The Restrained Elegance lexicon of slavegirl positions

Please note that while it is written in the style of a pompous 1950's textbook, the lexicon is something Ariel and I made up as a diverting entertainment for ourselves and for members of the site. It's written that way because we find playing 1950's style doctor and patient or scientist and subject hot (and funny). Please read it in the same fun spirit! It is absolutely not an endorsement of the degradation or subjugation of women (outside of the consensual fun bondage games).

While we're both active in the bondage industry and an active BDSM couple in private life, we also wouldn't want to lay claim to any great authority on the subject- there are many experienced riggers and shibari practitioners worldwide who know far more than we ever will. We use the names of these poses amongst ourselves when we rig and shoot for Restrained Elegance; it doesn't follow that that's the "official" name, or that others will use the same terms in the same way.

I just like being able to bark out orders to get into such-and-such a position and have Ariel hurry to obey, and she likes being trained to do it better ;-)

It is also not meant to be an instruction manual for how to tie. You must always follow basic bondage safety precautions and use your own judgement to what is safe for you and your own partner. If you want to know how to get started, check out some of the references on the bondage safety page, especially Chanta's book.

This is very much a work in progress. We have some new positions we must get around to shooting to add to the original lexicon, and we've only just started on the huge range of bondage positions. Be patient with us- it is a lot slower to shoot the bondage positions than the unbound ones, there are only so many you can get through in a day! We will shoot more and add them in due course.

Hywel &



Part One: Free-standing slavegirl positions

Part Two: Bondage positions

Part Three: Gags


Part One: Freestanding Slavegirl Positions


The human body is capable of adopting an almost infinite variety of poses and positions. Some of these poses are awkward, ugly or ungainly- these are inappropriate for a Restrained Elegance slavegirl to adopt, for a Restrained Elegance slavegirl should be alluring, elegant and as beautiful as possible, whether in bondage or out of bondage.

The following is a lexicon of named poses and positions, along with more general modifiers and descriptions which will aid Masters in specifying the position that they wish their slavegirl to adopt. Some are appropriate as a prelude to being tied, others are resting or stress positions which the slavegirl must adopt for her Master's edification, in order that she can be a fitting adornment or decoration to his realm.

Positions can be described in several different ways. Some named positions specify very exactly the position and manner in which feet, legs, arms, body and head must be held, for example, Virgin Sacrifice. Of course, the Master may over-ride the usual form of a pose. "45, arms behind in box" should be clear enough to a slavegirl who is familiar with the lexicon.

Other descriptions refer to just part of the pose, and must be combined with other descriptions to completely specify the pose. If the pose is not completely specified by the Master, it is the responsibility of the slavegirl to pose the rest of her body in an alluring and suitable way which complements and enhances the specified position.

For example the pose shown to the left would normally be specified as waitress but that only really specifies the arm position to be adopted. The slavegirl here has chosen to stand in the modelling at ease position, with her head proud- acceptable, if slightly lazy (standing legs tight together, on tiptoes, would probably look neater and more elegant).

Arm Positions

Elbows Together also called Strappado

Arms together behind the back, elbows touching. Many slavegirls cannot attain this position without the assistance of rope, some cannot attain it fully even then. In these cases it is usual to bind the elbows some distance apart using a rope spacer. If the elbows are as close together as the slavegirl can bear, it is usually described as elbows together. If more relaxed, it is more properly described as hands clasped behind, see below. Note that several blood vessels and nerves are close to the surface just above the elbow- the ropes should actually bind the upper arms.

Many slavegirls will lose feeling in their hands quite swiftly in this position and may lose circulation. Whilst not immediately dangerous in and of itself, numbness should be taken as a warning sign as the slavegirl might be unable to feel rope burns. Master and slavegirl should be aware of this fact and take safety precautions accordingly- the basic precaution being to hold the position for as short a time as possible. In particular, where this tie is part of a larger one, tie the elbows as late as possible and release them first.


Wrists to opposite elbow, forming a box behind the back. This position is one of the least strenuous to hold, whilst allowing safe and very secure bondage, and is therefore often used in complex ties where the position must be held for a long time.

Wrists Crossed Behind

Variants: palms out (fingers extended, palms outwards), fists (as shown), fingers spread.

Hands clasped behind

This very basic position is a less strenuous version of the elbows together position above. Hands are clasped together behind the back but elbows are not forced close together.

Variants: prayer (fingers extended, together) interlaced (as shown).

Hands On Head

With its associations with the school-room, this position is both humiliating and useful, as the slavegirl may not attempt to block with her hands- thus facilitating nipple-clamp discipline, for example.

Wrists Offered

Offered is an additional descriptor that is used to suggest the slavegirl offering her wrists to be tied. It normally means offered in front, but can be used to indicate different positions by qualifying it. For example, in the first photo, the slavegirl's hands are above her head, so this might be described as hands above head, wrists offered. Specifying offered implies that she should be positioned so as to invite her wrists being tied together. Hence the wrists are crossed, and held a convenient height above the head to facilitate binding.

Variants: depending where the wrists are there are many variants on this position. To make a slavegirl adopt the second position one would order "Get on your knees, wrists offered, head proud".

Offered is usually used to indicate wrists, but it can be used to order the slavegirl to prepare any part of her body for bondage. It is then up to the slavegirl to position herself to best effect so as to look maximally alluring whilst permitting her master clear and easy access to the specified body part for bondage.

For example "get in virgin sacrifice, ankles and wrists offered" would indicate to the slavegirl that she should lift her wrists and ankles somewhat compared with the usual virgin sacrifice position, as her Master is about to bind her wrists and ankles together.

Reverse Prayer

Hands Clasped In Front


Prayer means with the fingers of both hands straight, extended, and the palms of the hands touching each other. Reverse Prayer means doing the same but with the hands behind the back.

Hands Folded

This "at ease" position may be adopted only when directed.

Arms Crossed

The defensive position with arms crossed in front (as often adopted in normal life) is generally considered inappropriate for slavegirls unless she is specifically ordered into it. Slavegirls have no defences and should not put barrier between herself and her torturers.


Elbows are drawn in tight to the sides and pulled back. Forearms are extended, hands held out. This position is typically used in bondage with a bar or ropes to pull the elbows together behind, and arms tied together in front. The slavegirl is then ideally positioned to carry a tray, hence the name of the position.

Wrists Crossed In Front


Wrists crossed in front over chest, in the fashion of an Egyptian mummy.

Variants: virgin or modest, as shown on the top row, where hands are covering nipples. Cupping breasts may be used for buxom slavegirls. Nipples shown, as in the second row, is usually reserved for sluts.


Arms horizontal, swept slightly back, as if in imitation of a bird soaring on a thermal.

Pit of Doom

Hands above head, as if dangling by a rope around the wrists above a pit wherein resides a hideous and painful death.

Variants: prayer where hands are placed palms together as in the first two photos. The third photo shows fingers Interlaced.


Tiptoes or High Heel

This position, with heels off the ground, should be considered as the default. Masters like to see the soles of a slavegirl's feet. Standing in this position also enhances the attractiveness of the legs, in a away similar to the wearing of high heeled shoes (and hence the position is also sometimes called high heels or heels high.

Variants: one may more closely specify how far the heels are to be kept off the ground. If they are to be an inch or so off but fairly comfortable, the position may be called low heels (as if wearing shoes with low heels, rather than completely flat on the ground) or heels lifted. If the position to be held is with heels as high as the slavegirl can physically achieve, it would be referred to as extreme tiptoes or extreme high heel.

En Point

On the very tops of the toes, as in the ballet dancing position En Pointe. This can generally only be achieved with the use of artificial aids such as ballet shoes, or if the slavegirl's weight is at least partially taken elsewhere (for example in a semi-suspension).

In Classic Damsel, the toes of one or both feet are generally slightly tucked under to produce the en pointe positioning.

Natural Point

Toes are pointed, but not in a way which implies that effort is required to keep them in that position, it is just the most natural way to hold herself.

Extreme Point

Toes are pointed in as extreme a manner as possible. The main aim is to emphasise the creases around the arch of the bare foot in a beautiful way.

Toes Tucked

Toes are tucked under the rest of the foot, stretching the soles. This tends to hide the creases around the arch. It is often adopted by lazy slavegirls in kneeling positions as it makes the positions easier to hold, a tendency which must be corrected.


The feet are allowed to follow the contour of the leg naturally and in a relaxed fashion.

Toes Spread

Spreading toes is considered sexually attractive by some Masters, but is in general rather less elegant than positions where the toes are kept together. These positions should therefore only be assumed when specifically directed.

Feet Flat

This position, with both feet flat on the floor, is unattractive and slovenly, and must only be assumed if specifically directed.


Closed or Modest or Virgin

Legs are closed. This is not a stress position (see tight together) but is a fairly relaxed and natural pose, as would be naturally adopted by a modest lady who believes herself unobserved.

Tight Together

Unlike the virgin or legs closed position, legs tight together means that the slavegirl is attempting to press her legs as tightly together as possible, keeping her ankles and knees absolutely together. This is a stress version of the more relaxed virgin pose.


Legs are spread wide, but not pornographically or graphically so. Adopting the first position shown here would follow the order "stand on tiptoes, legs open, hands on head, head proud". The second position would be described as "flat on your back, legs open, raised to ninety degrees".


Legs are spread as widely as possible given the position of the rest of the body. Also specified by Legs Extreme Open or Legs Wide Open.


Relatively self-explanatory, the slavegirl will adopt a splits position either to the front or side.

On One Leg or Stork

Standing on one leg



Slavegirl's head is raised as high as possible and she is looking down her nose as if to sneer at all she sees. Forcing a stuck-up slavegirl to adopt this position during punishment is an excellent lesson- most will swiftly try to lower their head in submission and will actually find it quite hard to maintain the arrogant head position as the punishment session continues.

Proud or Haughty

Head is up, erect, looking ahead. This is a fairly relaxed stance, but compared with head neutral, below, the impression created is one of pride or haughtiness.


A catch-all term for head in a neutral position. The effect of the eyes may be to turn an otherwise neutral position into proud or eyes lowered, so the term is not a precise one.


Head lowered, but not dropped to a maximal degree. The impression created should be of a proud woman humbled, not of abject surrender. Eyes are usually looking forward rather than down, in contrast to eyes lowered below.

Eyes Lowered

A descriptor which is usually used to modify another head position: a slavegirl may be ordered to stand head proud, eyes lowered, for example. If used on its own, it generally means head humble and eyes lowered.

Submissive or Kiss The Floor

Head as low as the position allows, ideally with forehead pressed to the floor. A variation is Kiss The Floor which should be self-explanatory.

Standing Positions


Either the purely military position with straight back, shoulders back, or the variant shown here where the slavegirl is on tiptoes.

