Why don’t you carry handcuffs?

Dear Sex Educator,

My partner and I are looking to live out a naughty police officer fantasy, but we can’t seem to find any metal handcuffs on your website. You carry a lot of different restraints, but why no handcuffs?

There are a few reasons why we don’t stock handcuffs or encourage their use. The main reason being SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY! At A Woman’s Touch, we take the health of our customers very seriously and go out of our way to carry products that can be used safely.

Even though handcuffs have achieved cult status as a bondage item in popular media like films and books, their real-life usage is pretty impractical. The obvious starting point would be their construction. Handcuffs are metal. They are made of metal because it is shiny (aesthetically appealing) and hard (keeps things firmly in place and is difficult to break.) Human tissues, like skin and nerves, are soft and easy to injure. The risk of injury posed by using cuffs is very real. Cuffs that are too tight can cause bruises, damage tendons, nerves, and blood vessels, and restrict blood flow to the extremities. No one wants to go to work Monday and have to explain to concerned friends and co-workers what Saturday night activities have left them looking so beat up.

Another issue is potential hazards that you might not be able to escape because you are cuffed. The mantra of BDSM is “safe, sane, and consensual.” That safety applies to all aspects of play. In case of emergencies, partners need to be able to free themselves if a partner is incapacitated, has lost the key, or has broken the key in the lock. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing to hear a few snickers from a locksmith and rescue personnel as they try to free your naked, helpless body? Or worse, if something happened to the unrestrained person, how would the cuffed partner get out of the cuffs to get help?

Using handcuffs can also limit the types of activities you can safely engage in. Since you should always avoid putting weight or tension on cuffs because they can cut skin and damage nerves, vessels, and tendons, people who enjoy activities that involve dangling or pulling should not use metal handcuffs. These types of injuries have been so well documented that many law enforcement agencies have replaced metal cuffs with plastic ones. Ask yourself “If handcuffs aren’t even good enough for criminals anymore, why would I want to use them on my body or my partner’s body?”

A common misconception about BDSM is that it’s all about pain. While pain can be a part of play, the use of restraints tends to be more of a symbolic gesture of power. For the submissive, restraint is a powerful way of showing trust in the dominating party. Restraint doesn’t have to be painful to work. There are plenty of products out there that will give you the restriction you crave and allow you to be comfortable. Many restraints, like Leather Plush Chain Cuffs and Faux fur wrist restraints, come with soft linings of fleece or faux fur. They are constructed of materials that are breathable, flexible and easy to maintain, like leather, acrylic and nylon. Can’t resist the pull of something shiny? Try any of the satiny restraints, like the ones that come in the Sex Kitten Kit, Brianna’s Bonds,Chain Cuffs or the Satin Restraints.

If you still insists on using metal handcuffs, please remember a few simple things. 1) Limit the time spent in cuffs. With all of the products we carry that restrict blood flow, including all pumps and clamps, we always advise people to spend no more than thirty minutes with them on. 2) Pay attention to any signs of damage. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and you need to stop. Bruises, changes in the temperature and the color of the extremities, and numbness are also signs that the restraints need to come off. 3) Remember “safe, sane, and consensual.” Controlled pain is okay. Causing injury to another person is not.

With this information in mind, I hope you are able to live out your fantasy, and do it safely.

The Sex Educator