BDSM & DUNGEON FURNITURE

From the comfiness of our beds to the hardness of a simple wooden bench, to the erotically exposing nature of purpose-built furniture, there's just so much option available to us when it comes to implementing furniture into our BDSM play. In this article, Demasque has attempted to create an extensive (but not all-encompassing!) and semi-categorized list of the different types of BDSM furniture available to experiment with.


CROSSES

Crosses can come in all different varieties, but are usually identified as being a vertical structure of two wooden planks. Nearly any sort of play can be had with a cross, as their main purpose is to keep the person secured to it in an upright position, allowing open access to any part of the body on one side. A person can be tethered to the cross for partial or full immobilization, or they can hold or lean on to their cross at their own will.

The St. Andrew's Cross

The St. Andrew's Cross is an X-frame. The shape of the frame makes it possible to affix limbs, wrists and ankles to the end points of each wooden plank, making the person secured to it assume a spread-legged and open-armed position. The St. Andrew's Cross is one of the most common pieces of BDSM furniture. It is said that the cross takes it's name after St. Andrew, who requested to die upon an X-frame cross (being bound instead of nailed), because he believed he was not worthy to die on the same shape of cross as his messiah, Jesus Christ.

The Latin Cross/Trident Cross

Latin Cross by BDSM Artesanato (click to view store)

The Latin Cross (also sometimes called a crucifix) and is the type of cross that we usually see in Christian mythology - having been made famous through the countless depictions of the prophet Jesus Christ being nailed to it at the time of his martyrdom. The terms 'Crucifix' and 'Trident Cross' are sometimes used interchangeably in the BDSM realm, due to the positioning of the wooden planks - though they typically do not have any vertical prongs which would be assumed by the name 'trident'. The structure of this cross is a T-frame and can either have the horizontal plank at the very top of the vertical one, or just below as in a typical Latin Cross. This structure allows the person secured to it to have their arms spread open horizontally, with their legs being either unbound or connected to the bottom of the vertical plank. The structure of this cross also makes it possible to bind the length of the body, including the head, neck and torso, to the vertical plank.


Seated Crosses

A seated cross is a piece of furniture on which one sits but can also have their limbs (most specifically the arms) bound open. A simple piece of furniture which can be manufactured to be as cruel or as comfy as one wishes. Sometimes seated crosses are interchangeably called "bondage chairs" or "thrones".



BENCHES

Benches are another common piece of BDSM funiture and can come in a wide variety of designs. Benches are used for the purpose of keeping the person who is receiving the play (of any sort!) in a more horizontal position, either kneeling, bent over or completely flat.

Spanking & Whipping Benches

It seems that spanking benches were specifically created in the 20th century by spankophiles who wished for an apparatus to accompany their spanking play. Spanking benches can accommodate a variety of different positions for the spankee to assume during play, but usually for the kneeling or all-fours position as they are commonly manufactured with knee rests. The bent-over position that is assumed when using a spanking bench makes the person's bottom more pronounced and protruding - perfect for site-specific impact play. Often, the terms 'spanking bench' and 'whipping bench' are used interchangeably. This being said, historically a whipping bench is simply a normal, flat bench upon which one lies horizontally. The whipping bench was used as a piece of furniture in judicial punishment since at least the 15th century.


Kneeling Benches

A kneeling bench is akin to a Spanking Bench in that it puts the person on it in an upright kneeling position, in which they can somewhat lean or bend forward, but not to the extent that the Spanking Bench would have them in. Again, the kneeling bench provides easy access to a rounded and protruding bottom for impact play but can also be implemented in other more service-oriented types of play and training. The kneeling bench is typically quite low - positioning the kneeler about a foot off the ground - and provides a test of endurance to the person on it, as the bench is not traditionally padded (though more modern varieties can include some sort of padding for comfort).


Exposure Benches

As the name would suggest, an exposure bench is intended to 'expose' the person on it - typically exposing their bottom and allowing access to the genital region. An exposure bench requires the person on it to be horizontally face up with their legs being secured above them either vertically straight or (if they are more flexible) bent towards their head.



CAGES & BOXES

Cages and boxes are intended to enclose whomever is inside and can be made from a variety of materials and used for a multitude of purposes. Cages and boxes can be made to be especially confining - to restrict all movement - or they can provide some sort of sensory excitation. Cages and boxes, along with benches and crosses can be used for all sort of BDSM play, but due to their structure usually do not allow for complete bodily access with implements - instead the cage or box itself being a more physical/mental barrier for whomever is inside.

