The psychology of bondage: Why do people like to be restrained?

Like so many things, it all goes back to the womb

By Mistress Couple
Published March 30, 2019 7:29PM (EDT)
 (Getty/Azzazelius)
(Getty/Azzazelius)

Excerpted from "The Ultimate Guide to Bondage" by Mistress Couple (Cleis Press, 2018). Reprinted with permission of Cleis Press.

No matter who we are or where we come from, we all share the same first bondage experience—being bound within the safe confines of the womb, literally tethered to our mothers via the umbilical cord. While it might not be very sexy to think about bondage in this context, doing so explains a lot about why people enjoy the sensations of restraint and encasement.

Floating in the cushion of amniotic fluid inside the uterus, we are all informed by our senses. As early as eleven weeks into pregnancy, we, as fetuses, develop the sensation of touch, and we begin to explore the boundaries of our own bodies and the womb that encapsulates us. Ultrasound scans taken during this time show babies “touching their buttocks, holding onto the umbilical cord, turning and walking up and down the amniotic sac wall on the inside,”15 according to Heidelise Als, associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston. We are not still and quiet in the womb as many believe; on the contrary, we exist to explore the variety of sensations that life has to offer.

Als believes that fetuses use touch to both soothe and...

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