Shibari or Kinbaku, are both Japanese words for the rope bondage. Shibari is often used for rope bondage generally and often for non-Japanese rope bondage. Kinbaku refers more into Japanese erotic rope bondage. Kinbaku is definetely one of my favorite fetishes beside the interest of gear, straight jackets, pain play etc. I’ve got a great pleasure to tie up and to get tied up in many places like London, Berlin, Helsinki, Tokyo, Osaka and Taipei. Especially in Japan I’ve been asked how the Western bondage differs from Japanese bondage.
I have seen that in Western BDSM scene the bondage gear, ie. chains, straight jackets and specially designed restraints, are more popular than the ropes. Maybe it’s historically and culturally connected or maybe it’s because it takes relatively more time to learn how to make good rope works. A rope master needs to know a few knots, sometimes complex patterns of ties and certain things about anatomy (especially nerves) to make safe rope bondage.
One of the greatest things in tying up a guy is the connection. A connection which is based on trust and small gestures when the rope patterns are tightening and closing him into helpless submission. Sometimes when starting to tie up a guy, especially someone new to ropes, you need to calm him down. In respectful and responsible BDSM session it’s great to start the session with negotiation about limits, wishes, safety and fears. That is not only for the bottom but also for the rope master. BDSM scenes are anyway moving in a grey area of legislations and without mutual agreement for the intended actions, the Dom may get also in legal troubles. It’s totally different issue to push the limits in good than to jeopardize the intimacy of the sub who trusted himself into the hands of the Dom.
I believe that great shibari needs at least three elements:
1.The connection between the rope master and the rope bottom.
Without the connection of the spirits the tying is (and feels) very technical. It may be great looking but it doesn’t attach to the moment between the ones involved into the play. For me the connection comes from observing small gestures while tying up a guy. The connection provides also trust for the rope master and the rope bottom. I want my rope bottoms to have clear head and not to be toxicated during the session. I have once tried to start tying a guy who was drunk and it was soon clear that it was a bad mistake and I needed to stop the session short. There was no connection between us and worst of all I couldn’t tell if the things would start to go into wrong direction.
In a SM play (or in a power exchange play) empathy plays a great role. Without empathy there may not be the connection either. Even when delivering pain the Dom needs to understand the experience of the sub. Empathy gives possibility to expand the play in an areas where the rope bottom can find his subspace. Being tormented and dominated but same time feeling extremely safe and taken care is an amazing experience and seeing and feeling a guy going into his subspace is a great satisfaction also for the rope master.
3 Understanding the ropes
I admit – I am a bit of hippie kind of rope enthusiast. I really love the natural ropes. How they feel, smell and where they come from. Natural ropes are made from plants which has got their energy and growth from the grounds of the Earth. After a long journey the ropes are cut in the certain length, prepared and oiled for the shibari use.
During the play the ropes act as a channel between the rope master and the sub and after the play the ropes carry the moment and history of their use. I believe that understanding the spiritual meaning of the ropes will deepen the ties.
I often mention that a knot is not a knot – a knot is philosophy. A knot in a rope is a form of energy transfer and functionality. A huge amount of our know history wouldn’t exist without the knowledge of knots and ropes.
Ropes are amazingly flexible to use and just a small adjustment of the ropes may turn a relaxing and easy tie into a torment. And nothing is better than the feeling of connection and control when you tie up or get tied up with someone who shares your ambitions.
As a conclusion of this small thinking, I would say that the shibari is an art which is like a shooting star in the flow of universe. It flames the world only a short moment but it opens the dreams and wishes of the rope master and the rope bottom.