[Game Review] “Bondage Seductions”

There are a number of things that are consistently more appealing in theory than in reality. One such concept? Sex games. Buckle in, folks – it’s #12DaysofLovehoney Day 5, and we’re looking at Bondage Seductions, a sex game by Kheper Games. (Check out the whole series here.)

Dear God, where to start?

Bondage Seductions is a sex game for couples. It retails for £19.99 at Lovehoney. The game arrives in a small square box, and inside you’ll find:

  • 36 game cards
  • A pair of silky “ties” (lengths of ribbon)
  • 2 dice
  • A red elasticated blindfold
  • A mini rubber flogger
Bondage Seductions sex game box

The quality of these items is… Not Great. The flogger looks shoddily made and the materials of the ties and blindfold look and feel cheap. The cards are contain the same copy in four languages (English, German, French, and Spanish.) I can’t speak for any of the other languages, but the English passages are poorly written and feature frequent typos and weird syntax.

Not a great first impression, but let’s keep going.

How it’s played

The rules are simple: roll the 2 dice, and choose the corresponding numbered card (they are numbered 1-1 through 6-6 – the red die indicate the first number, the black die the second number.)

Contents of Bondage Seductions couples sex game

Cards in red are “for her to read,” and cards in black are “for him to read” (more on that in a minute.) You read your chosen scenario and then act it out, using the included props as appropriate.

How is it problematic? Let me count the ways…

First, this game gets its terminology all wrong. Which might seem like a small thing, but is actually a big deal.

“Bondage” is not a synonym for “BDSM” or “kinky sex”. Bondage is one specific kink: restraining other people and/or being restrained. This game should be called “Kinky Seductions” or something, because most of it doesn’t involve bondage. Again: stop using “bondage” and “BDSM” interchangeably. They’re different things.

The game also continually uses the word “whip” to describe a flogger. Again, they’re completely different implements! The two words are not synonymous! This is a whip. This is a flogger. The item in this game is (an admittedly shit excuse for) a flogger. Terminology matters in kink, because we can only negotiate and talk about our desires and limits effectively if we use the right language. If someone says they like whips but they actually mean floggers… you see how that could lead to some really troublesome miscommunications? (It also, even more inexplicably, refers to the flogger as a “paddle”. This is a paddle.)

Secondly, this game is lax to the point of being irresponsible when it comes to safety. There are cards that explain what safewords are and how to use them, which I guess is something. There’s also a mention of consent and only going as far as you want to go in the instructions. But that’s it – and that’s not enough.

Several of the activities listed can be dangerous either physically (e.g. spanking) or psychologically (e.g. non-consent roleplay) if done incorrectly. While I appreciate that game creators can’t give an essay on safety for every activity, some context is essential.

I was horrified to see one card suggesting that you flog your lover’s back, without making any distinction between hitting the upper back and shoulders (generally fine) and hitting the lower back, kidney area, and spine (incredibly dangerous and absolutely NOT fine.)

We can’t just nudge total newbies into impact play or non-consent roleplay scenes without telling them how to do so and emerge unharmed. This is grossly irresponsible.

Unnecessary gendering like whoa

This game takes unnecessary and aggressive gendering to the next level. It begins from the premise of assuming the players are a heterosexual, cisgender couple. There was absolutely no reason to do that! The cards could easily have been split by Top/bottom rather than male/female, or even just included a bunch of scenarios and left it to the players to decide who would take which roles.

Bondage Seductions kink game cards

It’s also not just cisheteronormative, but incredibly sexist. Here are a few choice quotes (all genuine, all copied down verbatim):

“Doesn’t he know you’d have an orgasm on the spot if he’d lift a finger and do the dishes for once in his life?”

“Perhaps he’d chatting with his mother when he should be asking about your day? Or worse yet… screaming at other drivers when he should be offering you compliments about your new hairdo!”

“Men are visual, and women are more sensitive to touch.”

“Don’t you wish sometimes that he would just shut up?”

This game was designed by people who don’t have a very good opinion of either men or women. It also seems to carry the assumption that people in heterosexual partnerships kinda hate each other. And honestly, I just find that sad.

ALSO. There are two cards titled “Safe Word For Her” and “Safe Word for Him.” Apart from the pronouns, these two cards are identical. There is literally zero point to this. Just have one safeword card or explain the concept in the rules! Seriously, this takes “gendering things that have no reason to be” to the next level.

