The Beginners Guide to Bondage and Domination
By Master James
Assisted by Slave Sandi
This is a handbook for people to learn more about a type of
relationship known as Bondage and Domination. We do not pull
punches or try to soften the language used. If you are easily
offended, do not continue reading this Guide. We are writing
this from the experiences of others and our own experiences.
This is by no means an endorsement of this lifestyle. It is
meant as a guide to those who seek a greater understanding,
or who are interested, but don't know how to start. The usage
of "him" and "her" are from our own experience.
Do not take it to mean the male must be dominant every time. There
are many successful B&D relationships where the female is the
Dominant, or in same sex relationships where one is dominant and
the other submissive regardless of gender.
Table of Contents
Bondage and Domination (B&D) is an alternative relationship
in which a Master or Dom controls the actions, emotions, and will
of the slave, or submissive, often referred to as "sub".
B&D does not necessarily refer to the sex act itself. B&D
is more akin to a seduction. The Master seduces the slave with his
power, the slave seduces the Master with their willingness and
servitude. Sex does occur in the relationship, but in this Guide,
we are discussing the lifestyle, not sexual practice. "Slave"
and "sub", as well as "Master" and "Dom"
are not directly interchangeable titles. The differences will be gone
into later in this guide. A B&D relationship consists of two
people who are mutually consenting adults who agree on a direction
for their relationship. They agree that one of the partners will
take the dominant, controlling role, and the other partner, the
submissive, controlled role. Just like in any other relationship,
it is a two way street, though to outsiders, it may not seem so.
The Master relies on the slave as much as the slave relies on the
Master. They are dependent on each other to satisfy their own
needs. Each partner has different needs, as defined by their
role as Dom or sub, but each is satisfied, though in different
ways. Each couple will have their own set of agreements. This
Guide talks about ours, but every B&D relationship is
different. However, there are some basic rules that are universal.
Back to the Table of Contents
Chapter 1 -- Basic Definitions
Bondage and Domination are not to be confused with Sadomasochism.
To make this more clear, we are including these basic definitions.
They are taken from the American Heritage Dictionary.
- 2. A state of subjection to a force, power or influence.
It comes from the Old English word bonda, which means
- 1. Exercising the most influence or control;
governing. 2. Most prominent in position or prevalence;
ascendant. Comes from Old French and Latin dominans,
- 1. To control, govern or rule by superior authority or
power. Comes from Latin dominari, to rule > dominus, lord.
- To lower the pride or dignity of; mortify. Comes from
Latin humiliare, humiliat-to humble > humilis, humble.
- comes from Submit.
- 1. To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will
or authority of another. 2. To subject to a condition
or process. 1. To yield to the opinion or authority of
another; give in. 2. To allow oneself to be subjected;
acquiesce. Comes from Middle English submitten >
Latin submittere, to set under: sub-under + mittere-to
cause to go.
- 1. The perversion of deriving sexual satisfaction
from the infliction of pain on others. 2. Delight in
cruelty. 3. Extreme cruelty. Comes from Comte Donatien
de Sade (1740-1814)
- 1. An abnormal condition in which sexual excitement
and satisfaction depend largely on being subjected to
abuse or physical pain, whether by oneself or another.
Comes from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Austrian novelist
- 1. The perversion of taking pleasure, especially sexual
gratification from simultaneous sadism and masochism.
If you ignore the terms "perversion", and
"abnormal" in the above definitions, you can
still see that nowhere in the definition of dominate or
submit do you have pain as an integral part. However, in
Sadomasochism, the pain is the pleasure. In B&D, pain
is a tool for correcting improper actions by the sub. In
B&D, no actual injury occurs, or should occur. In
Sadomasochism, or S&M, there is usually no such barrier.
A spanking in B&D for the purpose of correction would become
a flogging primarily for the purpose of pain for sexual delight
in S&M. It is a difference in gradients and intent. In B&D,
the Dom rarely, if ever, punishes the slave for the sake of
punishment alone. S&M, however, revolves around the act.
We are not saying that S&M is wrong, bad or undesirable.
It is just a much higher gradient than B&D, and may be
too intense for the beginner.
Some people may confuse heavy B&D with S&M. They
are two very different things.
Back to the Table of Contents
Chapter 2 -- The Players
Although it may seem through outward appearances that all
the power in the relationship flows from the Dom or Master
to the sub or slave, this is somewhat misleading. The players
in a B&D relationship, no matter which side they are on,
are equals to a certain degree. Both sides have power, but
in different ways. The Dom may have ultimate authority, but
the sub is the one who initiates most actions.
