Types of Bondage Restraints, Classified and Explained (with Tips)

With how many types of bondage and how many types of bondage restraints and other bondage items there exist, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices and the amount of information about them—especially if you are at the beginning of your journey through bondage. We understand, we were there at some point, too. Nerds—bondage nerds, that is—that we are and helpful as we strive to be, we’ve compiled this comprehensive roundup of all the types of bondage restraints you can enjoy in your bondage play.

The first thing to keep in mind is that there are several ways to classify bondage restraints. We’ve grouped the types of bondage restraints by the

  • purpose for which they are used;
  • material of which they are made;
  • body part which they restrain;
  • method employed.

In addition, as distinctive as these categories of bondage are, the actual restraints will fall into multiple categories at once. Take handcuffs: they are a restraining type of restraints; they can be made of leather, faux leather, metal, or, most likely, a combination of materials; and they can be used to tie two wrists together or a wrist to an anchor point.

Also remember that restraints aren’t just bondage accessories. No matter what purpose they serve, what they are made of, what they restrain and how, they’re all bondage tools in their own right (we tackle impact play toys, bondage kits, and bondage wear elsewhere).

Bondage Tools - Rope and Blindfold

The list may be overwhelming especially for beginners. Keep in mind you don’t have to have most or even any of these. In fact, unless you dedicate your (sex) life to or live the lifestyle of bondage/BDSM, most of these toys are beyond your needs.

Many bondage items serve multiple purposes (rope, cuffs); you and your lover may not be into everything; and various home pervertables will do just as well in your bondage play as these specialty products.

And finally, before we delve into the many (many!) types of bondage restraints out there, always negotiate their use first, take the necessary safety precautions for when you use bondage toys—and enjoy!

Naughty Girl Biting Her Nail

Types of Bondage Restraints by Purpose

You may want to restrain your lover or get restrained for a number of reasons or a combination of reasons (beyond enjoyment of course).

Restraining Bondage

When we said sex in bondage is optional, we meant it. Restraining your lover simply for the sake of restraining them can be pleasurable. The loss of control they will experience by being unable to move will delight them to no end.

Movement-Restricting Restraints

The most common form of restraining bondage is that which restricts or limits movement.

Some people have to be tied up to be free.
—Charles Moser, PhD, Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality

Restraints that restrict movement include a range of bondage toys.

Cuffs

Handcuffs are probably the restraint most commonly associated with bondage.

Technically speaking, handcuffs bind not hands but rather wrists together.

While law-enforcement cuffs, which are made of metal, seem to be lodged in popular imagination as the cuffs of choice for bondage, dedicated bondage cuffs are much more comfortable and, honestly, sexier.

Bondage wrist cuffs are typically made of leather (the cheaper ones are made of faux leather) and are lined with fabric, fur, or some other soft material.

Check out wrist cuffs on Good Vibrations »

Similarly, ankle cuffs bind the ankles together or to another point.

Hand/wrist and ankle cuffs are often sold together. For example, the Ardour Crafts CC-3010 set is a leather-made, comfy, yet heavy-duty set that will withstand even the roughest play.

Two sets of cuffs are typically included in every bondage kit for beginners, and under the bed (or under the mattress) restraints always include detachable wrist and ankle restraints.

There are other types of bondage restraints that are essentially a variation of cuffs:

Cuffs are a versatile piece of bondage equipment. Using your creativity and tools you find at a home improvement store, combining common bondage toys, or expanding your toy collection with specialized bondage gear, you can also tie your lover’s

and so on.

Only your imagination restrains your bondage play.

Finally, cuffs provide points for tying your partner to fixed anchor points or other bondage equipment like a bondage belt or a spreader bar.

Hogtie Restraint

Another popular type of restraint is a hogtie, which binds your prone lover’s wrists and ankles behind their back.

A hogtie is usually part of a restraint system, adding a cross-connector to join the wrist and ankle cuffs.

