Handcuffd for hours

Discussion in 'General BDSM discussions' started by TerribleT, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. TerribleT

    TerribleT Member

    Does anyone have any idea how long handcuffs can safely be left on? Obviously, it depends on the subject and the circumstances but there must be guideline. They're called "temporary restraints" but I've not seen anything saying just how temporary.
    I regularly spend 3 hours plus with hand behind my back, palms out. And have gone 8-10 hours (right through the night) hands cuffed in front.
    I've read of handcuff neuropathy. I've experienced numbness. Usually, it's the axillary nerve getting pinched slightly. Changing position fixes this.
    Two or three times, I felt numbness along the back of my hand and down the little finger. Again, easily fixed.
    Never the radial nerve numbness you're supposed to watch for.
    I've been cuffed a thousand times I bet.

    There was a video on youtube of a teen aged girl who was left laying on a cell floor for 6 hours, hands cuffed behind her back and a strap around her ankles.
    I think of that poor kid when my shoulders get tight or my wrists get uncomfortable. I have yet to reach my limit, however.

    When you think about it, handcuffs are used to restrain piss drunk or crack/cranked up nuts hundreds of times a day. I've never known or heard of anyone who has gotten hurt by handcuffs. Even if they're put on tight and left on for hours, any nerve damage is temporary.

    Anyone care to compare/chime in/debate?
    I'd be interested in hearing how long you who use handcuffs, are comfortable leaving them on.
  2. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

    There are a lot of considerations here. First, what type of handcuffs are we talking about? 1) Novelty cuffs from Hot Topic? Hell, no. Never use those to actually cuff someone. You can tell these because they have 3 links instead of the regulation 2 and because the cuffs are identical instead of being mirror images. 2) Professional American-style double-locking cuffs? Safer, if you remember to double-lock them. Otherwise you run the risk of them tightening and injuring you. 3) Irish-8 or Darby-style cuffs are supposed to be the best and most comfortable cuffs for long-term bondage. 4) Dutch hinged cuffs? No. Those become uncomfortable quite quickly. 5) Plasti-cuffs (also known as zip-ties)? Probably not good for long-term bondage as they can cut into the wrist quite sharply unless very carefully applied, and can shift over time. I'm guessing you're thinking of #2, so let's talk about those.

    Keep in mind that police cuffs are not intended for long-term bondage. The police use them to temporarily restrain someone for transport. Cuffed prisoners are rarely left unattended for long periods of time in part because it is possible for someone to be injured by spending long periods of time in cuffs. The bones in the wrists are surprisingly fragile compared to some bones, but as long as care is taken in applying them, there's probably not too much risk there. The risk of nerve damage is more serious. You've experienced very mild nerve damage (essentially on the order of a mild pinched nerve). My guess is that if you've been cuffed many times for long periods and haven't yet run into serious nerve damage, then you probably have wrists that tolerate cuffs well and are unlikely to run into serious damage, as long as you always apply them carefully and pay attention to how your hands feel. But that's a guess.

    A few things to keep in mind. 1) Looser is probably safer than tighter. Tighten them just enough that you can't slip your wrists out easily and no tighter. More room to move probably means less risk of pressure that damages your nerves. 2) Don't do any form of suspension bondage using cuffs. Even professional cuffs aren't designed for that, and the risk of serious damage to your wrists increases substantially. 3) Always have a spare key to the cuffs kept someplace where you won't lose or forget it. I keep one key on my keyring and a second in my desk drawer. I've thought about getting a second pair of cuffs so I can keep a spare key in my toybag. This is really important, because unlike rope, you can't just untie them. 4) Even high quality cuffs will break, and unfortunately the part that is most likely to break is the locking mechanism. So if you're doing a lot of play with handcuffs, buy a pair of bolt cutters (for cutting the chain) and hacksaw with a number of spare blades (for sawing the cuffs off). This really does happen, so don't be shocked when you run into it; be prepared instead. 5) Think about slip covers for the cuffs. You can probably fit the arm of the cuff through a length of rubber tubing or cloth, which will make the cuff more comfortable and will probably reduce the risk of nerve damage. 6) Always double-lock the cuffs, but you knew that one.

