Six Ideas For Exploring Bondage With Chronic Pain

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Because not every pain is good pain, even in kinky play.

Quite frequently on my blog I have explored different kinks with my audience and shared little snippets of my kinky life, but apart from my piece on pain when you’re already in pain, I’ve not written too much about enjoying BDSM when you have a disability. Having decided that I want disabled-friendly kink to be the core focus of my blog, I realised quite recently that I needed to do a lot more talking about it. 

As a BDSM submissive, one of the things that I so love is bondage. Unfortunately, as someone with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, something that I struggle with nearly all day every day is sensitivities and chronic pain. When one of my ‘pain sites’ is in one of the most commonly used bondage points, the wrist, successful and enjoyable bondage can prove tricky. 

Life With Chronic Pain: My Early Days

Before 2001, I was largely able to do the same things as my peers. I was never any good at gymnastics, but then, you didn’t need to be good at gymnastics to succeed in life. I was still pretty sporty, shooting hoops at the basketball court every weekend and swimming with my family whenever I could. It wasn’t until I decided to play badminton at the park with my Nan that my life would be changed forever. 

I’ve always been quite a competitive person, and so when the shuttlecock when too low, I didn’t hesitate to stoop down and flick it back up in Nan’s direction. Unfortunately as I did that I struck the racquet on the ground, bending my right wrist back almost completely on itself and damaging the tendons and ulnar nerve. 

 Almost immediately I knew that something was badly wrong. I dropped the racquet and held my wrist, begging the burning pain to stop. My Nan was beside herself, blaming herself for my injury. My poor Mum had to console me and her own Mum at the same time!

In the weeks that followed, the pain didn’t go away. My wrist would do peculiar things like turn pale blue with red blotches or be burning hot and then feel really cold. Writing hurt and my hand was profoundly weak. I was sent to the hospital 2-3 times for x-rays and ultrasound scans, but time and time again nothing showed.

In 2002 I was seen at the Bath Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases where, based on clinical observations and my history, I was formally diagnosed with RSD Type 2, which used to be known as causalgia. “Caus” comes from “cause”, as in “to be the reason”, and “algia” means “pain”, therefore causalgia quite simply means “reason for the pain”.

I’ve had many treatments for my condition over the years, most are aimed at management of my symptoms, rather than a treatment itself. There is no treatment for RSD, but with pain relief, patience and understanding, many of its symptoms can be helped. 

So how do I accommodate chronic pain in bondage?

The first thing for me is to be mindful of the three symptoms that I can typically expect to experience:-

Muscle pain & stiffness – Usually from countering and protecting sore spots, muscles elsewhere in my body can become tired. For example, I get thigh cramp from trying to keep my right leg off of the floor when I’m seated. I have another two pain sites in my right leg that are more comfortable when slightly elevated.

Spasms – Again, overworked muscles and tendons love to do this! I call it “having a party without inviting me”. It’s a pain, but I’m used to them by now.

Allodynia – A fancy name for sensitive skin. For most people, your hand rubbing against paper as you write a letter would feel like nothing much at all. For me, if feels like rubbing my wrist against coarse glasspaper.

At this point, some people might rule bondage off as an impossibility or worse, dismiss a submissive as unsuited to play (ouch!). But hold your horses, believe it or not, there really are ways to practice bondage when you live with a chronic pain condition. Here are six ideas:-

1. Softer Cuffs

Leather and steel cuffs might be all of the rage in the BDSM community, but cost reasons aside, they’re also not too forgiving. Whilst it can be tempting (and fun) to play tough, sometimes you have to make allowances, and a lighter, softer cuff might be one exception. The ones that I use are a soft velour fabric with a velcro fastening. They’re lighter, softer and more flexible, which means they’re a lot more comfortable if my wrist goes into spasm.

2. Cuff Placement

If you like, then the epicentre of the pain site on my wrist is on the outside of my right hand, where my wrist joins my hand. For me then, it it makes things like handcuffs extremely uncomfortable, even unbearable. To counter that, one way to practice bondage for me is to place the cuffs about halfway up my forearm, where the pain is much less so. If you (or your partner) have localised pain, this is an idea for you to consider. 

3. Knot Placement

Again and similar to the above, if you’re exploring rope bondage, not (knot?) positioning a knot directly on a painful spot can be a good idea. You could try positioning it on a different side of the limb where the pain is less, or above the site, or below it, whatever is most comfortable for you. 

4. Time-Limited Bondage

On average, it takes about 20 minutes in a fixed position for my muscles to start becoming unbearably sore Some people can go on for longer, and some people for less. Although a little bit of pain can be a fun and kinky thing, there’s a world of difference between a bit of S&M play and leaving your partner incapacitated the next day (unless that’s your thing, I won’t judge!). If your partner is prone to muscle soreness and fatigue, set a time limit for bondage and then change for an activity that won’t put so much strain on their muscles and joints.

5. Predicament Bondage

Okay, so this one is for the true sadists among, but hey, sometimes you’re sort of out of good options. With predicament bondage, you put your submissive in a situation whereby if they move, something bad (but not too bad!) will happen, for example, if they close their legs, they’ll draw the curtains and their naked form will be exposed to the outside world, or if they move their arms, they’ll pull a bucket of iced water over themselves. The idea here is not to tie them in such a way that they can’t move, but to have them in such a situation that they simply won’t want to!

6. Mental Bondage

Last but certainly not least is mental bondage. Mental bondage is really about obedience, it is about not moving because a Dominant has instructed for it not to happen. This of course very much depends on your relationship with your partner, and it is less effective with brattier submissives – for obvious reasons!

Tip: Consider involving a blindfold and/or earplugs. Your partner might not want to move if they don’t know where you are or what you’re up to!

That’s it from me for this post Twisties! Do you or your partner suffer with chronic pain? How do you manage it with your bondage sessions? Let me hear your ideas in the comments!

Until next time.

Stay safe & have fun,

Helen xx

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