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Woman in stocks
© Raimond Spekking / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GFDL

Old-style stocks as used in some villages

Woman in stocks. Note the sexual potential should she not be wearing clothes
© Raimond Spekking / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GFDL

Stocks are devices which firmly hold and separate wrists or ankles, or sometimes both. They are usually made out of two pieces of wood which are clamped or held together with bolts or screws.

In more common use (in their day, at least), they were used to punish and humiliate offenders of the public good, restraining them in a town square or similar where they could be insulted or abused.

In BDSM stocks are a form of bondage. They are still made of wood, but usually aren't fixed to the ground as were the punishment variety.

See also