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The spread eagle (also spelled spreadeagle or spread-eagle) is the position in which a person has his or her arms outstretched and legs apart, figuratively resembling an eagle with wings spread. It is a style that appears commonly in nature and geometry. In human style it is represented by the letter "X".
The spread eagle also refers to a sex position in which one partner lies on his or her back facing up (supine) or (less commonly) lying facing down (prone) with arms and legs spread wide apart. When the partner is lying face down, it is a variation of the doggy style position, and when he or she is lying face up it is a variation of the missionary position. Another variation is for the receiving partner's legs to be closed, and the penetrating partner's to be wide apart. This variation is said to be better for stimulating the G-spot and the prostate gland and is sometimes called the peace sign position. The face up versions of the position are popular for oral sex play or erotic massage.
Another variation is to have a standing, vertical spread eagle.
These positions are classic ingredients in sexual roleplay.
The spread eagle position may sometimes be accompanied by the use of physical restraints. The spread eagle tie is fairly popular in bedroom bondage because it leaves the tied person vulnerable to various sexual activities, including sexual stimulation and orgasm control while tied up, cuffed, or otherwise restrained, and possibly blindfolded, to prevent them interfering with the progress of the activity.
The tied partner may be secured by the wrists and ankles being tied to a frame such as the four corner-posts of a bed or the legs of the bed or with straps passed under the mattress. The partner can be tied in a X-spreadeagle or a Y-spreadeagle, and either face-up or face-down. The main feature of the spread eagle tie is that it leaves the tied person completely vulnerable, with arms and legs stretched out, exposing most of the body, and keeping the person from interfering. A spread eagle tie is relatively simple enabling improvisation using household items and little experience. Its simplicity and ease of preparation make it quick to commence and easy to remove.
The spread eagle tie is a bondage position which seeks to fully separate the arms and legs, and is the opposite of the hogtie, which involves the tying of all the limbs together. Otherwise, the objective is the same, which is to immobilise the limbs and render the tied person accessible and vulnerable to a range of sexual play, such as stimulation of nipples, erotic massage or tickling, or sexual stimulation without the ability for the tied person to interfere with the play. As with all bondage plays, the free partner is regarded as being in the dominant or controlling position, while the tied partner is regarded as being sexually submissive, though in some plays the tied partner may control the situation verbally.
A spread eagle may be upright, or downright, in which case the tied partner's wrists and ankles are tied to anchoring points on a wall or restraining frame, such as a door frame, a Saint Andrew's Cross or a pair of spreader bars. The tied partner can be face-forward or face-back. More restrictive use of the frame may involve additional straps around the arms, legs, and torso. In some cases, up to five straps can be used on each arm, around both the forearm and biceps. Similarly with the legs, several straps may be secured around the thighs and in some cases even the feet. Additional straps above and below the breasts and around the waist prevent the back or torso from shifting.
The complete helplessness and vulnerability of the partner in this position allows the dominant partner complete freedom with the subject, able to whip or tickle any of the exposed body. Tie and tease and orgasm control are popular forms of play in a spread eagle tie, where the legs are securely spread and the dominant may provide sexual stimulation at will.
This position is also popular for some adult BDSM games, because it leaves the subject open for various sexual activities, including impact play. In the adult industry, orgasm torture (a BDSM practice of continuing stimulating the clitoris producing multiple orgasms) is common in this position, especially with additional restraints, as the subject is totally incapable of resisting or even closing his or her legs.
- Wiseman, Jay (2000). Jay Wiseman's Erotic Bondage Handbook. Greenery Press. pp. 193–204. ISBN 1-890159-13-1.
- Wiseman, Jay. SM 101 (2nd ed.). Greenery Press. pp. 139–141. ISBN 0-9639763-8-9.
- Rose, Chanta. Bondage for Sex. BDSM Press. pp. 24–33. ISBN 0-9777238-0-1.