    Upper limit to being in cuffs? I can't find one suggested anywhere. Most of the authorities I've looked at recommend against long-term use because it's uncomfortable, but no one seems to be saying that it poses any unique risks that other forms of long-term bondage don't present. So if you find them comfortable for long-term use, it's probably about as safe as any other option. Hands in front is probably less stressful physically than hands in back. If you're gonna do hands in back, try putting down a pillow and lying back onto it; that reduces pressure and discomfort. You might do a periodical 'hand check', where you move all your fingers and touch all over to make sure you're not getting any tingling or numbness. If you do have any tingling or numbness, you should stop and have your dom take cuffs off. Tingling or numbness are always things that should stop play.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  3. TerribleT

    TerribleT Member

    ;) I knew you'd bite.
    Being an old hand, (no pun intended) I do take some things for granted.
    One thing about the hand cuff fitment; Too loose a cuff on the wrist can press on the tender spots. I read somewhere that the correct fit of the cuff is so that it won't easily slide up past the radius and ulna bones. Handcuffs are designed to fit snugly between the carpal bones and the radius/ulna bones.
    Having been in handcuffs a lot, I prefer them just that tight.....but with this caveat. I'm 5'8" 215 Lb and a laborer my whole life . My spouses Peerless M300 police handcuffs were designed to positively restrain someone exactly my size. (Wouldn't want a guy like me getting loose if I was pissed off!)
    They fit me like they were made for me. I can't rotate my wrists in them even a little bit. Females or smaller males could get the cuffs twisted around and, possibly get them 180° off, squashing very hard on exactly the wrong part of the wrist.
    About handcuffs breaking; I would be having a very interesting day if both cuffs broke at the same time. The locks can and do jam. Usually, the locks fail in the open position so that the pawl is retracted and won't engage the teeth on the ratchet. That's when the cuff won't lock and the single strand of the cuff just swings through the cheek plates.
    Clean and oil a pair of good police handcuffs once in a while and they'll probably last forever. Wifee's favorites before the Peerless 300's were some old S&W 91's. Probably older then me.
    If they do both jam and you can't get them off, get the bolt cutters or a hack saw (or dremel, if you're careful) and then go buy a lottery ticket!
    Good police handcuffs are guaranteed for life and only $25.
    Double locking is mandatory. I trained my wife to always double lock by shimming my way out a couple times, with the tweezers on my Swiss Army knife. She hates it when I escape!:D

    Also, Wifee has become very proficient with her chained handcuffs. She can speed cuff me in a second and I hardly know what happened.
    I've actually witnessed cops fumbling with their handcuffs and get a real kick out of it. I could see how someone could get hurt by a rookie new to cuffing (cop or top). It's not as easy as it sometimes looks. Probably a good idea to go slow at first.
  4. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

    I'm not amazingly proficient with my cuffs. Cuffing a person well is definitely harder than it looks in the movies. I need a boy to practice on regularly.
  5. TerribleT

    TerribleT Member

    Yeah...Wifee's been at it for about 12 years. She was an athlete in High School and was a Karate student and instructor for a few years. Good hands! I bought her a DVD years ago. There are some good manuals available too. The main thing is to do it the same way when ever you can.
  6. SubMumUK

    SubMumUK New Member

    As fun my ex girlfriend cuffed me to her bed for an hour but by the time she'd gotten back my arms had locked, my hands had no feeling and my wrists were in absolute agony. Because of that I prefer chains and rope.
  7. TerribleT

    TerribleT Member

    That's actually a no no....leaving someone cuffed, especially in an un natural position. Positional asphyxiation is real, as is painful muscle spasms.
    i have a feeling that i've become conditioned and can tolerate handcuffs better then most people.
    My strategy for dealing with handcuffs is relaxation. You don’t want to cramp up in cuffs.
    If your wrists were in agony and your hands were numb the cuffs were way too tight. you were partially suspended or your feet we're bound also. Either way, that must have been the longest hour of your life.
  8. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

    Terrible's right. You never leave a person in bondage alone without either a way to release themselves or a way to summon you (like a baby monitor). People do it all the time, but your story is a good, non-fatal example of why it's dangerous and stupid.
  9. I've not been in cuffs many times. I been tied overnight, but with ankle cuffs that give me enough room to move around in. Much safer.

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