Should you already have a set of cuffs, you can also get a standalone hogtie clip to expand the range of positions for your play.

If your lover is flexible enough, you can also restrain them into a hogtie position by linking with wrist and ankle cuffs with double-ended snap hooks. The hogtie clip that’s part of hogtie restraint systems just makes it easier.

Check out hogties on Extreme Restraints »

Bondage Tape

Bondage tape is a two to three-inch wide thin strip of plastic, such as latex, which only adheres to itself. It comes in different colors, though the most common is black.

Lacking an adhesive side, bondage tape won’t stick to hair or skin, and it also on’t leave marks or a sticky residue.

Types of Bondage Restraints - Tape

Being cheap, under $10 for a 50-65-ft roll, bondage tape is cheap so you can cut and toss it after use. The thicker kinds are solid enough that you can clean, rewind, and reuse them.

Bondage tape is also useful as a restraint for other toys, for example to keep a Magic Wand in place.

Bondage for Beginners - Good Vibrations
Rope

Bondage rope is perhaps the most versatile piece of bondage equipment. You can use rope to

  • create ties that function like cuffs;
  • tie limbs to fixed anchor points;
  • suspend your lover from a ceiling;
  • create decorative patterns, as in the Japanese art of shibari bondage; or
  • constrict portions of your lover’s body, such as with arm gauntlets or corsets.

Types of Bondage Restraints - Rope

See more on rope below.

Constriction Restraints

A related kind of bondage uses various types of bondage restraints to constrict various body parts. The feeling of being constricted or the inability to move can have both a relaxing and stimulating effect.

You can constrict your lover with specially designed bondage toys or you can do so with home pervertables. As noted above, you can also use rope to constrict parts of your lover’s body.

You can constrict your lover’s body in part, with restraint gear like

  • choker or collar, which, while it shouldn’t be tightened too much, constricts your lover’s neck/throat, while serving as an anchor point for a leash or wrists-to-neck restraints;
  • corset, which constricts your lover’s torso;
  • breast binder, which flattens your lover’s breasts against her torso;
  • arm binder, which encases your lover’s arms in a leather pouch;
  • cock ring, which constricts the flow of blood to your lover’s penis or testicles;
  • straitjacket;
  • diapers;
  • a variety of harnesses, whose secondary function is to restrict movement as well, e.g. head harness, hand harness, chest harness, cock-and-ball harness, and so on.

Or you can constrict your partner completely, with bondage equipment like

Sensory Deprivation Restraints

In addition to restricting movement or constricting the body, bondage gear can be used to deprive your lover of one or more of their senses:

  • sight
  • hearing
  • touch
  • smell
  • taste

The most commonly restrained sense in bondage is sight. Humans being visual animals, taking away your lover’s eyes for bondage play heightens their other senses, which in turn enriches both your experiences.

Aside from cuffing wrists, blindfolding is the best known and most frequently enjoyed restraining technique. To create a blindfold, you can use any suitable home pervertables, like a necktie or a scarf.

Or you can purchase a specially designed bondage toy. Any blindfold will do, whether it’s marketed specifically as a bondage toy (lace blindfolds are particularly sexy, if not poorly blinding) or simply as a sleep aid.

Types of Bondage Restraints - Blindfold

Bonus: your blindfold is one of the few types of bondage restraints that will not raise eyebrows at airport security.

Depriving your partner of hearing isn’t as common or necessary in bondage. Not only does sound not play much of a role in bondage play, beyond perhaps a rattle of chains or dirty talk of a top, it’s more difficult to accomplish.

The sexiest way to block your lover’s hearing is to pipe music into their ears, ideally with a pair of wireless headphones, which have no cords to get tangled or crossed.

Similarly, taste isn’t as much of a thing in bondage, except if you want your partner to taste bodily fluids or a gag.