Modelling At Ease

At Ease refers to the classic military position. Modelling at ease is a more feminine position, usually adopted by glamour models. One leg is straight, with the majority of the weight on it. The other leg is tucked over and slightly around.

Variants: modelling at ease, on tiptoes means on tiptoes on both legs, including the weight bearing one.

At Ease

At Ease refers to the classic military position - standing, legs slightly apart, not in as formal or regimented a pose as standing at attention but not as informal as Stand Easy

Glamour Girl

Standing on tiptoes on one leg, the other leg slightly raised, toes pointed.

Variants: kick back, the same pose only with the raised leg kicked back, heel towards the bum, in the manner of a classic damsel being kissed and kicking one leg up behind her.

Touching Toes

Bending over from the waist, legs straight, touching toes.

Variants: the feet flat variant is often used when inflicting spankings, particularly in an educational setting.

The stress position touching toes, on tiptoes is considered more elegant but requires significantly better poise to maintain, especially if under assault from implements of corporal punishment.

The slut variation with legs wide spread is useful for disciplining wanton slavegirls.

Bent Over Strappado

Arms together behind the back, bent forward at the waist, legs kept straight (and unless specifically directed otherwise legs should be closed and feet on tiptoes).

When tied, this can be done with elbows properly together behind the back- which is a very challenging position. Some models can even suspend themselves from the elbows but this is not wise, as it can lead to serious injuries and is therefore not recommended!

Screw Me Strappado

Similar to bent over strappado above, but legs are apart. If tied in this position, the subject can be conveniently penetrated... hence the name.

Spanking or Bent Over

The classic "offer yourself for spanking" position, usually achieved with the assistance of furniture on which to lean, as in these examples. One may refine the position by further directing that the legs be held in position, such as "bend over, legs in glamour girl" or "bend over, right leg kicked back".

Kneeling Positions

Offer Yourself

On knees, leaning forwards, wrists crossed, eyes lowered, striving to put wrists as far forward as possible, offering herself to have her wrists bound her Master.

Variants: this position is already hard to hold because of the tendency to topple forwards, because the slavegirl is leaning forwards. Making her raise up off her heels so her legs are in something like 45 is positively sadistic.

Back On Heels

The basic kneeling position with the posterior sitting down upon the heels.

At Attention

Kneeling with calves on the floor (or on an item of furniture, as shown here) and the thighs vertical, body held upright. The normal version of kneeling at attention would have arms in strappado.

This position is highly recommended for administering severe all-over torture, as all the main target areas (ass, breasts, thighs and feet) are completely clean and easy to access. If access to the final main target area is required, the slave can be ordered to hold position but spread her legs. In this position, a naked and blindfolded slave can be lashed on any one of the target areas without any warning and the mental cruelty of having no clue where the next agonising stoke will land adds considerable piquancy to the experience.


Kneeling, with the thighs at 45 degrees to the floor. This position puts considerable strain on the thigh muscles, and is a very useful stress position, combining as it does a very elegant and attractive appearance with a position whose physical challenge grows rapidly the longer it is held.

Variants: The normal version of the pose has the hands behind the back, elbows together, feet naturally pointed, head proud. Any of these ingredients may be varied, for example to produce the "45, head submissive" pose shown where the subject's thighs are held in the 45 position, but the forehead lightly touches the floor.

Variant positions should be monitored to ensure that the slavegirl is not taking her weight in inappropriate ways (e.g. by leaning forwards onto her forehead) thus mitigating the stress of the pose.

All Fours

Any position which involves weight being distributed on hands and knees in this way is technically called being on all fours. There are some additional named variants listed below.

Good Dog

On all fours, legs together, toes pointed, hands together pointing outwards as shown. This is about as modest as it is possible to get in an all-fours position, hence "good" dog (c.f. Bad Bitch, below).

Bad Bitch

On all fours, legs apart. Hands under shoulders, in line.

Variants: Extreme would be with knees as far apart as it is physically possible to get them.

Submissive bad bitch would have forehead pressed to the ground.

On The Prowl

Similar to Bad Bitch and Good Dog above, but one hand reaches out forward, leading the one leg and hip forward, like a cat on the prowl. If directed to assume this position, the slavegirl should attempt to be as feline, sleek and streamlined as possible.

Abase Yourself or Pay Homage

Classic position of abasement, as required by tyrants and potentates everywhere.


Kneeling, back arched, breasts proudly thrust forwards, legs open, shoulders pushed right back, hands gently resting on the ground as far behind the body as possible. As usual, unless otherwise directed the toes should be pointed to improve the appearance of the creases on the soles of the feet. The usual variant is shown in the first photo.

A less stressful version of the position is to permit the slavegirl to sit back on her heels, but retaining the arched back and upthrust breasts.

A more stressful variant is to make the subject lean far backwards, possibly even bringing her thighs into 45.

The acronym refers to the usual function of the position: Pussy and Nipple Punishment.

Servant Genie

In this abasement position, the head is lowered, the knees are in 45, and the hands are placed on the floor beside the knees. It evokes the feeling of a female genie of the lamp bowing before her new master. Because the slavegirl will almost certainly cheat and put weight through her hands, it is not a stress position like 45. It can however be a useful follow-up position when 45 has been held to the point of muscle failure.

Kneeling Bastinado

In this classic punishment position, the slavegirl kneels on some item of furniture to lift her feet up to a more suitable height for punishment, allowing greater precision of aim and much greater strength to be applied to the strokes. A slight change of angle is sufficient to change target to the backside, which allows for interesting variations during the punishment, but the core function of the position is to provide the best possible access to the soles of the feet for bastinado.

Kneeling Hogtie

This position utilising a spanking bench or other furniture so that the subject can place herself in the classic hogtie position- arms behind in strappado, knees and ankles together, on the points of her knees, legs bent so that heels come as close to the backside as possible.

This position is often used to discipline particularly badly behaved sluts- it requires considerable mental strength to stay in the position when a cane is whistled down to kiss the slavegirl's ass, passing in between the feet and hands. Any twitch on the slavegirl's part risks the cane landing on fingers or toes. This should only be attempted by dominants with excellent stroke positioning.

It is also good for the administration of bastinado, although obviously the more classic kneeling bastinado position offers rather easier aim.

On Knee-point

This demanding position is almost impossible to hold in isolation, and is most commonly used as part of a semi-suspension in bondage. It can also be used against a wall or item of furniture as shown here. The subject must raise herself up on to the points of her knees, raising her heels as high as possible. Unless otherwise directed, she should point her toes in order to enhance the appearance of the creases on the soles of her feet.

When holding the position in isolation like this with ankles held in the hands, it is also referred to as kneel up, clasping ankles.

It is unusual for a subject to be able to keep her balance in this position independently (as in the first photograph) so be prepared for the fact that she is highly likely to lose balance and fall if ordered to hold the balance for long. It is therefore sensible to ensure a soft landing, or an item to permit balance to be regained.


The acronym refers to the blatant invitation the subject issues in this pose: "Come Fuck Me." The slavegirl is typically ordered to hold this position when she is being inappropriately sexual, unable to resist her own arousal at the situation in which she has been placed. In this case the position is used to expose her to the elements and to general view, bit withholds any possibility of her being able to satisfy herself, as her hands must remain firmly on her ankles.

The alternative is to use the position when the slavegirl is pretending to modesty or virtue which she clearly no longer possesses, having surrendered herself to service. In this case the primary purpose of the position is humiliation, a factor which is further enhanced by the way the position naturally forces her head down into the floor. This may be further compounded by issuing the supplementary order to kiss the floor.

Sitting Positions


Slavegirls should not slouch, especially not if they have been granted the privilege of the use of a valuable item of furniture on which to rest her posterior. Slouching whilst sitting is to be regarded as an offence requiring immediate discipline.

Twelve strokes of the cane delivered to her in submissive bad bitch is the standard punishment within the Restrained Elegance training regime; your preferred training regime may mandate an alternative punishment but it is generally accepted that this infraction should be punished sharply, memorably and immediately. Needless to say, the privilege of furniture use must also be revoked with immediate effect or the disciplinary lesson will be lost.


The attention position when seated is bolt upright, arms to the side, legs to the tiptoes position.


The lotus position is a classic measure of flexibility. Some cannot adopt it at all (some may have more success with half lotus), some can only adopt it for short periods and may require assistance to get into the position or hold it.

The core of the position is to place the feet upon the opposite thighs whilst sitting cross-legged, as shown. The arms are generally placed upon the knees to make a stable tripod as shown in the first photograph.

Variants on the position usually involve changing the arm position. Shown here are lotus, hands in prayer and the very challenging lotus, reverse prayer.

Half Lotus

This variant of lotus has only one foot placed onto the opposite thigh. It is a considerably easier position for many people to adopt, so masters whose slavegirls lack the flexibility to get into lotus frequently adopt half-lotus as a visually similar substitute. Indeed, some prefer the slightly less distorted look of half-lotus.

Legs Crossed

Relatively self-explanatory: seated with legs crossed. The variant here shows arms behind in box. The subject has chosen to position herself in an analogue of classic damsel, which is usually a good starting point for making any seated display more attractive.

Sex Kitten

A seated position where knees are bent, legs slightly separated usually by a different degree of flexion in each knee. Toes are pointed, sometimes even tucked in en pointe. Weight is usually taken on the arms, allowing a number of seductive variations on the position. The stressful strappado version of the position here is particularly strenuous, but perhaps not as alluring as some of the softer variations.

Classic Damsel

This position is one of the most elegant and therefore the most important for any slavegirl in training to perfect. Evocative of silver-screen damsels-in-distress, it is also the basis of the most common bondage tie of all- hands together behind the back, legs tied together and ankles and knees.

In the true classic damsel position, the slavegirl's elbows are held in strappado, as close together as possible, and her feet are in en point and slightly tucked under. Her legs are tucked around to provide the most alluring sinuous curves possible, and the position demands that the slavegirl also adopt a facial expression suitable to the dynamic of the position, ranging from feisty defiance through to terrified anticipation. It is up to her to judge what her master is likely to have in mind for her as a sequel to requiring her to adopt this position, and place herself in the correct emotional space accordingly. It is unlikely to be a position conducive to levity, affection or displays of wanton sexuality.

Damsel At Bay

This position is in some ways a variant of classic damsel but is adopted when sitting on a flat surface rather than a chair. The subject rests back on her arms, supporting about half her weight that way. Legs may be held together and toes in extreme point, but it is more usual to adopt the legs-slightly-crossed position shown here.

Sitting Balltie

The slavegirl draws her knees up under her chin, clasping her legs with her hands. In order to avoid the cardinal error of adopting the feet flat position, it is usual to put some weight forward and lift the arches into a high heel position, or lean backwards somewhat and adopt extreme point. The latter is hard to maintain in balance, especially if bound, as is likely to result in the slavegirl rolling backwards onto her back, into balltie proper.

