The spreadeagle, also spread eagle or spread-eagle, is the position in which a person has arms outstretched and legs apart, figuratively resembling an eagle with wings spread. The spreadeagle position can be either vertical (standing) or horizontal (lying down).
In the context of BDSM, it refers to the bondage position in which the captive's wrists and ankles are pulled away from the torso, forming a crude X shape. A horizontal spreadeagle is commonly performed on a bed with the captive's limbs tied to the corner-posts of the bed; the captive may be face up or face down. Providing the legs are not pulled too far apart and the ropes are not too tight, the position can be held for 3-4 hours or more without any problem. For the captive, it feels very exposed and for the captor it looks good and the knowledge that the captive is unlikely to come to any harm removes any worry. If the captive is male then he can easily be mounted by the Domme for oral or straight sex. If the captive is a woman then this position is not as effective for sex, as the vagina is in the wrong position. A modification which solves this problem is to have the female's legs bent slightly, with the knees bound, forcing them apart and up the bed (to prevent the rope slipping off). Alternatively, the woman's hips can be raised by putting a pillow under them.
In an upright spreadeagle, the person's wrists and ankles are instead bound to anchoring points on a wall or restraining equipment like a St Andrews cross. This position is favoured for some BDSM games, because it leaves the person open for sensation play. The disadvantage of this position is that the bound person will tire more quickly than many other positions and will tend to hang from their wrist, which has safety issues.
The spreadeagle position is also sometimes used in law enforcement, convict handling or other situations, to cause the rapid submission and control of a person, eiher facing a wall, car or other large object or flat on the floor. This in turn is a classic element in roleplay with a partner in police uniform, usually the top, often involving spanking of the spread bottom; however, to bare the captive's bottom and genitals is rather uncomfortable as the trousers/skirt and underwear cannot be fully lowered enough for full exposure if the legs asr spread wide, so it may be better to have him or her strip in advance, at least from the waist down.
It can also refer to the sex position in which one partner is supine with their arms and legs spread.