There are several types of gags, including

Types of Bondage Restraints - Ball Gag

You can deprive your lover of their sense of smell by simply clipping their nostrils with a clothespin, which will have the added bonus of inflicting a bit of pain. Avoid pairing this with gagging your partner so as to allow them to breathe.

You can also control your lover’s smell by placing a hood on their head (see below) or a mask around their face.

Finally, touch. The largest organ, skin has a myriad on pressure receptors and nerve endings everywhere, allowing us to experience touch.

Some parts of the body are more sensitive than others. Unless you completely encase your partner in plastic wrap, which we do not recommend for safety reasons, they are going to feel touch.

Your best bet is to deprive your partner of the sense of touch in the most sensitive areas of their body:

  • forehead, cheeks, lips, tongue
  • palms, fingertips
  • feet
  • genitals

To restrain the sensitive areas on the head, use a hood mask. Popularized by the Gimp character in the 1994 cult classic Pulp Fiction, a bondage hood covers the entirety of the head. Hoods are made of leather, vinyl, or latex, and some come with sealable openings for eyes and mouth.

Of course, your partner will feel the touch of the hood, but in short order their skin will get accustomed to the sensation. The bonus feature of a bondage hood is that it simultaneously deprives your lover of sight and taste, and it also limits their hearing.

Restrain your lover’s fingertips and palms with a pair of bondage mittens, which encase hands in a way they cannot grab anything. Fist mitts are usually made of leather, with soft lining, and come with lockable wrist cuffs.

A chastity belt limits your lover’s ability to touch themselves or have someone else touch them. Where female chastity belts have greater historic connotations and are of simple, straightforward designs, with the growing popularity of cock-and-ball torture (CBT), male chastity devices have become quite varied as well.

Pain Bondage

Pain bondage includes techniques and types of bondage restraints employed specifically to induce pain. In pain bondage, the idea is to hurt your lover physically in a controlled, consensual way and not so much as to harm them.

The line between hurt and harm is different for everyone. Many lovers like bondage but stay on this side of pain; others like pain but only to a point; other still enjoy their welts or broken skin from impact play.

Communicate with your lover about the sensations you are both experiencing to find the sweet pain spot that will bring you the pleasure you seek.

Restraining bondage can be taken to the point where it causes pain:

  • Body (parts) roped up into painful positions.
  • Harness tightened or pulled to bite into skin.
  • Arms or legs tied to fixed points and stretched beyond the comfort zone.

Movement-restricting bondage is often used as a starting point for plays involving pain, including impact play like spanking, flogging, whipping, or caning; hot wax play; or breath play.

Common bondage toys specifically designed to induce pain are nipple clamps.

As with many other bondage toys, there is a common household item that can be converted, or rather perverted, into a bondage toy: clothespins. Connect a few clothespins into a chain with a piece of string and pull them off your lover’s skin (around nipples, sides, or even scrotum or labia) for a brief, intense pain sensation.

Bondage for Beginners - Good Vibrations

Decorative Bondage

Decorative bondage combines the elements of other types of bondage while placing emphasis on their visual appeal. It’s bondage intended to stimulate your aesthetic sense.

Whether it’s bondage clothing or Shibari rope bondage, there is beauty in bondage, if you are willing to create and see it.

Bondage Wear - Corset

Role-Play Bondage

Role playing is a common sexual practice, and playing out fantasy scenarios by way of bondage its extension.

  • Detective and criminal.
  • Guard and prisoner.
  • Teacher and student.
  • Master and servant.
  • Boss and underling.
  • Cat and mouse.
  • Superhero and villain.

The range of role play scenarios is limited only by your imagination. And bondage can be a part of any of the—or they of bondage.

Bondage Toys - Cat Mask for Role Play

Ulterior-Motive Bondage

Sometimes you may want to restrain your lover for the experience of doing so, the sensation of restricted movement or of the rope on the skin. There is something meditative about tying a rope dress on your lover’s body.