The verdict

Bondage Seductions is just… really, really bad. It’s not just cheesy, cheap, and badly put-together. It encourages some really questionable – and even dangerous – practices and pushes overly rigid gender roles.

I can’t even say it’s good for people exploring BDSM for the first time, because it isn’t. It doesn’t help you to communicate your desires, explore things safely, or actually figure out what you like.

Seriously. Do not bother. This is awful.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this product to review! Views are, as always, my own. Affiliate links appear in this and all my review posts. Want to support the blog? Signing up to my newsletter and buying me a coffee are great ways to do that!

What Sexual Happiness Means to Me

This week is Sexual Happiness Week! I think that’s a sentiment we can all get behind, no? (If not, why are you reading this blog?) My pals at Lovehoney asked me in an email “what does sexual happiness mean to you?” and, of course, it got me thinking.

My initial reaction was to give my working definition of sex positivity: “supporting the right of all consenting adults to have sex, or not, in whatever ways work best for them, free from stigma or shame”.

And while I stand by that, I think sexual happiness is something a little different. So I started making a list of some of the things that make up “sexual happiness” for me. It’s different for everyone, so your mileage may vary. Why not tell me in the comments what YOUR definition of sexual happiness is?

1. Feeling in harmony with my body

My body and I have… an uneasy relationship. We haven’t always been friends and honestly, we sometimes still aren’t. Feeling good about my body is something I am mostly struggling to access right now, but in order to experience sexual happiness I do at least need to feel comfortable – neutral, if you will – about it.

I can’t have good sex if all I can think about is how much I hate my stomach and how my thighs are too big. But I can get to a happy place sexually if I can turn off all that noise and, if I cannot love how my body looks, at least appreciate it for the things it can do and the sensations it can feel.

2. Having partners I can really trust

You cannot have really good sex without trust. This is something I firmly believe. For me, trust is more complex than just “you’ll do what you say you’re going to do”. Trust means that I know you’ll show up for me if I need you, outside of a purely sexual space. It means I can be vulnerable with you and know that you will hold space for that and not use it to harm me. It means I can rely on you to show up and keep your commitments to me, not because I force you to but because you want to.

My bar for ongoing sexual partners is now much higher. We might or might not fall in Capital L Love with one another, but if I don’t trust you, we have nothing – not even a casual something.

3. A frequency that works

I’m a very highly sexual person much of the time (duh, you all think as you read my sex blog). This means that, much of the time, I’d like to be having quite a lot of sex. Much as I joke about liking my sex like I like my coffee (“hot and several times a day,”) my actual ideal frequency for sex tends to fall around the 4 – 5 times a week mark, a little more when I’m not busy. (LOL, as if there’s ever a time I’m not busy.)

But the key to sexual happiness for me is a frequency of sex that works with where my life is at that time, and works for the relationship I have with that partner. Right now I probably have sex with The Artist about once a month, but that’s… most of the times we see each other. Whereas with Mr CK, it probably averages out to once or twice a week – but we live together and see each other every day unless one of us is away, so we have days when we’re together but don’t have sex much more often. The key to happiness is a frequency that works for everyone.

4. Exploration and new experiences

At my heart, I am a curious creature with a lust for new experiences and plenty of adventure. Sexually, this can mean a lot of things. New partners, yes – sexual variety is one of the reasons I practice consensual non-monogamy. But also trying a new kink act, a new toy (my job as a sex writer blesses me with the ability to do this frequently!), a new position, or a new sex party or club all fall under the umbrella of “variety”.

Basically I want to try shit out. Being with a person for a long period of time and keeping a sexual spark alive comes quite easily to me, as long as there are plenty of adventures to be shared.

5. Plenty of attention given to my pleasure

I nearly wrote “orgasms!” for this one, but, well… I have an orgasm denial fetish. So I’ve amended it to needing a partner to give plenty of attention to my pleasure, in whatever way that looks. It might mean making sure I come, of course. But it might also include teasing me in the way I like, or spanking me in just the right way, or honestly just regularly checking in to make sure I’m having fun and getting what I want out of the scene. Nothing will turn me off faster than a partner who treats me like a sex toy. (Unless that’s a specific roleplay we’ve negotiated… in which case I’m getting something out of it too, so the point still stands).

Today’s post is brought to you by Lovehoney’s Sexual Happiness Week. Check out the great deals on offer. If you buy through any of my affiliate links, I make a small commission.