To prevent any misunderstanding between players, they
should understand the difference between a Dom and a
Master, and a submissive and a sub.
The Dominant, or Dom
"Many inexperienced Doms believe that all that is
required is simply ordering your sub around as you choose.
It's not. There's much more to be said about what being a
good Dom requires" (Rex99, 07-21-95, AOL)
Domination is not just giving random orders. A good Dom
will find a way to cause the sub to desire pleasing the Dom.
A Dom, or Dominant, is the protector, teacher, and lover to
the sub. As the protector, the Dom must be (a) stronger than
the sub, and (b) stronger than other males in the life of
the sub. This does not mean that he has to be physically
bigger or stronger. We are talking about character and
personality. As the teacher, the Dom must be wise and,
above all, right. The Dom should not arbitrarily punish
the sub on a whim.
There must be a reason. To do otherwise will break down
the trust and security of the sub. The Dom has to be
respected by the sub. Respect is a quality that is earned
by the Dom being right, and issuing swift, correct justice
and reward to the sub. The Dom is not there to inflict pain
and degradation on the sub, but to give the sub a goal and
a direction on how to love and please him.
As the lover, the Dom is loving and, when appropriate, stern.
He must recognize that he is the only source of pleasure for
the sub. He must see to it that this area is not neglected.
The Dom should, when appropriate, be gentle, supportive,
and tender to the sub. A Dom/sub relationship is not just
about overpowering. It is about the Dom caring for the
well-being of the sub. If punishment is required to stop
a destructive action by the sub, then it comes from the Dom.
On the other hand, when correct action has been noted by
the Dom, love and caring should come from him to the sub.
The Master is a higher gradient of control in B&D. The
Master follows the same rules as a Dom, but in a stricter
sense. The Master has a slave, not a sub. The slave is
owned or "collared" by the Master.
The Master considers the slave a possession, but a highly
valuable and loved one, the most valuable thing he owns.
Offenses against the rules laid out by the Master are dealt
with more severely, in most circumstances. Still, the Master,
when pleased, flows great love and caring to his slave. The
Master is also more protective of his slave because the
slave is totally dependent on the Master.
The Submissive, or sub
"To be sure, the slave serves; the Master receives.
But that does not mean that the slave has no sense of self,
or self-worth. Her needs are real, and she should leave a
relationship where her needs are not met." (Rex99,
The role of the submissive appears to be somewhat simpler,
but in actuality, the sub plays a large role in shaping the
B&D relationship. The sub's primary role is to follow
her Dom's directions and to please the Dom. Being submissive
does not mean that the sub is a doormat for the Dom. The
sub is the Dom's companion, his student, and his lover.
As a companion, the sub is treated with respect and dignity,
is allowed to voice opinions, and allowed to share in the
Dom's activities. This is the area where the sub is the most
equal with the Dom.
As a student, the sub learns how to please the Dom, and when
done, expects to be rewarded by the Dom. Likewise, when not
done or done incorrectly, the sub expects to be corrected
and shown the right way to act.
As a lover, the sub goes out of her way to please the Dom
because she genuinely cares for his well being. The sub
does this, not out of fear of pain or retribution, but
because she wants to give the Dom pleasure. The sub does
not want the Dom to be disappointed with her. The sub
takes pleasure from the fact that the Dom is pleased.
The slave is a higher gradient of submissiveness in B&D. A
slave's primary purpose in life is to serve the needs and
desires of the Master. The slave relinquishes all control
to the Master, because the slave knows the Master has her
well-being totally at heart. The slave is marked by her Master
in some fashion to show ownership. This can be done with a
tattoo. I have collared Sandi with a tattoo on the back of
her neck that means "Respectful and subservient".
The Master/slave relationship tends to be more of a lifetime
commitment to each other than a typical Dom/sub relationship.
The slave is held to a higher standard of conduct and compliance
than a typical sub, due to the fact that the slave has given
control of her life to the Master.
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Chapter 3 -- Bondage and Domination Rules
Note: In this chapter, and henceforth, I will be referring to
Masters and Doms as Doms. Likewise, slaves and subs will be
called subs. In order for any venture to be successful, there
must be basic guidelines. We understand that every couple is
different, and no two B&D relationships are the same.
Nevertheless, basic agreements exists, or else you go
outside the boundaries of what is considered a B&D
relationship. Every couple will have their own set of
agreements, however, I feel there are some that are
No actual injury should occur to the sub. That does not
suggest that spankings, discipline and correction do not
occur, they just are not calculated to produce real injury,
either to body or mind. In B&D, pain is sometimes used
to correct behavior. It is not the central focus of the
Pre-agreed limits. It is simply an agreement on what
the Dom and sub will and will not do. These limits are
different for all couples. A pre-agreed limit is simply
the boundaries established by the relationship. As an
example, we have an agreement on not bringing in outside
people to our bedroom. It is important to discuss
honestly with each other what your personal limits
are before beginning a B&D relationship. These
are lines that are not crossed without at least some
discussion beforehand. These boundaries do change
with time as the relationship progresses.
