2021, BDSM, Bondage, Tape -

Tape and Bondage: A Sticky Situation

Whether you are new to BDSM or a seasoned pro, the use of tape in bondage is a fun, inexpensive, and often colorful way to incorporate creative freedom into restrictive play. As with all forms of BDSM, knowledge is critical to safely and effectively explore tape in bondage. In this blog, I'll get into the details of various types of tape, discuss safety, and hopefully provide some inspiration to help you get into some sticky situations of your own.

Hmm... Choices

Who would have imagined that there are SO many different types of tapes? A simple stroll down the tape and adhesive aisle in your local hardware store can be enlightening and unnerving if you are trying to find the perfect tape for a scene.  You will have to make some choices.  Some may turn out great, and some will turn out bad.  Learning is part of the journey, though.

Tatianna - Choices

Price: One of the attractive attributes of tape in bondage is the low cost to explore. However, depending on the scene, you can either use a little tape or a lot. For example, a simple gag will take just a little, but a mummification scene can take several rolls. We will get into mummification in another blog, mostly because there is a lot to discuss and because it happens to be one of my favorite kinks. In considering the price, remember that you get what you pay for. While there are lovely off-brand options, sometimes you can enter into dangerous territory when you start value shopping. Do your research. Talk to your friends in the community. Reach out to a local fetish or kink store for advice (I'm always available to help!). Or experiment safely either on yourself or with your partner(s).

Adhesive/Glue: Stronger adhesives do not necessarily equate to a better bondage scene when it comes to tape. Stronger glues can sometimes be toxic when used on the skin, or in the case of a gag, ingested. Plus, it may just taste or smell TERRIBLE! Also, consider allergic reactions. I am allergic to most common adhesives, even causing me to have to buy hypoallergenic bandaids! If you are unsure, check out the tape in person.

Flexibility/Stretch: Tapes come in various structural strengths that should be considered when determining how much movement you want to give to your partner(s). Duct tape is more rigid than bondage tape, so less is necessary for a powerful restraint, whereas bondage tape would require more layers. Repositioning your partner(s) during a scene should also be considered since the type of tape will play a significant factor.

Breathability: Depending on the bondage scene you have in mind, the breathability of the tape you use can be crucial. Consider the length of time and areas of the body being restrained. Medical tapes and fabric tapes provide a more breathable option yet do not have strong adhesives.

The Safety Dance

While an easy entry into bondage, tapes can cause some serious and painful injuries. Understanding them is crucial in prevention.  And while some situations can be humorous on film, they may not be in real life!

Kelly Clarkson - Steve Carell

Hair Removal: We have all joked and laughed when we see men in movies get their chest or arm hair waxed. But it can be painful! Incorporating this into the scene is reasonable if negotiated, but be aware of this possibility when using tape.

Abrasions/Tears: If the glue/adhesive is too strong, removing the tape or tension from positioning could cause abrasions or even tears in the skin.

Circulation/Maceration Issues:  Securing tape too tightly or leaving it in place for long periods can result in circulation issues, tissue damage, and maceration. You are likely most familiar with maceration when you wear a bandaid/bandage for an extended period, and the skin becomes discolored.

Breathing Problems: Whether from underlying medical conditions such as asthma or due to the tightness of the tape across the chest, consider your partner(s) ability to breathe when designing your scene.

Physical Exhaustion/Discomfort: Your partner(s) position can make or break a bondage scene. Prolonged holding of positions can strain muscles and joints, even when using strong tapes. Once removed, the body may be weak in some areas, causing pain or difficulty moving.

Emotional Well-being: Being restrained is an act of submission, which comes with opening oneself up to being vulnerable. Check-in with your partner(s) periodically to ensure they are doing well and enjoying the scene. Expect a bit of fear or anxiety, but prolonging those emotions should not be the goal of a bondage scene.

The Good, The Bad, and The Meh?

With so many varieties and variables to consider, some tapes are perfect for bondage, others that are of no use, and some that are an absolute "NO!" Here are my opinions on some of the more common tapes out there, but everyone has their own opinions and likes/dislikes.

Types of Tape

Packing Tape: Cheap and easy; just like me, this clear yet strong cello-type tape is a great way to pack cardboard boxes. When exposed to oils and water, like with the human skin, the adhesion is relatively weak. Packing tape is excellent for beginners and for keeping the covered parts visible. It has a little stretch, so it creates a secure restraint that is easy to get out of in an emergency when attached to itself. This tape is also less likely to cause abrasions, tears, or hair removal. Personally, I love to use this tape as a gag so I can see my partner's tongue.

