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

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