First Shibari Bondage In A U.S. Mainstream Movie

Tina Aumont in Lifespan,1974

Tina Aumont steams up the screen as she's subjected to the "double helix knot" in the movie "Lifespan."

Copyright 2007 by Pat Powers

A chance resemblance is the excuse ... er, reason ... for a nice bit of bondage work with Tina Aumont really smoking up the screen as a woman who finds that the ropes make her feel all warm and gooey inside.

Lifespan is the story of a scientist hot on the trail of an immortality serum/whatever. It's a cool, intellectual, some would say dull sort of thriller, but it's got some nice location shots of the leads bicycling in Holland AND bondage, so really, it's all gravy after that.

A photo of Ms. Aumont in the "double helix knot" is a clue that ... that ... she REALLY LOOKS GOOD naked and tied up. At least, that's what I got out of it.

Tina Aumont is the former paramour of a scientist who was on the trail of the immortality serum but who turned out to be all too mortal before he could solve it. Dr. Ben Land is his successor, and he figures that Anna, played by 70s Eurohottie Tina Aumont knows something about it. Turns out that what she knows is her former paramour's secret "double helix knot." Land discovers photos of Tina tied up in it, then later Tina kinda nudges him and points to a big coil of rope in her bedroom, and next thing you know, Land is tying her in the "double helix knot." (The coincidence, of course, is the resemblance of the ropes in some shibari bondage* to the double helix -- what, were you asleep in science class or something?)

OK, on the left we have Tina Aumont's lovely torso in shibari bondage, on the right we have the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. That proves this is science, not sex! No matter how lovely and enticing Ms. Aumont's body might be, or how wonderfully she writhes, it's SCIENCE!

What really distinguishes this scene is the subtle and powerful job that Tina Aumont does of conveying a woman who's feeling REALLY REALLY turned on by being tied up. I've seen a lot of mainstream models in consensual bondage scenes who clearly didn't have a clue what they were supposed to be feeling, and I've seen bondage models acting as if a few coils of rope and a cloth gag were giving them a combination of orgasms, electric shock and epilepsy. You don't often see a lot of really convincing scenes of a woman being turned on by bondage foreplay, because it takes a certain combination of insight and subtlety. So when I say that Aumont powerfully conveys a sense that her panties are about to burst into flame with the heat that is smoldering inside her, I'm saying something. This is definitely an instance where the vidcaps do not do the scene justice.

Sell it, Tina!

Tina Aumont does some nice sexual acting as she intimates that her womanly parts are blazing like a crackling Yule log, only not so family oriented if you know what I mean.

As for the guy, damn, the thing you gotta do for science, sometimes.


And of course, the scene is unique -- there are no other shibari bondage in U.S. mainstream scenes until you get to Tokyo Decadence, which is something like a Japanese softcore film that's been imported to the U.S. Tokyo Decadence includes a lot of very, very, very intense scenes, one involving shibari bondage that includes a tied-in-place vibrator, that's about as intense as it gets without being hardcore.

All in all, I recommend the scene in Lifespan highly if it is easy to get. It's more than a curiosity, because of Tina Aumont's great turn as a consensual bondagee, but I wouldn't put it on a holy grail list. I'd keep an eye out for it, though.

Tina's arms are bound behind her back with ropes around her upper arms to keep her from working her wrists loose. Very shibari. However, her wrists themselves are tied together so loosely that I don't think it would have taken her more than a moment to get free if she were so inclined. Not at all shibari. More like Hollywood cheating. A little judicious frapping would have helped a lot here.

* Bondage in Asia has a long and illustrated history. Drawings and accounts of women in sexual bondage date back to the 1700s, and the practice predates the drawings. Samurai were known to tie up female slaves for pleasure using nawari bondage, the ropework they used to restrain prisoners and punish criminals. Given that the women were slaves, it probably couldn't be described as consensual sexual bondage, but there ya go. Most of the past is ethically challenged.

Here is an example of actual shibari bondage, also called kinbaku in its consensual sexual pleasure mode. It's more complex and less DNA-like than the shibari bondage from "Lifespan" but if you look at the knot right between her breasts, there's that double helix knot.

That knot between the model's legs right where it'll do the most good is very characteristic of shibari. Everybody is supposed to have a good time.

Eventually, this practice became shibari bondage, used by husbands to excite wives, and became as much a matter of packaging as restraint. The arms are generally tied in a manner consistent with military-style bondage, with the forearms bound parallel to one another behind the back, and loops of rope around the upper arms to keep the bindee from moving her arms back and forth to work her wrist bonds loose. It's very secure.

However, there's often decorative ropework around the entire body, not really restricting movement in any way, just pointing out how nice and ripe all that female flesh enclosed by the ropework is.

Get me to the Essays Index page before I turn Japanese!