Monday, July 25, 2011

Kink Monday: Corsetry

Today we’re going to talk about corsets. Let me start by defining the word; a corset is an article of clothing that goes around the waist and lower chest, constricts the wearer, with boning strong enough to resist being bent by her shape. In other words, a corset makes you bend, rather than it stretching for you. Garments with plastic boning, such as are sold by Frederick’s of Hollywood and other places as corsets, are not corsets as far as I’m concerned, although some of them are very hot. I’m also not talking about waist cinchers, which are narrower and just constrict the waist and nothing else, because I’ve never tried one.

Why wear a corset? The answers are varied, and just as with most kinks, there is light corset play and extreme corset play. At the lightest, it’s a fashion statement, or a fetish. Corsets can push your boobs out and give you cleavage that a push-up bra can only dream about. They can pull your waist in, giving you more of an hourglass shape, and possibly allowing you to squirm into that skirt you outgrew two years ago. Tie a corset a little tighter, and it affects your breathing, forcing you to take shallower breaths. It starts to become a kind of bondage at that point, squeezing you. If you’ve given up control of how tight it gets tied to someone else, it feels even more like bondage, even though your hands and legs are free to move as they will (of course, that’s assuming you aren’t doing some other bondage along with the corset.) Wear a corset all the time, and it will actually start to change your shape permanently, actually shifting internal organs away from your waist to retain that hourglass shape.

There’s a couple of dangers to watch out for with corsets. The first, and most obvious, comes with long term use. On the one hand, a corset shifts you quite gently, and over time. Nothing is going to get punctured or torn or ripped. But there’s no way anyone with a straight face can tell you that it’s harmless. It’s probably not as bad for you as smoking, and I wasn’t able to find any medical studies, but you should think long and hard about whether then benefit is worth the risk. The other danger, however, comes even with short-term use. Corsets can, as I said, change the way you breathe. They don’t cut it off, but your body has all that lung capacity for a reason, and if you tie the corset too tight, beyond where you first start to feel the effect on your breathing, and then exert yourself, you may not be able to get the oxygen your body needs. This can cause fainting, and when you faint because of lack of oxygen that may be killing off some brain cells. So if you are lacing up a corset on someone else, please, please don’t treat it as if it’s a contest to see how tight you can get it. You want them to feel it. You don’t want to be picking them up off the floor. One good way to do this is to have them take a breath just before you tie the laces off, so that you know the corset fits even when their lungs are moderately expanded. Most corsets will loosen over time some, so you don’t usually want their lungs to be completely full when you tie it off, either. That gap where a naked back shows through the corset is sexy, not a sign you didn’t tie the corset tight enough.

If, on the other hand, you are having trouble getting a corset tight, a skate hook, sold at any ice skating store, helps. It is not impossible to tie your corset yourself, but you’re probably not going to get it quite as tight as you would if you had help.

There are three main kinds of corset out there. The first is the underbust corset, which doesn’t cover the breasts at all. It squeezes our body, but no super cleavage. It’s a bit easier to find an underbust corset off the rack that fits, and it can be worn with a bra. The second type is the more common, or overbust corset, that pushes your breasts up, and gives them a little squeeze at the same time. This is my favorite, but an ill-fitting overbust corset may squeeze your breasts into a shape that isn’t so attractive, so I really recommend getting one of these custom-fitted rather than buying something off the rack. The final kind, which I do not recommend, actually has “cups” for the breasts. Perhaps I’d have better results if I had gotten a custom one made, but it combines the difficulty of getting something that already needs to fit your waist and underbust perfectly, and then add in the problem of getting a perfect fitting bra in same garment. The results, cleavage- wise, really aren’t much better than a push-up bra and definitely aren’t as good as with your standard corset. To get a good corset, expect to spend a few hundred dollars, and look for something with steel boning. Corsets used to be made with whalebone, but with whales endangered, steel is definitely the way to go.

That’s it. Corsetry can be done with or without a top, but it definitely helps to have a friend. They can be worn by domme and sub alike, and can be a part of play that’s anywhere from very light to quite extreme. They are a powerful fashion statement and a unique sensation all at the same time.