Elbow bondage

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In this image, the elbows are bound so tightly that they touch, in the classic style of elbow bondage.

Elbow bondage is a technique used in BDSM in which a person's elbows are restrained by binding them close together behind their back. This makes it far harder to escape bondage. A bound person cannot reach a bind at the elbows with fingers, toes or teeth. Also, it holds the wrists together, thereby making it more difficult to escape from wrist ties. Such bondage makes the breasts and nipples stand out.

Elbow bondage greatly restricts use of the arms. (If the wrists are also tied together, the arms are rendered even more useless.) It also stops the person bringing his or her hands to the front by manoeuvring the bound wrists over the feet.

The method of restraint can vary greatly, as does the degree to which a person's elbows can be drawn towards each other. Typical equipment for binding a person may include ropes, leather straps, leather cuffs, monogloves, metal cuffs or chains. The classic style of "perfect" elbow bondage is to have the person's elbows bound together, touching, behind the back, and secured with rope–a feat possible only for flexible, healthy people, and generally easier for women than for men.

The reasons for using elbow bondage in BDSM can be divided into two categories: the visual appeal of having the body contorted by such a position, and the physical restraint, for it is very difficult, if not impossible, to free oneself from elbow bondage even if the lower arms and wrists are free. The location of the bindings, combined with the degree to which the arms are pulled together, makes any attempt to free oneself very difficult without help. (For this reason, elbow bondage can very easily go wrong when used in self-bondage.)


Visual appeal of elbow bondage

A less severe elbow bondage

When applied to a woman, this method of restraint causes the chest and breasts to be thrust forward, emphasising these features. Combining this with other bondage techniques, such as breast bondage, can further enhance this effect. By having the arms bound close behind a woman, her narrow waist is emphasised, creating a well-defined hourglass figure. The wearing of a tight-fitting corset can greatly enhance this effect.

The sight of the arms bound so securily behind the back has a strong erotic appeal to followers of BDSM, derived from the almost absolute inescapability of the restraint in question and the helplessness of the bound person.


Some argue that rope is the preferred method for elbow bondage, as it enables the arms to be held very close together, while spreading the pressure of the binding over a large area, as well as having a very strong visual and "artistic" feel from the neat and intricate ropework that may be used.

Other methods might use leather straps and/or a leather bondage harness, or both. Both of these methods can be used to bind a person into elbow bondage very quickly, and allow quick release, so they are particularly useful when the person being bound is unable to maintain this position for very long without distress or even injury. Leather cuffs are quick to attach and release, but due to the nature of cuffs (usually linked by a link or chain between them), are unable to acheve the "elbow touching elbow" look. In addition, as they allow extra movement, the ability to escape from such restraints is much greater. These issue also arise when using metal cuffs.

Chains are also often used as a securing method, but can cause problem and even damage to the tissues around the elbows caused by the links of the chain applying uneven pressure. The most "comfortable" method of elbow bondage is to use a monoglove. Usually made of leather, this garment is "V" shaped and the arms are inserted down into it. Lacing or a zipper closes around the arms, drawing them together evenly down its full length. When secured correctly, this method of bondage can also be virtually inescapable, as it is impossible to use the fingers to locate and release strapping, ropes, etc. Other sorts of armbinder may also be used.

Precautions in Elbow Bondage

In this example, the bindings are placed so that they do not place pressure on the wrong areas of the arms.

As in any form of BDSM play, restraining a person with elbow bondage can leave them at risk of injury. Typical safety advice is that a person who is bound should never be left alone for long, particularly in tight bondage such as having the elbows tied. The greatest risk is the cutting off of circulation to the lower arms. A major artery passes very close to the skin just above and below the elbows, and a rope or chain that is poorly placed can place pressure on this area. When this happens, numbness rapidly spreads throughout the arms, followed by sharp shooting pain, and if this is done repeatedly, permanent circulation and tissue damage as well as nerve damage can result.

Having the arms bound tightly behind the back can also cause ligament damage to the upper arms and shoulder joints, as well as muscle damage to the upper back and neck areas. If a person is not flexible enough for the elbows to meet behind the back, it should not be attempted initially, but restaints should be looser instead; over time, the flexibility may increase, allowing the elbows to be drawn ever closer. It is important to note that this only applies to someone who is fit, young, and healthy, and who has no medical conditions that may cause issues with this; persons with multiple sclerosis or arthritis, for example, should not be subjected to this technique. In older and/or less fit persons, the muscles and ligaments are less stretchy and unable to adapt to new positions as easily as healthier muscles; in such a person, a ligament could easily be torn, and worse could happen.

If lying prostrate, a person with arms bound tightly behind the back will have great pressure exerted on the diaphragm, causing increased effort to maintain breathing. If the person is also gagged in some manner, the difficulty may be even greater. It is typically argued that, for safety, a person should never be left alone in such a position.

Elbow bondage is a stress position, because it forces the shoulders back, and prolonged bondage often causes the shoulders to ache.



Elbow bondage severely restricts movement of the arms, especially if (as is usual) the wrists are also bound. However, further bondage can be used to restrict the movement even more. A common procedure is to tie ropes round the arms and torso; on a woman, these can be linked to ropes for breast bondage. Another procedure is to take a rope from the wrist binding through the crotch and fasten it to the front of a belt or rope round the waist, or the front of a corset. If elbow bondage is combined with a hogtie, this should itself immobilise the arms. For maximum immobility, ropes round the torso can be used as well as a hogtie or crotch rope.

If the wrists are not bound, they can be placed on the bound person's waist and then the wrists can be linked by rope or handcuffs across the stomach. The closer the elbows are together, the longer must be the link across the stomach.

Compare Reverse prayer position.

See Also

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