How to Shibari? The Art of Japanese Rope Bondage

by Jane Louis
japanese shibari bondage

The Japanese art of both Shibari and Kinbaku are highly erotic forms of bondage that have been practiced for centuries. These styles are known for their intricate patterns and beautiful knots.

Not only are these bondage forms effective at tying a person up, but they are also sensual and very aesthetically pleasing.

Learning this art form may take time, but it is well worth it in the end.

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Hemp Rope

What are Shibari and Kinbaku?

Shibari and Kinbaku are both quite similar, and discerning the differences between the two can be a bit difficult.

Ultimately, however, it is widely agreed that Shibari focuses more on the end result of being tied up, whereas Kinbaku is more based on the emotional experience of the tying process.

Often, the two terms are used interchangeably, although the term Shibari is typically used more frequently.

Either way, these bondage forms have to meet two criteria; they must be effective at tying a person up, and they must also be aesthetically pleasing to look at.

When practicing the arts of Shibari and Kinbaku, there are two different possible roles: A rigger and a rope bunny. The rigger is the person doing the tying, whereas the rope bunny is the person who is being tied up.

Why is Japanese Bondage So Erotic?

There are many different forms of bondage, but both Shibari and Kinbaku are generally understood to be the most erotic forms.

Other forms of bondage, which DO NOT focus so heavily on aesthetics, typically view being tied up as the end goal. 

With Japanese bondage, however, the rigger takes their time in tying up their rope bunny. The process itself is careful and calculated and is regarded as a highly sensual experience. 

For the rope bunny, their job is to stay still while the rigger works their magic and exercises a lot of power over their body. 

Every step of Shibari and Kinbaku is given a lot of time and weight, and ultimately, they are both about enjoying each and every moment of the experience. 

This makes Japanese bondage so much more erotic than other forms because the process itself is a beautiful sexual experience.

What does Shibari Feel Like?

The beautiful rope designs of Shibari often resemble a sort of web that wraps around the rope bunny's entire body.

When done correctly, Shibari feels pliable and comfortable, yet restrictive at the same time. 

The ropes should not feel uncomfortably tight, but if the rope bunny attempts to free themselves from their predicament, they will find they are unable to.

Tied up in Shibari may also make the rope bunny feel like a piece of art on display, completely vulnerable to whatever the rigger is about to do next. This power play dynamic is just another part of what makes Shibari so erotic.

hemp rope shibari

How to Choose a Shibari Rope?

If you are eager to begin learning the art of Shibari on your own, you must first take into consideration which materials you are using. Traditional Shibari uses jute or hemp ropes, but nylon is also a possibility. 

It doesn't really matter what kind of rope you use, so long as it is in your price range. A more important factor to consider, however, is the size of the rope.

When it comes to Shibari, rope thickness can vary between 4 and 6mm. For beginners, thinner ropes are NOT recommended, as they tend to "bite" into the rope bunny's skin if it is not loose enough. 

Thicker rope distributes weight more evenly across the skin's surface, making it ideal for beginners.

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Where to Buy Shibari Rope?

For any of you who are looking for some quality ropes to start with, I will recommend the Fifty Shades of Grey Restrain Me Bondage Rope (twin pack). 

Unlike a lot of bondage ropes, this set of nylon ropes provide some silky touch and feature no elasticity or filling for super-strong, safe restraint. 

While the glossy surface reduces friction against the skin and makes untying knots easy, the spiraled elastic-free weave ensures you never accidentally tie your sub too tight. It's practically foolproof.

I suggest getting the rope from Lovehoney, because they tend to offer the best price for sex products from Fifty Shades Brand. Besides, Lovehoney is one of the most prestigious sex toy stores and they can ship to anywhere in the world! 

lovehoney fifty shades bondage

Another unique set I truly adore is the Liberator Silk Binding Sash. This luxury and enticing set of rope is made of 100% silk. They are really soft and fun to play with. Definitely is a striking choice for decorative bindings. 

When in use, these 14-foot long silk sashes become a vivid web adorning the torso with intricate patterns and loops, like delicate lace. 

This silk rope is perfect for any couples who are looking for sensational play. 

liberator silk sash bondage

If you are darn serious and have earned some experiences on Shibari bondage, the hemp rope kit and gag from Stockroom is the best option.

Stockroom is one of my favorite BDSM tool stores. They are very professional and have amazing and high-quality collections.

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Hemp Rope Starter Kit

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Natural Wood Gag

If you just want to start with some simple hemp rope, get the deGiotto Hemp Natural Bondage Rope, they are really sturdy and affordable (less than $20). You can have a good idea about how authentic hemp rope bondage feels like after trying this set. 

degiotto hemp rope shibari

How to Tie Shibari Knots? 

Once you have your rope and a willing partner, (either a rope bunny or a rigger) it's time to get started with a few knots. 

While you may be tempted to start with more complicated knots right away, you really should learn the basics first. 

The two ties you should learn first are a single column tie and a double column tie. 

These can be used effectively for a host of things, including tying up an ankle or a wrist, or tying ankles and wrists together!

How to Condition a Shibari Rope?

The reason why I don't recommend raw hemp or jute rope to start with is that they can't be used right away. You need to take time to condition the ropes so that they will be soft enough to use. 

I know some people are really into condition the rope by themselves because it provides a ritual feeling. After all, Shibari bondage is about patience and enjoying the process.

Here is how you can treat and condition a raw rope before any Shibari sessions:

Where to Learn Shibari?

When you have mastered the single and double column ties, you will likely be eager to learn more knots. One excellent resource is Shibari Academy, which can be found here

You can take the "Shibari 101" course completely free, and if you find that you still want to learn more, you can opt to take more paid courses. 

shibari academy course

This is an excellent resource for people looking to learn more about Shibari bondage because you can choose what pace you learn at, and there are plenty of easy to follow instructional videos.

bondage shibari hand

For Advanced Players: Let’s Talk About Shibari Suspension

Suspension is something many bondage-lovers dreams of someday doing, but it is definitely NOT for beginners! 

When starting out, you should do "floor bondage" first, where the rope bunny is safely on the ground. 

Suspension bondage is when part or all of the rope bunny's body is suspended in mid-air using ropes and a sturdy suspension point. However, suspension play can get into risk-aware consensual kink (also known as RACK), as both partners have to be aware of any potential risks involved. 

If the suspension point is not strong enough, the rope bunny could fall, resulting in injury. 

Furthermore, if a rope is tied in an incorrect location on a person's body, it could result in nerve compression, which could lead to permanent nerve damage. 

However, with a lot of practice, experience, and research, suspension bondage is a highly rewarding experience. 

If you feel confident in your abilities, it may be worthwhile to start slowly introducing Shibari suspension elements into your scenes.

Final Thoughts

Japanese bondage is an erotic form of bondage that has been practiced as early as the 1600s, and it's no wonder the art has stuck around so long!

Those sensual and beautiful knots are mesmerizing to look at, and Shibari is an excellent way to take your bondage skills to the next level. 

If you're looking to spice up your rope play in the bedroom, Shibari is the perfect place to start.

signature Jane L
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