Sick or Sexy?
by Eric Martin
from Bondage Digest #3 (1975)
Updated January 28, 2002

"Bondage? That's sick!"

Now wait just a moment, my friend. Are you absolutely certain about that statement? Try something with me; when I say the word "bondage," tell me honestly what you envision in your mind. Whips? Chains? Unwilling, tortured victims screaming out in mortal pain and agony? Dungeon scenes from a Vincent Price movie? Well ... surprise! That is not the definition of "bondage." What you've just described is defined as "sado-masochism," an entirely different bag of tricks from bondage!

The confusion (which is really rooted in semantics, as it turns out) is a result of the fact that "bondage" -- some form of restraint -- is an integral part of sadomasochism: the enjoyment of the infliction and/or reception of pain. After all, it's got to be pretty hard to find someone who will voluntarily hold still for that kind of treatment ... especially while it's happening! So the recipient of the pain is almost inevitably tied up; held down; bound inescapably in one manner or another.

But, whereas sado-masochism is painful and seemingly destructive, bondage is pleasurable and loving. In fact, if we take the last sentence of the preceding paragraph and substitute the words "pleasure and/or love" for the word "pain," we then have a good definition of bondage: "The recipient of the pleasure/love is almost inevitably tied up; held down; bound inescapably in one manner or another." Be it simple knots or the more intricate combination of cuffs, gags and harnesses, bondage is actually a rather sophisticated method of getting back to the basics of one of humankind's more pleasurable pastimes -- uninhibited sexual relations!

How, and why a society as affluent and as seemingly-educated as ours can continue to permit any method that enhances those terribly precious, physical interludes between lovers to be labeled "sick," or "perverted" is beyond our comprehension. Are we becoming so dehumanized, so aloof and out-of-touch with our biological realities that we can cloak the animalistic, physical enjoyment of sexual responses behind such dingy, demeaning words, actually believing the fiction that we are therefore isolated and safe from them?

Humankind's first trembling steps out of the swamp began a process of categorizing the positive and negative aspects of every act or experience in our expanding consciousness, for it was immediately obvious to even primitive man that a collective, shared body of knowledge provided a better basis for making decisions on which survival depended than did his own, limited personal experiences and knowledge. From gronp-experiences came group-customs ... which gradually solidified into group-rules. And, thus, centuries ago, originally to control a rapidly growing social interaction and interdependence, some well-meaning, but narrow-minded individuals set up customs governing appropriate sexual behavior which took on the force of rules after a while.

The major flaw in this is that the passage of time, however, has taught us the undeniable fact that the pleasure shared by lovers respects no clearly definable boundaries, and is limited solely by their imaginations and inclinations. The potential to give pleasure to those we love, in a multitude of ways, is within each of us; and to deny ourselves the excitement of exploring our sexual instincts and impulses -- which have been with us since we took our first breath of life -- is to do ourselves an emotionally crippling injustice.

When, and if you will permit yourself to behold your lover, limbs held firmly by lengths of rope and leather in a position of totally open, frank sexual invitation, the ensuing excitement produced in you by that visual display is natural, normal, and healthy (start worrying if you don't respond!). Indulged in without physical harm or intended abuse, bondage is no different, no more perverse than trying out a new position, or finding out you enjoy intercourse with the lights on. (Please don't write us if you think that's sick ... ) We can see no major difference between the wearing of a filmy negligee to enhance sexiness, or substituting some leather and rope; gently binding your loved one in a particularly vulnerable position and then bestowing upon them tangible manifestation of all those loving feelings that are impossible to put into words.

What woman has never expressed (either to her lover, or in her own quiet thoughts, secreted between the heavy folds of inhibition} a desire that the foreplay could continue on throughout the entire lovemaking episode, rather than ending when penetration begins. The erotic stimulation of bondage uniquely encompasses the entire duration of the sexual encounter, magnifying and intensifying the pleasure thresholds of both partners; and thus often provides an answer to "what's missing" from intercourse that has become more routine than exciting and satisfying.

To gently bind your lover and flood their body and mind with all the feelings and sensations of intense love and adoration that you find difficult expressing in words is a method of unlocking the door of communication between yourselves; a means of total acceptance of each other with nothing held back, nothing hidden. Loving bondage is a "no-holds-barred" situation in which each partner can say, "This is how much I care, this is how much I love you." One uncontrollable, uninhibited, soulshaking orgasm is worth 20 minutes of "I love you." And if the ropes, chains, or gags add to the intensity of the experience, you quite possibly have discovered a new plateau of sexual fulfillment. Which is what bondage is all about, folks!

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