I’ve seen this question in a few places where all of a sudden a wife lets out that she wants her husband to tie her up. Note: I’ve been seeing these WAY before 50 shades of grey was even a concept. I am not writing about that book! There are a billion reasons why you shouldn’t read it. But what about these genuine wives who have a real desire, not brought about by some piece of fiction, to try this? I’ve been that husband who sat there and thought, “Is this OK“, “What do I do?“, “How do I start?”
I like to pull Bible passages when I can, but the Bible is pretty silent on most sexual practices. There are prohibitions against things like bestiality and incest (and others), against adultery, impure thoughts and practices, but what about what happens in a marriage bed between mutually consenting adults?
What does the Bible say
Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous.
– Hebrews 13:4
Now, most people take this to mean that outside of the specific prohibitions in the bible, and any obvious extrapolations of said prohibitions, everything is fair game. I think we have some basic rules we can all agree to:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her – Ephesians 5:25
She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her. – Proverbs 31:12
Everything should be done in love and respect, no harm involved.
Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Everything we do should be to encourage, build up, each other, never to bring each other down.
Now, I know these verses are not specifically about sex, but again, I believe the underlying principles are still in effect.
So then, what do we do with a topic like bondage? Well, let’s define it first:
What is bondage
Bondage is the tying, binding, or restraining of a person for the sexual,aesthetic, and/or psychological pleasure of the parties involved. Rope, cuffs, bondage tape, self-adhesive bandages, or other restraints may be used for this purpose. Bondage itself does not contain sadomasochism.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Wikipedia is not an excellent source of reliable information, but I believe this is a pretty apt description. I particularly want to point out that last sentence: Bondage itself does not contain sadomasochism. BDSM can contain bondage, but bondage does not necessarily lead to BDSM.
Often, when people hear bondage, their mind all of a sudden jumps to chains, whips, paddles, canes, sharp things, pain, etc.. But I’d argue this is a twisting of the real meaning and a lot of people who participate in bondage would be appalled if they believed people thought that was their goal. Even if they are into BDSM, the mantra of those people is “Safe, Sane and Consensual”. Not a bad motto in any situation, really. But, that’s a whole other discussion. Back to the topic at hand.
So, if bondage is for restraint, for binding, limiting their movements/actions/choices. How can this be building up our spouses?
People like bondage for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s just aesthetic (they like the contrast of soft skin vs course rope, either the one doing the tying, or the one being tied), sometimes they just like the feeling of being sort of cocooned, it’s like being wrapped up in a warm blanket for some. It reminds them of a simpler time in their life. There is also a complex chemical reaction going on at the same time, which I am not well versed enough to discuss, but I’d say the vast majority of the people I’ve had a chance to hear/read their explanations, it’s much deeper than that.
By far, it seems there are more women wishing to be tied up than wish to do the tying, substantially more. And I think there is a clue there? I think it’s because there is a part of every woman that wants to submit (yeah, I know, that’s not a popular thought). I think God made us in these roles. He made Adam to rule the garden, to care for it, to subdue everything in it, and then he placed Eve within that garden. She was designed to submit, to help Adam to become what he was intended for, and more and more in this day and age, staying in these gender roles becoming harder and harder to do. I think many men and women are calling out for some way to reclaim that feeling. For women: of Eve being able to submit, completely, knowing, trusting, believing that Adam would care for her, protect her, guard her from the world. For men: to feel like they are the masters of the domain God has given them, that they have a spouse that trusts them to care for them, to protect them and respects him.
Why do you want me to tie you up?
It seems for many, bondage is a symbolic expression (consciously or subconsciously) of that lost state. I asked my wife once, “Why do you think you like being handcuffed, or blindfolded, or tied with ropes, or whatever?“ Her answer was a simple “I like feeling that you are going to take care of me.” It is a conscious decision of hers to place herself in a place of complete vulnerability. She has to trust that I will let her go, that I will not harm or hurt her and she is dependent on me (during that session) to provide, to give her pleasure.