The sub should have a "safe word", or
something they can say to halt the present time
activity. The safe word is a word that is understood
by both parties to mean that action needs to stop.
It could be that the sub is in great pain, or the
Dom wants to clarify a situation outside of the
action he is engaged in. Usually, it is that a
line is being crossed that was not discussed in
the pre-agreed limits, but just now came up.
B&D is supposed to be enjoyed by both parties.
Limits and safe words are type of guarantee that
things don't get out of control on either side.
If a Dom decides that a nice caning would be
needed, and the sub has a major problem with
it, the safe word would be used here to ensure
the Dom does not misunderstand the sub. This
does not mean the caning would not occur, it
means the Dom would have the opportunity to
consider the opinion of the sub before continuing.
Communication between the Dom and sub is crucial to a successful
B&D relationship. The sub must be willing to talk about her
feelings and the Dom must be receptive. The Dom also must be
conscious of the non- verbal cues the sub gives. For a satisfying
B&D relationship, it helps to have an underlying affinity for
the other partner. The Dom is attempting to perfect his sub to
his ideal of what the sub should be. The sub must want that goal,
too. If either of these points do not exist, the B&D can
degrade into an abusive relationship, or the partners go off,
dissatisfied. B&D is for the mutual enjoyment of both
partners. Limits and safe words assist in ensuring both parties
experience pleasure, and neither gives up all control. Over
time the use of safe words and limits may diminish, however
many couples in a long term relationship still use them.
Back to the Table of Contents
Chapter 4 -- Reward and Punishment
This point is where many B&D relationships fall to
pieces. Over punishment for minor infractions, non-acknowledged
good deeds, and ignoring blatant wrong action cause the
affinity in the relationship to break down. The roles of
both Dom and sub are fairly rigid; the duties of both well
understood. When a Dom doesn't punish major infractions, or
ignores correct action by his sub, the agreements made at
the beginning of the relationship are broken. It is here
that a Dom shows his true colors. The Dom should be in
control not only of his sub, but himself as well.
At the beginning of a B&D relationship, the Dom
and sub may agree on a long list of correct and
incorrect actions, but if the Dom does not remember
them, the sub is "getting over" on the Dom,
and in the process, losing respect for him and his power.
It would be better to have only a few rules at the start,
then as time progresses, expand them as the relationship grows.
Overcorrecting is also poor. If the Dom is cruel or vicious,
the sub will only do what is required out of fear of punishment.
Over time, the sub will have no desire to please the Dom, and
the Dom will suddenly realize he has no real control over the
sub. Punishment is a tool to correct wrong or no action by the
sub. IT SHOULD NEVER BE DONE IN ANGER! This is a very important
point. When you punish in anger, real injury can occur, safe
words are nullified, and limits do not exist. This is a very
dangerous situation. The Dom who punishes in anger is moving
into the area of abuse. In B&D, the Dom cares about the
feelings of the sub. It is very difficult to have empathy when
you are angry. Pain is not the end all and be all of a B&D
relationship. It is just one more tool at the disposal of the
Dom to guarantee his rules are complied with.
Punishment does not even have to include pain. Movement
restrictive bondage, humiliation, harsh words, or even a
look can punish the sub. Privileges can be removed such
as not being allowed to sit on the furniture, or by the
Dom forcing the sub to sleep at the foot of the bed.
There are many ways to punish incorrect actions. Save
the severe stuff for major infractions. If you beat a
dog every day, all you get is an angry, uncontrollable
dog. The same goes for a sub, and an angry sub is much
more hazardous than an angry dog. Punishment is always
followed by reward when the sub corrects the infraction.
The sub must be allowed to make up the damage, and then
it is forgiven.
Rewards show the sub that the Dom is pleased. It is a
tangible show of love and caring from the Dom to the sub
for a correct action. This is the true power of the Dom.
The reward can be a kiss, a caress, flowers, a short note,
or even a long, tender session of lovemaking. Rewards given
to the sub shows that the Dom is thinking of them, and cares
for their well being. It acknowledges their proper behavior
and reinforces it. This is how the Dom creates in the sub
the willingness to please him. A happy sub will do anything
to ensure the happiness of the Dom, and will avoid actions
that disappoint him.
