We’re starting a new series here on The Black Pomegranate – a look into dungeon apparatuses and play in a dungeon setting. We hope that this will help you navigate what can be intimidating for some people. Enjoy!
Entering a kink dungeon can be daunting. Public play spaces are filled with large, expensive and complex pieces of equipment that require some knowledge to use correctly. Unfortunately, playspaces are crowded during parties, which doesn’t always allow new people to take time to familiarize themselves with all of the gear. We don’t want you to be that person who is fumbling around, uncertain how to use equipment. Welcome to The Black Pomegranate’s new Dungeon Guide. In this new, ongoing series of posts we’ll cover everything you need to know about attending a dungeon party. First up, we’re going to talk about a piece of gear that’s become synonymous with kink, x frames.
What is an X Frame?
If you walk into most public play spaces or well stocked home dungeons, you’re likely to see an x frame taking up space. X frames are probably the one piece of furniture that the general public signifies with BDSM play. An x frame derives it’s name from it’s shape. Also known simply as crosses or frames, the piece of gear is also well known as St. Andrew’s cross. The later name comes from artistic depictions of the cross that St Andrew was crucified upon. X frames are also referred to as saltire crosses, another descriptive name for an x shape.
X frames are made from solid materials like wood and steel. Frames can be freestanding or attached to a sturdy point such as a wall or support column. Most frames are big pieces of gear, some measuring over six feet in height and three to four feet in length. Some pieces that are integrated into walls can be even bigger in size. Conversely, some frames are portable enough to fold up and fit into oversize duffel bags. X frames are tilted back slightly at an angle, to make them more ergonomic. Although made of heavy materials, x frames are often padded or covered with leather to make them more comfortable. The woodworking that goes into higher quality x frames is notable, with some frames being of true furniture quality. All of this material and craftsmanship comes at a price, since a high quality x frame can cost upwards of $2500. Crafty kinksters can make their own x crosses with materials found at the local home center. Whatever type of x frame you use, it must be sturdy. A solid x frame shouldn’t move or tilt when pushed. A frame should be heavy enough that it requires at least two adults to move it. If a x frame seems wobbly or lightweight, it likely won’t stand up to the dynamic movements of a scene.
Most x frames have some attachment points for wrist and ankle bondage, whether it’s integrated cuffs, a latch for carabiners or simply a place to secure rope. Once, Ms.Pomegranate and I used a really cool x frame which was finished wood with integrated rebar that provided a place for bondage attachments.
What are X frames used for?
X frames are used as to stage various BDSM scenes, including bondage, impact, and sensation. Frames are also a staple of kink photo shoots, used to create ambiance. Because they are so ubiquitous in play spaces, x frames are often the first piece of kink furniture that people use. Most commonly, a bottom will face an x frame, adopt a comfortable stance and present their bodies for play with a partner.
X frames also allow bottoms to present the front of their bodies for play as well, simply by leaning back.
The simplicity of x frames makes it accessible to a wide range of people and body types, provided they are able to stand and balance themselves comfortably against the frame. (Note, people should never force themselves to use a piece of equipment that doesn’t feel comfortable).
Because x frames are comfortable, it allows people to participate in longer scenes, which is a bonus for play like flogging and interrogations.
X Frames and Bondage
X frames are an excellent tool for functional bondage, especially when combined with other forms of kinky play (like flogging). Many x frames have restraints built in.
Being stretched out and bound on an x frame raises the intensity of scenes. Remember, the gear borrows its likeness and name from the crux decussata, which was an implement of crucifixions. Over time, the spread eagle position that an x frame demands would likely become a stress position. If that is a concern, modify the position. The restraints on a frame should be adjustable, so it’s possible to find the correct, body safe fit.
Or simply tie your bottom to the frame.
Follow all basic rules for bondage safety and make certain you’re able to release a bottom quickly from an x frame. Don’t get caught in an emergency where someone is tethered to a cross which may weigh over 100lbs and you can’t get them free (or move them).
X frames are a fun, reliable piece of furniture to build various kink scenes around. Consider making the most of a frame when you and a partner have a chance to try one. If x marks the spot, then you’re keeping it kinky.