In the context of BDSM, bondage involves people being tied up or otherwise restrained for pleasure. Bondage is usually, but not always, a sexual practice and can involve many different items of constraint. In this regard, a whole sub-culture exists particularly around rope tying which in its purest form becomes an art form in its own right.
The inclusion of bondage in the sex lives of ordinary people (tie and tease) almost exclusively constitutes foreplay as a way of adding a spark to a sexual relationship, where one partner is voluntarily tied-up or put into restraints (i.e. bound / cuffed / spread-eagled / possibly blindfolded etc) by the other, who then sexually pleasures the tied partner using manual masturbation, oral sex, vibrating sex toys or intercourse. In the BDSM scene bondage itself does not necessarily lead to sexual activity.
Bondage can lead into the infliction of pain (Discipline) which can be from mild spanking to more severe forms of punishment. The erotic appeal for the giver is often in the expression having power over another person by making them helpless and this in itself can be visually exciting, especially when seeing another person struggle against the constraints. The tied partner may derive pleasure from being in a largely ‘helpless’ predicament in the hands of a trusted partner, Either way, many established couples find playing bondage games relationship-affirming, as they both require and imply a level of trust between the partners that is not normally found within more casual relationships, as well as being a shared ‘private’ facet of their sex life that many couples prefer to keep just between the two of them.
Discipline is the application of rules and punishment to control behaviour and although it is normally portrayed as physical punishment, this also can include psychological punishment or loss of freedom. It is not generally understood how receiving pain can lead to pleasure, but from purely a physical point of view, there is a link. When the body receives a painful stimulation, the body reacts by releasing endorphins. They are produced by the body during strenuous exercise, excitement, pain and orgasm and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce a sense of well-being. Endorphins work as ‘natural pain relievers’. The term endorphin rush refers to feelings of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger, or other forms of stress, due to the influence of endorphins. So in itself, there is the link between pain and pleasure.
The act of imparting pain can involve many sensual impressions, and does not need toys and implements (spanking, pinching, biting, scratching) and in particular, the connection between a hand and a bottom (spanking) can be the most erotic form of punishment. The use of toys and implements can include simple household objects (pegs, wooden spoons, slippers) to the more elaborate (paddles, crops, whips etc) and moving into the application of a completely different sensation ( wax, ice cubes). The repertoire of possible ‘toys’ is limited only by the imagination of both partners.
A successful bondage and discipline session will be dependant on the competence and experience of the giver and the physical and mental state of the receiver at the time of the session. Trust and sexual arousal help the partners enter a shared mindset with the receiver potentially experiencing an altered state of mind known as ‘sub space’ which can leave a lasting impression.