Bondage as an end is a beautiful thing.

Other times, however, bondage lays a foundation for other types of play.

  • You blindfold and restrain your lover’s wrists behind their back to play with their body with an element of surprise.
  • You tie your lover up to make sure they don’t change the position when spanked or whipped.
  • You suspend your lover in a sling for a new sexual position.

Whatever it is—intercourse, pegging, role play, impact play, torture play, or any other type of play—ulterior-motive bondage provides a means to another end.

We’ve termed the kinds of bondage that provide a starting point for other types of play purpose-driven or ulterior-motive bondage.

As with bondage itself, the assortment of bondage restraints for ulterior-motive bondage is vast. From the anal hook to the Wartenberg wheel, you can restrain your lover and enjoy further kinds of play to your heart’s delight and imagination’s limits.

Bondage for Beginners - Good Vibrations

Types of Bondage Restraints by Material

The S&M equipment we’ve covered so far is made from a variety of materials (many bondage items from more than one). The following are the most common materials for bondage restraints and other bondage-related toys.

Leather

Leather is perhaps the most commonly associated material with bondage. Particularly leather bondage wear, be it corsets, pants, or boots, features prominently in bondage play.

Few items are made of “pure” leather; more common in the makeup of bondage toys is PU leather, which is split leather covered in polyurethane coating. While PU leather bondage restraints and other toys are cheaper, they are also less durable.

Leather restraints, particularly those made from thick real leather, are often lined with softer synthetic materials for higher comfort.

Leather Bondage - Muzzle and Collar

Bondage toys made from leather also often feature metal pieces like O- or D-rings to enable attachment to anchor points or other bondage equipment, chains, snap hooks, buckles, or locks.

Some of the common leather bondage restraints and toys are:

Leather also goes into making bondage hoods and muzzles, enjoyed by serious BDSM players.

Bondage for Beginners - Good Vibrations

Silk

Thanks to Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, sales of white Hermes silk scarves shot up back in the 1990’s. Since then lovers have enjoyed silk scarves and ribbons to tie their partners up in the bedroom and beyond.

Silk isn’t the best material for bondage because knots tighten as you pull on them and thus are difficult to undo. But silk is popular in bondage, particularly its lighter variations and among newbies because it’s sexy (it looks and feels nice) and doesn’t require shopping at a specialty purveyor.

Bondage Restraints - Silk Blindfold

Fur

Aside from costumes, fur is typically used for lining cuffs, mittens, and other bondage toys. Because real fur makes the bondage toy in question more expensive (not to mention the ethical dilemmas involved, for some), faux fur, made from different synthetic materials, remains more common.

Plastics

PVC bondage entails wrapping your lover, in part or in full, in plastic wrap, also known as cling wrap or the brand moniker Saran wrap. Cling wrap helps constrict your lover’s body (parts) with the added benefit of a unique touch sensation.

Another common plastic bondage tool is bondage tape (see above).

Some bondage aficionados swear by plastic zip ties. We avoid cable ties because they are impossible to undo and must be cut with a knife or heavy-duty scissors, which renders them a single-use, i.e. wasteful bondage implement.

Neoprene is used for cuffs and other types of bondage restraints, like spreader bars, masks, or collars.

Silicone

Silicone is a common material in the composition of many sex toys. It is safe, durable, and washable, and it feels nice against the skin.

There are 100 percent silicone dildos, anal plugs and beads, prostate massagers, and cock rings. Higher-end vibrators are also made mostly from the material. Any of these sex toys can ome in handy when your partner is restrained.

Parts of many bondage toys are made of silicone: from balls, bridles or bones in gags to collars to select floggers, paddles, and whips, there is no shortage of silicone bondage toys, though the selection is more limited than with other, more specialty materials. There’s even silicone rope.

Check out all silicone toys on Good Vibrations »

Rubber

Rubber bondage encompasses play with rubber outfits that constrain the body.

