The first time a partner held my wrists down against the bed while we were making out, I gasped from the intensity of it. I’d heard of bondage, of course, and knew that it’s a turn-on for many people, but I never fully understood why until that moment. Being held firmly in place by the strength and resolve of a hot person on top of me was immediately, viscerally sexy, sending zaps of arousal through my body. I felt helpless and vulnerable, but I also realized that I wanted to feel that way.
From there, I branched out to more equipment-based forms of restraint, involving cuffs, rope and other delights. Loving the sensation of being overpowered is still, to this day, a core element of my sexuality — and bondage remains one of the most reliable ways for me to feel that way. So when an opportunity came up for me to try the Orion restraints set by Unbound, I excitedly texted my partner a link to the product and started fantasizing about all the many ways we could use it together.
What Is the Unbound Orion Over-the-Door Restraints Set?
Female-founded company Unbound makes a gorgeous array of kinky accessories, from gags to nipple clamps to bondage tape. One of their prettiest offerings, though, is the Orion over-the-door restraints set.
In the box, you’ll find two cuffs made of royal blue faux leather, a metal connector and an adjustable strap that the cuffs can be attached to. The strap has a thick plastic bar at one end, so that if you drape it over the top of a door and then close the door securely, the strap and attached cuffs will hang down and hold you in place against the door once you’re fastened into the cuffs. Theoretically this means you can do some bondage play wherever there’s a door that closes (and preferably locks, for extra stability), whether that’s at home or in a hotel room or Airbnb.
You can also use the cuffs on their own if you prefer, like to secure someone’s wrists behind them or to cuff them to the bars of a bed frame. The cuffs themselves can accommodate wrists that measure anywhere from six to 10 inches around. All in all, the Orion is an easy, versatile way to do bondage in a variety of positions and locations.
Bondage Safety 101
Regardless of what type of bondage equipment you decide to use, from a necktie knotted around wrists to an elaborate multi-cuff restraints system, there are a few key tips you need to keep in mind.
Safety Shears. You never know when some kind of medical emergency or other urgent situation might happen during your scene, necessitating an immediate ending. Keep a pair of safety shears nearby in case you need to cut someone out of bondage right away. (The reason safety shears are recommended and not scissors, BTW, is that shears are stronger and carry less risk of cutting skin or clothing by accident while you’re slicing through restraints.)
Stay Nearby. Never leave someone in bondage unattended, because they could have some kind of medical episode — whether it be a panic attack, cut-off circulation or anything else — and need someone nearby who can cut them free if need be. If you do need to step out of the room for a moment, undo the restraints before you do; you can always put ‘em right back on again when you return.
Pick a Safeword. Some people keep it simple and call an end to the action whenever someone says “stop.” Some people like to get a bit more creative, perhaps using the stoplight system (“red” for stop, “yellow” for slow down and “green” for keep going) or a more inventive word or phrase like “strawberry” or “mercy.” If you’re also using a ball gag or some other kinky accoutrement that inhibits speech, you should pick a non-verbal “safe-signal” as well, like shaking your head back and forth.
Not Too Tight. Always leave enough room that you can easily fit at least one to two fingers between the restraint(s) and the skin beneath. Permanent nerve damage from overzealous bondage is not fun and can be avoided.
Stop If It Feels Weird. Speaking of nerve damage, if you start to feel tingling, numbness or pain, it’s best to call it quits. A little discomfort is normal for many kinds of bondage, but anything beyond that can be a warning sign from your body that you need to stop soon or you’ll be risking injury.
Stay Grounded. Suspension is a type of bondage where you’re lifted off the floor and can hang in midair, like you’re starring in a community theater production of Peter Pan, only kinkier. It requires a particular skill set and a completely stable “hard point” in the ceiling or elsewhere, from which you can be suspended. Most bondage equipment, including the Unbound Orion set, isn’t safe for suspension because it’s not strong enough and/or can’t easily be anchored to a hard point. You can seriously injure yourself or someone else by trying to do suspension with equipment that can’t handle it — so just don’t.
My Experience with the Unbound Orion
Setting up the cuffs was easy: I attached them to each other with their connecting ring, then attached that to the door strap that comes with the set. I threw the bar at the end of the strap over the top of my partner’s bedroom door and closed it, so that the cuffs and the remainder of the strap were hanging down from the top of the door.
