The EDGE Blog

Face Bondage (and other ways to do bondage without rope)


Do you like the idea of having your way with your partner while they’re helplessly restrained? Watching them moan and squirm against the bedpost?  Meeting their eyes as they say, “More please”?

Most folks are some degree of turned on by the idea of bondage. The main thing keeping curious kinksters from fulfilling their fantasy is the intimidating veneer of rope taking centre stage. For those who are new, who have arthritis, or who just don’t have the time to learn sophisticated knots, I have good news.

There are countless ways to do bondage without rope.


Before we dive into the treasure trove of options before you, let’s get the get risk factors out of the way.

The biggest safety concerns are circulation and nerve damage. It’s the top’s duty to keep an eye on their bottom’s hands and feet, noticing if they are good and rosy (we like this) or if they’re becoming pale or blue (we do not like this.) Take special care with partners who have diabetes or any medical issues that affect circulation or blood clotting.

Nerve damage is all too easy to inflict, even amongst the most able-bodied of partners. The easiest one to aggravate is the large running the length of the inner biceps. It can get compressed anytime the arms are tied behind the back, or whenever a cuff is tightened around the upper arm. Signs to watch out for are tingling or numbness in the hands.

As always, medical concerns need to be talked about during your pre scene negotiation. Beyond that, check in frequently throughout the scene.  Experienced tops will have a headlamp on them, to assist with checking the skin tone of the hands and feet, tightness of bondage devices, and colour/sweatiness of their bottom’s face. Temperature can say a lot too. A cold sweat is much more cause for concern than a warm one.

What about subspace?

Yes, it is still possible and necessary to check in with bottoms who’ve slipped into subspace. They may seem a bit loopy, smiley, or in a trance. Many bottoms become non-verbal. While from the bottom’s perspective this is typically a sign that they’re having a great time, it’s a cue for the top to pay extra close attention

How to check in: “Hey love, can you wiggle your fingers for me?  Great, now try and squeeze my hand. Alright, will you wiggle your toes for me?  Your face is looking a little pale, I’m going to touch it to check the temperature.”

The above suggestion may honestly be too wordy for bottoms who are deep in subspace. At that point it’s up to the top to use their tactile sense to check for temperature, sweatiness, muscle tone and eye contact. Your bottom should still be able to look you in the eyes and smile, no matter how deep in subspace they are.

Option 1: Cuffs

Let’s get to the fun stuff! Padded Wrist Cuffs and Padded Ankle Cuffs are the fastest and safest ways to dive into bondage. They are made from fabric, leather, velcro, or silicone. Fabric and leather typically have a metal fastener.

Velcro and silicone are the best options for folks with dexterity issues (or as we like to say, folks who “don’t mess around.”)  At Hot Octopuss silicone are our favorites, as their texture is divine and they can devilishly slip into the smallest of pockets for impromptu sessions.

Option 2: Face Bondage

Face bondage is an often overlooked aspect of kink. Gags, blindfolds, and hoods – anything that restricts the movement of the face – falls into this category.  Nothing affects a bottom’s head space quite like having their face controlled.

Blindfolds, yes blindfolds, are a form of face bondage. By preventing the opening of the eyelids, we have made the bottom almost entirely reliant on the top.  This is where many tops first become aware of their inner emotional sadist. Leading a blindfolded bottom around, tricking them into thinking they’re falling, watching them catch their breath as you glide pointy objects along their skin, are all examples of how easily blindfolds lead to emotional S/M.

Beginners will be happy to find that inexpensive blindfolds from the drugstore will do just fine. If there is a domed option at your drugstore, I’d recommend going with that. It’s nice for folks with bigger eyeballs, for those who tend to let their eyes drift open, and in general it blocks out more light than the flat variety of blindfolds.

Over time you’ll probably want a fancier BDSM design, which would typically be sturdier, more secure, and more stylish. Oftentimes higher end blindfolds will be crafted of leather and have a well cushioned inner rim. This facilitates comfort over an extended period, and is preferable for folks who have more mature or otherwise fragile skin.

Gags – the size of the bottom’s jaw plays a big role in choosing the best gag. If they have a small jaw, TMJ, or any tendencies toward locking, they will want either a hankie or a bit gag.  A hankie as you can imagine, can be made out of almost any piece of fabric laying around the house. A standard size bandana works for most situations. Roll the hankie diagonally, and place the middle of the fabric in the bottom’s mouth. Tie snugly behind their head.

A bit gag looks just like a horse’s bit, but is designed to be worn by naughty humans. You’ll want to purchase it from a reputable fetish gear company, or from a small artisan (hopefully, also reputable.) The best material for this is silicone, though leather is also acceptable. Silicone can be disinfected much more effectively than leather, and is more comfortable to boot!

