cw: bondage, mentions of impact & sensation play
Let me launch this review with a thrilling look at the mundane details of a polyamorous household. For a refresher, we’re a poly V, with Damien at the hinge—their husband is with Damien, and I am with Damien, but my metamour and I are not involved in a romantic or sexual way.
So, how do we make the sleeping thing work? I can’t speak for anyone else’s relationship, but Damien is a light sleeper and we’re all introverts, which actually resolves the problem easily: we all have our own beds. Metamour is in his own room, with a queen bed, because he snores and has a CPAP machine, and he prefers to have the door open to accommodate cats and airflow. Damien and I used to share a bed, but the fact is, I move around a lot and it tormented Damien, plus I like to have a little space to myself and don’t like too much touch when I’m trying to sleep. We ditched our queen bed (which was dying anyway) and got ourselves twin beds in our shared room, like Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. Now everyone’s happy. Damien can sleep soundly while I flop around like the dying fish I am in my soul.
This, however, made me reluctant to try under the bed restraint systems—not because I didn’t want one, but because I wasn’t sure it would fit a twin bed. Our society assumes that adults have a full bed or larger, and most adult bed accessories work within that assumption. That’s not an issue for sheets and stuff, because I have little tastes anyway, and because there are plenty of fairly neutral twin sets regardless. But I still worried that a restraint system, even an adjustable one, would flop around uselessly under a twin mattress.
There are a lot of systems designed to tuck around a mattress, but the Sportsheets Under the Bed Restraint System is reportedly the first. Currently retailing at $52.99 at Naughty Betty’s, they kindly photograph everything except for the actual size adjusting mechanism, so I was a little anxious still when I received it. Sure, it says “Each 60 inch strap adjusts to fit any size bed,” but I wasn’t sure how small it would get. But when we got it, we tried it out. We chose Damien’s bed, since it’s easier to reach with our room arrangement, moving aside the mattress and flopping the nylon straps onto the platform underneath it.
Turns out, the system is extremely easy to adjust. The straps just have basic slide buckles, which aren’t difficult to position, but stay pretty firm once you set them up. And yes—it turns out that when they say any size bed, they mean any size bed.
Look, maybe this is obvious to you, but as someone who overthinks things a lot, I was extremely relieved.
The system comes with not only the bed straps, but also four basic cuffs, two for ankles and two for wrists. They close with a long Velcro strip, which makes them extremely adjustable for a variety of limb sizes, and the interior is extremely soft and comfortable. They also have a swivel clip, so if you’d rather have something leathery, or locking, or more heavy-duty, or whatever, you can easily remove them and put something else on the Under the Bed Restraint System. (If you do that, you may need to find additional clips, since the System’s straps just have a split ring. Double ended bolt snaps are really easy to find at the hardware store, and fairly inexpensive.) This also means that you can take off the clips and attach them to each other, which is a nice bonus! Aesthetically they’re…well, they’re well-made and functional, but with the nylon details and Velcro fixtures, they kind of look like camping equipment. I like them, and I think they’ll last me quite a long time, but if aesthetics are important to you, they might not pass muster.
You can set the straps in a few different angles around your mattress. We prefer to have all of them perpendicular to the bed, so the straps and cuffs come out the side. This leaves my legs spread, and my hands end up roughly in line with my face, but you can easily move them to the head and foot of the bed so that your hands are overhead, and your legs closer together. Once they’re in place, and I’m strapped down, I genuinely can’t move much. If I’m laying on my back, I can partially sit up a little, but that’s about it. I can’t move my legs, and I can’t move my arms. It’s fun.
We like the leg immobility for spanking. When impact gets intense I tend to kick like a badly-strung BJD, which is a joke that about 6 of you will get, and Damien takes great pleasure when I can’t do that. But our favorite use for the Restraint System is to put me on my back and tie me down like a sacrifice in a bad movie. Damien will then stick a blindfold on me, and we mostly play with non-impact sensation toys. We negotiate which toys we’re going to use before the scene, and then they surprise me with sensations. They get to watch my face when they’re introducing a nice scratchy sensation, or affixing nipple clamps, or tracing shapes on my skin with a Wartenberg wheel. They like the little squeaks I make when I’m spattered with candle wax. And they really, really like that I can’t do much about it. As I said, I can halfway sit up sometimes, and I’ve done so once or twice when a sensation was really shocking. That’s it! That’s the extent of my powers until they’re done playing with me, or I give my safeword.
(Okay, or I can say, “Excuse me, sir, but I think my nipples are about to fall off, could we ditch the clamps so we don’t have to try to find them later?” because we’re very serious and somber kinksters.)
When you’re not playing, it’s really easy to tuck the straps back into the bed. Because Damien’s bed frame is pretty blocky, we can leave the cuffs attached, but if you’re concerned about the bulk you can obviously remove those and just tuck the straps under your mattress for easy retrieval later. We’re slightly lazy and tend to leave them out, and honestly they still aren’t that noticeable unless I’m actively attached to them. The cats don’t even mess with them. (Your mileage may vary DRAMATICALLY on that one.)
The last use I have for this kit? I like cuffing my ankles when I masturbate. Because of my spouse’s brand of asexuality, we don’t have traditional genital-contact sex. I have no problem with our sex life as it is, but the fact remains that I’m a kinky and very sexual Earthling, and I do love the idea of bondage with my orgasms. I can play with some of my wrist cuffs while I’m masturbating, but I don’t generally feel bound when I do that, given the full range of motion and active use of my hands. If I strap my ankles to a bed, though, it enhances a lot of my bondage fantasies, without being unsafe. (Please keep in mind that you should never leave a partner alone if they’re bound, even with something like this, and self-bondage can be very risky—the ankles work for me because my hands are free and I can get out of them extremely easily.)
Honestly, despite my anxiety about twin beds or whatever, I almost wish I’d gotten these as a first bondage set—not only are the straps pretty adaptable, but the cuffs can be removed and used as standard adjoined cuffs, or attached to a chain, or whatever else. It’s a little pricey for a first foray into bondage, I’ll admit, but it’s essentially a kit of several bondage toys, rather than just one big one. This is great if you’re experimenting with bondage and what you like, what feels comfortable, and so on. But I also think this is a pretty good purchase for someone more advanced. Some of us might like to have a full dungeon in our homes, with a Saint Andrew’s cross and other bondage furniture positioned for maximum use and enjoyment, but for most of us that isn’t very practical. This kit turns standard vanilla furniture into something kinkier, without much effort. The cuffs themselves may or may not appeal (I really like them! I’m wearing one as a bracelet as I type this!) but the straps are really durable and well-made, and will fit literally any bed. Clip on whatever cuffs you like. If it’s outside your budget, Naughty Betty’s has a few other bed restraint sets at different price points, but honestly? I like this one a lot.
The Bottom Line
The Sportsheets Under the Bed Restraint System is a good kit! The straps themselves are spectacularly durable, and the included cuffs are comfortable and functional. If you’re into bondage, you just might need this. If you’re not sure you’re into bondage but you have the money to drop on it…you still might need this.