I started writing the FAQ simply because I wanted to answer some common questions. Plenty of other people on the net also like answering questions, and some of them have sent me good Q’s and A’s. Here’s a partial compilation of some answers by Hans Meijer and his fellows in a Dutch SM group.

All text beyond this point written by Hans and his group.

1. What is Japanese bondage?

Japanese bondage is a very old form of bondage developed in (obvious isn’t it) Japan, but also in other oriental countries like China. The basic idea, developed in medieval Japanese and Chinese torture practise, is that time will eventually do the job (basically like the trick with the dripping water). The torture developed into an S&M-technique that incorporates the following aspects:

erotic power-massage through the ropes and knots
helplessness and exposure

The difference between Japanese and other bondage techniques mainly comes from the erotic massage part. Like acupuncture or acumassage the ropes and knots press on nerve centers in muscles and the total of the bondage works as a constant masseuse. The more you move and struggle, the more effective the massage works. If you’re very experienced, you will make your bondage in such a way, that every different move exposes your bottom to a different massage.

The combination of helplessness and the massage-effect triggers meditation and you will find that experienced bottoms, exposed to Japanese bondage, will soon be able to stay even in the most complex positions for hours and hours. The problem with my girlfriend is not getting her into a Japanese bondage, but getting her out of it. Not because of the complexity of the ropes and knots, but she simply does not want to lose the feeling. She feels like the ropes are stolen from her, rather then taken off. If you are a bottom and you want to go into Japanese style bondage; take up some yoga-courses. These will help your tremendously.

Experienced tops, that know how to do it, will often turn the bondage into an artwork that may very well resemble “ikebana”, the Japanese way to display flowers.

A Japanese bondage takes hours to build up. It is done in several layers. Each layer “communicates” with the previous and strengthens its power or adds new impressions to it. Often the bottom is eventually suspended, to make the feeling of floating complete and literally have them experience the feeling of “leaving earth”.

Although it takes years of intensive study to learn the full scale of the technique, below you will find some basic “first layer” tricks. You will be amazed of the effect, provided you leave your submissive partner sufficient time to “grow into it”. These two bondages are massage-aimed only, so they don’t have an immobilizing effect. The nice part about it is that they can easily be worn under your clothes, so your girlfriend (they’re girl bondages only) may have them put on before she goes to work or goes out with you for dinner or lunch or a movie.

Breast-bondage: You need three soft ropes (woven nylon or silk parachute rope) each 3 to 4 meters long (depending on the measures of your girlfriend. You go about as follows: gently wrap the first rope around her boy, directly under her breasts. Not tight, she must be allowed to breath easily. Make sure the first two windings touch the borderline between breast and body. Do not let the windings cross each other, but lay them neatly side by side, each with about the same small tension as the previous. Eventually tie the end together on the back. The knot should NOT be on the spine, but directly next to it. wrap the next rope around her body in exactly the same way, this time around the top part of the breasts, in such a way that the soft tension of this rope gently presses her breasts down against the bottom windings. double up your last rope and slide it in the front middle (between the breasts) under your first rope until you are halfway the double rope. Now sling the ends one or two times around each other, carefully lead the rope between the breasts, lead each end over one shoulder and tie the ends together under the bottom windings on her back. This final rope is supposed to lift her breasts a little (she doesn’t need a bra anymore), making sure that every breath she takes makes the ropes massage her breasts.

Your girlfriend will love this one (mine likes to sleep in it). After about ten minutes she will start to be very aware of her breasts and the erotic power, her nipples will swell end become more sensitive and receptive and eventually she will get the feeling that it are only these ropes that keep her body together, while she is floating away.

Belly-bondage (you may very well add this one to the previous): you need two soft ropes of the same length as the above this time. Go about as you did with the first rope around the torso, but this time around het waist. Again, be gentle, careful and not to tight, There should only be a slight, refined tension.

Next you double up your second rope, slip it halfway through your first rope, lead it carefully between her legs (split her lips and lay your rope over her clitoris) and tie the ends together at her back (knots again next to and not on the sine). Again a subtle touch is required. This will no doubt do the job, but if you want to add some professional tricks, make some extra knots in your second rope: one is to fill the entrance of her vagina, one may tantalize her anus and one or two may work on her lower belly)

These two bondages add an amazing new item to your girl-friends lingerie. Apart from that, they make an excellent starter for further play that could go on for hours and hours.

