Very few things can communicate “let’s do something kinky” better than a shiny pair of handcuffs dangling from a finger combined with a provocative look in your lovers eye. Maybe it’s because they actually are used by law enforcement, or maybe it’s the smooth glittering chrome finish, or maybe it’s the combination of the clink of metal with the ratcheting growl of the internal mechanism that makes it touch that visceral “ooh, sexy” part of so many people.
Handcuffs can be a fantastically useful, convenient, and hot part of any couples kinky toy chest. However, there’s a reason that Miss Simone of the Studio Chicago has nearly a half a dozen videos about handcuffs – used indiscriminately, without some planning and some safety practices, the sexy click of the cuffs may all too soon be replaced with an agonized “Ow!” More than one couple has found themselves in a kind of “Keystone Kinksters” episode when the cuffs have been put on too tightly, or the key has been lost, or some other process has gone wrong. It’s for this very reason that a lot of emergency medical personnel carry around a spare handcuff key when they’re on duty – for those times when they have to rescue a well-meaning amorous couple from the intransigent steel clutches of the hastily-bought but poorly-understood handcuffs.
However, with a little examination of the cuffs and a bit of practice, you can get them on your lover with all the speed and panache of a beat cop. First, take a look at what kind of cuffs you have. If they are the kinds of fuzzy handcuffs available in novelty stores, it’s possible they won’t even need a key – there are often small levers close to the chain that will release each cuff. Even some steel cuffs that look fierce are actually designed for simple role-play scenarios, and you can quickly learn how to press the lever to release the cuffs. That should always be the first thing you figure out about handcuffs: how to release them.
The second thing to look for on the cuffs is the ratchet lock. This is often a simple lever set into the body of the cuff, and it serves a purpose only slightly less important than the release lever: it stops the cuff from tightening. You want the cuffs to be “baby bear” tight- that is, not too loose so that your partner can slip out of them, and not too tight so that their hands start loosing circulation. You want them to be just right, and when you find that tightness, it’s important to lock the ratchet with the lever so that they won’t get any tighter.
On cheaper cuffs, both the quick release and the ratchet lock are things you want to stay aware of throughout your play. It’s possible if you get into some rough play that you might jiggle one or the other loose. No worries – you just stop, adjust them back to where you want them, and carry on. But if this happens enough times, you may want to invest in a better-quality pair of handcuffs.
Police supply catalogs, military surplus, and some higher end sex toy stores will have heavy-duty cuffs. You can feel from the moment you pick them up that they are different – the metal is heavier, the mechanism smoother, and even the sound of the click has a more solid and intense sound to it. In the handcuff videos on this site Miss Simone shows several types of cuffs including these, as well as variations such as leg and waist shackles.
Most of these won’t have a “quick release” lever, and the way the ratchet is secured is through the use of an actual key that turns the lock. Some more advanced models even have different functions depending on which way you turn the key in the lock. These kinds of cuffs come with instruction manuals, and for good reason: the metal is strong enough that it can do damage to the delicate tendons and nerves of the wrists if used in the wrong way. Worse, if the damage is done, it can be hard to get them out of the cuffs if you’re not prepared both with a key and the knowledge of how to use it correctly.
Once you get the hang of it, though, there are so many fun ways to use handcuffs! Traditionally a person is cuffed behind the back, and that can make their front – breasts, genitalia, whatever – deliciously vulnerable. If you cuff them in front, you give them the ability to better pleasure you, or touch themselves, or perhaps you want to lift their hands over their head and make their whole body defenseless (remember that handcuffs are NOT made to suspend a human body, no matter what the TV shows you). Or you can get really creative, and try cuffing their hand to their leg, or use multiple cuffs to chain them to furniture, or…really, between your imagination and your lover’s consent, there are dozens, hundreds of things to do.
If steel has appeal, you may love the cuff. Try them out, watch Miss Simone’s videos, and see what happens!