Back to the Table of Contents
Chapter 5 -- Bondage
Bondage is a tool used by the Dom to restrict the movement
of, or to immobilize the sub. Binding is normally used for
correction, but can be used for pleasure, depending on the
particular B&D relationship. During bondage, the Dom has
complete control over the sub, but this depends on the type
of binding used. There are a variety of restraints you can
purchase at your local adult bookstore, or through catalogs.
Each one has its own use and purpose. Regardless of the style
of restraint, they should all be somewhat comfortable to
wear but restrictive, and should not cut off blood circulation.
If the sub is extremely uncomfortable, they will have attention
on their body and not fully on the Dom.
During bondage, the Dom has almost complete control of the
sub's body, and can use the time for instruction, punishment,
teasing, or can bring the sub to orgasm at the Dom's wishes.
In order to be bound, there has to be a deep level of trust
by the sub for the Dom. It is at this time more than any
other that the Dom needs to be very perceptive of the cues
the sub will give. When a sub is bound, the chance for injury
jumps drastically, and the sub is not in a position to defend
or assist herself. It is an act of total submission to allow
yourself to be bound, and the sub is trusting the Dom to do
the right thing. Therefore, the Dom must be in complete
control of himself while handling a bound sub. Drinking
or taking drugs before bondage is not recommended.
Rope bondage is the most common. This includes rope, scarves,
neckties, belts, or any other multi-purpose item used to restrain
the sub. Usually, the hands are bound to each other, but they
can be bound to the thighs, waist, behind the back, or above
the head. The sub can also be bound to another object such as
a chair, shower curtain rod, hook in the ceiling, and many
other places where you can tie off a rope. The feet can also
be bound together, or apart. Care must be taken with rope.
It is very easy to cut off circulation, or cause rope burns.
Use a soft, large diameter rope, such as nautical rope. Check
your sub frequently.
The more the sub struggles, the tighter the rope becomes.
Normally, these are special items made of nylon webbing or
leather. These are items that go a step beyond mere binding
of hands or feet. They are much more difficult to get out of,
and are more restrictive. One example is a setup that goes
around the neck and waist, and binds both hands closely behind
the back of the sub. Used with ankle restraints, the sub is
almost completely immobilized. Some strap items bind the
wrists to the thighs, or to the ankles. Strap bondage items
tend to be for a single purpose.
Cuffs are mainly used for wrist and arm restraint. When
referring to leg and ankle restraint, they are normally
called shackles. They can be made from many different
materials, from nylon with Velcro closings, to leather,
to metal. Care must be taken in using cuffs since a tight
fit can cut off circulation. Cuffs can be used to bind
the hands to the sub's waist, ankles, thighs, or to
other objects. Usually, when hand or thumb cuffs are
not used, the cuff is a specialized item that binds
an extremity to another object, one or two at a time.
We do not recommend police-style handcuffs for bondage.
They do hurt, and can cause skin and tendon damage. Use
a wrist strap device made for the purpose.
Since chains can cause injury to the skin, they are
normally used to support cuffs, or to hold up a
suspension device. However, some Doms use chain
directly on the skin because it will not tighten
accidentally. Choose a smooth, finished chain,
and use quick-release clasps.
Suspension devices are used to raise the sub off the floor.
These devices are more advanced, and are best left alone
if you are inexperienced.
These items include padded boards, gymnastic horses, racks,
crosses, benches, stocks, and many other items. These items
are expensive and normally take up large amounts of space.
Before purchasing these, make sure you have room for them
in your home. They are also advanced bondage items.
For the beginner, I would suggest using what you have in
the house. Gym equipment, the dining room table, chairs,
shower curtain rods, placing a hook above the door frame,
or a four poster bed work very well for training purposes.
A Dom does not need a fully equipped dungeon to properly
train a submissive.
As you acquire more specialized bondage items over time,
remember to inspect the item carefully before placing it
on your sub. If the item is frayed, cut, or has broken
clasps, throw it away. It is dangerous to use damaged items.
At best, it is an unnecessary interruption of play. At worst,
your sub could be injured. These are the Dom's tools. Keep
them in working order.
Back to the Table of Contents
Chapter 6 -- Training Items
There are many types of training items. Usually, they are
used for punishment, but, when used gently, can be very
erotic. These items should serve no other purpose than
for the administration of discipline. They are symbols
of power and authority for the Dom. They must be treated
with care and respect. Do not wield an item unless you are
prepared to use it. These items are more than just another
tool. They should instill awe in the sub, and effect an
immediate change in their attitude. They are tangible
evidence of the Dom's role as the administrator of justice
to the sub. Therefore, they should not be overused or misused.
