The invention of the monoglove (under the name single glove) is often attributed to the bondage artist John Willie. He certainly popularised it.
Monogloves are usually made of leather, though occasionally other fetish materials such as spandex or rubber are used. For do-it-yourself enthusiasts, denim can be used; it is effective, although visually less striking.
A monoglove consists of a conical sleeve which encloses both of the wearer's arms from the fingertips to well above the elbows, holding them together behind the back. The sleeve is typically closed with a zipper or lacing which is often supplemented with straps around the wrists and upper arms.
To prevent the wearer from wriggling their arms out of the sleeve, one of several arrangements of straps is used. The most common is a pair of parallel straps that join to the outer top of the sleeve, run over the shoulders, under the armpits and join again at the inner top of the sleeve. To avoid the straps being slipped off the shoulders, they are often crossed behind the neck or across the upper chest; however, the latter position can cause problems if the straps ride up and press on the wearer's throat. Alternative arrangements include an additional strap across the chest connecting the parallel straps, a Y-shaped strap that runs up the back, forks over the shoulders and runs under the armpits or a strap that runs up the back to a collar around the neck. The fingertip end of the monoglove usually has a D-ring, allowing the arms to be anchored into a hogtie or strappado position, or to the front of a belt (forcing the hands into the crotch).
Because of the extreme position that the arms are forced into, monogloves often cause problems with the soft tissues of the shoulder joints and the circulation in the hands. Only the most flexible bottoms can wear them for any length of time and thus they are more often used for dramatic effect in bondage erotica rather than in actual BDSM play.
For those people who can stand having their arms pressed so tightly together behind their back that their elbows can touch, or nearly touch, a monoglove is a less uncomfortable way than ropes to hold their arms in such an extreme position. Great caution should always be used when doing this, to avoid dislocating the shoulders.
There are several variations on the basic monoglove design, including sleeves that end at the wrists allowing some freedom of movement for the wearer's hands and those that are incorporated in place of the pair of sleeves in a larger garment such as a jacket, catsuit or dress.
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