A Beginner’s Guide to Shibari - The Art of Japanese Rope Bondage

It’s funny that even though sex is such a quintessential part of fostering strong and lasting relationships, it is still a highly taboo topic to talk about throughout society. But when you add terms like BDSM and ‘rope bunny’ into the picture, that reality becomes amplified – which is why so many people are left in the dark on how artful, versatile, relationship enriching things like rope bondage genuinely is.  

 

Because of that, this article is here to help loosen those social constraints and showcase just how connection-rich BDSM can be, especially when it comes to the ancient act of Shibari. You see, sex is not something to be ashamed of, and there are tons of different ways to practice BDSM to draw relationships closer. But when it comes to Shibari, this intrinsic BDSM artform truly takes the core meaning behind emotional connection and bonding to new heights. And no, it is not shameful, harmful, or degrading. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.  

 

What Is Shibari? 

 

If you Google ‘what is Shibari,’ you are going to find tons of long-winded explanations, which is certainly great to review to get a full angled picture. But the real heart and soul of tying up a rope bunny is that it is a lot like standard bondage, but better. You see, normal bondage usually involves any kind of restrictions, such as handcuffs, ropes, tape, scarves, etc. Shibari, though part of BDSM, is unique for its artistic rope formations that amplify the intimate connection between partners rather than just focusing on the restraint sensations themselves. Shibari, in a nutshell, stands out because it not only involves striking rope bondage appeal but is coupled with an unparalleled emotional/psychological connection that can bring people together unlike any other BDSM form.   

 

Simply put, Shibari, which is sometimes referred to as kinbaku, is a contemporary form of rope bondage that originated in Japan in the 1400s. Interestingly enough, it was originally used to torture captives of war and over time evolved into an artful pleasure to bind someone up who enjoys that type of erotic stimulation/seduction. Keep in mind that Shibari is not just for sexual reasons; it is also widely used for things like trust-building between partners, meditation, and even relaxation.  

 

How To Perform Shibari Safety  

 

Did you know that, according to an Ellie article on rope bondage stats, a 2005 study by Durex found that 36% of US adults use bondage tools of some kind during sex? Along with this, another Canadian study found that 65% of university students fantasized about being tied up. All in all, if you are thinking about giving Shibari a go, understand you are certainly not alone. However, as wonderful and exhilarating as this rope bondage art can be for both partners, there are some vital aspects to understand to optimize enjoyment and safety.  

 

  • Read and Study First – Before even thinking about tying up a rope bunny (or being a rope bunny yourself), make sure you do as much research as possible before practicing the act itself. The more you understand the concepts of what Shibari entails, the more prepared and comfortable you will be later when you actually begin practicing it. For some more support here, some excellent resources to help you with this include the Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage by Midori and online classes/courses at Shibari Study. 

 

  • Communicate and Set Boundaries – Much like any new sexual experience, make sure that you and your partner are on the same page and are transparent on what you are both comfortable/not comfortable with. You can do this by establishing a safe word and knowing what is off and on the table to try. Overall, doing this consent practice before getting started is a must under any circumstance and can really set the foundation for a wonderful time.  

 

  • Start SLOW – Lastly, make sure you ease yourself into Shibari, especially if you both have never done BDSM before like this. In general, get familiar with how the process feels, and if you are not the rope bunny, work on mastering your tying skills on the floor first before going into full air suspension. This sexual experience should not be rushed and taking it one step at a time can really help the both of you get comfortable with each other, enhance your skills gradually, and of course, maximize physical and emotional safety. 

 

Additional Tips/Reminders: 

 

  • Always keep a pair of safety sheers inside your rope bag. 
  • Never tie in a crease of your rope bunny’s joint, as doing so can cut circulation. 
  • Only use proper rope bondage ropes (cotton) – never twine or anything too thin. 

 

Summary – Learning the Ropes  

 

In the end, there is no denying that Shibari is an empowering, sensual, and intensely emotional consensual practice. Not only does it enable people to experiment with their erotic side, but it can also significantly bring both the rope bunny and the rigger together on a deeper level. Between the unimaginable trust, connection, and playful approach to sex, it stands to reason why Shibari is one of the leading practices across the BDSM community.  

 

With that being said, don't be afraid to try it out for yourself if you and your partner are on the hunt for some new spiced-up adventure. Shibari is a renowned BDSM art for a reason and one worth diving deep into more to see if this is something you will enjoy performing within your relationship. Because if there is one thing for sure, when done mindfully, safely, and with open communication, Shibari can be quite a beautiful, soul connecting experience.  

 

Resources 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/jan/21/shibari-pushing-boundaries-in-the-ancient-japanese-practice-of-knot-tying#:~:text=Shibari%20originated%20from%20Hojo%2Djutsu,19th%20and%20early%2020th%20centuries. 

https://vtcynic.com/culture/japanese-rope-tying-is-more-than-bondage/ 

https://japantoday.com/category/features/lifestyle/5-misconceptions-about-'shibari-'-japanese-rope-bondage 

https://metro.co.uk/2018/02/21/what-is-shibari-the-art-of-japanese-rope-bondage-and-how-can-you-practice-it-7293510/ 

https://www.bustle.com/wellness/what-is-shibari-how-do-i-do-it-with-my-partner-22830102 

https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/sex-and-love/shibari-japanese-rope-bondage 

https://ropestudy.com/courses/101/lessons/rope-selection-care/topic/a-brief-overview-of-types-of-rope/ 

https://www.elle.com/life-love/sex-relationships/a26716/so-you-think-you-want-to-try-bdsm/