Leave it to a Silicon Valley engineer to utilize state-of-the-art methods and materials in combination with more traditional restraint equipment for the creation of a mind-blowing arrangement.
Introduction by Travis, captions by Mark
31 Jan , 2005
or quite some time now, I've been working on a construction method to create bondage gear that's, strong, versatile and easy to use.
When combined, these simple and basic requirements have evaded world-wide manufactures of bondage gear for years. It's safe to say that whoever solves the dilemma of versatility and ease-of-use will hold the 'Holy Grail' of serious bondage equipment development.
Well, nearly $4,000 and 6 months into my own brainstorming approach, I have come to discover that versatility comes at a steep price. That's the bad news. The good news is that a modular approach to bondage gear is actually economical at a certain level of play.
Travis explores his 80/20 creation
As an example, if you are a 'spank and tickle' kind of bondage player, your futon and a nice set of restraints will do fine for just about any kind of quick BDSM play. However, if you're into serious suspension (a pricey and gear-intensive activity to be sure), or extreme bondage, you are probably considering the purchase of that $3,000 welded metal bondage bed anyway. Serious bondage play, like other sports, has it's price.
My concept is to combine the finest and oldest (as far as I know) institutional restraint maker's equipment (Humane Restraint) with an extruded aluminum system made by a company called 80/20 to create bondage furniture. My approach is working with brilliant efficiency - if I do say so myself. Each strut and member can be adjusted to fit nearly any size body, and the metal frame is absolutely indestructible - unless of course you go after it with a 'Sawzall' or sledge hammer. No human being, no matter how much of a linebacker-size they are, is going to get this metal structure to give an inch.
The following photos will demonstrate how my 80/20 approach provides the flexibility to create almost any bondage furniture imaginable - and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I'll be erecting an overhead suspension grid in my playroom and fabricating the most exciting bondage chair you have ever seen, so stay tuned! This may be as close as I come to the 'Holy Grail!'
The photos below are divided into three sets, highlighting my 80/20 configurations. Mark, the editor of this web site, will provide commentary on the photos while I demonstrate the gear.
Travis' new 80/20 bed frame is a device with incredible potential, and you will see why as we review the photos below. The cost of the frame itself was approximately $2,200 using prefabricated parts from the 80/20 catalog. Actually, Travis' 80/20 gear reminds me a lot of one of my childhood toys called an "Erector Set", only it's 1,000 times more expensive.
In the following photographs Travis shows us an intense bondage scenario created by utilizing the bed frame, a Maxcita straitjacket, and a set of Humane Restraint leather straps and cuffs. In the first one, you can see all the gear required for his scene, not to mention the simplicity and versatility of his new creation.
For the technically minded, the 80/20 gear is easily assembled with machine screws and ordinary tools, but care must be taken when specifying the lengths and widths of the material when the order is placed.
Like most of us, Travis enjoys setting up the bondage gear as much as the scene itself. Notice his relaxed and confident demeanor - almost a zen like state. He starts by suspending the straitjacket from the overhead aluminum member by its shoulder rings. The straitjacket, straps, and bed frame blend together very nicely - providing a modern, high-tech, and somewhat institutional look.
Here we see the Maxcita straitjacket, suspended at a height which will allow the subject to simply step into it and be quickly restrained. For those of us who are familiar with straitjackets - have you ever seen an easier entry?
Travis guides Bekah's arms slowly into the straitjacket and she immediately feels the embrace of the restricting canvas garment against her naked body. I think Travis is on to something here, perhaps we should all be taking notes?
One of the most exciting parts of straitjacket play is the 'ceremonial' buckling of the straps and that can take a surprising amount of time, but here's something very therapeutic about this process for both the Top and Bottom. It's quite often done in silence with the sound of the clinking metal buckles and the tug of the straps representing an unspoken submission of the person who is being immobilized.
Straitjackets usually have two straps that pass between the legs, preventing the garment from being worked up and over the wearer's head, and in this scene these straps play a particularly important role because the straitjacket is suspended from overhead hard point. Without these, it would make it easy for Bekah to just slide out the bottom of the garment.
Travis told me that buckling, tugging and cinching these was a lot of fun, but I can't imagine why!
Bekah's arms are folded over and the straps sewn to the ends of the sleeves are pulled around, buckled together behind her back and drawn tight. When this is done her arms have been drawn her body as if she were hugging herself and because her hands are enclosed in the sleeves, she can't use her fingers to reach or loosen any of the buckles.