And to be honest, she loves to do it. This is not something I have ever forced on her, she requests it. Why? It’s freeing for her. She literally has no responsibilities during that time. When is the last time you had zero responsibilities? I mean, we’re responsible for things even while we sleep! I’m not sure I completely comprehend what sort of a break that is to a homeschooling mother of 4 young kids; to have between a half an hour and a couple of hours of blissful lack of any sort of responsibility and/or decision making. But, I tell you, the evidence of these sessions is undeniable. Her orgasms are quicker, stronger, and the next day she is more relaxed, smiles more, and generally just happier than if we had just had a week long vacation (though, granted, vacations with 4 kids aren’t very relaxing these days).
The closest thing I can relate this to in the Bible is this:
For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne. – Matthew 11:30
When Jesus first said this, I’m sure many people thinking “How can a yoke be wholesome/useful/good? He wants us to go from slaves to the Romans to slaves to Him.” But Jesus said the burden is light and easy to bear. You know why? Because when we let our self, our will, die, and let God take over, everything becomes easier. Don’t get me wrong, your circumstances will probably get harder, but life is easier, because He is in control, we don’t need to make decisions, only follow what the Spirit is telling us.
Now, I do not want to raise bondage on some kind of a pedestal, but I can’t help but see a parallel. I’m sure some people are asking “How can you like being tied up/blindfolded/cuffed/whatever?” Because the bondage is light. It’s sort of a trade: my wife trades emotional/mental bondage for physical, and apparently the physical bondage is much easier to bear.
Now, I’m sure some people are thinking “this guy is just justifying tying his wife up and using her”. Believe you me, when you are in the position of the person doing the bondage, yes, it is fun, but not for the reasons you think. I seriously enjoy the pleasure my wife gets out of this activity. That is what turns me on. But, I also want to say, that during these sessions, guess who gets to pick up all the responsibility she is free of? Yep, that’s me, and I do it willingly, because I love her and want her to have that break. It is my responsibility to make sure that she enjoys herself, is not hurt or harmed, if something happens in the house (some emergency), I need to be able to get her out in seconds if not faster (and yes, I am prepared for that). I never do anything I know for a fact she is not 100% willing to do. Any if anyone is wondering when it’s my turn to be tied up: My wife has absolutely no interest in switching roles. I’ve offered, she wants no part of it.
Now, obviously, this isn’t for everyone. My point here was not to convince anyone that bondage is something you should try. My point is to say, that I think you can do it in a loving, Christian marriage, and feel guilt free from participating in it. Sometimes people are worried that enjoying bondage makes them weird, twisted, a freak, broken. There are so many more people doing this in healthy marriages than you would believe.
Now, In some marriages it probably isn’t advisable. If you have trust issues (either you can’t trust, or your spouse is untrustworthy) stay away until the issues are gone. If you have been sexually assaulted in the past, be careful: some have found the experience a way to sort of claim back some part of themselves, but others prefer not to even mention the topic. Maybe ask a therapist. I’m not qualified to answer those types of situations.
Lastly, should anyone get the idea that we dress up in leather every night and whip each other: this is a once a month at most (typically) occurrence, and usually doesn’t go beyond Velcro cuffs and perhaps a blindfold. We don’t have dungeon gear, I don’t own a single flogger or whip. I don’t even own metal handcuffs, they just look too uncomfortable.
So, I hope that wasn’t too much information, I tried to be as generic as possible. I am curious about people’s thoughts. This is a topic that doesn’t get addressed much in our circles. I’d love to hear your comments. You can comment below anonymously if you like, I don’t need to know who you are. Just interested in the discussion. Do you agree with me, disagree? If I see a ton of “unlikes” and “unfollows” I guess I’ll know the answer, but I’d much rather know the reasons, I promise not to get offended. However, if there is interest, I’m more than willing to post more topics like this. Topics a bit outside of the usual fare in Christian marriage blogs, where there are many questions, but not too many answers.
Because I got so many questions, I wrote a part 2 “Beginner Bondage Questions“. Go check it out!