The Power of Nude Bondage

This is Christine Kay playing a nude, bound and gagged damsel in distress in the French Canadian TV series "Crime En Serie." It's a powerful image of helplessness and vulnerability that wouldn't be nearly so powerful if she was clothed.

copyright 2005 by Pat Powers

The vidcap above from the "Le Disciple" episode of the French-Canadian detective drama "Crime En Serie" (thanks for the tape from our man in the Great White North, Jay L) demonstrates two things:

1) French Canadian television is a lot more relaxed about nudity than American television is -- this aired on a broadcast network, not a premium channel. The only restriction they have on nudity in French Canandian TV is that it has to air after 9 p.m., when the kiddies are presumably asleep.

2) Total nudity in DiD scenes is very, very effective in ramping up the dramatic power of a scene.

Before we go any farther, just look at the pics:

The serial killer in this story paints his victims' faces as part of his ritual. This results in some very powerful images of despair and fear, in no small part due to Kay's excellent acting. The gag is also essential -- a thick, tight cleave that powerfully symbolizes her helpless in closeups.

Here's the first we see of the damsel. She's naked, her hands are tied behind her back and secured to a pipe, and her ankles are tied. She's gagged, and looking at her captor apprehensively. Starting with such a powerful image creates a shock that really ramps up the drama.

Next we see the damsel hogtied and gagged in the bottom of a large green water tank, attached to a bar at the bottom of tank while water trickles in from above -- the old watery doom thing.

Good DiD scene structure here: as the scene progresses, we check back periodically to see the damsel's increasingly desperate struggles while the police search frantically for her. The nudity of the damsel heightens her vulnerability and helplessness.

These image establish the power of nudity in DiD scene more than I ever could with mere words. Imagine the same scene with a damsel in a bikini -- it just wouldn't be the same.

This may seem like an about-face of my support of thongs as an acceptable substitute for nudity in bondage scenes. For the record: thongs are an acceptable substitute for nudity in a medium which does not permit it, but they are not as powerful or effective as total nudity, even though they leave almost all of the woman's body exposed.

That's because total nudity has a symbolic value all its own that is lost when the damsel is permitted to retain the least vestige of clothing, even a skimpy thong. Total nudity symbolizes a captor's total control over his (or her) captive. The captor will make no concession to the feelings of his or her victim in regard to modesty, decency or sexual inhibition. She is his to render naked or to be clothed. Her status is very clear when she is totally naked, bound and gagged -- she is his to control.

This is the one respect in which a thong scene falls short of total nudity, because a thong, however brief, even if it's just a few strings connected to a piece of cloth little larger than a band-aid, still represents a concession to the victim's modesty, and thus is a limitation to the villain's power over her.

Thus a totally naked damsel is a totally helpless, totally vulnerable damsel, giving the scene that extra "pop" that scenes which involve clothing of any kind must inevitably lack.

There's a corollary to the principle of total nudity in bondage (hereafter referred to as the Nude Bondage Corollary) which commercial bondage filmmakers have understood and used to their advantage for decades, but which mainstream filmmakers lack either the rocks or the understanding (probably both) to emulate. We cover that in the article "The Nude Bondage Corollary."