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A bondage harness is a series of leather straps, typically between 1 and 2 cm wide, attached together in such a way as to allow a person to "wear" the item. The item can be worn by both men and women. However, modifications may be needed depending on which sex wears the item. The item is very closely associated with BDSM play, and is often immediately identifiable as being something to do with "bondage" when depicted. Often, the image of a person in a bondage harness is used by movie studios to provide a cliché of a "person into fetish play". Other publications have also been known to use this cliché, a good example being the comic book series and movie "Sin City", which has one of its characters wearing a bondage harness.
The harness consists of a main central strap that runs in front and at the back, but with two separating straps where it passes around the head. This central strap runs between the legs, between the buttocks and up to an area midway up the back where it meets the other end of the strap. The straps are then secured together — typically with a standard buckle such as that used on a belt to hold pants up.
When fitted to a male, the harness splits in half in a similar way to the way it splits to go around the head so as to pass around the male genitals. On a female, the harness usually runs straight between the legs. There are then several other straps running out at right angles from the main central strap (usually, but not limited to, 3-4 straps). These straps wrap around the body with the two ends secured to each other using further buckles. On a female, the straps may be above and below the breasts, creating a form of breast bondage, with further straps around the waist. On a male, the straps usually criss-cross over the chest and abdomen to emphasise male physique.
This item can be worn as it is on the body simply as a form of dress, but can also be used for restraint. The arms can easily be held behind the back by running the horizontal straps over the arms rather than under them against the body. When secured tightly, the arms are then pinned against the body by these straps. Further, the harness can be used as an anchor for additional restraints.