I think there's a misconception surrounding bondage.
Maybe I'm in a libertine bubble, but I feel like sex toys are pretty mainstream, most people use them, most people aren't completely terrified to talk about them. Women, in particular are pretty comfortable saying, "Hey, that glass dildo I bought last week is amazing!", or "That couples vibe I got for Christmas from my aunt is a terrible waste of space in my toy drawer".
But it seems that no one is willing to say, "Yes, I tie up my wife, we both enjoy it, it's nothing crazy and you should really give it at least a go."
Honestly, I think it comes from the media portrayal of the bondage community. Hell, it comes from the fact that there has to be a bondage community. It's inevitable, whenever the mainstream audience hears about anything they are going to hear about the most extreme corner of the most extreme group and the quotes chosen will turn the extremity up to eleven. That said, the bondage community does no favors to the couple looking to try adding a little rope work to their sex routine.
Take Fetlife. . . please. I love the fact that the internet allows people with convergent interests to get together regardless of physical boundaries, but here's what happens when you're considering bondage and you've heard of Fetlife: "You know, I might like to tie my wife up, she's been expressing interest in power exchange and she has a hard time turning off her life for sex, so I want to give her a little physical reminder that she's involved in sex, the sensations are the only thing that matters and she doesn't have to worry that I feel cared for and loved. I'm going to drop by this accepting community on the internet and they'll help me learn how to tie her safely and sanely. click, click, click, "OH HOLY CRAP THAT LADY IS BLEEDING!AND THERE"S SO MUCH LEATHER!!!!"
Nothing against Fetlife, I'm still a member and I'm considering getting a little more involved now that my rope work has improved, but, goddamn, it can be a major turn off for an average man with fairly vanilla tastes who is curious about restraints and light power exchange to go looking for information and to be presented with a community that constantly moves to the more and more extreme. It's hard to feel included in a community when the most visible members are so much more extreme than anything you might consider being involved in. It makes you afraid that you'll be accused of being a dilettante unless someone is bloody, bruised and living in a cage at the end of your sex session.
I'm here to tell you that bondage doesn't have to have ANYTHING to do with theatricality, pain, multiple partners or even the "bondage community".
At its core, bondage is a tool for intimacy. When you submit to bondage you're giving to your partner a very significant part of yourself, you're saying "This sex session is all on you, do whatever you like, whatever you can to make it as perfect as possible for both of us, I'm giving up, not just control over the way sex might go, but literal physical control of my limbs. I love you and trust you so much that I'll let you temporarily take away my legs and arms and give us both pleasure and intimacy."
As a top (goddamn, I hate using the terminology, it feels fake and overwrought, but it fits, so I use it) when your partner lets you tie them up, you're entering into what amounts to a strange sort of contract. You get to do whatever you want, you get to literally shape your partner into forms that please you, but in return you're promising that you'll elevate them to the tippy tops of pleasure.
Once you're tying someone you're hyper aware of their state, you're tuned into their breathing, the sounds they make, the slightest twitches of their muscles. You know that you have to be aware, because they're trusting you completely. They're trusting that you won't damage them, they're trusting that you'll bring them pleasure, they're trusting you to know when it's time to untie and let blood flow back to their limbs that might be a bit constricted.
You are completely responsible for their experience. There's a rush in that, but there's also a deep bonding. I've never been more aware of my wife's reactions then when I've tied her legs to the wall, her arms together and I'm working on her clit with the full knowledge that she can't stop what I'm doing and that I've got twenty minutes before I need to untie her legs so she doesn't get any permanent damage.
It's amazing how making your partner helpless can make you more aware of what they need, make you completely cognizant of how much they love and trust and depend on you to make them happy. It's a humbling feeling, it's a deeply romantic feeling and I feel like that's getting buried under a deep layer of porny theatricality in the bondage community and in media coverage of BDSM.
I tie my wife because she has a deep need to control a situation and when she's tied up she has no physical control of anything. Most of the time she's blindfolded so she can't even see what she can't control, but at the core, the experience is totally in her control. Everything I'm doing is completely focused on getting her off in the most spectacular fashion. In essence, when I tie her up I'm just stripping away any chance she has to think that she should be pleasing me, that she has any responsibility for my experience.
It's a beautifully intimate and bonding moment when you look down at your partner and say, not with words but with ropes, "You are the only thing in the universe that matters and I'm going to take good care of you."