What is Forniphilia? (A Beginner’s Guide)

What is forniphilia? Well, the word itself is a mixture of French and Greek. 

The first part of the word comes from the Old French verb “fornir”, meaning “to furnish”.  The second part comes from the Greek word “philos”, which refers to (a kind of) love. 

The word forniphilia was coined as recently as 1998 by the famous fetish performance artist Jeff Gord, but the practice is definitely older than that. Terms such as “furniture play” and “human furniture” are also commonly used.

But what actually is it?

That’s what you’re about to find out.  This article will give you the lowdown on what forniphilia is, and how you can go about it in a safe, fun, and sexy way.  Read on!

What Is BDSM?

Forniphilia is one of the many elements of BDSM, so if you’re not totally sure what BDSM is, here’s a quick primer. 

The letters in BDSM stand for several things: bondage and discipline, domination and submission, and sadism and masochism.  These are different from each other but often overlap in various ways. 

Forniphilia falls most directly under dominance and submission but can involve all the others as well if the participants choose.  

Before we go any further, it’s important to stress that all activities under the BDSM umbrella, as with sexual activities in general, require the informed consent of everybody involved. 

BDSM is not an excuse to pressure or force anybody into doing anything they’re not comfortable with. 

Even if a submissive seems to be “forced” to do something, it’s really happening with their consent – being “forced” is part of the fun. 

If you’re going to be doing any BDSM, it’s a good idea to use a safe word. 

This is the word that anyone involved can use to immediately stop the sexual activities and end the dom/sub dynamic so that anyone uncomfortable with what’s going on has the ability to end it right away. 

This is particularly necessary because a sub playing at protesting or begging it to stop is sometimes part of the fun, so you need to be able to know when it’s for real. 

If the play is going to involve a sub who’s gagged or otherwise unable to speak, you should work out a non-verbal cue that they can use to stop things whenever they want to.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about dominance and submission. 

Dominance and submission refer to a sexual dynamic where (at least) one participant takes a dominant role over (at least one) submissive partner.  These roles can go by various names but are most commonly called the dominant and the submissive, or dom and sub for short. 

The submissive is typically forced to follow the dominant’s orders or submit to their control in some other way.  This could be something explicitly sexual, like masturbating when ordered to, or something not sexual in itself, like making dinner for the dominant. 

This leads us to the main topic of this article…

What is Forniphilia? (A Beginner’s Guide)

What Is Forniphilia?

Basically, forniphilia is the sexual practice of treating and using a person as a piece of furniture. 

The simplest, and perhaps the most common, way of doing this is for a submissive to kneel on all fours and let the dominant partner use them as a table or a footstool.  However, it can get a lot more sophisticated (and kinky) than this. 

Some dominants will tie up their submissives in an extensive bondage arrangement that leaves them in a very unnatural position, completely unable to move. Others might punish submissives who don’t stay still as ordered with spanking, whipping, electric shocks, and more. 

The British Pop Artist Allen Jones brought forniphilia to the public mind in 1969 (before the word “forniphilia” had been coined) with his sculpture collection Hatstand, Table, and Chair. 

The sculptures were of three women, each acting as one of the pieces of furniture.

Why Do People Like Forniphilia?

If thinking about furniture play is turning you on already, then you might know exactly what’s so hot about it.

Some submissives get turned on by the double whammy of being helpless (because they’re tied up) and objectified (because they’re literally being treated as an object rather than a person). 

There is often an element of humiliation in this, which can add to the sexiness of the whole thing. 

Some subs (masochists) also enjoy the pain that results from being forced to hold a certain position for an extended period of time.

For the dom, the idea of having so much control over their sub that they can order them to behave like an object is often what does it. 

If bondage is involved, there can also be something very erotic about the process of tying the sub up, too.  Aside from that, there’s also the convenience of having an extra piece of furniture around!

Getting Started With Forniphilia

If you’re interested in trying some furniture play, it’s best to start out with something simple.  Not only will this be easier to adjust to if you’ve never done it before, but it will be free too! 

You can progress to elaborate bondage setups later if you want to, but kneeling on the ground will always be free. 

Test the waters a bit by spending some time acting as a table. 

You’ll soon know whether you enjoy it, how long you can hold certain positions, and so on.  From there, you can take it wherever you want. 

Some people prefer to emphasize the straightforward domination aspect where the sub simply has to hold a position, others are more interested in inflicting pain or punishment.  All of this, or a combination, is possible.

Safety Tips

Basic, simple furniture play is usually fairly safe, as long as common sense and basic sex/BDSM safety rules are followed.  In particular, remember the importance of consent and safewords.  

However, if you want to get a little bit more extreme, there are some extra precautions to take to make sure everyone has a fun time. 

First off, know your sub. 

If you know that your sub has a knee problem, for example, you can keep them in positions that don’t put any pressure on that knee.  If you’re going to be tying them up, don’t leave them unattended.  Keep checking on them regularly to make sure there are no problems. 

If you leave them, it’s possible that the sub will get into difficulties while you’re away, and you might have to intervene quickly in an emergency. 

If the bondage is particularly extensive, you should also keep a set of shears nearby for cutting them free immediately. You do not want to have to untie and unlock huge bondage set up if there’s a fire, for example.

Final Thoughts

It’s one of the less common forms of BDSM, but there’s so much to enjoy with forniphilia. 

If you want to keep it basic, that’s totally fine.  If you want to go all the way and involve all the aspects of BDSM from submission to punishment and pain, you can go that way too. 

It’s simple enough to get started and, if you’re into it, incredibly erotic. 

Hopefully, this article has given you all the information you need to take your first steps into the world of furniture play.

Marissa White