Legs Together Sitting

This relatively relaxed pose is the usual "at ease" position for seated slavegirls. The back is relatively straight, but not ramrod-straight as in sitting at attention. Of course, the slavegirl must never approach a slouch. The legs must be together, a position which can be notably difficult for highly sexed slavegirls to maintain. As always, the slavegirl must introduce subtle tension into her position in order to display herself to best effect. In this case, the best result is generally attained by taking some weight through the legs and lifting the feet into the tiptoe position. However the ratio of the size of the slavegirl to that of the seat (particularly the length of her lower leg to the height of the seat) may mean that this position is not optimal for some all cases. It is the slavegirl's responsibility to accommodate this height difference and adjust her pose to best effect.

There are numerous variants. The one shown here has hands interlocked in the lap. Hands by the sides as in sitting at attention is perhaps more common as this variant looks rather defensive.

Prone and Supine Positions

Prone On Front

A catch-all term for any general prone pose where the slavegirl is face down, on her stomach. Most variations additional specify at least the leg position required.


Prone, on front, legs together, arms together, toes pointed, arms outstretched. The equivalent of Virgin Sacrifice but face down (and hence sometimes called face down virgin sacrifice).

The name head-to-toe comments upon the fact that the entire of the slavegirl's back from head to toe is vulnerable and exposed, especially to implements such as the tawse or leather strap. The entirety of her back can be whipped mercilessly, from head to toe.

Prone On Back

Another catch all term, the exact pose usually being specified by additional descriptions.

Pray To Hell

A perverted and stressful position, the slavegirl is prone on the floor on her front, her arms behind her back in reverse prayer, face pressed down to the floor, legs wide spread like a slut.

Penitent Slut

Prone on the floor on her front, legs wide spread, arms behind in box, head down.

Quizzical Slut

As Penitent Slut, above, but slavegirl is directed to raise her head from the floor to look at her master.


The classic hogtie position. Most slavegirls will have to grasp their wrists with their ankles to remain in this position for any length of time if not bound. When tying, it is traditional to tie elbows together if the subject's flexibility permits. When a slavegirl is holding the position on her own, this will rarely be possible to hold for more than a short while.


On front, legs wide spread but on ground, toes pointed, arms outstretched together above head. Slavegirl's body forms the shape of a capital letter Y. Also called bury me in a Y-shaped coffin.

Frogtie on front

On front, legs bent as though in a frogtie. Most slavegirls have to grasp their ankles with their hands to maintain this pose for any length of time.

Variants: if the legs are closed, this position becomes a hogtie, so legs are generally at least at open.

A variant is to have legs very wide open, which makes the position slut frogtie on front as shown in the second photo.

Z or Zig-Zag

An asymmetric on front supine position where one leg is raised by bending the knee while the other foot is brought to the bent knee, forming an "S", "Z" or zig-zag shape. It is very exposing and is often used after the administration of punishment (as witnessed by the whip marks on the posterior of this specimen).

The Pose

The Pose is a term from the world of foot fetish. It refers to the family of positions designed to provide the best combination of displaying the soles of the the feet and the face simultaneously. The slavegirl lies on her front, propped up on her elbows, and bends her knees to ensure the soles of her feet remain visible. The really classic variant of the pose has legs crossed, but any variation on this basic idea of showing the soles of the feet and the face is usually considered part of The Pose.

On Your Back, Touch Your Toes

Self-explanatory- and agonising. Subject lies flat on her back, legs extended and straight, and touches her toes. This is a fine stress position.

On Your Back, 45

A slightly milder version of on your back, touch your toes... although any slave who has been place in 45 will find it quite agonising. The subject lies on her back and raises her legs, holding them together, legs straight, toes pointed, with the thighs at a 45 degree angle to the body.

If used as a bondage position, the use of a rope from the knees to a chest or shoulder harness and a rope from the ankles to a suspension point is useful in maintaining the correct attitude of the legs... and the slavegirl. Floor points are desirable to prevent the slavegirl raising her torso from the ground: it is better to have her lashed firmly to the floor before beginning the leg tie.

Rocked Back

The slavegirl adopts a kneeling position, typically one with knees spread apart. She then reclines backwards until the back of her head touches the floor, but keeps her hands forwards, down by the side of her legs. The name of the position comes about because it is suggestive of a heavy blow rocking her back on her heels.

It is customary to accompany the order to adopt this position from the kneeling precursor with a slap to the slavegirl's face. Important safety note: face-slapping is an activity which many authorities warn against as having significant serious risk of injury! Any such slap must be bestowed very lightly and very, very carefully. It should be symbolic and have absolutely no weight behind it. The inexperienced should consider omitting this aspect of the ritual, or bestowing the slap with a lightweight cloth glove (not a heavy leather one!) to ensure safety.

As you will

A variant of rocked back, this position keeps the head, back and leg position of rocked back but moves the arms to above the head. The spread-arm position in the first photo is unusual, the more usual variant is shown in the second photo, with legs closed. This may be considered a stress position variant of virgin sacrifice and it has similar connotations of an innocent giving in to her fate with grace and dignity.


Subject is spread out to the four corners of an imaginary rectangle (or, much more commonly, to a genuine bed, rack or St. Andrew's cross). This position provides the slavegirl with precious little defence against assault to any part of her body, precious little modesty, and provides good sexual access especially if a bolster is placed under her hips. A subject can of course be spreadeagled on her front or her back, depending on the target areas to which her master wishes to attend.

When tying a subject in this position it is all too easy to provide to much slack in the ropes, which will allow her to twist herself to avoid many outrages or assaults, thus roundly defeating the primary purpose of the position. The ropes should be tight. A well-trained Restrained Elegance slavegirl will of course ensure that she extends to her fullest while the ropes are tied, to assist in ensuring that the tension is set correctly.

Because the tension needs to be significantly greater than usual, it is vital to use proper non-tightening knots placed under reverse tension, or to use bondage equipment with rounded, ideally padded edges such as leather cuffs. Putting the correct tension onto shackles is a recipe for lacerations and injury and must be avoided.


The subject adopts a curled-up position by drawing her knees towards her chin and wrapping her arms around the outside of her legs. As always, the subject should maintain an attractive contour with her legs and feet, pointing her toes. The name of the position refers to the usual bondage use of the position, which is to tie the subject into a ball. This bondage position produces a high degree of immobility with the subject typically unable to do anything but roll to one side or the other.


Subject lies on her side, legs together, knees bent, toes pointed, and reaches down her shins with her hands. It is also possible to hold this position lying on her back. It lends itself to a very attractive bondage pose with ropes at knees/elbows and wrists/ankles, commonly also combined with some sort of shoulder, chest or crotch harness to turn it into a variant of the balltie. The initials come from the model and rigger combination where I first observed it in use.

Face Down Leg Raise

Lying on her front, face down, legs straight, tight together and toes pointed, the slavegirl must raise her legs as far as she can. This is an interesting test of flexibility with joints going against their normal range of movement, but should not be forced with bondage (especially not if the torso is tied down)! Dislocated joints are not elegant or pleasant.

Diana's Bow

This very attractive variant on the face down leg raise brings the hands back to cup the buttocks, and usually also raises the head somewhat to make the curve of the bow symmetrical. Despite the extreme allure of the position and the implied invitation of the hands ready to spread the cheeks of the buttocks to provide access front or rear, it is perfectly chaste (hence the classical allusion).

Virgin Sacrifice

On back, legs together and outstretched, hands together above head outstretched, toes pointed. The classic virgin spread out on a sacrificial altar pose.

Slut Sacrifice

On back, hands above head and outstretched, legs as wide apart as it is possible to be but still on the floor, toes pointed. This sacrificial position suggests that it is a sacrifice of virginity, rather than of a virgin- hence the term "slut sacrifice".

Legs Up

Subject lies on her back with her legs straight, raised vertically upwards, toes pointed.

This position is extremely good for bastinado. If the ankles and knees are bound together, a rope can be passed from the back of the ankle knot (the side of the tops of the feet rather than the soles in order to maintain clear access to the soles) and tied up to a suspension point. Toe ties can be used to keep the feet even more in position, specifically the use of thin cords around the big toe can prevent the slavegirl crossing her feet over to protect one particular spot during bastinado. The closeness of the feet together does make targeting the arches slightly trickier, but the opportunity for backhand "passing strokes" hitting both soles usually provides sufficient compensation. If the targeting proves too much of a problem, one can tie the rope with adequate space between the ankles and secure with proper cinching over the gap to maintain the separation, or even use a small spreader bar.

Securing the slavegirl's hands for bastinado can present problems. If the slavegirl is in the hands-above head pit of doom position shown here, a rope can be taken to a wall stanchion. However, experiment has shown the combining this tie with a balltie, with the arms wrapped around the legs below the knees and fastened to the knee rope at that level maximises the helplessness of the slavegirl.

Miscellaneous Positions

Starter's Orders

Weight taken on hands, arms straight, legs curled slightly under to allow toes to be pointed. The position resembles that of a sprinter in starter's blocks, hence the name. It is an open invitation to inflict bastinado whilst the slavegirl is in a stress position.

Part Two: Bondage Positions


The human body is capable of adopting an almost infinite variety of poses and positions. Some of these poses are awkward, ugly or ungainly- these are inappropriate for a Restrained Elegance slavegirl to adopt, for a Restrained Elegance slavegirl should be alluring, elegant and as beautiful as possible, whether in bondage or out of bondage.

The following is a lexicon of named poses and positions, along with more general modifiers and descriptions which will aid Masters in specifying the position that they wish their slavegirl to adopt. The positions in this second part of the lexicon are those in which the slavegirl can be tied.

Many thanks to WykD Dave from Ropetopia for helping us out with the rigging of some of the Japanese-inspired ties seen below.

Needless to say, mistakes in the terminology are ours, not Dave's :-)

They might even be us cheerfully renaming things so it sounds more fun to us. As always, these are our names for the positions that we use on shoots for Restrained Elegance. They aren't 'official'.

By the way, we don't really talk like misogynistic 1950's scientists in real life. Well, not often, anyway. We don't mean any of this seriously (except for the side notes on safety). It's a game for play scenes and the bedroom where the use of loaded terms like "slut" can be fun and hot (with the right person with consent in the right context)... just like the bondage itself is hot and fun, but only if done consensually with the right person in the right context.

Classic Damsel

This position represents the classic damsel-in-distress of the silver screen. In the normal variant shown here the elbows are tied touching together behind the back, wrists are tied, and the legs are tied together above and below the knees as well as at the ankles. The elbows together produce a strenuous tie and the shoulders-back position forces the subject into an involuntary display of her bosom, thus emphasising the sexuality of the subject. However, the fact that the legs are bound together so conclusively renders any sexual activity rather difficult, so this is considered a modest pose, suitable for display, tease and disciplinary use.

