Serenity Bondage

What is it about the mind-body connection that bondage can create a feeling of profound relaxation and serenity?

I tie up a woman in sensual Japanese style shibari bondage, and she says, “oh my gosh, I feel so relaxed!”

Which at first quite surprised me because bondage is usually, you know, depicted as evil bad guy chortling wickedly as helpless victim struggles.

This effect, this feeling of serenity, is something I can deliberately create and enhance.

When I watch someone do a technical tie, they’re often focused on knots. Paying attention to their work. But the tying of shibari is easy with a little practice. If you can tie your shoelaces, if you can tie your shoelaces with your eyes closed, you can tie shibari without looking. So I’m free to give my attention to my partner, to pay attention to her, to look her in the eyes, to watch her change of expression.

I can also be physically supportive. I can be close in to her body. I can be gently leaning into her, holding her, so that she can’t fall.

What is it about the mind-body connection where bondage, restraining the body, can create such an effect on the mind, this feeling of relaxation, of security, of floating dreaminess?

I have a hypothesis, I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it’s fun to think about.

In our normal, everyday life, we always have to be careful. We can’t just run randomly in any direction without danger of falling down the stairs. We can’t just randomly move our arms in any direction without danger of hurting ourselves or breaking something. We can’t just randomly say anything without danger of hurting the feelings of a friend.

And it’s not just action that can be dangerous, that we need to be careful and aware of, but inaction as well. What if a friend is unhappy and we need to notice and say something? What if a car careens out of control and we need to leap aside?

Below the level of conscious awareness, our brains are always predicting all possibilities. When we walk around without hurting ourselves or hurting others, automatically, without conscious thought, we’re not aware of it, but there’s a part of our brain that is constantly evaluating options and alternatives. Walk here, this is safe, don’t walk there, that isn’t safe.

Bondage can be scary-fun, like an amusement park ride, you get to say “eek!” and scream while you’re actually safe.

Serenity bondage creates an opposite experience, not of excitement or pretend-scared but of relaxation, comfort, a vacation, even a luxury of peacefulness. The part of our brain that says “What do I need to do next? What do I need to not do?” suddenly realizes, “There’s nothing for me to do right now. There’s nothing I can do right now”. And relaxes.


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