2. Am I insane? Am I the only one that is into S&M?

Most people, when confronted for he first time with fantasies and dreams about S&M situations have two great frights: one – to be the only one around with ideas like that; two – that this is crazy, unacceptable and that they are ready for the funny farm. Almost everybody will recognize these feelings and here is in fact only one way to deal with it: try and seek contact with others. Be open about your fantasy, even if you think it’s weird. I know of some-one who fantasized about dinosaurs in the 20th century, attacking and eating humans. His name is Steven Spielberg. I also know of some-one who fantasized bout killing young women by the dozen with a necktie. His name is Alfred Hitchcock. I know of someone who has the most weirdest fantasies about practically every daily situation. His name is Roald Dahl.

In other words, there is nothing wrong with fantasies even if they seem weird to yourself. As long as you understand that a fantasy is not necessarily the real world and that it may be difficult or even impossible for all sorts of reasons to actually realize what you’re dreaming about. It is very possible that you would like to be sheik of a harem. That would probably bore you within a day if you were one. But you can ask your girlfriend to dress up and act as a very devoted harem-girl. The VCR inside your head, called fantasy, will provide the necessary background and will fill in the gaps that your girlfriend cannot accomplish. It may also be very possible that you dream about being tied to the main mast of the “Bounty”, flogged by means of the cat-o-nine-tails. Well, have your partner tie you to anything and whip you. Your internal VCR can do the rest.

Talking to other people who are into S&M, or corresponding, will help you recognize and accept yourself. You can find them in S&M societies, on bulletin boards around the world, in S&M magazines. If you have a partner, try talking about it. There’s a fair chance your partner has similar secret fantasies or will at least be interested in yours.

3. I have been desperately seeking for an S&M-partner but I cannot find one. What do I do? Where do I go?

Well, there is a fair chance that you have either been trying to hard, that your too much focused on your own fantasy, you may be looking in the wrong places or it is a combination of all three of these factors.

Rule number one is that practically never just the S&M feelings will be enough to establish a relationship. There is more to that. What about old fashioned falling in love? If you are so intensely focused on your S&M fantasies, you will probably never find a partner. Simply because you need to do first things first. Like falling in love, being interested in each other, attracted to each other, respecting each other and caring for each other. Then you can negotiate your S&M fantasies.

Yes, you have to discuss your S&M feelings in an early stage, and be honest about them. But not too early. Then, it is not enough just to put on an “indicator”, like wearing a wristband, a leather jacket, skirt or jeans or just a black hanky out of your back pocket. A lot of people first of all will simply not recognize your signals, because the are either completely new to S&M or not yet into it. Or they may recognize it but shy or ashamed to bring up the subject. If you want something, you will have to make sure you get what you want, So you take the initiative. You bring up the subject. Even you are afraid to be rejected for it. If you don’t do something, you won’t get far anyway.

I personally have always found my S&M-partners, including my girlfriend, outside S&M circles. Most of the time in my work, in a restaurant or my neighbor appeared to be into S&M. By making it clear I am into it, I will automatically draw the intention of people that are also either into it, interested. Be like an antenna, sending out signals that other people will understand. The main signal is not “I am into S&M”, the main signal is “Don’t be afraid to ask. Talk to me. I’ll talk to you en will be more then happy to tell you all about it. Without committing you to anything. You can talk to me and I will not try to seduce you into a relationship. I simply enjoy letting you in on the secrets. Then you can decide for yourself what you want with the information and what you may or may not want with me.” (By the way: I am a top!!!).

Finding an S&M partner sometimes may be a difficult task to accomplish. Placing or responding to a personal add in an S&M-magazine to many people is an important method to find a partner. Unfortunately, many of these attempts die an early death, because of simple mistakes in the communication. And, since you don’t want to end uot with an empty mail-box, this is what you do and don’t.

DO – Be honest about what it is you want. Are you looking for someone, to share your life with, a friend, a playmate.

DON’T – Be too explicit about what you want. Leave room for the fantasies of your prospective partner.

DO – Tell what role you envisage for yourself as well as your partner (top, bottom, both)

DON’T – Use words like slave and master/mistress in your add and also not in your first reaction. Not everybody likes these words. Top/bottom or dominant/submissive are better terms.

DO – Tell your prospective partner about your fantasy (I’m into bondage, spanking, whipping, D&S or whatever)

DON’T – Think you have a better chance if you leave all options open (like I’m into everything or anything goes). Nobody is going to believe and the impression you leave with other people is that you are that desperate that you will accept anything.

DO – Be explicit about your gender and the gender you are looking for.