Standing & Horizontal Cages

These are the most typical sorts of cages that we see in BDSM venues or dungeons. Standing cages typically are built to fit an 'average-sized' standing human body inside, while horizontal cages are usually a tad smaller than a human laying down, forcing the caged person to slightly bend or crouch their body. These cages are typically made of steel, but can be made of wood or any other sturdy material and can be built purposely to fit more than one human inside.


A defining feature of these types of cages is that you can usually see through the bars or whatever material the cage is, allowing a 360 degree angle access to whomever is inside. Some horizontal cages are made for the purpose of petplay, while some are made as tables or benches that rest on the structure of the cage underneath. These types of cages are not simply limited to standing and horizontal structures, though, and can be made in almost any shape, from spherical to pyramidal, to trapezoidal, to domed.


Leather, Rubber & Net Cages

A more unusual (or less seen) type of cage is one that encompasses a whole person's body in a net of sorts - usually being made of some sort of thick-strap material such as leather or rubber, and occasionally of thick rope. These cages enclose on to the whole body of whomever is inside, rendering them completely immobile. They can be suspended or positioned on the ground and again very much provide a 360 degree total body access.


The Gibbet Cage

The Gibbet Cage is a specifically human-shaped caged that renders whomever inside completely immobile, much like the net-style cage. The difference here, though, is that the Gibbet Cage is usually made of steel and is particularly rigid. Modern Gibbet Cages used in BDSM play can come with or without dulled spikes on the inside for an especially sensational experience. The Gibbet Cage gets it's name from the antiquated public execution practice known as "gibbeting" that left the bodies of dead or dying criminals exposed and on display to the public. The body-shaped cage variant was used from at least the 18th century.


Cupboards & Coffins

These two are pretty self explanatory. A cupboard used in BDSM typically holds a single human inside, being locked in for a period of time to experience a confining and sensory deprivation type of play. Likewise, a coffin gets it's name from the horizontal funerary box that we know it to be and is also used for this confinement and sensory deprivation type of play. These both differ from the previous types of cages discussed in that they typically are all-enclosing, with no visual access in or out of the confined space. Some variants of cupboards or coffins may have peek holes or even transparent walls.


Grope Boxes

A grope box is similar to the all-enclosing human-sized cupboard, though it usually has one or more holes in the walls to 'grope' at parts of the body contained inside. Variations of the grope box can include boxes that are specifically sized to have only the genitals, feet, buttocks, breasts or head protruding from the box itself.

The Iron Maiden

Example of an Iron Maiden at the Torture Museum in Lubuska Land Museum in Zielona Góra. Image by Lestat (Jan Mehlich)

The Iron Maiden in BDSM play refers to a human shaped box in which a body is enclosed, similar to the shape of an Ancient Egyptian sarcophagus. When we think of an Iron Maiden, we typically think of the medieval torture implement that had sharp spikes inside to impale the captive from all angles, but modern Iron Maidens used in BDSM play typically do not feature these spikes. If spikes are built in to the Iron Maiden today, they are usually shorter and dulled so as to not cause and long lasting bodily harm to the person inside.



STOCKS & PILLORIES

Stocks and pillories both consist of large boards (usually made of wood or some other solid material) with hinges that entrap specific parts of a person, usually the limbs or head. Traditionally, stocks are specific to restraining the feet and consist of the hinged boards alone, while pillories are typically affixed to some sort of pole or vertical structure that keeps the head and hands secured. Over time, they have been made for more specific body parts, such as the fingers or toes, or genitals, but are always intended for restriction of movement in whatever body part is trapped. In BDSM play, stocks and pillories are commonly used for predicament play.

Ankle & Wrist Stocks/Yokes & Hobbles


The most common type of stocks we see in BDSM play are meant to capture either the wrists or ankles of whomever is in bondage. These stocks are typically designed with hinged boards of varying sizes, but can also simply include a thinner board or bar with cuffs affixed. Some stocks allow for both the wrists and ankles to be captured at once, rendering the person trapped in a completely bent-in-half position, which can add an exposing or humiliating element to play. A related variant of these types of stocks are spreader bars.


Yokes and hobbles are simply variations of stocks for the hands and feet that stand alone, without any structure fixing them to the ground. Traditionally are both typically wooden boards (though can be found in other materials), with the yoke being for the hands and head while the hobble is for the feet. They can be used solo or together, sometimes being attached by chain or some other connector.