A straitjacket is a wonderfully ingenious device and very comfortable to wear for extended periods. People who have never played with them usually find the myriad of straps, buckles and rings to be confusing and sometimes frustrating, but everyone catches on quickly. They're not really complicated and it's amazing how fast someone learns when there's sex and power involved!
Once secured, Travis tightens the overhead shoulder straps, taking most of the weight her feet, yet leaving just enough slack for her to touch the floor.
One of the most enjoyable elements of bondage play is the combination of a beautiful woman and the bondage equipment itself. As it is applied, we experience the intense proximity of our partner, the texture and sounds of the equipment, and last but not least, his or her pheromones. The messages of this heady perfume are transmitted and understood clearly by both partners - sex, availability, power, and control. These pheromones mix with the scent of the bondage gear (especially the leather) to create a powerful, environment for both partners.
Speaking of subliminal pheromone messages, the photo above is an example of my favorite kind of fetish photography. Why? The photo is not pornographic, BUT it contains a strong sexual message. How is that you ask?
Lets stop for a moment and imagine that this photo was printed on the front page of a major newspaper with no title or explanation. What would the general public conclude by looking at the photo? The subliminal meaning would be distinct and clear to everyone regardless of whether they could express it in words or not.
We can see the room is clean, well kept, with freshly painted walls, there are expensive drapes on the window, and nice covers on the bed. We see greenery outside the window and we might be on the second floor. Clearly, this is someone's bedroom.
We also see the silver metallic posts around the bed, vaguely reminding us of an old 'four-poster' with an overhead canopy, but these are made of polished metal! Even with today's sleek furniture designs, it doesn't make sense that a canopy bed frame would be manufactured with square metal posts and precision slots running their length
What about the straps? Brown leather straps are usually identified as a means to hold up your pants, but in this photo we see three that all look the same. You could imagine someone owning one brown belt or maybe two, but three identical belts indicate that there's something unconventional happening here. What about the one in the lower left that's connected to the bed post? What kind of bed frame has attachment points for leather straps?
We can't identify what the woman is wearing, but we see that it's made of white canvas and has lots of straps. If we stretch our minds this garment might be some kind of sports gear; i.e. for rock climbing, or sky-diving. The problem with these explanations is that the straps are located at the back, and it opens from the back! What kind of garment opens and closes from the back, out of the reach of the wearer? And what about the straps looped through the metal rings on the shoulders? It's obvious that these are under tension and that the garment is hiked up around the wearer's neck in a way that doesn't look very fashionable
Obviously, she takes care of her hair and prides herself on it's beauty and fullness. Oddly though, some of it is caught in the collar of the garment, indicating that she has not taken the time - or is not able - to fix it.
Why would an attractive woman who doesn't have the time to fix her hair be wearing this device with straps and buckles permit herself to be secured to someone's metal bed frame? This is every mother's nightmare, we think.
Attractive woman, messy hair, bedroom = Sex!
Bedroom, metal bed frame, leather straps, buckles, = KINKY Sex!
Travis applies a pair ankle restraints and prepares to part Bekah's legs by securing the cuffs to the posts of the bed frame. Next, he threads a strap through the cuffs with the intent that the roller buckle will make an effortless job of pulling her legs apart, regardless of resistance.
Surprise! Instead of securing Bekah's ankles to the bedposts, he grabs the straps and hoists her feet off the floor behind! She yelps with surprise finding herself now suspended by the two shoulder straps, having been instantly transformed into the high-wire act of the evening. Quick, someone bring the popcorn!
Like a skilled acrobat, Travis rests his foor on the bedframe and positions his leg for Bekah to straddle.
It's intermission time ... and wow, that first act was a dandy! However, Travis and Bekah are just getting warmed up. Next, he threads the crotch straps through a pair of sheep-skin sleeves made for slipping over seatbelts. These will make it it much more comfortable for Bekah when he tightens the shoulder straps to lift her off the floor.
Travis threads the ankle straps through small keepers (called 'Footman's Loops') screwed into the slots of the frame. When Bekah's legs are pulled further apart more of her weight is supported by the shoulder straps.
The Footman's Loops can be loosened with a hex key and slid up and down the rail, or removed and mounted somewhere else on the frame. This is the versatility Travis referred to at the beginning of this article. Pretty cool.