Many bondage toys come in rubber variants.

Check out rubber bondage toys on Extreme Restraints »

Latex

Aside from condoms and gloves, latex is most commonly used in bondage wear, masks, and constraining tools like bodysuits.

Velcro

There is such a thing as Velcro bondage, but the brand-name material sees most common use as a fastening aid, e.g. in cuffs.

Metal

As we already mentioned, many bondage tools have metal parts. More often than not, your bondage play is going to involve some metal.

The best known among metal restraints (so much so it’s a visual cliché), is police-type handcuffs. Self-locking and unlockable with a key, metal handcuffs are a staple of bondage stock photography, accompanying many an article on the subject.

Hey, a pair is even in the Bondage Is for Lovers logo!

Types of Bondage Restraints - Metal Handcuffs

Don’t get us wrong. Metal wrist cuffs are effective in binding your lovers wrists together or their wrist to a bed post or radiator.

But there’s a reason law enforcement officers use these: they’re uncomfortable. Though pain can be part of your bondage play, the kind of discomfort metal handcuffs provide just isn’t our thing. Wearing them for a prolonged period of time or tightly can cut into your lover’s skin or chafe. The distraction and the effect simply isn’t worth it.

One way to get around the issue is to get metal handcuffs lined with (faux) fur, though furry cuffs tend to be cheaply made. Some lovers get around this by removing the furry lining from the cheap cuffs and fitting it over professional-grade handcuffs.

In chain bondage, links of chain are used to restrain your lover and to bind them to a fixed point.

Chain Bondage - Chain in Hand

Though not too common, metal bondage gear includes wide, heavy-duty metal cuffs and collars.

Fibers

With fibers we’re mostly talking about rope. Rope bondage entails using rope to restrain your lover, be it to tie their limbs to each other (oh, the delicious combinations!) or to fixed points like bed frames or hooks.

Bondage rope can be made of a variety of materials:

  • Natural fibers:
    • cotton, which is ideal if you are starting out in rope bondage;
    • hemp
    • jute
  • Synthetic fibers:

Bondage rope also differs by length. The common lengths of bondage-specific ropes are 30 ft and 15 ft, but you can find synthetic rope as long as 100 ft.

Of course, you can cut longer pieces to length as you need.

Types of Bondage Restraints - Rope Bondage

The decorative form of rope bondage has evolved into a form of art. Shibari/Kinbaku is an ancient Japanese form of rope bondage that involves creating beautiful and intricate designs, sometimes across the entire body. Some love Shibari for the pure sensation of having their whole body tied up in rope.

Types of Bondage Restraints by Body Part

Bondage gear can also be categorized by the body part it restrains.

Let’s break all types of adult restraints down from head to toe.

All Body Restraints

An all-body bondage suit, such as one made from latex, constrains the body in a tight-fitting envelope. Latex lovers report enjoying the sensation of the material on their skin.

Complex rope bondage can also encase all body parts.

Head Restraints

Whether restraining the entire head, such as a head harness or bondage hood, or just parts of it, like a blindfold, ball gag, nose hook, muzzle, or bondage mask, head restraints affect some of the most sensitive parts of the body and senses.

Neck/Throat Restraints

A bondage collar is included in most bondage kits and for good reason:

  • The constriction a collar creates around the neck plays a role in breath play.
  • Aside from being an attractive piece of bondage wear, a collar can indicate “ownership” of a sub/slave by their dom(me)/master/mistress.
  • Attached to a leash, a collar plays a prominent role in bondage role playing.

Higher-quality bondage collars are made from leather, but there are bondage collars made from silicone, rubber, and other materials.

Hands and Arms Restraints

Hands

Mitten restraints cover your lover’s hands so they cannot touch anything. Hand restraint mitts feature D-rings so they can be tied to each other, such as around your partner’s back or neck, or to a fixed point.