Genital Stocks

As the name implies, genital stocks are intended to trap the genitals of whomever is in bondage. These stocks usually consist of a stand which has a pole that rises to about hip height, to meet the level of the person's genitals. With male organs, this typically includes having their testicles bound and penis inserted and secured into the stocks. For females, the pole usually meets a cupped-shape piece of metal (or some other material) which may or may not have a dildo affixed to it. If a dildo is utilized and inserted, it can add to the immobilization of the female. Genital stocks are also sometimes called hobble stocks due to the 'hobbling' of the person in bondage.

Finger Pillories & Thumb Cuffs

A woman in finger stocks, by H.W Whanslaw, date unknown. Source: Pillory History (click image to view website)

The design of the finger pillory keeps ones digits secured and bent at the knuckles, creating an L-shape. Finger pillories were used in some churches and schools for minor offences and often had a large number of holes varying in thickness to accommodate almost any finger size.


Thumb cuffs differ in that they are specifically cuffs for the fingers and were originally used as a miniature variant of handcuffs in law enforcement - their size making them easily and discreetly portable.

Sitting Stocks

'Man and woman in stocks' from The New York Public Library Digital Collections (click image to view website)

Sitting stocks are a style of stocks that include a sitting bench with stocks for the limbs in front of it. They typically include just stocks for the feet, but can include holes for the arms too.



FRAMES & RACKS

Bondage frames and racks are typically any sort of structure upon which a person receiving play can lean against and/or be bound to. Of course, we started this article with crosses, which are are definitely a type of frame or rack, though this section is dedicated to a more specific selection of frames and racks used in BDSM play.

The Berkley Horse

Historical drawing of The Berkley Horse

The Berkley Horse was designed in 1828 by Theresa Berkley, an English dominatrix who specialized in flagellation. The 'horse' is a frame structure on which the receiver of play leans against (and is often bound to). It is in this design that it is quite similar to a cross, as the person on it is standing vertically, on a slight angle against the 'horse', with full body access to one half. Distinguishing features of the Berkley Horse include opening for access to the face/head, chest and groin.

The Birching Horse

A birching horse is a variant of the spanking bench, though it's name is derived from the act of 'birching' - which entailed being flagellated by a bundle of leafless birch twigs as corporal punishment. Records indicate the birching was implemented as judicial punishment since at least the 1700s, mostly with the person being flagellated in a bent over position, sometimes being secured to whatever they were leaning upon. The earliest types of birching horses were known as 'birching donkeys' or 'birching ponies' and were simply wooden structures that were specifically used for the birching punishment.

The Sawhorse

Diagram of a sawhorse by Wxs

The sawhorse as we know it is a frame consisting of a beam and four legs that is usually used to stabilize a piece of wood (or other material) for the intent of sawing. In a BDSM context, the sawhorse can be used to position and/or bind the person receiving the play in a variety of ways, including being bent over completely on the beam or standing astride the beam with legs either side.

The Spanking Horse


The most common form of the spanking horse is akin in structure to the sawhorse, though is typically padded on the top beam and features beams on either side that the person on it can rest their knees and elbows. The major difference between a spanking horse and a spanking bench seems to be in the shape, with the spanking bench being more of a purpose-built contraption while the spanking horse comes as an evolution of the sawhorse.

A-Frames

As the name suggests, the a-frame is a frame built in a triangular shape of an 'A'. The person receiving the play leans against the frame, vertically, and can be bound at the ankles, having their legs spread, with their arms bound to the top most point. A simple structure that can accommodate a wide variety of play, akin to crosses or the Berkley Horse.

Trestles

Image of a punishment trestle by Canemaster24

While we might usually use the term 'sawhorse' and 'trestle' interchangeably in the vanilla world, they are actually two distinct structures within a BDSM context. A punishment trestle is similar to a sawhorse in that it again is made of a horizontal beam connected to four feet, but differs in that it is usually shorter width-wise and that the person on it usually bends over the horizontal beam, rather than along it.

The Spanish Donkey

Image of a Spanish Donkey, featuring spikes, by Wisniowy

The Spanish Donkey is again akin to the sawhorse, though it it differs in that it's top horizontal beam is triangular, pointing up. This device was used from at least the 1600s as a torture device, with the person on top of it being made to straddle the triangular beam, being bound (and sometimes weighted) down to be inflicted pain by their own body weight onto the point of the beam. Modern Spanish Donkeys used in BDSM play can often be found with more blunted top points, and are usually used in combination with some other form of bondage to increase the effects of the play.



TABLES

Typically waist-height and long enough to fit an average-height person on length ways, bondage tables are great for different types of play where the person receiving the play needs to be still for a long period of time. Some tables are purpose built specifically as 'bondage tables', often coming with padding for comfort and an assortment of attachment points for restraints.