DON’T – Leave out vital information about things like being married (and looking for a playmate or somebody of your own gender)

DO – Tell your prospective partner, if this is applicable, what your partner/spouse thinks about this.

DON’T – Indicate things try threesomes, partner switch, ect. unless your partners knows about this and agrees to this (not just because you think he

or she does).

DO – Be honest any specific age, race, type or whatever it is you prefer.

DO – Add a little humor (nothing wrong with adds that say “doggy seeks boss” or “rabbit is looking for hunter”).

DON’T – Include references to either scat or golden showers in your add. This may be your fantasy, but can only be discussed once you get to know each other.

DO – Make a first appointment at a public place, like a restaurant or a bar.

DON’T – Make a first appointment at your place (or your prospective partners’), give away your address and phone number immediately.

DO – Make sure you get to each other a little before you meet, like exchanging some letters.

DON’T – Do active play on your first meeting (and don’t expect it to happen).

DO – Tell about what you like and what you may have experienced in the past.

DON’T – Tell fairy tales or other make up stories. Don’t tell anybody you are experienced if your only experience comes from reading about it.

4. Even at parties people don’t want to play with me. How come?

This is a classic bottom problem. Especially a hetero male bottom problem. It’s called the Shopping List Problem.

The fact of the matter is – assuming that you are a hygienic, clean, normal person – you are probably too explicit about what you want, thus leaving no room for the top’s fantasies or ideas. If you approach a top with a list of things you want and how you want them performed, it will never happen. Tops are not some sort of S&M jukeboxes. It is not like you put in a quarter and they play what you want.

Many male hetero bottoms make another mistake as well: they think that every women on a party is a top (if it has breasts it can whip me). Remember that you have a fair chance the woman in question is a bottom also, or somebody that is just not into topping this evening.

Also: if you are a bottom you may feel that by offering your behind for a spank you offer a lot. That of course is true, from your point of view. From the tops point of view that may very well be not the case. Tops are usually more interested in people that try to seduce the top into a scene. Most tops play hard to get, which to them is a lot more fun. Try subtlety instead of lowering your pants immediately. Offer a drink, make eye-contact, make the top interested.

The third big mistake is to call every top “mistress” or “master” at the first encounter. First of all, the top may a a master or mistress but not yours (at least not yet). A top will appreciate that you (being a bottom) is polite but assuming that he or she has a commitment to you, by calling them master or mistress as if they already had that position towards you already will usually be taken as an offence. Like “you are now entering my private space and I don not remember inviting you there”.

Also, not every top appreciates to be called master or mistress. I personally – being a top – am of the opinion that my bottom doesn’t have to let me know that she accepts me as her top by calling me “top” or “master”. She shows it to me and simply calls me by name, which is what my name is for. But that of course is a purely personal view.

5. My spouse is not into S&M and does not want to get into it. Is it okay to find a “play partner” outside my relationship?

So called third party play exists (and pretty widely), but constitutes a real threat to your relation/marriage. In almost all cases there is more to any S&M relationship – whatever it’s nature – then “just play”. Towards your spouse you have to remember that if you are planning to play outside your marriage you are going to share some very intimate, personal, deep feelings with somebody other then the one you love and are married to. Your “play partner” will do the same thing. So there is a fair risked of getting further involved then “just” play, at the same time moving away from your spouse.

If you and your partner cannot work out a way to deal with both your sexual fantasies and dreams, you seriously need to reconsider your relationship. Because if you cannot share this vital and intimate thing together, good chance there is something wrong in your relationship. Or, as explained, something probably will be very shortly.

The fact of the matter is that the situation in most situations is not as desperate as it may seem to you. Your communication is probably on two different wavelengths or the receiving channel of your spouse is blocked by prejudice, stereotypes of plain fear. In those cases it is very advisable to first take your time to deal with this problem. Try very carefully to convince your partner that this is something you at least want to talk about and share. If not physically then at least verbally. It may be very helpful (and has proven to be in many cases) to try and get help from an S&M couple or somebody experienced from an S&M group or society (most groups have people that can do this). They can take away the prejudice and stereotypes more effectively then you can yourself (simply because your partner will probably argue that you are to talk him or them into doing what you want).

You need outside help – preferably from somebody of the same sex as your partner, to help you out. Buying a good book about S&M -like Califia’s Sensuous Magic”- may help as well. Whatever you do, take the pressure of and try to work your way out of this.