The variant shown here adds a crotch rope and a drawn-tight satin scarf gag.

Ariel says:
"I love this position, because I think it forces my body into an elegant shape. Having elbows tied together makes my back arch and my chest stick out, which isn't exactly comfortable but it feels very glamorous to me, and I've never ever been able to wriggle out of an elbows-together tie because it just doesn't allow enough movement to make it possible. I like this position too because it makes me feel like an innocent damsel in distress who's not in imminent danger of anything really horrible happening to her - I feel like a sort of bondage-statuette when I'm tied up like this; I feel as though I'm more likely to be admired than abused."

Box Tie (Arm position), Frogtie (Leg position)

The box tie is the basis of many bondage positions, being restrictive without causing discomfort or blood flow and nerve issues in the way that the elbows-together tie often does. It is therefore suitable for positions that take a considerable time to tie, whereas elbow together positions should be limited to those where the elbows can be tied last and untied quickly.

The shape so formed is somewhat less aesthetically pleasing than the elbows-together tie to many eyes, but is very useful for the large number of combinations it allows. The ropes passing around the upper arms and chest prevent the subject from wriggling her wrists free of the tie at the small of her back; for additional immobility this wrist rope can be attached to a crotch rope if desired.

The position shown here combines the bow tie arm position with the frogtie leg position. Frogtie is the vulgar name for a most useful position- the leg is bent fully at the knee, and tied just below the knee and just above the ankle. This allows considerable variation in pose and some mobility, whilst preventing the slavegirl from attempting positions above her station- it is impossible to stand up, or raise her head above a certain level, which can be a useful feature of this tie. A humiliation task could be set by promising the reward or release the slavegirl if only she can reach a token placed at her normal head level- a place which will inaccessible, even if she is agile enough to be able to get up onto knee-point.

The primary use of frogtie, however, is clearly sexual. Despite the restrictions imposed by the tie, the subject can open her legs widely and therefore can be taken in any or every desired orifice. As shown in the first photo on the second row below, the subject can still adopt some variant positions (the illustration showing an attempt to replicated the CFM pose whilst tied). The addition of a bolster or bar to support the hips or other support structure permits even more variations to be created.

Ariel Says:
"In this position I feel much more like a slavegirl than I do in Classic Damsel; the arm position can be sustained for ages, so I like the feeling that I could be left tied up like this all evening. It's not anywhere near as painful as the elbows-together tie but it still makes me arch my back so it feels graceful too. I spend a lot of time kneeling now that I'm the RE Slavegirl, but I think you can probably tell from my expression that I really like it! In this tie, you can actually kneel with your legs together, but I often forget that because it feels sexier this way. "


The most salient feature of the hogtie is the rope attaching the bound wrists to the bound ankles. It is this feature which ensures that the hogtie delivers maximal restriction for the slavegirl from minimal exertion on the part of her captor, which goes some considerable way to explaining its enduring popularity, particularly in Western Bondage. There are few ways of immobilising someone as effectively with as little rope as the basic hogtie. Even just tying ankles, wrists and a short line between them can be most debilitating and, if the knots are tied so as to be inaccessible to probing fingers, largely inescapable.

The variant shown here is even more strenuous, incorporating additional ropes behind above the knees and above the elbows, bringing them almost to touching behind the back. This can make it somewhat hard for some people to draw in breath (because one cannot avoid weight resting on the chest and diaphragm) and also means the hands are likely to go numb sooner rather than later, so this variant should be considered advanced and more for punishment than for long-term storage.

The same position is easily accomplished with metal, either with handcuffs and leg-irons (one merely has to cross the chains linking the wrists and ankles) or with shackles and chains. In this variation it is referred to as a hogshackle. There are also purpose-designed bondage devices to hold the subject in this position and these items are generally referred to as "hogties".

Mobility is usually restricted to being able to roll over, and possibly from there being able to level up into a bridge position, as shown in the second photo on the second row below. The subject generally finds it more comfortable to be able to roll, as it relieves the pressure on the chest. If the hogtie is drawn sufficiently tight even this much mobility can usually be denied to most subjects.

Aesthetically, it has the great advantage of displaying the soles of the feet and the face simultaneously, and may therefore be considered the bondage equivalent of "the pose" so beloved of foot fetish enthusiasts the world over.

Ariel Says:
"Urgh, I hate these! I always try to persuade people to do the cross-ankle variant because it's much more comfortable for me, but I think most people like seeing this style more. It's extra hard when my knees are tied together, and adding elbows-together is even worse! I always find it fairly hard to breathe in this position (though lots of models don't have this problem) so I think I maybe need more training to make me better at it. "

Balltie, plus Legs Up-Balltie variant

There are many variants on the basic balltie theme. The core similarity is that the knees are brought up to the chest and constrained to remain there with rope. The illustrated version uses a single cinched band of rope at breast level; this may be prone to some slippage if not otherwise secured. Other variants bring the ropes over the shoulders as well, using the arms to prevent slippage.

The balltie is usually completed by binding the wrists and ankles. In the classic variant, these would be tied together (as here) but then additional rope use to draw the bound ankles in to body to keep the knees bent, either by extended the chest band to wrap and cinch around the bent knees and shins or by adding a rope to pull the ankles in, for example to a crotchrope.

Instead in this example the subject's wrists are bound to her ankles but are not otherwise secured in to the rest of the balltie, allowing her to adopt the JBJS position, or as in the final two photos to be bound with her ankles raised to produce the legs-up balltie variation.

Tiptoe Crotch rope spreader bar strappado

The strappado position refers to any arm position where the arms are bound together behind the back and elevated. The strappado was and is used as a real-world torture and mutilation and we are therefore reluctant to use the term, but it is so widespread that it is unavoidable. It is vitally important to note that the leverage of the arms can in principle dislocate the shoulders (which is how real-world torturers use it) and that one must therefore be very careful when rigging the position- one should be careful that a sudden slip will not result in injury. On no account attempt to suspend or semi-suspend anyone by their arms in strappado!

The position shown here incorporates several elements. The crotchrope is not attached to the rest of the bondage and serves primarily as decoration and titillation. The ankles are bound to a spreader bar, keeping them far apart. The subject was ordered onto her tiptoes and to remain there. Her elbows were again bound together behind her back, which intensifies the effect of the position. Her arms were hoisted to a stout suspension point, but a rope with considerable stretch was used in order that if she did slip or faint there was considerable elastic give in the system.

All that said, the position is very aesthetically pleasing, very practical, allows for rearward penetration of the subject and is an excellent means of display to boot.

Ariel Says:
"Ahh, this is one of my very favourite ties in the whole world. Hywel did this tie with me at our first shoot, and it was my favourite one of the day. I love spreader bars anyway, especially if they force your legs to be very far apart, and the strappado makes it even better, because I couldn't use my hands to protect myself if someone decided to spank me. Which is what I was fantasising about the first time Hywel did this with me. I also think it's an elegant position, because if you want to relieve some of the pressure on your arms, then you have to balance on your tiptoes. Ooh, and if you add nipple clamps then they tend to swing around a lot and hurt even more. I love this position! "

Reverse Prayer (Arm position) Karada/Tortoise-shell (Rope Web)

Derived from shibari, the karada or tortoise-shell rope web is one of the basic elements of decorative bondage, here tied by the subject herself after some introductory training. Whilst not being functional as a restriction in its own right, the rope web does provide anchorage for any number of other attachments, and is very ornamental and pleasant to look at. If tied very snugly it can also produce a "rope embrace" which some subjects find pleasurable.

Here the rope web has been used as an anchorage for the stripped-down form of the reverse prayer tie, which keep the hands palms together behind the subject's back. There are many more elaborate and somewhat more secure variants of the reverse prayer tie but the variant shown is pleasingly minimalist.

The final photo shows several additions to complete the bondage tableau- wrists and knees bound in the manner of the classic damsel position, and nipple clamps added as a display and disciplinary measure. It is possible to produce the same tortoise-shell effect down the legs as well, proceeding in a similar manner to the way the tie is rigged on the body and producing a visually pleasing neatness and continuity.

Legs Up, Wrists to Knees

The legs-up position is of great utility. If used with a spreader bar, it is extremely conducive to face to face intimacy during sex, without the possibility of demurral. If used with ankles together, as shown here, it provides the perfect target for bastinado.

The degree of helplessness produced is proportional to the height to which the subject's feet are raised. One must be wary of raising the rope too high, however, in order to avoid putting undue pressure on the back of the neck.

There are many ways in which the hands can be secured. Here they are bound to the ropes around the knees, with the final knot tied behind the knees to be outside of finger reach. It can also be very successfully tied with the arms tied "hugging" the legs.

Ariel Says:
"I really like being tied with my legs in the air like this. Hywel uses it a lot for Bastinado because the soles of my feet are unprotected and I'm not strong enough to keep reaching up with my hands. It's also really comfortable (unless someone's assaulting the soles of your feet, obviously!) and I like the way it gives me plenty of freedom to struggle and get into different positions without being able to escape. It feels a bit like a semi suspension too, but it's more sustainable than most of them. And it's quite lady-like because my legs are tied together, so it feels more damsel-in-distress than some positions do. "


This position is typically achieved by the use of the implement called the yoke, as illustrated here. It can also be achieved by the use of ropes tied to a pole (a length of bamboo is typically used) although here one must be careful if the pole is to be attached at neck height- one must as always be very careful of any rope-work or restriction near the neck.

The yoke was featured in the BDSM-themed film "The Secretary", most particularly in the trailer thereto, where its combination of permitted dexterity with complete awkwardness was well demonstrated. The subject's fingers are free and unrestricted, so she can write, wash dishes, prepare food and perform all manner of other domestic and menial tasks. However, she cannot get her hands near her mouth, so she cannot feed herself easily or with any manner of decorum, and she must exercise considerable care in walking around as the yoke is often too wide to fit through doorways.

It is frequently used as a training aid, and is invaluable in slowing the slavegirl down to ensure that she take proper care and exercise due attention to her chores. The variation shown here adds heavy leg irons for further restriction; the subject is compelled to move at a relatively sedate pace and it can therefore be very helpful during poise, posture and gait training, ensuring that she move with due deliberation and decorum.

Crab tie

The crab tie binds the slavegirl's wrists to her ankles and commonly (as here) adds ropes binding at around the level of knees and elbows as well, to keep her lower arms parallel to her lower legs. When correctly and snugly tied it is surprisingly restrictive, permitting only the opening and closing of her legs and rolling onto her back. The subject shown here was unable to resist the temptation to show off by attaining a semi-standing position, however, she was extremely unstable and this is not to be recommended.

The primary purpose of this position is clearly sexual, and it is often used in conjunction with a spreader bar, whose utility in this matter ought to be obvious to the reader. As the last photo shows, it can also be used for non-sexual purposes by binding the legs together above the knees, producing a most satisfactory additional degree of confinement for those slavegirls unable to contain their urges to show off.

