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Beginner's Guide to Rope Bondage and Shibari

  • 2 min read

Beginner's Guide to Rope Bondage and Shibari

So you want to try rope bondage? It can be intimidating, and you should take safety seriously. However, rope bondage starts with some basic knots and ties that take you far, and you'll find a community of like-minded kinksters with this fetish.

Rope Bondage Types

Shibari, also known as Kinbaku, was inspired by ancient Japanese rope tying that focuses on aesthetics and is as much about the process as it is the result. If you've ever seen someone tied up with awe-inspiring geometric shapes, it was likely Shibari. But it's not the only school of thought. Western bondage is also popular and functional, although not necessarily as beautiful. People practice hybrids of both styles, too.

Safety First

You always need enthusiastic and ongoing consent. A safeword allows you to revoke consent. If your partner is gagged, consider an action such as dropping a ball. Of course, you should still watch your partner's body language as subspace and physical or mental duress can make it hard to call out.

Next, the ropes themselves can cause injuries including rope burns, nerve damage, fainting, or strangulation. Rope must stay in place without constricting. Avoid placing stress (knots) on nerves. Nerve damage can cause tingling, which should end play. Fainting is fairly common with rope bondage, and you should carefully lower your partner into lying position.

Always keep a cutting tool close. Medical scissors let you safely cut your partner out of bondage in an emergency, but you can also use rescue cutters to avoid changing the blade after using your tool. Replace any fraying rope immediately.

Choose Your Rope

The rope you use to tie up your partner plays into safety, comfort, and artistry. For Shibari, consider twisted jute or hemp rope. These natural fibers don't stretch, so you can use them for suspension but should avoid washing them. Braided cotton stretches so suspension is out because knots will become too tight. Similarly, braided nylon stretches and is unsafe for suspension, but the synthetic material is washable. Nylon feels soft but can cause rope burn. Once you choose your material, you'll find rope in every color or mix you can imagine!

Bondage Basics

BDSM is all about what you want to do, so there's no right or wrong as long as you're safe. However, some basic knowledge goes a long way. First, most Shibari uses a rope folded in half. The fold is known as the bight, and you'll often use it for tying.

Start by reseaching basic knots: the clove hitch, Lark's head, overhand, and square knot. Then, learn a single-column tie around one limb or "column" or a double-column tie for multiple limbs.

These tools let you create countless ties.

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