Show some restraint, an intro to erotic rope bondage

erotic rope bondage
erotic rope bondage

In the featured column, MrBLK, an experienced rigger, will discuss some of the basics of rope.

It’s appropriate that the B in BDSM stands for bondage. Symbolically, bondage is one of the pillars of kink. Specifically, rope bondage is ingrained into our culture and desires. Have you ever daydreamed about tying your partner up with a scarf or necktie? You aren’t alone. If you’re curious about bondage, keep reading and learn how to turn that daydream into reality.

American style rope bondage has roots in the Old West, which offered us images of damsels bound and gagged with bandanas. Even rugged cowboys found themselves in bondage predicaments. In the 1940’s a man named John Willie found out selling images of models tied with cotton clothesline were profitable for his mail order photo business. His feature model was a young beauty named Bettie Page. Thus, the American fetish industry was born. Charles Moulton, the creator of Wonder Woman was no stranger to alternative sexual lifestyles. Wonder Woman originally won her golden lasso by tying up every other Amazon on Paradise island. Wonder Woman spent her share of time in rope as well, being tied up in every issue of her comic for almost a decade. Recently, shibari techniques that find their origin in feudal Japan have been introduced to American kink players.

Rope bondage has such an intrinsic effect because it’s essentially about connection between partners. You have to touch someone in order to tie them up. You become familiar with your partner’s body, their shape and curves. By extension, a rope top has to be aware of a bottom’s emotional and physical well being. When a bottom is bound, their senses becomes wonderfully concentrated. The constriction of rope can heighten a bottom’s sensations of pleasure or erotic pain. Rope can elicit feelings of intimacy and comfort. Bondage is often compared to a hug. Rope can also be a sadistic tool, with a demanding intensity. For others, rope can be a wickedly orgasmic experience. Bondage sex is a thing. Rope sluts are complete awesome sauce. Rope play is analogous to an incredibly honest dialogue between two partners. Use this dialogue to craft a great scene.

Bondage play requires negotiation. First and most importantly, a top should receive fully informed consent before tying someone up. Bottoms should be assured that a top is competent and respectful of their wants and needs. Speak honestly with your partner about expectations of what will happen in a scene. Know what’s going to happen before the ropes go on. Hard and soft limits should be clearly articulated and adhered to. If either partner isn’t sure about something, ask for a candid answer. When uncertainty persists, slow down or stop. If it doesn’t feel right, remember that each partner has the right to say no at any time, for any reason.

Communication should be constant between tops and bottoms during bondage play. Know and use your safe words. Bottoms should communicate how they are doing in the rope. Tops should be aware of their bottoms, and respond to signs of trouble. If the bottom is gagged, use hand signals or blinks or even grunts to communicate. Some bottoms hold ping pong balls to drop in case of trouble. Tops have to be aware of not extending a scene too long. Some bottoms drop into sub space while tied and have difficulty communicating. Tops should use their best judgement and care for their bottom, even if it means ending a scene quickly.

If a problem does arise, assure your partner, remain calm and work to quickly untie the bondage. Cutting the rope is only for extreme emergencies. Don’t panic, just work to manage the situation. Sometimes, just adjusting a rope is enough to solve a problem.

Be aware of physical and emotional issues when negotiating bondage scenes. Ask about medical issues like diabetes, high blood pressure or joint and nerve problems that can affect the body. Bondage can be demanding. Don’t tie in a manner that forces joints out of alignment. If someone is tied to a bed or chair make sure the object is secure and won’t fall over. Beware of balance, a bound person can’t stop themselves from falling down. Tops should be healthy enough to manage a rope scene and disclose any issues that may affect their ability.

I don’t care what you saw in a porn movie, don’t tie someone by the wrists to something overhead without adequate support. A dislocated shoulder isn’t sexy.

Make sure a bound person’s airway is always clear, especially if they are gagged. Bondage positions can make it harder to breathe, and it goes without saying a bound person can’t help themselves if something goes wrong. Don’t leave someone alone in bondage even for a short time. Blindfolds can be used to create an illusion of solitude. Bound people can die easily when left alone. Always balance desire against safety and common sense. The same advice applies for very long bondage sessions.

Check for signs of numbness and tingling in appendages. Rope that is too tight may cause color changes in skin, or coolness from lack of blood flow. Work quickly to resolve ligatures. Consider placement when you tie someone and keep in mind that rope changes as people move around. Rope should lay flat against the skin to prevent pressure points which can irritate nerves.

Ask if there are emotional issues that may arise during play. Learn if there is a history of trauma, rape or sexual abuse. This helps the top to avoid bad triggers. Don’t joke with a bound person about breaking limits. Remember that the bottom is actually the one controlling the scene, respect that always.

A bondage bottom should eat and hydrate before a scene. Being tied up makes the body warm up, coming out of rope makes the body cool down, so be aware of temperature changes. Have water and a snack handy for hydration and to keep blood sugar levels steady. Think about stretching or warming up before a rope scene.