If your bottom doesn’t have jaw issues, they may opt for a ball gag. You’ve probably seen this style of gag in fetish art. The ball fits into the bottom’s mouth, with straps securely fastening it around their head. There are silicone options for greater comfort, and wiffle ball styles for increased breathability. This style of gag is known to produce ample amounts of drool.

Perhaps the riskiest style of gag is the panel gag. This is due to its ability to completely restrict airflow through the mouth. If everything goes according to plan, the bottom should still be able to breathe through their nose. If however, any amount of sinus congestion (due to head colds, allergies, or asthma) takes place, this style of gag must be removed immediately.

Panel gags with various options for the inner surface. Classically they’re flat, but bottoms many prefer inner panels to have a stuffer (shaped like a bulbous pillow) or a pecker (shaped like a phallus). These variations are good for those who like a full feeling in their mouth or who enjoy having something to suck on throughout the scene.

Neck corsets are an incredibly stylish form of face bondage. They are basically collars that extend the full length of the neck, thereby “correcting” the bottom’s posture/inhibiting their head movement. Some of our favourite designs cover the mouth as well, giving an alluring look to the bottom’s restriction.

Hoods are reserved for extreme play. They heavily effect sensory deprivation. Hoods are not for those who suffer from claustrophobia or unresolved trauma. The face will feel restrained and sweaty. There should always be nostril and mouth openings. Hoods are not appropriate for a first time scene with a new partner. The only time they’re appropriate is when used with a partner that you’ve played with extensively in the past.

The bottom themselves needs to have experience in more basic forms of kink before considering playing with hoods. They must be able to communicate any physical or mental conditions in advance.

Both the top and the bottom need to have a solid plan for checking in throughout the scene (as eye contact and sometimes verbal communication will not be possible). Finally, always plan on aftercare for a scene that involves hoods. For bottoms who “don’t need aftercare,” set aside some time at least for Netflix and ice cream.

Option 3: Household items

For many people, the idea of using household items is what really gets their gears turning. Look around you. Do you see anything that you could tie somebody up with? Or that you’d like to be tied up with? What would you use to cut somebody free if they got stuck?

Let’s start in the kitchen.

Say you walk in to the site of your sweetheart preparing your favorite cocktail for you. You’d love to reward them with a little bondage playtime. What materials do you have at your disposal?

Plastic wrap: while not the eco friendliest option, it is affordable, readily available, and versatile. While other apparatuses require planning ahead for hard points or fancy knots, plastic wrap can be used in almost any way imaginable. Turn your partner to face the sink and bind their hands to the faucet. Sit them in a chair and wrap their legs to be spread wide.

Or if you just want to be silly, attach their palms to their cheeks, securing them with wraps around their chin and forehead. Playfulness is one of the nicest entry points to humiliation play.

Next, let’s venture to the workshop.

Here your partner’s been laboring all day, measuring and drilling and hammering with her tools, her face smeared with schmootz as she works on home renovations. You swoop her up in a giggling kiss, and proceed to thank her with a bondage scene, cleverly utilizing . . .

Zip ties: As you are a responsible top, you will have a scarab cutter handy for ending the scene safely. You pin her up against the workbench and proceed to fasten her forearms and calves to various drawer handles. You will be sure to avoid the joints, and you will tighten the zip ties just enough. If they are too tight they will cut off circulation, pinch nerves, and make removal scary (in a bad way). You will have practiced using your scarab cutter in advance. But be sure to enjoy yourselves thoroughly before employing it.

Lastly, we find ourselves in the bedroom.

Your partner has been busying himself, listening to podcasts while making the bed. You contemplate whether to shoulder plow him into the mattress or to enjoy the power of quiet commands. Choosing the latter, you say in a soft, low tone, “The bed looks wonderful. Take off your pants.” While he merrily obeys, you reach into the dresser and grab . . .

Pantyhose, bathrobe ties, and scarves: His knees practically buckle when you whisper into his ear, “I want you face down, spread wide.” As he does his best impersonation of a starfish, you use the stretchy and forgiving material to fasten his limbs to the bedpost. He seems to melt completely into the pillows as you delve into a session of sensory exploration all along his backside.

Is your imagination running wild yet? Did you make it through the whole article without stopping to jot down your own ideas? I hope not. As you can see, rope is but the nichiest of niches within the vast world of bondage. Brainstorm with your partner, always plan for an emergency exit, and have fun.

More from The Edge

Get Under the Sheets with us

Subscribe to our newsletter