Catherine Townsend: Sleeping Around

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The Independent Online

I've had my share of adventures, but it's not often that I can say I've spent the weekend swinging from the chandeliers. The conversation about rope bondage started while Andrew and I were chatting about an article claiming that spanking children causes an increase in sexual deviancy in adulthood. This didn't surprise me. Whenever I watch Supernanny, I laugh and tell myself we're creating a generation of men who'll be asking their wives to wear glasses and make them get on the "naughty step".

One ex of mine, who had a serious foot fetish, told me that he could trace the beginning of his obsession back to the babysitter who would spend hours painting her toenails in short skirts when he was 10 years old. Another alumnus of an all-boys public school loved to be caned, so I had to shop for the perfect spanking instrument to satisfy him.

"I found a stash of bondage magazines under my dad's bed when I was young, and always fantasised about them," Andrew told me. Despite the fact that he's had very few partners, Andrew has always been sexually adventurous. So when he said that he wanted us to experiment with tying each other up, I decided it was time to brush up on my BDSM by taking a refresher class in Japanese rope bondage.

I've been in trouble before with restraints, mainly because I can't tie a knot to save my life, so have had to resort to using handcuffs (bad idea – lose the key and you have to call the police to set you free, as I learnt the hard way).

There were 12 of us in the class, mostly couples, and the petite instructor showed us how to tie the three basic knots. The most amazing moment was when she wrapped the rope around a female volunteer, seductively taking her time – because of the way she had the rope wrapped, she was almost made the girl hover horizontally. The volunteer did look a bit like a Christmas turkey, but the dance was amazing – more like a martial art than foreplay.

So I bought some magician's rope and went back to Andrew's place. He got seriously turned on by tying me up, and we played around with all kinds of formations – including one where we threaded the rope through a hook next to the light fitting and I was left hanging from the ceiling. I found the experience of being helpless incredibly erotic.

There were a few comical moments – we found out that rope and chest hair don't mix. We created a "safety word" (I had to draw the line at putting the rope around his neck), and was all too aware that if anything went wrong, I would be held legally responsible, not to mention having to look at his children's tear-streaked faces and telling them that their dad's last words were something unprintable.

Andrew's a great dad. He doesn't believe in spanking his kids, but, fortunately for me, has no such qualms about smacking adults.