Be prepared to give aftercare if it’s needed. Aftercare needs should be covered in negotiation. Health and aftercare concerns are important for the top as well as the bottom. Rope bondage scenes can be physically and emotionally draining, so take care of yourself and your partner. Make a habit of checking in the next day on your partner and to address any lingering issues. I personally make a habit of thanking partners the next day for scening with me.

It doesn’t take much to begin your exploration into bondage play. Basic bondage is easy to learn and only requires a modest investment. Here is what you need for a simple bondage kit.

First, you need bandage scissors. These scissors have a blunt tip and can be used to cut rope without cutting skin in the case of an emergency. They cost two to three dollars and are available at any pharmacy. Buy a couple pair, add them to your toybag and always keep a pair easily accessible.

Next, you need rope. The easiest place to buy bondage rope is at your local hardware store. Look for solid braid nylon rope. It should feel soft and silky when you hold it against your skin. Don’t buy polypropylene or Manila rope which is common in stores. The former is too rough and inflexible to be used against the skin. The latter is processed with chemicals and can splinter into the skin, causing infections.

Most adult toy retailers sell bondage rope made from synthetic or natural fibers. Nylon and MFP are the most popular synthetics. As mentioned, these synthetic ropes have a silky, smooth feel. Think of how an Under Armor shirt feels, to get an idea. Hemp and jute rope are the two most popular natural fiber bondage ropes. Natural fiber ropes create sensations when they touch the skin because of their course textures. They have a distinctive scent and actually creak and lock when they are used. Synthetics tend to stretch where natural fibers don’t, making ties stricter. Rope choice is really dependent on your interest in bondage, the preference of you and your partner and what you’re willing to spend. A natural fiber kit can easily cost $100 dollars. For a beginner, nylon is probably the best place to start.

Look for specific diameters of rope. Your rope should be between six to eight millimeters. These are the ideal diameters for binding limbs and creating a chest harness. Smaller diameters of rope are used for hair, genital and breast bondage. Larger diameters of rope are too bulky to use for play.

Include several lengths of rope in your kit. Several ten and twenty foot lengths and one thirty foot length of rope is a good basic kit. This is enough rope to tie someone’s ankles and wrists with a simple cuff and to do a simple chest harness. As you progress in rope play you’ll add additional lengths and numbers of ropes to your kit according to preference and what you’re doing in a scene.

When tying, your 6mm rope will always be doubled, and this doubled length is used as a single rope. A twenty foot length of 6mm rope doubled will be used as a ten foot length of bondage rope. Match the ends up and run your fingers along the parallel lines. When you find the center where the parallel ropes meet, that’s called the bight. Always treat this doubled length as a single rope. The bight is the basis for more complex ties. The larger, 8mm diameter rope can be used as a single length without being doubled, or it can be doubled to form a bight. Using the larger diameter as a single length only works for single or double column ties, however the lack of a bight means you can use a shorter rope.

Now that you have a kit, it’s time to tie. The two most basic ties are the single and double column tie. Both ties are excellent for rope bondage because they are secure, easy to untie, yet don’t tighten up when pressure is placed on them.

A chest harness is good both for aesthetics and as an anchor point for other ropes.

To form a single column tie, wrap your ten foot length of rope around an ankle or wrist two to three times. Pass the leading length of rope under the wraps that you formed. This leaves you with two lengths connected by a circle. Take the two lengths and tie a square knot. When this is done you should have a single cuff with a length of rope attached.

A double column tie is formed a little differently. Lay the center of another ten foot rope over your partners wrists or ankles. Taking both ends in hand make several wraps, then meeting in the center cross the ropes and pull gently to adjust the tension. Think of tying your shoes. Once this is done cross the ropes again on the other side of the wraps and finish with a square knot. The end result is a comfortable, secure rope cuff. Remember to “dress” the ropes, run your pinkie finger between the rope and your bottom’s skin to ensure enough clearance. Ropes should be snug, not tight.

A chest harness is formed by taking a thirty foot rope with a bight and passing it around your partner’s upper chest. When the rope forms a circle, pass the length through the bight until it forms a circle. This is called a hitch. Take another pass around the upper chest and come back to the bight, passing rope through once more to make another hitch. Take one more pass, this time over the lower chest. Once you reach the back use a locking hitch to secure the rope. This is your basic chest harness.

Separately and combined, these three ties are very versatile. The single column ties can be used to tie limbs together or to tie limbs to a secure object such as a bed or chair. Double column ties can be used to cuff wrists, elbows, knees and ankles together. Double columns are great for tying limbs to other parts of the body, such as tying wrists to thighs. The chest harness can be used to anchor wrist ties. Connecting an ankle and wrists tie to a chest harness creates a basic hogtie. Experiment with variations, use different rope lengths and diameters. Think of your partner’s body as a template for the bondage you’re constructing.

So, hopefully you’ve learned a few tips to begin your bondage exploration. Now assemble your kit, seek informed consent, be safe and get started. Ropey, sexy fun awaits.

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