The Challenge of Finding Decent Bondage Gear

kinkywriter Blog

Cheap bondage gear is a really big pet peeve of mine.

You know the kind – found in those big blister pack displays at your friendly, neighborhood sex store. It seems crazy to pay $59 for a few strips of thin leather hastily riveted together with a pair of flimsy D-rings to connect them, but when you and your partner are just beginning to explore the world of bondage, and you don’t really have anything to compare them to, and you’re really horny and just want to get them home so that you can play, it’s an easy sell and you won’t even realize you got ripped off until you’re back home, covered in sweat, with a pair of broken cuffs in your hands because the tagline “Struggle just like Anastasia did!” could’ve only been referring to that scene where she was asleep if her millionaire sex master cheaped out and bought his lady the same pair of cuffs that you just did!

It really frustrates me that most of us don’t have a decent kink store in our city … or even in our state … where we can walk in and browse a selection of high quality bondage gear – the kind that just smells erotic, the kind that’ll last you 10 years or more if you take care of it. And sure, I’m also talking about the kind that may very well make your jaw drop when you see a price tag upwards of $100 for a simple pair of leather wrist cuffs, but put ‘em side by side and you can’t even compare the two … namely because you’ll never find them being sold in the same store.

Stores that actually sell gear that you’d be proud to spend the day hogtied in take a similar sense of pride in what they do. They’re not selling ballgags and custom corsets in between aisles of DVD rentals and piles of dildos. Often times they actually make their gear themselves on-site, or at the very least they work with trusted artisans to be able to offer a product that is representative of their own dedication to the BDSM community.

Lately I’ve caught myself wondering, especially with the mainstream craze of the Fifty Shades of Grey books and the associated cheap bondage gear line that we all knew was inevitable, if more people would find themselves becoming entranced by this kinky world that we enjoy if their first time being tied to the bed was with something of a little higher quality than a pair of cheap, Velcro cuffs or a pair of handcuffs you could pickup at Toys R Us. I know that I myself didn’t really start to appreciate leather as a fetish until I got my first decent set of wrist cuffs from a leather-crafter selling his own work on eBay, and after the first time I set foot in the showroom of Northbound Leather up in Toronto, they pretty much ruined me for anything I could ever expect to find back home locally…

I remember one weekend early on when I was dating, my partner and I made an entire afternoon/evening out of driving around our metropolitan area here in the southeastern United States and visiting every single adult store we could find in search of kinky toys to play with that night. I think we visited something like a dozen stores in about 5 hours time, and at the end of the day we came home with a vibrator … one stinkin’ vibrator that probably didn’t even last the night! Out of all the stores that we’d visited, approximately two had the most vague notion of promise as far as bondage gear was concerned, but we never did find what we were looking for and the next day we ended up ordering about $500 worth of toys online instead.

Of course, it’s just as easy to get burned buying toys online as it is in person … probably easier because some less than reputable sellers have been known to show pictures of other sellers’ goods to promote their own products. I guess in that case the best advice you can follow is simply, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. If that leather bondage hood looks just like the one you’ve seen from Sinvention, but half the cost, chances are you’re going to find out why when a mess of straps and cheap leather shows up at your door a few weeks later…

The best thing a kinkster can do, really, is just do your homework, read plenty of reviews and try to look for action shots of their products in person because those are a lot harder to fake, and maybe just start off slow to test the waters and see if an online seller is really who they say they are … order a $50 item before you splurge on the $200 item to get an idea of their quality.

I honestly didn’t intend this to sound like a promotional article, and it certainly hasn’t been sponsored by any of the folks that I’m about to mention, but so far I myself have definitely been wow’ed by Sinvention. That sensory deprivation hood that they sell?! Pretty much the most incredible thing you’ll ever wear on your head! It’s probably safe to say that most of the hood-related stories that I’ve written over the last couple of years were directly inspired by the gorgeous, unrelenting encasement that this hood offers … seriously, if you want to buy yourself or a loved one a $400 bondage birthday gift, you can’t go wrong with this hood!

I can also definitely vouch for Northbound Leather, also a Canadian retailer and crafter of their own gear … this is the store where I fell in love with leather corsets, and they’ve also got plenty of great bondage gear, too.

Mr. S Leather out in San Francisco – I’ve sadly never visited their showroom in person, but I’ve purchased from them online more than once and I’ve yet to be disappointed, though maybe a bit intimidated when I’ve opened one of their shipments! When I look at pictures on their site, I always wonder if I’d be able to rustle up the nerve to actually try out a piece of gear in the store before buying it, but then again, what other adult store would even let you do that?!

To steal a phrase that I can’t for the life of me think of the original source right now, Bondage is hard, but finding decent bondage gear shouldn’t be. We shouldn’t have to move to San Francisco, or Toronto, or New York City, or at the very least plan our vacations around those places simply to actually have a chance at finding something worthwhile to play with. I don’t know what the answer to our problem here is today, but I suppose you could say that like most typical bondage fanatics, I just want more! 😉