• sexy pin-up art dita von teese

    Bondage and the Art of Sex

    Sexual restraint is an activity not limited to the modern age. Also known as bondage, this erotic and sensual art is performed by more people worldwide than most would presume. Bondage, in...

    Sexual restraint is an activity not limited to the modern age. Also known as bondage, this erotic and sensual art is performed by more people worldwide than most would presume. Bondage, in the BDSM subculture, is the practice of consensually tying, binding, or restraining a partner for erotic stimulation. Often viewed as taboo or a form of deviant kink, discussing tying up one’s partner during a sexual or sensual act the night before is hardly a common dinner conversation. Nonetheless, the passion and levels of sexual pleasure that can be achieved by participants of erotic and sexual restraint activities can be high.

    Binding someone for the first time may open the door to years, even a lifetime, of enjoying erotic bondage.

    Jay Wiseman, author of SM 101, a sort of guide book to all things bondage, writes, “Binding someone for the first time is a special moment. This is particularly true if they have never before been bound in an erotic context. (Most people played “cowboys and Indians” games during childhood.) A wise dominant recognizes this opportunity. They ‘imprint’ their play partner in a positive way. This may open the door to years, even a lifetime, of enjoying erotic bondage.”

    Dita Von Teese BDSM 5041
    Photographer: Craig Morey

    Sexual and erotic restraint isn’t a new concept, clearly. The artistic portrayals of subjects restrained in a sexual way can be capable of evoking curious emotions, even for those who may have never experienced or pursued sexual restraint as an activity. Historical art pieces such as the marble relief by Erastus Dow Palmer (1863) represent a sort of sensual restraint. Today, even famous models like Betty Page and Dita Von Teese have explored posing nude for bondage fine art photography.

    The modern novel 50 Shades of Grey, particularly, has shone a fresh light on the art of restraint for many people. The passionate relationship dynamic between the two main characters, which includes aspects of sexual restraint, sparked a bit of a phenomenon worldwide. Many were introduced to a more romantic and relational concept of restraint. Apparently, 50 Shades of Grey makes the art of restraint more appealing to many readers (and non-readers) as a form of passionate lovemaking as opposed to the brutal and taboo concept of bondage that so many in society have come to shun.

    Photographer: Sukida

    Regardless of 50 Shades of Grey popularity, however, the question often on many non-restraint-practitioners minds is, “Why?” Why is restraint practiced by so many during sex, and what are the reactions, emotions, and sensations that make it so popular with those who practice it? The emotions and sensations experienced by the person being restrained as well as the person performing the restraining can vary widely. Each experience is unique. That being said, when asking a person who enjoys being restrained what it is that they enjoy about it, they may respond that being bound can feel “safe” and “helpless” simultaneously. These feelings are usually experienced by someone playing a submissive role in the activity, and though everyone is an individual with their own desires and reasons, being bound can cause a submissive to experience a high with their partner that can bring them to sensual and sexual heights of ecstatic proportions.

    bondage bdsm 6239
    Photographer: Perry Gallagher

    Likewise, the dominant partner who performs the restraint, be it with rope, handcuffs, tape, or their own body can experience a sense of ecstasy and a rush that results from the sexual and erotic power they experience as they restrain their partner. Often, the partner performing the restraint is seeking the trust and obedience of whom they are restraining, and the result can be an overwhelming sense of emotional and sexual connection. The sensation the restrained partner may experience as a result of struggling against their restraints can be exhilarating as well.

    art of bondage
    NO TITLE (NO 24) BY SUKIDA

    Whether a novice practitioner or an expert, there are several types of restraining mediums available. Scarves or cotton rope can be very erotic tools to use, as they are both comfortable, soft, and sensual against the skin. Not everyone enjoys the same sensations, however, and handcuffs may be the choice for someone who enjoys the sensation of hard, cold metal around their wrists (or ankles, for that matter). Shackles, though slightly bulky, can be a very hot experience for someone seeking that completely “helpless” sensation. Tape can be a devilish tool for those with erotic fantasies of being kidnapped or the enjoyment of the sensation it brings to the skin as it is ripped away. When used with care and caution, it can make a naughty and erotic addition to a bondage tool kit.

    Photographer: Sukida

    Erotic art depicting bondage can be tempting to realize for ourselves, and it’s no wonder. The level of sexual heat to be experienced when restraining or being restrained during sexual encounters is an experience not forgotten. Bondage, when done well, can bring the body, spirit, and partners to a place of emotional vulnerability and sexuality never expected.

