Answers to Bondage Safety Quiz

1. d. A faint occurs because fresh blood isn’t reaching the brain. The most important thing is to get the victim on the ground and raise his legs so that gravity will help send blood toward his head. He’ll almost always come to on his own in a few minutes, but he might not be fit to resume the scene or do much of anything else for half an hour or more. While a faint can occur without warning for many reasons, the most frequent cause during bondage and s/m play is the use of poppers, which dilate blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and making it easier for it to drain away from his head.

2. e. Rope “burns” (abrasions) will normally heal by themselves in a day or so. Topical ointments can reduce the pain, but the main healing agents are air and light. Bandages can help avoid infection or further irritation, but use only one or two loose layers of gauze. If you enjoy tight rope bondage, the best way to prevent burns is to tie the ropes over socks, boots, gloves, or other clothing.

3. b. A cramp occurs, most commonly in the calf area, when overextended or overworked muscles suddenly tighten and go into spasm. The best way to break the spasm is to gently stretch them out again, which bending your foot will do in this case. Massage will promote blood circulation, carrying away waste products in the overactive muscles. Applying an ice pack for 10-15 minutes can also help the muscles relax. After the pain eases, it’s better to work the affected muscles lightly by walking around than to stay immobile, which generally means postponing any more rigid bondage.

4. c. Alcohol won’t dissolve tape adhesive, and ripping it off fast will only maximize the damage. Various household solvents (such as Goo-Gone from the Vermont Country Store catalog) will work, but the safest way to neutralize duct tape’s stickiness is with ordinary cooking oil, especially if he’s used the tape on your mouth or eyes — always a bad idea. The best way to prevent problems with duct tape is simply not to apply it to bare skin, but only over clothing or plastic wrap. For tape gags, blindfolds, or restraints on bare skin, use gaffer’s tape, which is just as strong but not as sticky, so it peels off easily when you’re finished.

5. d. How fast you use water depends on a lot of variable factors, including your size and condition, the ambient temperature and humidity, and how hard you’re working. A man mummified in plastic wrap will sweat copiously even in a cool room, more so if you’re increasing his stress level with mind games or by playing with his helpless body, and in any long scene he’s going to need to piss. People who are dehydrated don’t always feel thirsty, so it’s not safe to rely on him to tell you when he needs water. A cup of fresh liquid every hour should be plenty for most guys; a big bear who struggles a lot may need more. While making him recycle his own piss could be a big turn-on, and it’s not unsafe in moderation, the piss will get more and more concentrated (nastier and more toxic) over time, and it cannot replace the fluid he’ll lose from sweating. It’s safer to combine recycling with an adequate supply of fresh liquid.

6. b, c, d, and e are all correct. If you follow these rules of thumb when applying restraints and checking on them during a scene, you’re unlikely to encounter serious circulatory problems. Remember that bound limbs and genitals can retain fluid and swell up, making restraints that seemed okay at the start too tight later on. In a rigid-bondage scene, check the restraints at least every 15 minutes or so, especially if you’re playing near the edge with bondage that’s intended to be painful or punishing. Prolonged immobility can also reduce circulation in parts of the anatomy that aren’t directly bound, such as the thighs and buttocks, so vary your partner’s position periodically — turn him over, turn him on his side, make him sit or stand for a while, and so on.

7. a. Nerves damaged from handcuffs that were too tight or improperly used (such as for suspension) normally heal themselves, but it can take up to six months for symptoms to disappear completely, depending on the extent of the damage. Aspirin or another anti-inflammatory drug may help in the first day or two, and hot packs, cold packs, massage, and mild exercise may also help a little, but there’s no quick cure. Normal use of the hand will generally not have any ill effect.

8. b. While “Don’t panic” is always good advice, it’s never safe to assume your partner is one of those rare souls who can hold his breath for as much as four minutes. By the time you notice he has a problem, a minute or more may have already gone by — especially if you were on the other side of the room or, worse, outside of it. The safest assumption is that you have only 30 seconds to get the gag off, and any gag that can’t be removed that quickly (cutting it off if necessary) simply isn’t safe. The other suggestions may all be worthwhile preventive measures if the bottom is prone to nasal congestion, but they won’t work nearly fast enough in an emergency.

9. c and d. Some guys are too heavy to be suspended safely, and some aren’t limber enough to be hogtied without an unacceptable level of pain. That aside, there’s no reason to avoid this favorite position if you take the indicated precautions. While breathing will always eventually become difficult in a face-down hogtie, even without a gag, short scenes should be no problem, and a tragic outcome is unlikely even in a longer scene as long as the top stays alert. But if you want to hogtie your partner for the night and get some sleep yourself, lay him on his side or tie his hands in front.

10. b. Using a knife to cut off ropes, straps, a sock gag, or a folded bandana when you’re in a hurry is asking for trouble — you’re as likely to cut him, or yourself, as to effect a speedy release. EMT shears are designed for the job and can do it quickly and safely. But not all blunt-tipped shears are EMT-grade; flimsy shears designed to cut paper or thin cloth are worse than useless. And while padlocks, handcuffs, etc. generally come with two keys, people have a bad habit of storing both keys in the same box, or else putting one key on a ring and losing the spare. A bondage player who uses his head will make up two duplicate rings of keys, keep one in the toy bag or playroom, and store the other separately for emergency use.

Finally, quick-release “panic” snaps should always be used to attach critical weight-bearing restraints. It is extremely difficult to untie, unlock, or unbuckle restraints that are under tension, as when they’re holding up a bottom who’s fainted. A panic snap stays shut because of a sliding metal ring held in place by gravity; even with weight hanging from the snap, you can slide the ring up and open it. If you can’t find these snaps at a regular hardware store or your favorite kink supplier, try an equestrian shop or the climbing department in a sporting-goods store.

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