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
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.)
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.
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.
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!