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The Ten Commandments of Steel Bondage
adapted by david stein
from an article in the June 1982 GMSMA newsletter
© copyright Checkmate incorporating Dungeonmaster Magazine.
used by permission
For those who like realism in bondage, there is no substitute for steel -- handcuffs and leg irons. Leather and rope can both be cut, not made secure and dangerously tight. Unfortunately, many tops who use handcuffs are not familiar with their tools. This can cause damage to their prisoners. If followed, the rules below will allow tops and bottoms to enjoy their scenes more.
- Most cheap cuffs can be easily broken or forced open. A good pair of handcuffs bought in a police-supply store or ordered from a reputable specialty supplier will cost little mere than junk cuffs sold by porn shops. For modern-style U.S.-made cuffs, look for those from Peerless, Smith & Wesson, Jay-Pee, or the American Handcuff Co. The best old-style (non-swing-through) cuffs are Hiatts (made in England).
- DON'T GET TAKEN BY RIP-OFF STORES.
Smith & Wesson high-security cuffs cost a bit more, as do specialty models such as hinged cuffs.
- DON'T BUY CUFFS WITHOUT A DOUBLE-LOCK MECHANISM.
Usually, the set-look is closed by inserting the pointed tip of the handcuff key into a small hole on the top of the lock ease of the cuffs; the setlock is opened by turning the key backward in the normal keyhole. Don't buy cuffs with lever-operated set-locks, which are typical of cheap manufacture. Lever-operated set-locks can easily open unintentionally and become loose and unreliable after a period of use.
- ALWAYS DOUBLE-LOCK CUFFS AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN APPLIED.
Cuffs that have not been double-locked can tighten on the wrists if the prisoner struggles or changes position and thereby cause damage to the nerves.
- DON'T MAKE CUFFS TOO TIGHT.
The point of steel bondage is that it doesn't *have* to be tight to be secure. Don't tighten cuffs more than necessary; as long as the cuff won't slip off, it's tight enough. It should still be easy to move the cuff on your prisoner's wrist after it is locked and set; assuming no tension is applied to the fastening point, the cuff bows should not press into the skin at any point.
- NEVER SUSPEND YOUR PRISONER BY STEEL RESTRAINTS OR MAKE THE PRISONER LIE ON HIS/HER CUFFED WRISTS.
This can cause serious nerve damage. Suspending the arms above the head with steel cuffs, even with feet or body firmly planted on the floor, can cause damage if the tension is great or the position held for more than a few minutes.
- DON'T APPLY HANDCUFFS BY SWINGING THEM TOWARD THE WRISTS FROM A DISTANCE.
You can break someone's wrist or arm that way. The outer edge of the cuff should just touch the wrist as you apply it; a short downward snap will swing the bow up through the locking part of the cuff and then back down and around the wrist. Practice snapping cuffs onto yourself until you get the technique down right. If it hurts you, it's going to hurt your prisoner.
- CUFF THE HANDS BEHIND THE BACK.
Unless secured otherwise, cuffs attached in front can be a dangerous weapon. For s/m scenes where the highest security is less important than minimizing unnecessary danger to the bottom, it is better to fasten handcuffs behind the back so the palms are facing each other, making any tension on the cuffs affect only the less-vulnerable outer sides of the wrists. Palms-out behind the back offers better security (that's why cops are trained to do it that way) but is riskier and less comfortable.
- DON'T TIGHTEN LEG IRONS.
Leg irons don't have to be tight to stay on. If they are, the bottom won't be able to walk, and the pressure could damage the Achilles tendons or bruise the ankles. Leg irons over boots are best if the prisoner will have to move around in them.
- KEEP EXTRA KEYS HANDY.
Nothing can ruin a scene quicker than trying to remove the bottom's restraints (or those you've put on yourself) and finding that you can't locate the keys.