Vacuum beds usually consist of a sealed envelope or sleeping bag made of latex supported internally by a rectangular frame of piping. The pipes (necessarily) have holes drilled into their sides; a vacuum source (such as a vacuum cleaner or shop vac) is attached to the frame of pipes. Note that this will not result in an air-tight vacuum bed, and the vacuum should remain on for the duration of the play session.
A breathing tube, breathing hole, breathing apparatus or gasket for the neck, head or face is built into the wall of the bag so that the user can breathe safely after the air within the bag has been removed. Some vacuum beds also have other "strategic openings" built into the bag to allow a partner to access (and stimulate) certain body parts easily while the user is effectively immobilised.
By varying the thickness of the top sheet of latex, it is possible to achieve various types of bondage scenarios. Thicker latex will result in less mobility, but less sensation to the restrainee. Thinner latex will give the restrainee far more sensations, but increased mobility.
The vacuum bed restrainee enters the bag, gets into position between the pipes and aligns with the vacuum bed's breathing hole, tube, mask or gasket. Then the bag is sealed, usually from the outside with a zipper or other closure mechanism. When the vacuum source is activated, the pipe frame draws air from within the bag, forcing the latex tightly around the user's body. In most cases, the user is left a very limited range of movement and experiences a degree of sensory deprivation. This can be an excitingly intense experience for some people; the vacuum bed drastically inhibits movement which in turn engenders almost complete control of the situation to the user's play partner. Further, the tactile sensations of restriction and physical contact transmitted through the barrier of rubber are highlighted while other senses are dulled.
As with any potentially risky activity, caution should be exercised when using a vacuum bed. It is strongly recommended not to use a vacuum bed in solo play. The immobilising effect of the vacuum bed is easily underestimated and any rigged mechanisms to activate/deactivate the vacuum source can be dislodged or fail. There is serious risk of suffocation and/or death in the event that something goes wrong.
On 23 May 2012, Mad_Scientist of Kink Engineering, who was a manufacturer of these beds, died in an accident while using one.
Playing with a partner is not only safer - it's also much more fun!
When the head is exposed to a vacuum source, the ears and nose may become irritated either from dryness or negative pressure. Earplugs or a hood can be used to reduce discomfort in the ears, and a rigid nose guard helps to keep the nose from flattening. If irritation persists, using a vacbed which has a neck gasket - where the head is sticking out of the bed - is also an option.
Furthmore, strong vacuum cleaners such as shopvacs should be avoided, as they can cause long, narrow "hickeys" where two sheets of latex meet with the skin. A simple household vacuum is best, although overheating of the vacuum can be problematic if the bed is not air-tight.
Types and Manufacturers
There are a few variations on vacbeds. The most sought-after variation is the air-tight model, which allows the vacuum to be turned off during play. Non-air tight models are standard, and tend to be noisy with the possibility of the vacuum over-heating.
Other variations on the vacbed design include different types of breathing mechanisms. Breathing may be done through a mouth-hole, tube or neck gasket. Some manufacturers, such as SLYX Fashions, Rubber Eva and Kink Engineering, offer penis holes or gaskets for additional access.
A wide range of colours - more than just black, red and transparent - are available from SLYX Fashions, Rubber Eva and Kink Engineering. Kink Engineering also offers custom coloured and patterned beds, with latex print (in association with Ego Assassin).
The width and length of the frame may be varied to accomodate different sizes and multiple people. Kink Engineering, VacBed and SLYX Fashions, have a range of sizes available to accomodate multiple people. Rubber Eva offers fitted vacbed sheets that fit over a mattress. These are available in single, queen and king sizes in a wide variety of colors.
|Manufacturer||Air-tight?||Price Range for standard bed (USD)||Colors Available||Sizes available||Website|
|Eurocatsuits||YES||$349||multiple colors||Any size available||Eurocatsuits.com|
|JT's Stockroom||No||$495-648||black and transparent only||One size, 1 person||JT's Stockroom|
|Kink Engineering||Yes||$275-350||multiple colors, available with print (price not listed)||Multiple sizes, 1-2 person, extra wide, extra long||Kink Engineering|
|Miko Select||No||$349||black||One size, 1 person||Miko Select|
|Rubber Eva||No||$266-396||multiple colors||One size, 1 person||Rubber Eva|
|RuBeaR||No||$255||multiple colors||One size, 1 person or any size by order||RuBeaR|
|SLYX Fashions||No||$385-445||black, blue, red, white, transparent||Multiple sizes, 1-2 person, extra wide, extra long||SLYX Fashions|
|VacBed||No||$385-445||black, red, transparent||Two sizes, 1 or 2 person||VacBed|
There are several variants of latex vacuum enclosures.
- Double vacuum bed: a wide vacuum bed made for more than one occupant
- Vacuum Cube: uses a cubic pipe frame instead of a rectangular frame; the occupant usually will be on hands and knees while immobilised
- Upright vacuum prism (Trifecta): uses a prismatic frame and is built to allow the occupant to be standing up while immobilised