For me, and for Merriam-Webster, “Bondage” means slavery, means restraining someone, taking away their freedom, their power. This is a criminal act, unless it’s done between consenting adults within a frame of erotic play.
When I’m being tied I give up my power, my freedom of choice, and my freedom of movement… It is not a commodity and this is not casual. It has an erotic element to it, and a ritualistic element, and an element of play. Otherwise, what my partner is doing to me would be – madness. And for some people, coming to our jam and watching us playing though their Instagram lenses, it probably does look like madness. And this is the reason I don’t feel like being tied at the public jam anymore… Shall we play it down, not to scare people? But this is what I need, because my pain is that big. Where shall I go?
We play with “slavery” and “torture”. We try to make it as real as we can. It releases something dark in us. We embrace each others’ wicked side. We dare to go in the darkness and touch those monsters that are hiding there. We need courage to do that, and self-awareness and trust and intimacy. We need a space to do that and witnesses who can relate.
Isn’t this what BDSM is for? For integrating this uncomfortable, non-fitting, wicked, painful, shameful, hurting side of ourselves? We want to argue to shrink ourselves to become less sex-positive? Really? Why would you do that? Next to everyone complaining against FB community standards you claim rope bondage as a non-sexual activity? Well, real sex censorship is not about nipples, it is about how we are allowed to feel about things.
The bottom line is: by drawing the definition, we draw the space. Space where people can come and find other people alike and feel accepted.
I’m lucky I had Schwelle7 in my life, a sex-positive space, not a “safe space”, but “self-responsible space” where I found people who were kind to me, who were there holding me in my discomfort, and who witnessed my transformation. They made it possible that I could finally meet that sexual being, myself, not just a room with four walls. This is why we need to have community, to have witnesses. This is why I don’t want to settle for just doin’ it at home.
This is why I find it dangerous to define kinbaku or shibari as an asexual practice, or that it can be “anything”. Make it anything you want with your partner – you don’t need to shrink the space for that, you don’t need to shrink my space. I do exist.