Hands behind your back
Let’s talk cuffs! There are so many variations on cuffs that it is hard to talk about cuffs in general. Despite that, there are a few things that can be said about cuffs in general. Firstly, cuffs are designed to restrain humans which are a huge boon. No one has to try to make something work as a restraint. Additionally, they are basically safe. There are exceptions to this like using cuffs that weren’t designed for suspension to suspend someone and cuffs being too tight when worn, but overall, they are a good place to start. All cuffs should fit comfortably. You want them to be tight enough to that you can’t slip out of them, but loose enough that you can move them around you wrist.
Cuffs are made from all different kinds of material. Traditionally, most cuffs are made from leather although there are a lot of vegan options appearing on the market now. Leather cuffs offer certain benefits. They are sturdy. Most leather cuffs are going to last a long time. They will hold up very well to struggling without damaging the material. Leather cuffs are the large majority of the time, wide enough that they won’t damage joints or nerves. I am a strong proponent of leather cuffs. It’s what we use in our play space all the time.
The downside of leather is that they are difficult to clean and sizing is tricky. Leather requires leather cleaning and maintenance products to keep it in peak condition. Leather is stiff when you first purchase your cuffs and if they have sat unused for a while. This requires them to be worked to soften them. When you are shopping for leather cuffs, make sure they are lined in some way. Leather can have an uncomfortable edge, and lining makes them significantly more comfortable.
Cuffs are also made from vegan materials. These fake leather cuffs can range in quality from useless to just as sturdy as leather cuffs, but when it comes to BDSM gear; you get what you pay for. We purchased a set of faux leather cuffs, and the material stretched which caused the cuffs to go on too tight and restricted blood flow. It is important to keep in mind that many vegan options will be made of a material that has a small amount of stretch. This stretch does allow them to be a little more one size fits all, but if vegan cuffs are your best option, then be careful they aren’t on too tight.
Finally, we have metal cuffs. All of them have a major down side, even the ones that are fluffy. All metal cuffs that you can purchase at a traditional sex toy store are designed like the ones that police officers use. This makes all of them thin. Thin is bad. Thin cuffs can put too much strain on joints and may cause nerve damage. Metal is my least favorite type of cuffs because they are often uncomfortable and a bit unwieldy. They can’t be separated like other types of cuffs. You are stuck in a few basic positions with them whereas other cuffs that can separate and be attached to different points give you a lot more flexibility. That pun was mostly intentional.
Don’t forget the rope!
Moving on to rope, I have to get out my soapbox. I can’t stress this enough, but no one seems to believe me. Rope is dangerous. Rope gets tighter as there is movement. That means that the longer you have someone tied up, the tighter their bonds are. People who use shibari, Japanese rope bondage, use this to their advantage, but only in ways that aren’t constricting blood flow or putting too much weight on any joints.
That being said, rope is far cheaper than a nice set of cuffs and can do all the same thing, but please pick up a book or find someone who knows how to do it safely and learn the knots and wraps. Nerve damage, passing out, and joint damage aren’t sexy.
Stocks and shackles are a little on the scary end for most folks, but they do bear mentioning. They are heavy and very hard to move around in. They are not one size fits all, so make sure that they fit if you are going to be buying them.
I also wanted to mention silk ties and scarves. The same holds true of these as doe’s rope. Knots tighten. They always do. Be careful and learn the right ones to use.