River Song: (smirking) Spoilers...
Handcuffs work well in keeping someone from strangling or punching you, as a form of restraint. In a sense, it counts as a form of submission, since the wearer isn't really in a position to escape, particularly if they're cuffed from behind or to a bedroom stall.
Therefore, it makes for a great fashion choice! However, a Custom Uniform of Sexy with handcuffs isn't always indicative that the wearer is submissive. You could be a Dominatrix and still wear handcuffs as a means to further stimulate your image. If taken to its logical extreme, the cuffs themselves are used for sex.
- Ikki Tousen's Ryomou Shimei keeps a pair of cuffs on her, which she uses for trapping opponents in kinky submission holds...for her at least.
- Agito the Unison Device from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS wears large (unconnected) handcuffs as part of her skimpy combat outfit. Goes rather well with her new master, namely, Signum, a dominant woman with a Whip Sword.
- In another logical extreme variant, a Hentai called Nee Chanto Shiyou You had the resident Onee-sama used these on the main character, twice, and in both times as a form of rape. He tried the same to her in between her first and second 'attacks', but it seemed to give her even more incentive to try it out on him again.
- Sin City: Subverted when Wallace takes a beautiful blue-eyed woman to a hotel room after he spent the past several issues ignoring her every advance. She's quite surprised by the handcuffs, but it turns out he only wanted to restrain her. He'd already long figured out that she was an assassin sent to kill him.
- In the fanfic This Means War, Harry makes all the Weasley brothers dance YMCA in front of the school, their parents, and the girlfriends. Bill wears the policeman's uniform with the handcuffs. Fleur responds most positively.
- Not surprisingly, shows up in a lot of Death Note fanfics about L and Light, because they spent several months handcuffed together in Canon, where this was also lampshaded by Misa.
- Subverted in-universe in the remake of Cape Fear starring Robert De Niro. De Niro's character, Max Cady, seduces a woman at a bar and takes her to his house to have sex with him. Given that we know that he was in prison for raping a 16 year old girl and that the story he tells the woman about having been in prison for defending a woman at a political protest, we know that he's up to no good when he pulls out a pair of handcuffs and puts them on her. However, she thinks that this is a straight example of this trope until he then beats her up and rapes her.
- In the 1987 Affectionate Parody of Dragnet, Joe Friday has to pick up his partner Pep Streebek from his house where he's playing "Good Cop, Bad Cop" with his girlfriend, a motorcycle cop. Friday has to wait until she removes the handcuffs from Streebek's wrists before he can go with him.
- Innocent Blood. When Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Marie decides to have sex with undercover cop Joe Gennaro, she allows him to cuff her hands behind her back so she can't harm him. During sex she vamps out and breaks the cuffs, but just continues having sex without killing him.
- Subverted in a Vietnamese movie Cyclo (1995) in which a prostitute is shown dancing with handcuffs. A client buys her and beats her up, then offers her pimp money to forget the matter. Unfortunately the pimp is the woman's boyfriend, who stabs him to death instead.
- In The Quick and the Dead, Cort's hands are still chained together during his sex scene with Ellen.
- Quantum of Solace. On his arrival in Bolivia, James Bond finds the beautiful Agent Fields waiting to escort him back to London as a Rogue Agent.
Fields: If you attempt to flee I will arrest you, drop you off in jail and take you to the plane in chains.Mathis: I think she has handcuffs.Bond: I do hope so.
- Tightrope (1984). Clint Eastwood plays a cop who can only have sex with women when they're handcuffed. His Love Interest in the movie, a rape counselor, allowed him to do this in a trust moment.
- In Petticoat Planet, the sheriff uses her handcuffs to shackle Steve to the bars of his cell before the two of them have sex.
- In an episode of My So-Called Life Angela's parents do this—and then lose the key.
- Dexter: Debra Morgan used the logical extreme variant; these were used on one of her boyfriends, to keep him from doing anything harmful to her.
- The X-Files: Agent Dana Scully used them to trick a fake Mulder, actually a Man in Black and Area 51 employee, when these two switched bodies "Freaky Friday" Flip style. The fake Mulder was trying to seduce Scully and caused a lot of problems to the real Mulder.
Scully: (unlocking the handcuffs) How is it that you're able to operate so well with your hands cuffed behind your back?Mulder: As if you didn't know.
- Implied to have happened for real in Season 11 episode "This", after Mulder is able to successfully take down one of the Mooks that have been hassling them during the entire episode while his hands are cuffed behind his back (keep in mind that at this point, they definitely have had a romantic relationship in the past):
- Cracker. DCI Wise walks in on Friz feeling up DS Jane Penhaligon's legs while she's wearing her own handcuffs. When they realise the boss is watching, they jump up and Jane makes a clumsy attempt to slip them off her wrists unobtrusively.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Buffy: NEVER tell me.
- In "Band Candy" Buffy says they'll need something with which to tie Ethan up. Joyce traumatizes her daughter as she shyly produces a pair of handcuffs which she and Giles took from a police officer earlier, before some implied sex on the hood of the police car.
- Angel. In "Over the Rainbow", Angel suggests they use handcuffs so they don't get separated going through a portal to Another Dimension, but then remembers they don't have any cuffs (as they're more about killing demons than arresting them). Wesley starts to cheerfully disagree, then quickly shuts up.
- In the 1990's Australian TV series Fire, "Grievous" Fazio boasts of having just asked a Fair Cop on a date, and notes with approval that handcuffs will undoubtedly be involved in any sex.
- Seinfeld famously used this with George becoming an unwitting victim of a pickpocket that seduced him, stripped him to his undies, then took off with all his clothes and cash while leaving him cuffed to the headboard.
- Doctor Who. Played for drama in "Death in Heaven". Osgood looks in her labcoat at Missy's invitation and notes with surprise that the handcuffs she removes from her pocket aren't hers. They're the one's used to restrain Missy.
- In the Veronica Mars second season episode "The Rapes of Graff", Cliff had an experience similar to the Seinfeld episode lifted above, except it was a prostitute, and the only thing she stole was his briefcase.
- Detective Chloe Decker is just saying that Lucifer is out of her hair, when Dan points out that Lucifer is behind her, sitting on her desk, and has just convinced a pretty black policewoman to put on her own handcuffs.
- In "Deceptive Little Parasite", three women dressed like Chloe come on to Lucifer. When he refuses this "triple Decker", they break out the fluffy handcuffs and threaten to detain him for resisting arrest.
- Friends. Chandler starts dating Rachel's boss, one day while making out at the office she's called into a meeting and produces a pair of handcuffs which she uses to cuff Chandler to her desk chair. She claims they were a "gag gift" from someone but why she was keeping them in her office remains a mystery.
- Towards the end of the series Chandler is cleaning out the closet in the spare bedroom when he finds a pair of black, fluffy handcuffs. After asking everyone who previously lived in that room (with Phoebe dismissing them as "too flimsy" for her tastes) he does some more digging through the closet and finds pictures of them being used by Monica's Grandmother.