Wrists

Wrist cuffs are the most common type of restraint in this category and perhaps overall. The assortment of wrist restraints can be quite overwhelming.

Types of Bondage Restraints - Leather Cuffs

Choose bondage cuffs that are sturdy and comfortable; the idea isn’t to damage your partner’s wrists but rather to have them enjoy the restrained position.

We prefer heavy-duty leather bondage cuffs made by Kinklab or Good Vibrations Toys brand cuffs, which are padded with fleece. Both restraint cuffs close with metal buckles.

Check out wrist cuffs on Good Vibrations »

Made from neoprene and Velcro, Sportsheets cuffs make for a lighter travel companion, are machine-washable, and please vegans as well.

Cheaper versions of wrist cuffs are made from PU leather and lined with faux fur; be sure to read the reviews to make your selection.

Elbows

You can use wrist cuffs higher up your lover’s arms, around the elbows, to bind their arms behind their back in a position that forces them to sit up straight with their chest out.

(Fore)Arms

You can restrain your lover’s arms by tying them to a fixed point or to each other (and then to a fixed point or another part of their body). You can tie your lover’s wrists or elbows in front or in back.

The area to avoid tying is the dip between the deltoid and bicep muscles.

Specially-designed arm restraints are called arm binders. They encase their entire forearms, typically behind the back. The same effect can be achieved with rope, though that requires extra skills.

Torso Restraints

The types of bondage restraints that go on/around the torso include a corset, various type of harnesses (breast, chest, all-body), and a bondage belt.

Having said more than enough about corsets, we’ll just add a final note: corsets are sexy.

Most corsets cover the belly and breasts, while underbust corsets keep breasts exposed.

Harnesses are a patterned webbing made of wide leather or faux/PU leather, connected with eyelets or O-rings and fitted around the body.

Both women…

…and men can wear a bondage harness when playing or under their civilian clothes.

Waist harnesses often extend to legs similar to garter belts.

A bondage belt is fitted with D- or O-rings for attaching cuffs and other bondage gear to the waist.

A strapon harness is a special kind of harness dedicated to enabling penetration.

Strapon Harnesses

Leg Restraints

Bondage garter belts and thigh harnesses follow the same principle as head and torso harnesses. Bondage-specific variations of garter belts, they allow to both constrain your partner’s upper legs and to attach other restraints to them.

Thighs

Thigh restraints are essentially a set of cuffs that wrap around the upper thighs and allow for wrists or ankles to be bound to them.

Ankles

A spreader bar is a piece of (usually) metal with rings or even cuffs that makes it possible to spread your lover’s legs in a fixed position. Spreader bars often include enough rings/cuffs to add wrists to the mix to create some delicious body contortions.

And finally, ankle cuffs are one of those types of bondage restraints that is familiar to even those starting out in bondage. Ankle restraints usually come in a set with wrist cuffs.

Feet

Put a badass pair of leather boots on and turn into a dominatrix your partner will worship.

Toe cuffs bind your lover’s toes together so they can’t move their feet apart.

Types of Bondage Restraints by Method

Verbal Bondage

When you don’t use any bondage equipment but rather limit your partner’s movement simply by commanding them to hold a certain position, it’s verbal bondage.

You can have them sit on their hands, or fold their arms (front or back), hold a reverse prayer position, hold their knees or feet, and so on.

Body-Only Bondage

In body-specific bondage, you bind your lover’s body parts together or spread them into a variety of creative positions, some of which may be pain-inducing.

Anchor (or Hard) Point Bondage

When you tie your partner to a hard point like a brace or a bed post, it’s anchor point bondage.

Suspension Bondage

Bondage whereby you suspend your partner from a ceiling by way of ropes, harnesses, chains, or other means. An advanced technique, which we here at Bondage Is for Lovers only aspire to mastering.

Types of Bondage Restraints - Suspension Bondage

There you have it, an exhaustive classification of bondage toys. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.