The first thing I noticed was that the strap seemed a bit too short, given that I’m 5-foot-4 and don’t have especially long arms. The strap is adjustable, but even at max length, it’s only seven inches long from the bottom of the bar to the end of the strap. This means that if you’re particularly short, or have a particularly tall door, you might have a hard time using the Orion. Not to bog down this otherwise sexy article with door math, but a standard door is 6-foot-8 tall, so your wrists would need to comfortably reach a height of at least 6-foot-1 while your arms are extended over your head for you to be able to use the Orion.
My wrists just barely reach that height when my back’s to the door and my arms are outstretched above me. That said, I don’t mind that being cuffed with the Orion feels a bit challenging — it adds to the fun sense of bondage being an inescapable predicament.
Part of what makes that predicament possible, rather than painful, is that the cuffs are so damn comfy. They’re padded on the inside, so even when I let my arm muscles relax completely, the weight of my wrists doesn’t cause the cuffs to dig into them uncomfortably. It helps, too, that the metal clips and connectors feel fairly sturdy — though, again, they’re not made for suspension, so you definitely shouldn’t ever be dangling from these cuffs. Keep your feet on the floor!
For me, it’s a bit of a bummer that the cuffs are made of faux leather rather than actual leather. Of course, this choice makes the Orion vegan-friendly, not to mention much cheaper ($39) than it would be if Unbound had used real leather, but this material has its drawbacks. Instead of the iconic scent that leather-loving kinksters lust over, the Orion cuffs have a cheap, plasticky scent that reminds me of tires. Experience leads me to believe it’ll fade with time, but in the meantime, it’s not the sexiest. I’ve also found that vegan leather doesn’t tend to soften with use as beautifully as real leather does, and it’s not as breathable, so cuffs made of faux leather can lead to a surprising amount of wrist sweat.
But on the plus side, fake leather is easier to clean than the real stuff — gentle soap and water will work just fine — and it’s cushiony and comfortable. And if you wanted to, you could always swap out the Orion’s cuffs for fancier ones down the line (I love the Jag cuffs by Aslan Leather) since the versatile connectors allow for that.
Anyway, what about the sexy stuff?
As soon as my partner got me cuffed into the Orion while it was anchored over a closed door, I felt that familiar old feeling of intoxicating vulnerability come over me. With my arms trapped over my head and the door firmly holding me in place, there was no easy way for me to wriggle free, so I had to stay exactly where I was, just as helpless as a damsel in distress tied to train tracks in an old movie. It was hot.
My partner, who plays a more dominant role during most of the sex we have, evidently thought it was hot, too. With no way for me to move around or use my arms, they had full access to my body and could kiss me, slap me, scratch me and so on to their heart’s content. They even knelt on the floor in front of me, tugged my underwear down and started giving me oral. It was clear that we were both turned on by me being immobilized in a standing position; normally when we do bondage, I’m lying down spread-eagle on a bed using under-the-bed restraints, which leaves me feeling defenseless in a different way but doesn’t quite have the feeling of urgency you get when you’re struggling to stay standing while a partner does terrible/wonderful things to you.
While the standing position required by the Orion, with arms outstretched overhead, does have its benefits in terms of sexiness, it’s not super sustainable. I found my arms and hands began to tingle after five minutes or so, if not less, and had to ask my partner to uncuff me. But by that time we were both so thoroughly revved up by the kinkiness of the situation that we tumbled into bed to finish what we’d started. The Orion had fulfilled its intended purpose — infusing the thrill of restraint into our play, however briefly — and that’s all we really wanted out of it, anyway.
I think you’d enjoy the Unbound Orion set if you’ve been curious about bondage but don’t know where to start, or if you like the idea of doing bondage easily while traveling or vacationing (just make sure your accommodations have a standard-height door that closes and preferably locks). It’s also much easier to pack up and put away than, say, a St. Andrew’s cross, so it could be a discreet (not to mention affordable) alternative to more elaborate bondage equipment if you like the standing-up position it necessitates.
Bondage can be an intimidating kink to get into, largely because of how intricate the skills involved can be — how many people realistically have the time and inclination to learn elaborate knots and ties? So I’m always glad when I see simple, low-priced entry points into this kink like the Orion, because it means that more people will get to experience, as I have, the joys of being totally at a partner’s mercy — a little fear, and a lot of arousal, all blended together into a feeling unlike anything else.