Belts can be used to discipline the sub. Folded in half,
they are very effective for spanking. It is easy to get
out of control with a belt, though, inflicting more pain
than is necessary. Of course, the intensity of pain is
at the discretion of the couple. Riding crops are also
very effective. The head of the crop, run up the inside
of the sub's thighs, is very erotic, and a strike from
the crop is quite impinging on the sub. Flails are items
that have many long thin straps attached to a handle. They
can actually break the skin if wielded too strongly, but
with a light or medium touch, can get your sub's attention
quickly. They cover a larger area of skin, giving many
defined areas of pain. Paddles come in all shapes and sizes.
They are used for spanking large areas.
These items should be used for higher gradients of discipline,
since they do cause higher degrees of pain than the flat of
your palm, and can cause injury if not used with caution.
An inexperienced Dom should use the item on himself before
using them on the sub. This way, the Dom will get an accurate
estimate on the amount of force needed with each item to
produce the desired effect.
There are also items like gags, ball gags, and face masks.
I do not suggest that the beginner utilize those items. When
gagged, the sub will have a difficult time getting a safe
word out, and may be injured inadvertently.
Back to the Table of Contents
Chapter 7 -- Training Techniques
Respect for the sub is very important in this phase. As
a Dom, you are attempting to bring out the best in your
sub, not break her spirit and turn her into a robot. Even
in training, there are certain guidelines that are useful.
Never strike a sub in the face. A light to medium open-hand
slap is normally sufficient to handle the job. You can also
place your hands on the sub's face to make them look at you.
Never break skin on purpose. If you do, handle it
immediately after punishment is finished. Soothe
the scrapes with lotion, talking softly and gently
to your sub.
Never leave a bound sub unattended. Accidents can
happen, and the sub is in no position to assist
Never discipline in anger. That has been covered earlier.
Never discipline under the influence of drugs or
alcohol. This goes for the sub as well as the Dom.
Always explain why the discipline is occurring to
the sub. Discipline must occur for a specific reason.
To arbitrarily discipline a sub breaks down her trust
in the Dom.
The punishment should fit the offense.
Discipline should always be followed with tenderness
and love. The infraction has been dealt with, and
is in the past. As a Dom, do not hold a grudge against
the sub. Allow the sub to be forgiven.
There are a large number of techniques that Doms use. These
vary from couple to couple. When my slave has been bad, in
accordance with our previous agreements, one technique I use
is to bind her hands above her head, bind her feet together,
and, with the flat of my hand, spank her from her shoulders
to her ankles, front and back. For my slave, this is a very
effective way of getting her attention. I find it more personal
to use my hands. However, from time to time, when she deserves
it, I will bring out the more intense items. My favorite is
the riding crop. It is very intimidating, and will cause my
slave to instantly change her attitude even before it is used.
Another technique I use is when my slave is turned away, or
has her face down. I will take her hair in my hand and pull
backwards, bringing her face back to meet mine. I grab as
much hair as I can at once to keep from pulling it out.
Again, these are techniques I use on my slave. They work
well for me. You must learn your sub, and discover for
yourself the techniques that work best.
Reward is also very important. Correct actions must be
rewarded by the Dom, otherwise the sub has no incentive
to obey the Dom's instructions. I will give my slave a
single flower, a note left on the computer, or a loving
caress. The reward will depend on the sub and the action
which pleases the Dom. Once in a while, a Dom will find
a sub to whom a spanking is a reward. This is why the
Dom must know the sub, totally. Every sub is different,
just as every Dom is different. It is very difficult to
give step-by-step instructions on how to discipline or
reward a particular sub. Some subs are totally submissive,
others have a very strong will. My slave is a very
strong-willed person, so my discipline/reward for her
will be much different than yours. In any case, the
discipline is for correction, the reward is for compliance.
If more correction is needed, do not hesitate in escalating
your actions. Use the amount of correction necessary to
punish the infraction. Do not threaten punishment. Apply
it. The sub will respect the Dom to a greater degree. If
the sub complies above and beyond what you expected,
reward her accordingly. Remember, the strength of the
Dom lies in his love for the sub.
Back to the Table of Contents
This has been a labor of love. I wish to thank the many people
I and my slave have talked with for their input. This booklet
was written to answer some of the many questions we are asked
about our relationship, and in our life we have met many people
who were interested in B&D, but knew nothing about it. I
hope after reading this information you are left with the
understanding that the Dom is not only about discipline. He
is about love. Also, the sub is not the doormat for the
whims of a Dom, but a valuable addition to the Dom's
life. B&D is not for all couples. It worked for me
and Sandi, and we want to share the information we have
learned through years of practice.