You can see how easily the parts bolt together, but the trick is in order the proper lengths of pre-cut extruded aluminum and the correct joining hardware. Mistakes can be costly in subsequent orders to fix a design problem.
The majority of Bekah's weight is now supported by the overhead shoulder straps and sheep-skin covered straps between her legs. The Maxcita straitjacket is designed for strength and handles this partial suspension with ease.
As a SAFETY reminder, never leave anyone alone in this type of bondage situation. Remember that the straitjacket collar is hiked up around Bekah's neck in the earlier photos. If either crotch strap were to let go or rip away from the straitjacket, Bekah's weight would drop to the floor and the straitjacket collar could tighten around her throat, cutting off her air supply. This would all happen within 20 seconds - from the strap breaking to unconsciousness - without a peep from her. REMEMBER, during bondage play there is no such thing as "Oh, that would never happen."
We all know more bondage is better, which is why Travis owns no less than 20 Humane Restraint straps.
Like an Oriental Potentate, Travis reclines comfortably to enjoy the fruits of his labor. What more could one ask for on a wonderful Sunday afternoon than to lay back upon your bed and contemplate the picture before you of a bound, helpless, vulnerable and available lady.
Bed frame - $2,200
Mattress and bedding - $700
Maxcita straitjacket - $500
Fleece seat belt covers - $15
Ankle cuffs and eight, 50 inch leather leather straps - $300
Look on Bekah's face when Travis pulls the straps over his shoulders... Priceless!
In the next photo-sequence Travis uses more 80/20 hardware to assemble a 'Legs-spread Restraint Bench' he calls the Split Solo. Travis considers these bondage projects to be R&D, allowing him to become more familiar with the huge array of hardware that the 80/20 system has to offer.
The 4 photos above show the bench immediately after assembly in his living room. The horizontal strut and the six restraint cuffs will be used to secure the arms horizontally and the single restraint cuff, positioned at the top center, will be used to secure the occupant's neck.
We've all heard of good pain and bad pain and therefore the fleece covers are used for the inner tihgh straps. The seating area is very narrow, and as can be seen with this narrow seat, in combination with the legs spread apart at 45 degrees, the occupant's sex may be readily accessed.
As mentioned earlier, the Humane Restraint gear and 80/20 equipment just seem to go together. The hardware creates a very clean bondage arrangement and without a doubt this is High Tech Restraint at it's finest!
Immediately after Travis finished assembling the bench, he bolted it to the end of the bed frame thus providing additional rigidity to the entire assembly.
In the photos above Travis enjoys the maiden voyage of his invention and it's an impressive, and eye-popping sight. I wonder does he own stock in the Humane Restraint company?
Travis wears a red, spandex, full-body suit (complete with gloves, socks and an open-face hood) from spandexwear.com, as well as a latex hypoxia hood from Studio Gum. The arm and leg restraints, together with the leather straps, are from Humane Restraint. This assembly of equipment is a refreshing departure from the ominous black and darker colors of the traditional bondage color scheme.
In the above photo it can be seen that there are two, short, vertical walls on the outsides of Travis' thighs; these acting to prevent further spreading of the legs, while at the same time providing a fixing point for the knee cuffs. The foot rests can be slid up and down to accommodate a variety of leg lengths. The Maxcita straitjacket is secured to the bench at a number of places - eight to be exact.
Can you find any that have been missed?
Needless to say, Travis continued his research and experimentation with the Maxcita straitjacket and new bench, but what transpired after these pictures were taken who knows?
Travis brought the Solo bench to the SMOdyssey 'Sampler' program. Attendees were offered the opportunity to try his gear, and the following photos are from that event.
Travis' research looks very promising indeed and he is to be complemented for his continued quest for the Holy Grail of versatility and ease-of-use. I have to admit, while I was assembling this article, I found myself turned on by the photos of his straitjacket experiment. Where do I sign up?
Split Solo Bench, integrated with bed frame - $600.
Split Solo Bench, stand-alone - $800-900
Humane Restraints for Split Solo bench - $700
Bed frame plus Solo Split bench, Humane Restraints, red spandex suit, Studio Gum hood - $3,800
Travis hearing that Mark got an erection while assembling this article - Priceless!
Travis! Would you QUIT fooling around and let someone else try the gear?
Click HERE for information about the author Travis.
Click HERE for information about the author and photographer Mark