Massage Tables

The massage table is commonly used as a piece of furniture in BDSM play as it is purpose built to be strong enough and comfy enough for lengthy play sessions.

The Inversion Table

Photograph of an Inversion Table by Giorgostr

An inversion table is usually used in a form of therapy which aims to relieve stresses in the muscles and bones of the person strapped to it. The person strapped to it can be positioned on any angle, or even be completely vertically inverted. In BDSM this provides for the unique ability to adjust body angle during play.



CHAIRS & STOOLS

Chairs and stools used in BDSM play usually have more specific purposes, as opposed to tables as described above.

Rimming Seats

A rimming seat is typically used for what it's name implies and is identifiable by it's feature seat, which is usually reminiscent of a toilet seat.

Queening Stools

Queening stools are, in essence, quite similar to rimming seats, though they seem to be typically made of more comfortable, padded structures - fit for a queen!

Smother Boxes

The smother box is both a variation and combination of both the rimming seat and queening stool. The distinguishing feature of the smother box is that the person's head below the seat is completely enclosed by a box, making for a more sensory sort of play when engaging in rimming or queening.

CBT Chairs

With CBT standing for cock-and-ball torture, the CBT chair is justly designed for this sort of play. The person sitting upon the chair faces a board which features a hole for the genitals to protrude from, isolating them on the other side and away from the body - perfect for teasing! The CBT chair can come with arm boards to which the person sitting may have their limbs attached, and the seat may occasionally feature a face hole, too.

The Tramp Chair

A humiliation and torture device used largely during the 19th century by American law enforcement. This piece of furniture itself was not actually intended to be sat on, rather being made as a cage in the shape of a chair. The criminal would be forced inside, being made to assume a sitting position inside the chair itself.



SWINGS, SLINGS & SUSPENSIONS

Suspension swings, slings and frames are a fun addition to any dungeon and bondage play.

Sex Swings & Harness Slings

Sex swings and slings are not exclusive to kinksters and can be found commonly in the 'vanilla' sex world, typically used as a sexual aid. The only difference between a sex swing and a harness sling would be that the 'sex swing' has been developed over time specifically as a commercially sold sex aid. This being said, they are essentially one and the same and the names are generally interchangeable. The swing or sling usually consists of a seated construct where the person upon it may rest upon, being suspended in the air, though it is also common to see variations of the swing/sling with built in wrist and ankle restraints.

Suspension Frames


The suspension frame is most commonly seen in use with rope bondage play. This being said, you can definitely utilize a suspension frame for attaching some type of sex sling or swing as well as any other type of bondage play which might require parts of the body be attached to certain points or lifted up. The suspension frame can come in a variety of designs, though the most important aspect of it is that it is structurally sound to hold a human body.


Hoists

A hoist is simply an adjustable point from which a person can be lifted and lowered. It consists of a winch and pulley and can be either electric or mechanized. The hoist can be built into almost any standing piece of dungeon equipment, or be purpose built into a ceiling beam, though may also exist as a separate structure itself.


WALL & FLOOR FIXTURES, BOARDS & PADS

Almost any piece of furniture that we talk about in this article could be fixed to or used against a wall or floor, though these are some of the more specific ones.

Boards/Pads

Bondage boards and pads are simply any lengths of solid material on which a person may lean or lie on, usually featuring points for restraint, . They can come in any shape and size, and can come in padded or unpadded varieties.

Wedges

A wedge is typically a triangular shaped mount on which a person can lean on, to aid in staying in certain positions. Though wedges are usually found as triangular shapes, they can come in a variety of curved options as well. They are usually soft and padded, as they are an aid for the body that is leaning against them, though they are also strong and sturdy so as to not move, slip or break under a human weight.

The Shakti Mat

The Shakti mat is a type of mat usually seen in yoga circles, being used as an ancient style of acupressure therapy. It is simply a mat that features hundreds, if not thousands, of points on which the person upon it rests their body weight, no matter what area of the body. It is akin to a bed of nails, though seemingly less torturous as the modern Shakti mat usually has dulled spikes.


WHEELS & WEBS

Both the wheel and web can be stand alone pieces, or be affixed to a wall. A common feature between them is that they are both typically built to hold a humans weight fully suspended and attached to them.

The Revolving Wheel

The wheel that we sometimes see in dungeons today seems to be a modern evolution of the Catherine Wheel - a medieval piece of torture equipment that was intended to crush the bones of criminals. A closer relative to the dungeon wheel we know, however, would be the Wheel Of Death that has been seen in circus impalement arts since at least the 1930s. The revolving wheel is simply a moving target to which a human body is securely strapped, being able to revolve 360 degrees.