Ariel Says:
"I've only just learned about this position! I don't think it's used very often, but I definitely want to do it more. I think it'd be brilliant for sex (as long as it didn't break the tied-up person's arms) and I love how little rope it uses - it's very economical and elegant-looking. It's one of those ties that can't really help looking quite sexual, so I enjoyed posing like this very much - especially as it allows for lots of struggling, and rolling around which I always enjoy! "

Bent Over The Chair

The presence of as simple a piece of furniture as a chair opens many additional bondage possibilities. This is just one of the dozens of variant chair ties that can be employed. For a fuller discussion of chair ties we must beg the reader's patience; this will be covered in a future supplement to this lexicon.

Ariel Says:
"Ah, I do love this - one of my favourite BDSM sensations is being bent over furniture - I think it's probably because I like being spanked and caned so much, and this is one of my favourite positions for feeling helpless. I haven't been tied up like this very often, because bondage and spanking doesn't often happen at the same time when I'm at work, but I'm certainly a fan of this tie. "


The waitress position refers to any pose where the elbows are constrained behind the back but the wrists are constrained in front. Here a bar has been used to achieve the effect. The name derives from the fact that a slavegirl so bound can easily carry a drinks tray with which to serve guests, but cannot easily do much besides.

Note that the humerus does not bend, so even slavegirls who can touch their elbows together behind their backs will require that the rope be tied with a spacer cinch when bound in this position.

Ariel Says:
"I don't like being required to do anything useful while I'm tied up - it's very hard work, and very tiring! But sadly, this tie makes it possible to do all sorts of useful chores, while still very definitely being restrained. I find this more humiliating than most of the other positions so I never suggest doing it. But at least you could possibly make an attempt at running away if you were tied up like this, which is always a comfort. "

Double V

The slave-girl's arms are tied together to form two echoed V-shapes in front of her body. Although at first sight allowing her to protect herself from indignity, the addition of a tight rope going from the lowest point of the V's acting as a crotch rope make any defensive response from the subject exact a frictional price on her dignity, as well as thoroughly limiting her freedom of motion.

The subject's legs are here shown crossed; a more extreme variant would be to tie her legs in the half or full lotus position, maintaining a connecting rope to the bottom of the V's to prevent unacceptable postural relaxation.

Over The Pit Of Doom (aka Hands Above Head Ankles Spread, aka The Offering)

This simple tie is the mainstay of many a Hollywood damsel-in-distress scene (although their damsels are usually permitted more in the way of clothing than is to be considered fitting for most slavegirls who merit, or demerit, a period in this position).

Simply, the wrists are tied together and hauled up above the head, while the ankles are kept firmly distant from each other by the use of a spreader bar. The overall effect is one of great vulnerability, the slavegirl being unable to protect her modesty or her more sensitive areas from disciplinary procedures or unwelcome advances from her ertswhile captor.

As with all positions where hands are raised above the head, the position should not be maintained for too long to avoid circulation problems and possible fainting. A broad band of rope or, better, padded suspension cuffs, should be used to avoid excessive pressure. This should only be used for suspension with suitable cuffs, and even then should only be used briefly.

However, few positions are as simple, or as effective in reminding the subject of her position within the household and one therefore heartily commends this position to the connoisseur of wayward wenches as an excellent addition to the repertoire.

The variant with legs tied together is usually referred to as Virgin Over The Pit Of Doom; the spreader bar may be referred to as Slut Over The Pit Of Doom but this nomenclature is not the preferred choice. 'Slut' usually refers to a position where the slavegirl herself holds her legs wide open, rather than having them forced apart; clearly in any procedure where the maiden's virginity is to be sacrificed, such apparatus may be helpful in realising the ceremony's aims. So generally we assume a spreader bar when referring the position, unless it is qualified by 'virgin' or 'modest'.

Caterpillar (aka Rope Cocoon aka Full-length Karada)

Any rope wrapping which runs the full length of the body may be referred to as caterpillar or a rope cocoon. In the illustrated example, a rope web similar in construction to the karada is run the full length of the body, starting at the ankles and finishing at the shoulders.

Its function is primarily decorative as although the leg binding is somewhat effective, it does not provide the security of a typical cinched tie like Classic Damsel.

Indeed, the ropes have a regrettable tendency to slip as the subject flexes. This can be partially addressed by front-back cinches or additional horizontal rope bands, but this starts to lose the decorative simplicity of the karada style construction. A more robust alternative is composed of multiple rope bands, each cinched, resulting a variation we refer to a rope mummification.

The ultimate variant is full mummification, where bandages, cling film (saran wrap) or tape are used to tightly enclose the subject from head to toe. In that case, particularly for impermeable bondage like cling film which inhibits the evaporation of perspiration, be particularly aware of the dangers of overheating and have safety scissors immediately to hand (as they always should be).

Bottoms Up

This position is absolutely exemplary for putting one's merchandise on display, and for restraining a recalcitrant filly for bastinado punishment to the soles of her feet. The addition of the crotch harness secured to the ceiling provides constant reminders of her station in life, and even permits sexual access should a less decorative simple paired rope be used for the crotch section.

All in all it has much to recommend it. Indeed, bondage benches are often crafted to keep the subject in precisely this position (usually by means of leather straps to fasten down wrists and ankles, with a broad strap around the waist). In this incarnation it is primarily known as a whipping bench (or fucking bench) and the associated position is therefore also sometimes referred to by these names.

Olympic Mascot

To commemorate the London 2012 Olympic Games, we devised the following slavegirl position which we named 'Olympic Mascot'. Although clearly related to the touching toes unbound position, Olympic Mascot also includes a chain version of the crotch rope sit harness. This enables the mascot to take some of her weight on the chain, thus facilitating her adoption of the high-heel tiptoes position with her feet which might otherwise have been impractical due to balance constraints.

All in all we feel it combines something of the look of 'starters orders' and 'touching toes' with austere metalwork, and we commend it to the nation as much more Olympian in spirit than the ridiculous (and far more pornographic) official symbol.

Box-Tie Variant (Reach Around)

The box tie is one of the most useful of all bondage positions, as described earlier. Here we present some variations on the theme. For example, in this case the plain rope bands at the front of the subject have been ornamented and augmented with decorative over-the-shoulder passes and tensioned rope twists to produce a tie which retains all the important features of the basic box-tie whilst being significantly more decorative.

The box tie is sometimes referred to as the Ushiro Takatekote ("behind the back bound hands and arms"); we more commonly use the 'box tie' western appellation.

In these photographs, the tie is completed by a rope-ladder on the legs (see entry below).

Ariel says:
"Looking back at these shots, it's amazing to me that the rigging was so incredibly fast to do; it looks so complex but it just all seemed to appear on me in seconds! I was suspicious that the rope on my legs wouldn't stay up, but Shibari rope work just seems to be a fair bit tighter than Western style, so it dug in to my skin and stayed exactly where it was. Fab! But I wasn't expecting the ballgag. Hmmm. "

Box-tie Balltie

Here another variant on the box-tie is used as the basis of a balltie. As always, one must be careful with rope near the neck. Here we anchor the rope which produces the balltie by running it over the shoulders either side of the neck and down to the box-tie, where it can be safely secured, rather than running it directly around the back of the neck.

Ebi ('Prawn')

This is just a more stringent version of the tie above, where the rope pulling the subject over is much shorter and therefore the fold produced in her body much more pronounced. Again note that the rope is secured to the box-tie to prevent pressure on the neck.

Ariel says:
"Dave told me that this is actually a genuine historical torture position, because it becomes more and more agonisingly painful as the minutes and hours tick by. I was only in it for about 15 minutes, and he'd kindly tied it less-than-brutally tightly, so I could still move around a bit. And I'd have to say that it IS pretty uncomfortable, but I enjoyed every minute of it. "

Simple Egyptian, tethered

Here and in the subsequent two examples we see examples of how the same basic position may be embellished and incorporated into ties of quite different style. The arm position is the straight-forward hands-crossed-in-front position we refer to as 'Egyptian'. In this first example, relatively little rope is used. Despite this, and perhaps contrary to appearances, the tie is quite secure.

The addition of a rope around one ankle secured to a post or ring in the dungeon completes the position; we refer to anything tied in that way as 'tethered' (in the manner of a tethered beast). The other leg is here shown in western-style frog-tie.

Crossed Arm Geisha

Here the ropes forcing the subject into the same Egyptian pose are tensioned against each other, meaning that although the slavegirl's hands are not directly restrained, she nonetheless is obliged to maintain the basic integrity of the pose. Furthermore, these ropes are incorporated into a splendidly elegant, minimalistic crotch and hip harness. This particular design is very popular owing to its lifting and shaping effect on the buttocks of the subject, as well as the positioning of strategic knots to exert pressure in some extremely intimate locations.

Egyptian Spider's Web

Finally, we see the embellishment of the position taken to a highly decorative extreme, by the exquisite rope-work of WykD Dave. Again the slavegirl is mandated to remain in the basic Egyptian posture, but now the ropes are laid over her in such a way to as to almost provide a target shield in front of her. This cried out for an echo of the spider's web pattern to be used to secure her in a cross-legged position as well.

Ariel says:
"I genuinely didn't know you could do anything so beautiful and complicated with rope. So comfortable, but properly restrictive too. And I felt like a sort of lovely decorated sculpture once the tie was finished. "

Pork Roll and Rope Ladder limb binding styles

The arms are here tied in box-tie as above. However, note the two different forms of binding used on the limbs. The bent leg is wrapped in rope in a way which will be familiar to all readers from their duties as paterfamilias at the carving of the Sunday roast joint; we therefore decided to refer to it in our vernacular as the 'pork roll' method of binding a limb. We trust the reader will forgive us the cannibal connotations and allow us that the term is, at least, highly descriptive.

The extended leg, by contrast, is tied in another mainstay of the Japanese rope style, which we refer to as a 'rope ladder'. Here the rope is tensioned against itself many times as it ladders its way up the limb, a technique which works extremely well with natural fibres (such as hemp) used in the Japanese tradition. We should caution that anyone relying on this method with slippery artificial rope like nylon is inviting a slithering mess of snakes sliding down rather than an elegant ladder climbing up!

Here a rope is used directly behind the neck to the extended leg, which is something to be treated with thought and caution as discussed above.

The asymmetric result, especially when the rope ladder is extended to a suspension point above, is much more commonly seen in the Japanese style than in the Western, which favours more symmetrical deportment of the subject. Hence we do not give this particular configuration a title of its own; we would rather describe it by its components: Lying on side, arms in box. One leg bent, in pork roll, the other extended upwards to ceiling, tied in a rope ladder, with rope from bottom of rope ladder on leg behind back to fold her over.

Nonetheless, its efficacy is undeniable.

