Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 631-654

First online:

Sexual bondage: A review and unobtrusive investigation

  • Kurt E. ErnulfAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Göteborg University
  • , Sune M. InnalaAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Göteborg University

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To investigate unobtrusively how individuals experience sexual bondage, we analyzed all messages about sexual bondage (N =514) mailed to an international computerized discussion group on sexual bondage in 1990. The most frequent individual experience reported (n =60) was playful use of bondage to explore new areas of sexual pleasure. Other frequent experiences were the exchange of power, intensified sexual pleasure, and tactile stimulation and bodily sensations. Preference for the dominant-initiator role was expressed in 71% of the messages by male heterosexuals, 11% of the messages by heterosexual females, and 12% of the messages by homosexual males. Preference for the submissive-recipient role was expressed in 29% of the messages by heterosexual males, 89% by heterosexual females, and 88% by homosexual males. In 33% of messages subjects stated that sexual bondage occurred simultaneously with sadomasochism or was perceived as part of it.

Key words

sexual bondage paraphilia sexual attraction sadomasochism