What Is Shibari and How Can You Do It?

What Is Shibari and How Can You Do It?

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If youre exploring BDSM, you have probably come across the idea of rope bondage. Within the umbrella of rope bondage is the Japanese bondage practice of shibari, which translates to decorative tying. Heres what you need to know about shibari and a few tips on where to start exploring this practice.

What Is Bondage?

Bondage, broadly speaking, is the act or process of physically restraining oneself or another person. This can include holding someone down or using a form of physical restraints such as rope, ties, shackles, or handcuffs.

What Is Shibari?

Shibari Bondage

Shibari is a subset of bondage that uses rope as its primary form of restraint. People engage in shibari for many reasons. Some tops, or the ones doing the tying, may find the practice of creating the intricate knots calming and almost meditative, while others enjoy the trust that is given by their partner who is being tied. For those who are bottoming or being tied, the idea of being secure in ropes can be calming, or arousing, as this gives the other partner an extra measure of control.

History and Origins of Shibari

Shibari is derived from the practice of Hojojutsu, which thrived during the Edo period in Japan. Hojojutsu was a martial art that involved restraining ones opponent with rope and where certain ties would signify a criminals offense so that they could be shamed prior to execution. While the practice of Honjujutsu died after the Edo period, the use of rope and knots became integrated into the Japanese BDSM scene. The idea of Kinkabu, or tight binding, has similar roots, and the term kinkabu is often used interchangeably with shibari. Eventually, the practices of Japanese rope bondage spread worldwide.   

Shibari As Bondage Art

Because shibari often involves the methodical tying of another person, it can be quite beautiful and artistic both because of the subject, or the person being tied, and the knots that are created. Shibari art is seen as more of an artistic expression than a sexual act, though theres no reason it cant be both.

Pros and Cons

If youre just starting to learn about shibari bondage and other forms of BDSM, here are a few quick pros and cons for beginners.

Shibari Is Beautiful: Shibari is among the most aesthetically pleasing bondage rope practices.

Mastering Shiabri Takes Time: While all rope play takes some time to perfect, shibari knots require some practice and dedication- especially if you want to learn to tie well.

Youll Need to Invest: if youre serious about learning shibari, youll need to invest in shibari rope for practice.

Safety is Key: Shibari has risks, and there have certainly been incidents where people have been hurt. However, most experienced individuals who are teaching classes or writing books on the subject are going to focus on safety- you just have to pay attention! 

Shibari May Be for You If.

You Are Ready to Put in the Work: The work of tying someone properly can be part of the experience. However, if you prefer to focus on other aspects of BDSM, you may want to hold off before learning shibari.

You Enjoy Restraints: If you have experienced with other restraints and are looking for something new to try, shibari can definitely be something to explore. Keep in mind that while much shibari artwork focuses on women, male shibari is also a thing.

You Enjoy Methodical Tasks: The process of tying shibari knots and be repetitive, which can be soothing to some, but boring to others

Important Safety Tips

Whether youre exploring your first tie or your hundredths, safety should always be your primary concern when engaging in any type of play.

Circulation Is Key: Bondage ropes have the potential to cut circulation to arms and legs, which can lead to permanent damage. The trick in shibari and any other type of bondage is to do the tie without permanently damaging your partner. While your partner should be checking in and letting you know if something feels amiss, you also want to be checking for any discoloration or pallor, which can signify a loss of blood flow as you tie.

Always Have a Way Out: Youll want to have a good pair of scissors or sheers on hand in case something goes wrong. Remember that rope is replaceable, but your partner is not.

Talk to Your Partner: If you are bottoming, you need to be very aware of your body and be able to differentiate good pain from bad pain. When in doubt, sharp pain should always be a reason to cut rope play short. Conversely, if you are topping, you need to check in with your partner not only physically but also emotionally.

Trust and Security Are Key: Getting tied up can be an intimate and dangerous experience, and you should do it with people who make you feel comfortable. Ideally, explore shibari with someone you trust or in a setting where others can intervene if something goes wrong. If someone offers to tie you, but you dont trust that person, it is always fine to say no.

Starting With Shibari

Now that you know the basics, you may be ready to learn more about shibari from an artistic standpoint, a BDSM standpoint, or both. Here are a few places to start.

Your Friendly Neighborhood BDSM Community: Your local BDSM community may offer workshops and classes. Places like your local sex shop or even FetLife can connect you with your local kink communities for such events. Meeting new people can be intimidating, but most kink communities are fairly welcoming to those who are exploring.

Books: There are plenty of great shibari books that can get you started.

Online: There are a few good BDSM blogs available and even some videos that cover basic shibari knots.

Other Forms of Bondage:

If youre not quite ready to invest the time and energy in shibari, thats perfectly fine. You dont have to be a shibari expert to be part of your local BDSM community. There are plenty of ways to be kinky that dont involve Japanese rope tying or even any bondage ropes.

Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that you are being safe and honest both with yourself and your partner.

 

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