    Art Provocateur Gallery presents a beautifully curated collection of BDSM and erotic art from around the world. We welcome you to peruse BDSM art for sale at ArtProvocateur.com.

  • Bondage Photography

    The Art of Bondage | Shibari and the West

    BDSM did not become popular in the East until the late 19th-century. But when it began to catch on, it brought Shibari, the art of bondage, to Western culture. Shibari is a form of erotic rope bondage...

    BDSM did not become popular in the East until the late 19th-century. But when it began to catch on, it brought Shibari, the art of bondage, to Western culture. Shibari is a form of erotic rope bondage that plays a significant role in a lot of BDSM photography.

    Bondage Photography
    Craig Morey | Natalie 81098.04

    The Origin of Rope Bondage

    Before rope bondage was used for pleasure it was used for pain. The precursor to Shibari is the Japanese art of Hojõjutsu. Samurai used Hojõjutsu to restrain and torture their prisoners with a rope or cord.

    While Hojõjutsu has a practical purpose, it places a lot of focus on aesthetics and symbolism. The specific tying and placement of knots honours the prisoner. It varies depending on the status of the captured person(s) and the reason for their restraint.

    An accused prisoner, for instance, was tied without knots to avoid public shame before the judicial system decided their guilt.

    Rope bondage requires an intimate knowledge of the human anatomy to understand how to tie the ropes in a manner that is both effective and aesthetically pleasing. Elaborate and beautiful techniques were signs of respect and skill.

    By the end of the 19th-century an offshoot of the art, Kinbaku had emerged. This took the principles of Hojõjutsu but applied them for erotic purposes. Artists used simple geometric shapes that accentuate the shape of the body or to convey meaning.

    Shibari Photography
    Craig Morey | 0013BW

    Adoption Into Western BDSM Art

    Kinbaku made its way into Western BDSM culture during the 1990s, where it is commonly known as Shibari. This use of rope bondage remains a popular erotic art today.

    Shibari has become an erotic performance art. Artists put on live shows where the audience can witness the binding and tying, as well as admire the finished bondage piece. The artists ties the ropes and places the knots with forethought to create an artful, aesthetic result.

    BDSM photographers often use rope bondage to capture evocative still frames. These erotic prints are in high demand as a skilled artist and photographer can capture a powerful, beautiful scene.

    Artists use dozens of tying patterns with multiple variations of each. Depending on the image they want to convey, or the sensation they want to give the tied subject, they may use symmetrical or asymmetrical patterns.

    Some of the varying themes of rope bondage in BDSM art include:

    • Exchange of Power
    • Beauty
    • Relaxation
    • Pleasure
    • Vulnerability
    • Strength
    • Submission
    Bondage Photograph
    Craig Morey | 81098.02

    Purpose of Bondage Art

    The purpose and goal of bondage art are different for all parties involved. The model receives physical and sensual pleasure. The artist presents a mastery of craft. The audience gets sexual gratification and appreciation of the art.

    The “captive” model is an active participant in bondage art. The correct application of Shibari provides physical, sexual, and perhaps spiritual pleasure. Knot placement activates pressure points that provide a massage-like release, as well as stimulating the flow of ch’i energy.

    Proper rigging can induce a euphoric state by causing a release of endorphins and adrenaline. In bondage photography, the photographer may attempt to capture this state of “rope-drunkenness” in still frame.

    The mastery of the artist is on display both in their ability to provide these results in the model and in the overall aesthetic appeal of the bondage. The rigger must balance form and function, creating an ideal display for both the artist and the audience.

    The audience gets to appreciate the beauty and skill of the rigging. The art evokes erotic pleasure through the presentation itself as well as by living vicariously through the model.

     

    Shop Bondage BDSM Art

    There is an increasing desire to decorate the home with nude art. Bondage is an especially provocative art form. It can create a striking display, or increase the level of intimacy in a room. Shop our BDSM photography collection for bondage art prints and originals.

  • woman with BDSM hand cuffs

    Prisoners of Love: An Introduction to BDSM Art

    BDSM artwork is truly provocative. Both inside and outside of BDSM culture it receives strong reactions with its evocative imagery. Although often misunderstood historically, in recent years it has become...

    BDSM artwork is truly provocative. Both inside and outside of BDSM culture it receives strong reactions with its evocative imagery. Although often misunderstood historically, in recent years it has become increasingly chic to add BDSM art to collections.

    Themes of BDSM Art

    The main themes of BDSM artwork include an exchange of power, empowerment, gender, and sexual fluidity. It is an evocative and erotic art style that has emerged from underground culture.