If there is no way out, the best advice is to use the services of a professional dominant. This usually not only makes it better understandable for your partner, the risk of “getting involved” en jeopardizing your marriage, is practically nil.

6. There are almost no women into S&M. True?

This is absolutely untrue. Research in the Netherlands has proven that (a) about ten percent of the population admits to have fantasies about power and sex and (b) more women then men have these fantasies. However, it is true that you will not find many women going to an S&M party, leather bar or group meeting. At least not alone. Parties, group meetings etc. are usually not a good place to date. Parties are more fun fr couples or small groups.

If you want to date, the best way to do it is be open and honest about your feelings. You will eventually attract somebody to you. If being open is not an option – because you can’t for social reasons – joining an S&M group may help, because it gets you in the scene. But don’t expect a date on the first night. The other way is advertise in S&M media. This will do the trick, provided your add is not too explicit, open and honest.

7. What is “nursing”?

“Nursing”, like almost any other S&M-playform, is pretty hard to define. What we do know is that power is the center of the game, as it should be, however concentrated around a very specific relationship: “nurse/doctor/governess” in the top-seat and “patient/child” being the bottom. So there is a specific contrast between the dominant and the bottom. However, nursing is not just that. It can be more powerful and even more personal then other platforms.

Nursing first of requires a specific environment: this can be either semi-medical or a nursery. Clothing, uniforms and attributes are very important. The “patient”, depending on the “nurse/doctor”, the “discomfort” of the situation and the uncertainty of the “treatment to come” are the ingredients of the game. A game that can (and in most case will) be very emotional.

Creating an environment, that comes to reality as close as possible, is of great importance. If this is to be hospital, the specific hospital-smell – created by a scent of either Dettol or Lysol – is an item you should not forget. Attributes, preferably as realistic as possible, the uniform of the nurse and he or she being “fierce” showing not too much understanding for the patient are all ingredients that are supposed to get the bottom very close to the real fears, we all know when we have to go to a hospital or in the dentists’ waiting room. This combination of tension, fear, uncertainty and having the feeling that you are part of a process that you may not completely understand but that is fatal to your health, is vital to the nursing game, because this specific fear is what the game is all about.

Latex and cold “bathroom-like” rooms (clinics) ar just as important and masks, hoods, blindfolds and gags will help to improve the bottoms’ uncertainty.

Nursing can roughly be divided into three different “theatrical” scenes. It is important to understand that, although it is all about nursing, the different scenes are different and details from one scene may interfere with another. In other words: if the scene is “nursery” the top should be a governess or maybe teacher but NOT a nurse. The same goes for the details. Bottoms that are into nursing are usually very observant as far as details are concerned.

Variety #1 is “child-nursing”. In ths type of scenes the bottom may very well be either a baby or a small child, taken care of by a nanny or governess. The top will have to find a very subtle combination of care and comfort and fierceness. Having to wear Pampers, sipping from either nipples or a bottle, having to eat baby food and wearing baby-clothing are mostly THE topics, of course combined with punishment. The humiliating aspect of all of this is important as well, but not every bottom will recognize this.

Variety #2 is “physical therapy”. In this case the bottom will ask the top to play the part of “physical therapist” ordering the bottom to undertake “healthy” activities like work outs, diets, breathing techniques, stop smoking, etc.

Variety #3 is “medical nursing”. This can work out into two different ways: either physical (operations, treatments, enema’s, etc) or physiological (the bottom is the patinet in an old fashioned mental institute). Nursing can be a very dangerous game and often indicates a trauma. The bottom may have either low self-esteem, may want to re-live certain experiences or may want to punished for things he or she did in the past.

If you are into nursing, communication becomes even more important. Not just communication about what you want, but why it is you want this specific form. If you are a top, be prepared that a bottom indicating nursing-games may very well need professional help first. If there is a trauma, one has to deal with that first in a professional way, before you can start to play with it. There is nothing wrong with someone who – having had and come to grips with a trauma – is able to play with the idea, as long as the trauma has been dealt with.

Being a nursing top is extra difficult. Not only because of the fact that you may be confronted with a trauma, but also because the technicalities of the game will probably be time-consuming. You need to have some acting capabilities to play a nurse or doctor in a serious way. You will need to study your specific role and the environment needed. And you need to find uniforms and attributes. And you do need to know about applying “fear” into a game. From a physical point of view fear will do the same thing as pain. It will “invite” the body to produce endorphines and adrenaline. But unfortunately, where “pain” is something you as a top can see, “fear” is not. It is therefore a lot harder to apply and control.