Ariel says:
"What a horrible name for such a lovely tie. But while Dave was tying my left leg, I suddenly was reminded of the way joints of meat are tied up with string in supermarkets. Yuk! I was worried about the pictures, but I don't look quite as edible as I'd feared. And I absolutely loved it when my right leg was tied up towards my chest. "

Teppo (Shouldering the Rifle)

This classical Japanese position can be tied in several ways, two of which are illustrated here. The first example is completed by tying the arms harness up to the ceiling, leaving the legs free. Although giving the subject the ability to move, the degree of helplessness so created was nonetheless substantial, with the ceiling rope preventing her moving more than a metre or so.

The second example also takes ropes up to the ceiling, in this case a sitting version with a rope web around the foot (which we have elected to call a 'rope slipper') elevating one leg, and a rope gag being incorporated into the teppo.

Ariel says:
"Ahhhh, I loved this. So restrictive, especially when my left arm was tied up to the suspension point. It's gorgeous, having so much rope on all at once. And I was enjoying seeing the marks of the previous rigs on my body - I started to feel like a proper rope bunny. "

"Hooplah!" (Strappado Balltie)

Our test subject explains the genesis of this tie's name for us below. From the earlier photographs in the series you can see that this was initially tied as a rope ladder on each leg, bent individually to form a frog-tie, and on the arms forming a rope arm-binder. More rope was then added to fold the subject into a balltie, from whence her arms were pulled outwards and upwards to attain the final strappado balltie position.

You may also note in the final photograph the effects of prolonged rope bondage on the test subject, both in terms of physical indentations ('rope marks') and in terms of emotional and sexual arousal response (the so-called 'rope slut' phenomenon).

Ariel says:
"I thought this would be called (less creatively) a strappado/balltie. But while Dave was tying it, he got so excited by the inventiveness of what he was doing that he suddenly exclaimed 'hooplah!' in a satisfied voice. Which seemed perfectly reasonable. It was a tremendous tie, I love being tied with my knees to my chest, but it'd never been quite this tight before! "

Japanese Reverse Prayer

This tie shows one way in which a slavegirl can be bound into the reverse prayer position, here incorporating ropes which restrain her fingers. The bondage is finished off by two rope wraps which keep her in a kneeling position, which are anchored by a single rope slipper on one foot.

This is again illustrative of the use of asymmetry in Japanese-inspired positions; were we to tie this in a Western style, we would choose to mirror that rope work on the other foot, even though it might be functionally superfluous. In point of fact, the use of rope slippers is not generally encouraged for Restrained Elegance slavegirls, as the rope risks distorting the shape of the foot or even providing protection from justly-earned punishment directed at the soles of the feet!

Ariel says:
"I normally think of Shibari rope work involving a lot more rope than Western styles. But this reverse prayer was beautifully economical, with hardly any rope showing in front. And it also turned out to be completely inescapable, hooray! "

Lotus with Rope Ladder Gauntlet

This leg tie clearly depends upon the ability of the subject to attain the position, either full or half lotus, and hold it unassisted by the rope for a reasonable length of time in order that the tie can be meticulously and neatly applied. So long as the subject can attain and maintain the position in reasonable comfort without the presence of rope, she ought to be able to do so whilst bound.

The arms are here bound together along the forearms, using the rope ladder style, to form what we refer to as a rope ladder gauntlet or more simply a rope gauntlet.

Ariel says:
"I do love this position, it's always one of my favourites because I sit cross-legged quite naturally anyway. I'd never had my arms tied like this before though - I felt as though I was at a very kinky yoga class. "

Bunny Ears / Futomomo Delta (aka Bunny Ears, legs in Z)

The appellation applied to this position is two-fold. First we deal with the arms, which are bound bent and raised, wrists crossed behind the subject's neck. The silhouette so formed irresistibly called to mind the establishments of one Mr. Hefner, of the colonies, and the famous symbol and uniform of the female members of staff there present. We therefore named the position 'bunny ears' partially in tribute to the achievements of that worthy's career.

The legs are here bound with a style which our illustrious rigger declared could well be likened to the classical Japanese form known as Futomomo; the addition of the rope around the opposite ankle pulling that same ankle to the subjects opposite, wrapped, thigh formed a triangular shape which one could barely fail to label with the classical Greek nomenclature of 'delta'. Hence, a bunny-ears, futomomo delta tie.

As with any position which removes the arms to the subject's rear, this position can very prettily be intensified and accessorised by the addition of nipple clamps, which seem to fit with the Bunny Ears pose uncommonly well.

Ariel says:
"I'm sure that this looks nowhere near as tough as some of the other bondage positions we did during our Shibari experiment, but for me it was certainly one of the most painful - it certainly wouldn't be a position I'd choose for anything longterm. My arms pushed my head forward and it felt like a proper torture position after about 2 minutes! "


This position (and its variants) was introduced to the Restrained Elegance repertoire by Temptress Kate, underneath whose demure exterior dwells an imagination of diabolical cruelty. The name comes from an arm lock used to restrain suspects by law enforcement agents. More properly this position should be called a 'double hammerlock', but since we only ever tie it in this form, we shorten the name for simplicity.

In the classical version of the hammerlock tie, the hands are usually balled into fists. In this version tied in the Japanese style by the estimable WykD Dave, the fingers are incorporated into the tie, being one of the principle foundations which make the addition of ropes crossing the shoulders to keep the hands in raised position unnecessary to this variant.

The addition of a single rope slipper converts the position into a simplified balltie. Once again, the position can be intensified (should such a step prove necessary, or desirable on a whim) by the addition of nipple clamps, against which the subject will be entirely, and most satisfactorily, powerless.

Ariel says:
"I love this position anyway - it feels like reverse prayer but with less pressure on my wrists. But having worked mainly within the Western bondage tradition, having my hands incorporated into the bondage is a new sensation for me. And yep, I love it! An extra feeling of helplessness - brilliant! "

Michelle Pfeiffer

Once again, we permit our test subject to declaim in her addendum the reasons for the nomenclature attached to this position. If the reader is unfortunate enough not to have already encountered the work of the pulchritudinous Ms's Pfeiffer and Danes and their fellow thespians in their production of Mr. Gaiman's 'Stardust', we cannot recommend this feast of filmic fantasy too highly. Any fan of fantastical satin-clad blonde damsels in distress, chained princesses and general excitement will find it to be entirely worth their while to acquire a recording of this most admirable of cinematic endeavours.

To return to more scientific matters, this position is one in which the subject can usually remain for a considerable period of time, possibly even performing light clerical duties or household chores. Its suitability will depend on the degree of posterior eroticism of the slavegirl; if applied to a truly 'arse erotic' subject, the urge to fondle herself may prove irresistibly distracting. Whilst this is likely to produce a gratifying degree of arousal, and spectacle for any assembled viewers, is must be admitted that its effect on the performance of said clerical duties or household chores may be somewhat inhibitory, or even entirely distracting.

As always, then, one must fit the punishment to the crime, or the rope to the slavegirl.

Ariel says:
" I left the studio in order to make cups of tea for the others and when I got back, Dave and Hywel were discussing Michelle Pfeiffer with great animation. Then Dave said they'd decided to tie me up so I'd look like her in 'Stardust' where she gropes her pert bottom with great satisfaction. Which won't make any sense to you if you haven't watched the film, but it was great fun for me, pretending to be a very self-satisfied porn star... "


We note in passing that the classical Western hogtie, as described above, is clearly a misnomer (since it is in fact impossible to tie a hog in this position- at least without severe dislocation). The Japanese form shown here is a useful variation on the basic hogtie theme, exchanging a rope from ankles to the one around the upper body following the basic layout of the box tie for the rope between wrists and ankles traditionally used to achieve a similar posture in the Western hogtie.

It retains all the distinctive advantages of the Western form- helplessness, similarity to 'the pose' of foot fetish fame, vulnerability of feet to diverse methods of amusement (for the owner) or punishment (for the slavegirl). It lends itself to tying cross-legged, which some subjects find easier than the legs-together variants. It is also significantly less punishing than the elbows-together variant tied with straight arms, which can be very severe indeed.

Ariel says:
"I've never exactly been in love with the name 'Hogtie' and I was charmed when Dave told us the Japanese version is 'Crossbow'. Much prettier, I thought. Though, unsurprisingly, it's just as challenging a position as the Western version. "

Koala Pole

The version of this tie shown here used a free-standing rattan pole. A more stringent and restrictive version would be possible using a fixed pole, and more extensive integration of the subject's fingers into the tie.

Ariel says:
"I loved this! Loved it! Some rope bondage makes me feel like a melodrama victim, some bondage makes me feel sort of cuddled and comforted. This was definitely in the second of those categories. By this point in the shoot I was covered in rope marks from the previous ties, and it was super to feel like a lovely carefree koala for a few minutes. "

Beetle Balltie

Ballties range in stringency and degree of immobilisation. This example, where a series of rope ladder style ties are used to wrap the whole of the subject's body into the balltie, is at the high end on the stringency and immobilisation scale, producing almost complete helplessness in the subject.

Note again the acceptance of asymmetry in the Japanese style, with one end of the rope secured around the toes and the other passing over one shoulder. In a Western tie to produce the same position, one would probably have wrapped around the ankles to produce a terminal cinched band to anchor one end and brought a second rope across the other shoulder to balance the design. This would be functionally unnecessary, but a more usual aesthetic for the Western style.

Ariel says:
"I'm always a fan of ballties, but this one was an extra interesting experience, because it was so tight that I couldn't move myself into any different positions. When Hywel had finished photographing my upright, Dave had to lower me onto my side because there was no way I could do it for myself. I don't think I've ever felt so helpless in a balltie before! I told them I felt like a beetle, stuck on its back and unable to right itself... "

Diving Springboard (aka tied JBJS)

This position completes the trilogy of similar wrists-bound-to-legs in front poses, with the wrists bound to the ankles. (Legs up, wrists to knees shows them tied to the knees and the legs-up balltie shown above also includes wrists to ankles, but with the rope running across the found limbs bound rather than ankles together, wrists together and a joining rope, as here). Especially when the legs are elevated, this can forma challenging tie, very inviting for bastinado on the subject.

As with all raised positions, one must be wary of a lack of circulation in the raised extremities.

Ariel says:
"I felt like a Art Deco figurine, tied in the position - I loved how it felt, and Hywel loved how vulnerable it made the soles of my feet. He celebrated this fact by tickling them, sadly for me. "

Bent Over Kneeling Strappado

This position is one of the 'elementary' combinations of legs bound to keep the subject on her knees, arms bound behind (here with a single rope at the wrists) and a rope elevating the arms to produce the strappado. It is great utility in convincing a recalcitrant slavegirl to correctly honour her owner, with her mouth being placed at a very convenient height for the purpose of paying that homage. The stringency and degree of distress produced can be considerable, depending on the elevation of the strappado.