Duct Tape: Ah, the tried and true! Feared by newbies and loved by the pros. Its use in films has created an instant narrative around this type of tape, evoking images of abduction, restraint, and subjugation. There is also a real fear of the pain of its removal. It has a stronger adhesive than packing tape, making its removal more complicated yet not as dangerous as other alternatives. Be aware of the possibility of abrasions, tears, and some hair removal if removed quickly or roughly. If applied directly to the skin, using a solvent, mineral oil, or even coconut oil for removal is advised and can be a fantastic form of aftercare. Duct tape is standard in mummification scenes due to its strength; however, a cellophane layer between the tape and the skin is advisable. Also, pay close attention to the tension you use while applying the tape. With little flexibility or stretch, it can cause constriction issues resulting in circulation, maceration, or breathing issues. On the upside, it is widely available and comes in lots of colors and patterns.

Electrical Tape: With a PVC or rubber base, this tape has greater flexibility and a lower adhesive level. This tape is excellent for a short scene or restriction play, such as taping the fingers together. It is also widely used to cover the nipples at parties and public spaces since we cannot fully appreciate the female body in many countries.

Therapeutic/Kinesio Tape: Often used in physical therapy or to stabilize muscles/joints, this cotton tape is latex-free, medical-grade, and waterproof. Its stretchy nature is not often the best for bondage; however, it is excellent for medical play and aesthetics.  

Gaffer Tape: Primarily used in theatre, gaffer tape was an obvious choice for the kinky theatre geeks (raises hand) into bondage. It has similar properties to duct tape in terms of strength, flexibility, and adhesion; however, the glue is petroleum-based, so it removes cleanly. And it also comes in several colors! All precautions listed under duct tape still apply!  

Rubber Seam Tape: This is usually used in marine or aquatic settings to fix rubber sheeting tears. Do not, I REPEAT, DO NOT USE on human skin. The adhesive is toxic to the skin and designed to be permanent.

Fashion Tape: Designed to attach fabrics to the skin, it is terrific for keeping your skimpy outfits in place, but not for much else.  

Scotch/Cello Tape: Many people do not like this tape for bondage, but I have found it a great addition to humiliation/bully scene play in bondage. Just like we used it in our childhoods to give ourselves pig noses or distort our faces, consider it when creating a humiliation-based scene. The adhesive is very weak on the skin, so it removes easily with little issue.

Masking Tape: Much like Scotch/Cello Tape, it has low adhesion to the skin but has many other uses. Like electrical tape, many use it for restricting movement in the hands/feet. My personal favorite is to use it to write words/phrases onto my partner(s), especially during humiliation-based scenes. There is nothing like slapping a label like "slut" onto your partner(s)... unf... Sorry, I got distracted! Available in many widths, it can have a "wide" variety of uses! With little negative impacts, feel free to get creative!

Surgical/Wound Tapes: Like Kinesio tape, these tapes are breathable and more commonly used in medical play scenes. The high cost tends to limit their use in bondage scenes, though.

Fiber Tape, Security Tape, Drywall Tape, Grip Tape, Gorilla Tape: Much like Rubber Seam Tape, AVOID THESE! They each have properties that make them poor choices for bondage scenes due to the dangers they pose.

Floral Tape, Craft Tape, Tie Tape: These tapes have little adhesive properties and are designed to be layered for strength. Due to their thin width, it would take a lot to create a strong/stable restraint. While they can be fun, they are not very useful in bondage.

Bondage Tape: Now we get to my favorite. Available in a wide variety of colors, bondage tape only sticks to itself. While that makes it a little more challenging to start the bondage process, it also removes many potential safety issues, making the scene safer and more enjoyable. That said, pay attention to the level of tension used while applying to prevent cutting circulation, causing maceration, or restricting breathing. Usually made of PVC, this tape is ideal for use in many scenarios, including in water sports scenes or scenes where your partner(s) may be sweating. Oh, and did I mention that it is REUSABLE? Wash it in the sink with a bit of soap, let it air dry, and wrap on a spool again. Being reusable, you can also cut this tape into commonly use lengths for scenes you may repeat often.

And another thing!

All this talk of tape and I have yet to discuss one of the most important safety tips! No matter what type of tape you choose or how experienced you are, keep medical safety shears nearby at all times! They are inexpensive, readily available at many kink/medical supply/army surplus stores, and safe to use in an emergency. They include a blunted end that protects the skin allowing for quick use in case of emergency.

Medical Shears

Have fun getting into some sticky situations, but do so safely. And if you have questions, do not hesitate to ask! At The Montrose Forge, we love talking about kink almost as much as we love doing it.

Now, go get off!

 Shop Bondage Tape & Accessories