The Spider's Web

The spider's web is an interesting structure that is not often seen in BDSM dungeons. The structure itself can be almost any size, though is identifiable by usually having a wooden or steel frame that features a 'web' of rope or leather between it. The designs of the web can range from the simple to the extremely ornate and they can even become so elaborate as to make the structure protrude as though it is 3D! A person can be tied at any point of the structure and played with at will.


POSTS & IMPALERS

Posts and impalers are typically sole vertical poles or posts intended to keep the person against it in a particular position, be it kneeling or standing. Because of the simplicity of the pole or post structures, greater access to the body is presented for different types of play.

Kneeling Posts

The kneeling post is a short post, sometimes affixed to a small board on the ground, that is intended to keep the bottom in play in a kneeling position. The kneeling person's ankles and/or wrists may be bound to the post to prevent further movement. The kneeling post can be implemented in all sorts of play and is a great disciplinary training device.


Impalers

Impalers that are typically found in BDSM porn or professional dungeons are quite similar in appearance to the genital stocks as described above. A long rod, often with a dildo or vibrator affixed to the end of it, is positioned on the ground to some sort of structure, for the person on it to be 'impaled'. Of course, it is totally also possible to have free-standing impalers that can be manipulated and moved more easily by the one holding it.

A historical variation of the impalement post is the Judas Chair (also known as a Judas Cradle), a torture device allegedly used during the Spanish Inquisition. The Judas Chair is a four-legged structure upon which sits a pointed pyramid, intended for victims to be strapped down on to be impaled via the lower orifices.


Whipping Posts

Image of a historical whipping post in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, England, by BelovedFreak

The whipping post is akin to an A-frame or cross in that the person secured to it is usually fully standing and bound to a tall vertical post or pole, usually for impact play purposes, but differs in the fact that the structure is simply a 'post'. The name could come from the fact that whips and other impact implements have more ease of movement, due to the simplicity of the structure that allows more access to the body than the aforementioned frame and cross.


MASTURBATION DEVICES & FUCKING MACHINES


Masturbation devices are colloquially known as fucking machines - the terms generally being interchangeable. Electronic masturbation machines are an evolution of dildos and, in turn, vibrators. These devices and machines are mechanized to stimulate the person using them, being automated and simulating the act of intercourse.


The Sybian is one of the best known types of fucking machines, comprised of a saddle-like seat upon which one sits and is masturbated either internally or externally. Variations of masturbation devices also include milking devices, which may be attached to the penis or breast.


VACBEDS

A vacbed is essentially an envelope made of latex sheeting that is large enough to fit a human body inside. A vacuum sucks the air out of the sheets, to completely envelope the person in the latex sheeting, creating a deep sensory bondage experience. Often, to facilitate breathing, there will be a tube running from the person's mouth to the outside, though some styles of the vacbed will have complete face openings or simply holes for the mouth without a tube. Horizontal vacbeds that allow the person to lay down are the type most commonly seen, though vertical/3D vacbeds do exist. Vertical vacbeds work the same way as horizontal ones but the latex sheets are suspended between a frame to stay upright.


ROLE PLAY SPECIFIC FURNITURE


Different types of furniture are more specific to certain environments - like school desks or dental chairs, for example. Using these specific pieces of furniture can definitely enhance sessions that are more role play based by helping getting into the mindset of the play that is occurring. Examples of role play specific furniture include the traditional school desk, the medical bench, the dental chair and the barber's chair.

HUMAN FURNITURE


Photograph example of a human table by Exey Panteleev

Some power exchange sessions may include the play of human furniture role play. The body can assume many positions to serve as a chair, table, foot stool (or any other piece of furniture) for a period of time to serve a purpose for the play they are engaging.


CONVENTIONAL FURNITURE

Photograph of a bed by chuttersnap

We end this long list of BDSM and dungeon furniture not forgetting about all of the options available to us with conventional furniture that we constantly find ourselves surrounded by. Beds and bed frames are the first most obvious choice, as it is the most common place we sensually and sensually interact with others. By utilizing bed posts or even the planks underneath the mattress, we can bind our partners and secure them for restraint play - plus, it's usually pretty comfy! A less comfortable option but also fun to experiment with is the table or bench on which you or your partner can lean on, bend over or sit on - and the same goes for chairs and couches. It is important to remember to experiment and not limit ourselves to what we think we 'must' do or have in order to have kinky fun, for any space - even the floor - can provide entertainment so long as everyone involved is enthusiastically consenting and enjoying themselves.