the bondage feels and whether or not she is OK.
Ladies, I'm sorry if it punctures the mood to have the evil baron asking if you are OK but... we need to know. If your arms are going numb... guess what? We have NO idea. Unless you tell us. Sorry, you're just going to have to communicate. Maybe when you've done the same tie a few times you can do without the "are you OK?" question and answer session and lose yourself in the fantasy. First few times, you just have to. Sorry.
Doms, ask her how she is.
Subs, answer honestly. If you think you are going to need to come out in a minute or two, say so now. Don't leave it until it is a panic situation and you pass out/faint/throw up/fall over because you didn't want us to think you were a wimp.
I'm rather labouring this point because in my experience submissives are much more reluctant to admit that they have a problem than doms are to ask if they are OK. Remember, your safety is BOTH of your responsibility.
At Restrained Elegance we have been shooting romantic bondage fiction since 2001. We've shot over four thousand scenes safely.
The small number of incidents we have had (probably only about ten in the whole of that time) have resulted in nothing more dramatic than a few cut ropes and a long break for a cup of tea. So bondage can be done safely - just be sensible and put safety first.