The variant shown here binds the legs together and keeps them bent; an obvious variation to allow the subject slightly greater range of movement would be to tie the legs in frog-tie.

As with all strappados, its feasibility depends on the shape and flexibility of the subject; those with narrow shoulder and long arms will find it relatively easy, whereas those with broader or more muscular shoulders and short arms may be unable to assume the position at all. As always, one must assess the suitability and sustainability of the tie for your particular valued possession before applying it!

Ariel says:
"Favourite! I love the economical rope-work, but most of all I love how strappados make me feel; so vulnerable, and with my shoulders under so much pressure. I always feel as though something really terrible/wonderful is about to happen to me in this tie! "

Front-Back Box tie

We had previously only encountered this 'wraparound' concept done with metal, where two pairs of handcuffs were used to attach the wrists to the upper arm (just above the elbow) of the opposite arms. Here it is tied with rope. The construction uses the box tie as a foundation, but with one arm in front and the other behind. The box tie principle (that the hands cannot be moved substantially out of position because of the ropes around the upper arms) is used, but it backed up by the vertical ropes over the shoulders and crotch-rope, which are woven into the box tie to secure the whole edifice.

The integration of the rear hand into the tie is probably optional but we have not experimented extensively enough with variations on this theme to date to be able to satisfy the reader's natural desire for a fuller and more detailed evaluation of its merits, strengths and weaknesses. Clearly, further research is needed in this area and we will be approaching the usual learned societies for an extension of these studies in due course.

Bent Over Bamboo Spreader

As our test subject intimates in her marginal comments below, the notion for this pose originated from her. We must remark that the choice of a position which both spreads the legs wide, and places the hands in between those legs in a position whereby considerable pleasurable friction could be auto-generated by the subject possibly says more about the predilections of this particular slavegirl than she might, on reflection, wish to have revealed.

Ariel says:
"Hmm, this was my idea. It's probably not the most beautiful or elegant of our Shibari-influenced series but I really wanted to be tied up this way - I love being tied in a bent-over position :) "

One leg semi-suspension (aka One Leg Superman)

This semi-suspension uses another variant of the one arm in front- one arm behind pose. The basic concept of a single raised leg can be done in a very simple form, as here, or in a more elaborate and supportive way for longer durations, as in Yoko Tzury (see below). Quite why it reminded Ariel of superman is a mystery, as we usually reserve that name for positions where one arm is extended in front in the classic 'superman flying' pose.

Ariel says:
"'I feel like Superman!' I exclaimed with great excitement once I realised how I'd been tied. 'Except with only one leg. And a girl. Oh, and naked.' So maybe not all that much like Superman, but it was certainly super fun! Having my arms tied like this was completely new for me, and there's no point even trying to struggle in this position - there was just no movement possible for my arms at all. But I had great fun seeing what I could do with my legs; it's great, the combination of no mobility for part of your body, and absolutely loads for another part. "

Yoko Tzury

Yoko Tzury (or Zuri or Tsuri) is a sideways suspension, which name could equally well be applied to the Peter Pan sideways suspension (see below). Here it refers to a semi-suspension but with the same basic characteristic of a sideways extension (the leg) held up by the ropes.

Ariel says:
"'This is a SEMI suspension' stipulated Dave, looking pointedly at me. I have been known to take my supporting foot off the ground sometimes, just to feel what a full suspension would be like. But since Hywel was also looking at me sternly, I decided to behave properly. I didn't want Hywel to get any ideas about punishing me in this position, it simply gave him too many easy targets... "

Hishi Fit (aka Alpine or Full Rope Harness, based on Rope Sit Harness)

The basis of this tie is the harness tied around waist and upper thighs, which we refer to as a 'sit harness' based on the equipment of that same name used by our alpinist colleagues. (Illustrated in the first photograph).

The principle is the same- the bulk of the weight is taken by the thigh loops, with the waist element providing security and some distribution of weight to the waist and/or hips in some orientations. This provides a comfortable and secure support capable of taking the subject's weight for a considerable time (especially if the rope bands are broad).

As with the climbing sit harness, the main danger of the simple sit harness is that if the subject were to become overly recumbent, she might become inverted or, at worst, slip out of the harness entirely. The usual climbing countermeasure is a full harness, where an additional linkage is provided at mid-chest to prevent falling backwards.

Here that linkage is provided by a chest harness integrated with a box tie, again used as a basic arm tie as in many Japanese-inspired forms; a Western alternative version might use a band of rope under the arms, secured by ropes passing over the shoulders. In the Western form, we would refer to it as a Full or Alpine Rope Harness, and it forms one of the most secure ways to suspend someone (and potentially also one of the most comfortable so long as sufficient turns of rope are used). In this Japanese-inspired form the pressure put on the arms may prove to be the limiting factor; we call this incarnation the 'hishi fit'.

Ariel says:
"I believe the name of this tie is 'Hishi' but I thought it'd be a perfect way of tying up a diva who was having a hissy fit... It certainly became pretty tough once I was partially suspended, but all the lovely rope digging into me was still a wonderful feeling. "

A Note On Suspensions

For the suspensions, we will cease our jovial notes. Any tie which involves the whole of the subject's weight being taken on the ropes is serious (bringing increased risk of nerve damage from box-ties taking weight on upper arms unless tied correctly, for example). Any which involves a significant height brings with it a real increase in objective danger should anything go wrong, and anything which involves an inverted suspension with hands unable to shield the head should the worst happen should only be done once you've REALLY practiced simpler suspensions many times and have done proper risk assessments.

Please don't try even the simplest of suspensions without due care and attention. Make sure the suspension point is properly secure, all kit used is rated (ideally for at least ten times the expected load, since someone swinging in a suspension might create a considerable dynamic load). To assess whether you can do the suspension with adequate safety, read up about doing suspensions safely, and do a risk assessment for what you are planning to do, with the person you're planning to do it, and for the space where you will be tying.

Sorry to inject such a serious note, but it could be my fiancee you are proposing to dangle upside-down six feet above a concrete floor. For everyone's sake, take things one step at a time and learn what you are doing on easier stuff first. I don't want to contribute to the 'I saw it on the internet, let's try it!' school of rigging. Thanks!

Basic Horizontal Suspension

This is one of the easier suspensions to tie. The basic operating principle is that weight is taken by multiple broad bands of rope, specifically under the arms, at the waist, at the hips, under the bum and above the knees. (The ankle and wrist ropes are not particularly weight bearing here). The ropes bands are then secured in place by additional ropes to prevent slippage- possibly overkill, but this would prevent the ropes sliding off if she were to start reclining backwards.

This 'rope hammock' position is generally one of the more comfortable, and it allows the tie to be done on the floor and then the subject to be winched up gradually, testing the weight distribution as she wiggles around. As always with suspensions, we had to adjust the tension of some of the ropes going up to the suspension bar to get the desired look and distribution of weight between the different rope bands.

Were I to tie it again, I'd use much broader bands on the 'stay' ropes over the shoulders, as when Ariel posed around in the tie, these took a little more load than I was expecting and cut in a bit as a result. No harm done but it would have been even more comfortable for Ariel if I've had more turns of rope there.

Ariel says:

Peter Pan Sideways Suspension

This is a beautiful example of a Japanese style suspension from WykD Dave, using fewer turns of rope, very carefully positioned. Do not try this one at home unless you know what you are doing and have done some easier suspensions successfully first.

Ariel says:
"Dave explained to me that people often think a sideways suspension will be one of the most stressful, because all the bodies weight would rest on the lower arm. Actually, that turns out not to be the case - a sideways suspension with plenty of rope like this one really does feel like flying. It's weird that bondage can sometimes make me feel so free; almost weightless, nearly free from gravity, but still very definitely tied up."

Inverted Single Leg Suspension

And this is a terrifying example of an inverted suspension from WykD Dave that I don't think you should even LOOK at until you really know what you are doing, let alone try to replicate! I'd emphasise that (as with many suspensions) Ariel was up there for a few minutes at most, just about enough to snap off a series of photos. Please remember to take care of your partner, and suspendees, please remember to give your rigger PLENTY of notice of when you will need to come down, don't wait until it has become a matter of urgency!

Ariel says:
"Oh my goodness, I was so scared! I've always loved suspensions, but following a bad experience (not with Restrained Elegance) a few months ago I've lost some of my confidence. But Dave is extremely experienced with suspension work and I'd have felt utterly pathetic to turn down the opportunity to do some proper challenging stuff. I'm happy to say that my confidence has returned - it felt like flying as my weight was gradually taken away from me and I was gently rotated until I was upside down. There's no getting away from the fact that these type of suspensions are rarely comfortable, but I felt safe, excited, and ready to re-enter the world of suspension. "

Part Three: Bondage Equipment

In this section we illustrate and describe some of the more commonly used items of bondage equipment.


One of the most fundamental additions to the simple use of ropes or chains to restrain the struggling subject is a device for ensuring that you have a certain measure of peace and quiet while you do so. This may be ascertained by the use of one of several interesting devices known as gags. Whilst the subject's panties can be stuffed into her mouth and held in place, or rope can be used, some of the more purpose-designed devices will produce a pronounced silencing effect and may have other desirable features such as additional humiliation value, causing loss of control through drooling, or keeping the mouth open for the dominant's use and pleasure whilst denying speech to the submissive.

Here we describe some of the more common types of gag to be found in the Restrained Elegance store-room.

Satin Cleave or Cloth Gag, drawn tight

A classic gag, looking very neat when drawn tight in the mouth without the use of a knot. It is very elegant and simple, but not very effective, producing at most a little muffling and no volume reduction. Its primary appeal is in its visual simplicity and elegance. It does provoke some drooling but this is absorbed by the material.

This sort of gag is usually pulled tight by the knot behind the head. If there is no tension in the material, it may fall out and could certainly be dislodged with effort. So it is essential that the knot be pulled tight. This also produces the characteristic attractive drawing in of the cloth at the corners of the mouth.

Ariel Says:
"This is the classic gag that's used in mainstream movies. It basically does nothing, you can more-or-less just carry on talking while gagged like this, but it does have a pleasant Cowboys-and-Indians association for me, so I still like the feeling. "

Silk Cleave or Cloth Gag, knotted

A more bondage-play appearance can be produced simply by tying an overhand knot in the middle of the rolled scarf before placing it in the slavegirl's mouth. If neatly tied, the knot can emulate a ballgag in appearance whilst being softer and less obviously fetishistic, a trait which favours its use in kidnap scenarios.

It is more effective than the simple drawn tight cleave gag, although again producing some muffling and reduction in intelligibility rather than outright volume reduction. However, the possibilities of increasing the knot size by doubling and of pulling the knot further into the mouth by tying more tightly behind the head do provide some additional silencing potential.

