What is mental bondage?

What does Mental Bondage mean?

Mental bondage refers to the emotional control a Dom has over their submissive. Unlike physical restraints, mental bondage doesn’t require any of the usual BDSM accessories like handcuffs, scarves, rope, or padlocks. Mental bondage is often found in long-term and committed relationships. In some cases, mental bondage is also present in relationships where both the Dom and the sub indulge in sexual hypothesis.

In BDSM dynamics, mental bondage often symbolizes the submissive’s devotion towards their dominant. Often considered as an extremely erotic practice, mental bondage often varies in intensity. It normally depends on the nature and dynamics present in the relationship. This form of bondage is also a way for both partners to express their commitment to each other. Mental bondage often determines the submissive’s daily attire, attitude, and sexual freedom. A common example of mental bondage is when the dominant orders their sub not to climax without explicit consent.

Like physical play, mental bondage is also accompanied by safe words.

Mental bondage is a BDSM term that means the restriction of movement without using physical means. It is not a type of bondage, because bondage is understood to mean the use of physical restraints.
Mental bondage works by obedience alone. The bottom is commanded, either verbally, via body language, or implicitly (they know what is expected of them instinctively or because they’ve been instructed on earlier occasions before), to assume a certain body position, posture, or stance, and to remain still in this pose until they are given permission to leave it.
Mental bondage works on the principle that the subject knows they will will face worse punishment should they fail to get into the prescribed position, or should they move or leave it without permission.
The Gorean slave positions are examples of this, but basically every time-out such as corner time could be considered a form of mental bondage. Even confinement to a room or house without physically locking the person up, such as in grounding, could be seen as a form of mental bondage.

An example of mental bondage in a mainstream film is in the movie Secretary, where Edward tests Lee by commanding her to sit in his chair without moving her hands or feet until he returns.
Mental bondage in spanking

A way of combining mental bondage and spanking is by putting the spankee in the desired spanking position and telling him or her not to move out of this position. This means, for example in the OTK position:
– No reaching back with either hand. Hands must remain in front of the spankee.
– No kicking, bending, tucking up or crossing the legs.
– No wriggling.

The power of a verbal command can be felt in a very physical way.

I think everyone has had the experience of being held to their word. That feeling you get when you feel obligated to do something; even though you know there is no way you can really be held to carry out that promise, you just can’t bring yourself to break your word.

Most people think in terms of a sub having to obey a command to stay still or to hold a position when they hear the term mental bondage. This is a very accurate description but it’s really only the tip of the iceberg.

When I truly feel submissive to someone I find myself incapable of breaking my word to them. Even if I know they have no way of knowing that I haven’t done what I was told to do, I still feel a compulsion to obey.

I’m not sure I recognized that compulsion until I was taught that bondage originates in the will of the dominant, not in the chains, ropes, or even in the consequences. I know I never really understood the connection between physical bondage and my submissive nature until I made that realization.

The cuffs and collars, ropes and chains, even the cage, are symbolic of the inner grasp the dominant has over me. They don’t have to exist in order for me to feel bound by his Will. I’m motivated by his self-determination. The more confident he is of his purpose, and his ability to bring that vision to life, the more compelled I am to join him in trying to make that vision a reality.

(I suppose it’s a type of charisma I’m referring to; that quality that we recognize in great leaders. Interesting thought; I need to explore that more…)

The bottom line (no pun intended) is that I obey, once I am compelled to obey…Not by force or by consequences, but by mental bondage. That mental bondage nurtures a strong devotion, a commitment towards a shared vision…

Interesting thought to explore. I imagine I’m only beginning to tap the surface of this aspect of myself, at any rate.

see also other article about mental bondage

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