    Power

    At its core, BDSM art is about power. Practitioners derive pleasure from an exchange of power, whether giving up control or taking control. This theme is exemplified by the acronym:

    • Bondage
    • Discipline
    • Sadism
    • Masochism
    Empowerment

    During the past 50 years, another theme has emerged. BDSM artwork has become a symbol of empowerment. It helped to spurn the female sexual revolution, as well as revolutionizing gay culture. This combats old misconceptions of BDSM art as being anti-feminist and heteronormative.

    Gender & Sexual Fluidity

    For decades, BDSM has been ahead of the curve on ideas of gender and sexual roles and identities. It moves outside of concepts like straight, gay, transexual, and traditional gender roles. The gender and sexual fluidity in BDSM disrupt traditional binary identities and roles.

    A Brief History of BDSM | Timeline

    The concepts of BDSM has been a part of human culture dating back to the eras of pre and protohistory. Throughout this timeline, it’s often part of underground culture, with occasional resurgences into more mainstream society.

    ~4,000 BCE Mesopotamia

    The goddess Inanna dates back at least as far as the Uruk period in ancient Mesopotamia. The “Queen of Heaven,” Inanna was the goddess of love, procreation, sensuality, fertility, and war. She is said to have whipped her human followers, driving them into a sexual frenzy.

    ~500 BCE Greece

    In ancient Greece, BDSM played a role in sexual culture. It dates back to at least the 5th Century BCE. The Spartan men and women included ritual whipping for sexual pleasure in the Tomba Della Fustigazione (Tomb of Whipping). The walls of the tomb are decorated with artwork depicting BDSM.

    Spartan BDSM Art
    Tomba della Fustigazione | Tarquinia, Italy
    1500s AD Europe

    More modern examples of BDSM artwork started popping up in the 16th century. Erotic art and literature gained popularity. The imagery consisted of whipping and reversals of power roles for sexual pleasure.  Servants were featured dominating their masters and mistresses. BDSM art started to pop up in England, France, and Germany.

    1789 France

    In 1789, the Marquis de Sade released the controversial book 120 Days of Sodom. His work in erotica transformed BDSM artwork. The works were graphic and polarizing to much of society. But they also introduced ideas of sexual pleasure from beating, humiliation, rope bondage, and cutting. The realm of BDSM art was expanded by de Sade’s works.

    ~1850 Japan

    The introduction of Japan to BDSM as an art dates back to the late Edo period. Kinbaku, “the beauty of tight bonding,” came into being as an erotic art. The ropework used geometric shapes to contrast the natural shape of the submissive’s body.

    1920 Germany

    Following the First World War, people needed a release. The war had taken its toll on Germany physically and financially, and the people needed a release. For many, this release involved joining clubs where BDSM was practiced. The rise of fascism forced this culture into the underground before the Second World War.

    Late 1940s USA

    In the wake of World War Two and the terror of the Cold War, BDSM once again became a form of release. The underground BDSM scene began to grow in America with the distribution of magazines like Bizarre. In this magazine, BDSM photographer, John Willie, established the basis of the modern aesthetics of the genre.

    BDSM photography featured models in high heels, leather, latex, corsets, rope and leather bondage. It also resulted in the rise of the pin-up girl.

    Bettie Page Pin-Up
    Bettie Page | Bizarre Magazine
    1950s USA

    Betty Page, the Queen of the Pin-Ups, was the most prominent model of this new style of BDSM art. She was an icon of the strength of femininity and of embracing female sexuality. She is often credited as being the catalyst of the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

    Learn more about the evolution of the pin-up girl in: Contrasting Modern & Vintage Pin-Up Art

    In the modern period, this is when BDSM began to transition from the underground to an artistic phenomenon and movement.

    1990s

    The 1990s did a lot to bring BDSM to mainstream society. The emergence of the internet led to many people’s first exposure to BDSM and a spike in its popularity. As well, artists like Marilyn Manson brought attention to the lifestyle and art form.

    2011

    The release of 50 Shades of Gray. It’s not hardcore, and it’s certainly not the pinnacle of literature – but its success signifies acceptance of BDSM art by mainstream society. The novel quickly became a best-seller and was adapted into a successful movie in 2015.

    bondage bdsm
    Good Knot by Perry Gallagher

    BDSM was no longer just for underground culture, it had been adopted by soccer moms around the world. It showed the world was ready to accept BDSM art, not as a perversion, but as a fulfillment of a sexual and personal fantasy.

    Today, there is a rising demand for BDSM art. People are decorating their home with provocative paintings, paintings, and artwork. Much to our pleasure, more BDSM artists are exploring this style in all sorts of mediums than ever before.