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Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011

Dealing With Cramps During Bondage

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What do people do about leg or arm cramps when bound? This is a problem for us.

Nothing like a muscle cramp to cut short a good play session. Since different things work for different people, I collected answers to your question from educators, sex bloggers and members of the kink community who generously volunteered to share their wisdom.

One person gave the following tips to prevent cramps from happening in the first place: “Make sure you're well hydrated and have enough potassium; allow for some give for the bound (you don't have to be stretched to your limit to be restrained); not all positions will work for everyone—experiment; the person who is bound doesn't have to stay in one position—you can change how they're bound during the action; limit how long they're bound; and remember, every body is different and bodies change from day to day in relation to what we can physically handle.”

The most common advice for what to do if a cramp occurs was to move the limb in question to a different position, then continue play.

“If you can move the arm or leg to relieve the cramp, do so; the person doing the bondage can untie the body, move the arm or leg, then re-tie,” says a Chicago-based educator. “It may be a situation where tightening and releasing to relax the cramp may work without removing the bondage, as well; if so, that should work within a few minutes. To prevent it in the first place, stretch before playing and make sure you're well hydrated!”

According to a Wisconsin rope bondage expert, “Usually it's one of three things: 1) let [the cramps] pass (they usually will); 2) massage them (I don't know that it actually speeds their passing, but it makes the bottom feel like you're doing something); or 3) untie and put the limb in a different position. With infinite varieties, there's no need to force the issue. To paraphrase Janet Hardy, 'Show me a body; it'll tell me where to tie it.'”

Remember to respect the body's limitations; sometimes “playing through” the pain is not the best option. A blogger shared, “Because of my muscle issues, cramps mean instant full stop and release. Then we go into damage-control mode to prevent a full-on muscle spasm—because muscle spasms don't respect safewords, the evil jerks.”

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.


Laura Anne Stuart has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side.

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