Unless tied very tightly behind the head, the give in the material may be enough to permit the slavegirl to dislodge the gag or push it out of her mouth with her tongue, which is not usually the desired effect. Experience shows that this sort of gag is actually easier to dislodge than the drawn tight variant, unless tied well.

Ariel Says:
"This is a fair bit more efficient than the un-knotted variant, and I think it looks quite a lot neater too, and a bit like a ball-gag made of cloth. It forces your mouth a little bit further open than the normal cloth gag, which feels a bit more satisfying and fetishy to wear. These gags get soaking wet it you wear them for long, but they don't make you drool... "

Ball gag

To many this item symbolises the entire bondage and fetish genre. Its iconic appearance in Pulp Fiction has had considerable impact on public perception. (Although the whole episode in the film is utterly ludicrous, and along with "the gimp" very unfair to the gay BDSM scene where everybody seems to be a rapist or a murdering rapist).

The symbolism is fairly obvious- the ball being a phallo/testicular substitute, and also having the pleasant side effect of being considerably more effective in silencing the wearer than a cloth gag. The ball is typically made of rubber or plastic, allowing it to conform somewhat the to wearer's mouth and making it more comfortable to wear. Prolonged use does tend to produce considerable jaw ache, but it is extremely useful as a disciplinary device and also as training for other activities where keeping the mouth wide open is highly desirable.

Ballgags tend to produce considerable salivation, and in those prone to it the result is usually uncontrolled drooling. This effect is highly prized by many dominants because of the loss of control it produces- the submissive cannot help herself, the drooling is involuntary and she cannot do anything to make herself stop. Care should be taken to prevent choking if the submissive is also tied in a position where the drool does not naturally drain; some ball gags used perforated balls to aid this drainage.

A correctly fitted ballgag, similar in size to the slavegirls's mouth, snugly fitted behind the teeth and kept in position by a strap, will be extremely difficult to dislodge and also produces considerable muffling (to the extent that one needs to learn to speak "gag-ese" rather fluently on the set of bondage productions!) It still does not reduce the overall volume by a huge factor, but it makes delivering intelligible speech much more difficult.

Another major appeal of the ballgag is that many different colour combinations are now available, which makes for pleasing colour co-ordination.

Ariel Says:
"We use these gags most often, I think; and I really like them. They do make me drool quite a lot, but I like the feeling of having my mouth forced wide open, and they're quite comfortable because they're mostly made of fairly soft rubber. If I have to wear them for a long time then my jaw always aches a lot the next day and it's hard to talk and eat! I still remember the first time I wore a ballgag, because I'd fantasised about them a lot and I was very excited to get the chance to try one. I like the really big ones best, because once they're in my mouth they're really hard to spit out again (I sometimes can with small ones if they're not buckled tightly). "

Padded Leather Bit Gag

Often overlooked, the padded leather bit gag is only moderately effective but it is comfortable for extended wear. It is usually considered less "hardcore" than a ballgag and is thus more often used in love bondage scenarios, or where the submissive may need to bite down on something.

Ariel Says:
"I'm not sure what the point of these gags are - they look quite neat and they're very comfortable but they're not really as efficient as a ball-gag and they don't look as fetishy as a bit-gag to me. The reason I do like them is that they remind me of the sort of gags that people who'd been sentenced to 100 lashes were offered in Victorian prisons, to give them something to bite down on and distract them from the pain. So I like to imagine that when I'm wearing them! "

Ring Gag

The ring gag has even more overt sexual overtones than the ballgag or even than the cock gag in some ways. However, given the size of the average slavegirl's mouth and the consequent small diameter of the ring, it is often not actually possible to use the slavegirl's mouth in the manner which the ring gag would seem at first glance to facilitate.

The ring gag has considerable limitations. The ring has to be of very solid construction to avoid distortion or breaking under the pressure, which usually means steel. But steel on the teeth is an unpleasant sensation, and presumably does have more possibility for actual dental damage than would the soft rubber of a typical ballgag. So the ring is often paddled with leather or rubber, but this further reduces the already small inner diameter of the ring, and the padding eventually gets bitten through or worn out. The padded varieties do not usually look very good, either.

However, leaving these shortcomings aside, the ring gag produces a similar uncontrolled drooling to the ballgag in many slavegirls, and it does look severe. It can be used for humiliation (try providing water in a bowl to be lapped up whilst wearing a ring gag for example) and the implication of constant readiness for oral sex is interesting, even if often defeated by the relative physical dimensions involved.

Ring gags do reduce overall volume by making it hard to form mouth shapes, and make intelligible comment next to impossible.

Ariel Says:
"Urgh, they really shouldn't be made of metal! Sometimes this style of gag is padded with leather which makes it more comfortable, because metal-on-teeth is a horrible sensation. But I do see that the un-padded ones do look smarter. These are very sexy to wear, because of the obvious sexual connotations; but they make me drool more than any other gag so I feel quite embarrassed about wearing them too. "

Dental Gag

There are many varieties of dental gags, but most work on a similar principle- a ratchet designed to hold the mouth open. Sometimes there are additional means of preventing the apparatus from being dislodged, but often (as in this example) the wideness of the gape produced is considered to be sufficient in and of itself to secure the gag.

The primary purpose of all of these gags is to hold the subject's mouth wide open and prevent her from clamping down her jaws or biting. The usefulness of this in sexual situations should be obvious. They are not designed to muffle or to restrict volume, but some such effects are produced by the restriction of keeping the mouth so wide open.

Ariel Says:
"I think these were designed for some kind of normal medical purpose, but I've only met them in a fetish context. They're a bit tricky to use because they tend to fall out of my mouth unless they're open really, really wide. But if they're used kind of brutally then they do work really well - and they feel really sexy in the same way as a ring gag - and I love the clicking noises as the gag opens my mouth wider and wider... "

Bit Gag

The bit gag has its original in animal bits and bridles, and is frequently associated with pet and pony play as a result. The bit itself is usually constructed of a hard rubber or (as here) a moderately hard plastic. The slight give in these materials means that biting down on the gag is more feasible here than with harder alternatives such as the ring gag. They therefore make very good gags for use during stringent punishments where the slavegirl may wish to have something firm but not damaging to bite down on during high severity correction.

Bit gags can produce some drooling, but generally are less prone to do so than are ballgags. They can be highly effective in preventing speech, but are usually less so in reducing overall volume.

Ariel Says:
"Yay, I like these, mainly because I have a little bit of a pony-girl fetish and I enjoy the feeling of being objectified. They're pretty comfortable to wear, but if you feel like talking they aren't as effective at stopping you as a ball-gag or ring-gag. And they're definitely very drool-inducing! "

Head Harness (with ballgag)

This item is essentially a minor variation on the ballgag, the only differences from the classic "ball on a strap" being that the ball is held much more securely in the mouth (also making it very hard to dislodge) and that the overall effect is even more fetishistic.

Ariel Says:
"These are a great idea, because they make a ballgag much, much harder to spit out. They feel more thoroughly bondage-y than most gags because of all the straps and buckles - I think some people find them a bit claustrophobic but I do like the sort of secure feeling of all the extra restraints. "

Cock Gag

Primarily used as a training method, the fact that the protrusion can go much further into the subject than most gags also means that it can be very effective in volume reduction, especially if it goes into her throat. Of course, any such large implement must be used carefully and the potential consequences of choking carefully considered.

Ariel Says:
"Oh dear, I'm a bit embarrassed about writing about these! But Hywel said I had to. This is probably my favourite type of gag, and the kind that I fantasise about wearing most often. It feels very similar to a ball-gag but it invades my mouth further so it's much sexier for me. The only thing I don't like (hmm, never said this before, maybe I'll erase it once I've written it) is that they're never very big, and I think they should maybe be a bit more authentic, because the slightly hitting-the-back-of-my-throat, choking feeling is very nice and cock gags (or the ones I've worn, anyway) don't really deliver that sensation. "

Inflatable Rubber Gag

Although undeniably efficacious, the gags of this basic family are usually unsightly and are therefore not commonly used on Restrained Elegance. They are useful in various training scenarios, and also if one really wants to teach a lesson to the submissive or have some complete peace and quiet. But the sacrifice in elegance is usually too much to bear.

Ariel Says:
"It's such a shame that we don't use these very often because they feel lovely. It's a really nice sensation being tied up, and having someone else inflating the gag inside my mouth. But they do look kind of ugly and confusing, so they're not very popular. And they don't really inflate as much as I'd like. If a more beautiful design of inflatable gag comes out, I'd love to have one! "

Tape Gag

In and of itself, the tape gag, as seen in countless classic TV shows, is utterly useless. The tape commonly sticks exactly where it is not wanted and nowhere where it is wanted, and when applied to slavegirls wearing foundation (as is typically to be expected of well turned out slavegirls on the Restrained Elegance premises) the tape simply adheres to the powder and not to the face, pulling off and taking the makeup with it. The result is an ungagged slave with a stripe across her face of a different skin tone, which is not usually a look to be aspired to. If tape with more tenacious glue is used, it can start taking skin with it when it comes off. If tape with less tenacious glue is used, it just falls off.

Of course, tape gags do have their uses, not least when emulating the aforementioned classic TV shows. In terms of gag efficacy, it is really only of any use when the mouth is stuffed and the tape is used primarily to keep the stuffing material in the mouth, in which case it can be very effective indeed.

Ariel Says:
"Tape gags are a nice damsel-in-distress style gag, which I like best if it's used with mouth packing too. You can use tape over ball-gags as well, which I really like. They're really neat looking, and they're used a lot in TV drama and mainstream movies so they look good for kidnap-scenario photosets. And I like them being ripped dramatically off in interrogation role plays. "

Scold's Bridle

Although the roots of this device are all too real and repugnant, this modern "toned down" version of a scold's bridle is without doubt the most effective gag in the Restrained Elegance armoury. The combination of a plate to depress the tongue, a protrusion under the chin to keep the mouth closed and the locking steel head harness make it effective and inescapable. The simple fact is that no other gag produced the instant and profound silence from our photographic subject that the scold's bridle did. It is far from comfortable, and must be used with great care (especially if the wearer could potentially fall over), but if used correctly it provides the ultimate recourse for anyone wishing to properly put an overly talkative slavegirl in her place and keep her there.

Ariel Says:
"I've got a fairly serious gag fetish (I didn't realise quite how much until I started writing this) and I was really excited the first time I had a chance to wear one of these. It silenced me completely - most gags allow you to make an awful lot of noise, even though it might not make much sense to anyone listening.. But the Scold's Bridle holds your tongue down, so it's just impossible to communicate anything at all. Which makes it a very serious-feeling gag indeed. So I love it, even though it's extremely heavy and uncomfortable to wear. The invasive feeling of metal inside my mouth is very sexy and it's hard to see out of,so it's a bit like a blindfold too. Mmmmm! "