Rope play is probably one of the more commonly known BDSM games. It’s an instantly recognizable image of power exchange, trust, and communication, and very often the first stepping stone for people new to BDSM. The use of ropes for Bondage/Discipline and Domination/submission is fairly old, the Japanese rope arts of Kinbaku (緊縛) or 'tight binding', Kinbaku-bi (緊縛美) or 'the beauty of tight binding', and Shibari (縛り) or ‘decoratively tie’ came to be common knowledge during the Edo period. There are philosophical arguments as to which term should be used and when, but it almost always comes down to personal preference.
Rope play is ALWAYS consensual.
Rope play is considered the “go to” bondage move for many new practitioners. Virgin Doms, subs, and SWITches will find the idea of a person losing the ability to fight back and having to submit to be enthralling. And it is. A line of rope that can barely support one hundred pounds is more than enough to secure the strongest of people. It’s versatile, cheap, easy to store, and some can even be dyed to match a preferred theme. When properly done everyone will have a good time. First-time practitioners will want to follow the main rule of BDSM: Communicate. If you’re acting as a Dom, your sub needs to know that you know when to stop, as they may be incommunicado. And if you’re acting as a sub, your Dom needs to know what signal to look for the same reason. As always, respect your sub’s limits and communicate with him or her: It’s not uncommon for a person to realize that a visual safe word was never established, or to slip hard into subspace and become so invested in a scene that he or she tries to go too far.
Selecting binding material is a partner inclusive project!
ROPE PLAY SUPPLIES:
There are a multitude of fibers and fiber blends to chose from, some are easier to work with, some are hypoallergenic, others are made to hold up cars while some snap under the slightest pressure. For virgin rope players, I recommend a light duty braided cotton. It’s inexpensive, can be purchased almost anywhere, and is easy cut and store. The knots, however, compact very well (think of shoelaces) and can be difficult to undo. Nylon is another common rope used, but unless you have experience working with it, it can slip very easily leading to tighter than meant bindings and knots. Silk is also an option, but the cost, especially for a people just trying it out, may be burdensome.
Kinbaku practitioners and 4:20 fiends prefer to use hemp. Braided hemp is heavier duty than cotton, very fibrous, and, if you prefer rougher treatment, WILL cause rope burns.
Scarves serve multiple purposes: The can be used to blind, to muffle and gag, and they can be used to protect the skin of those who don’t want to risk rope burns and marks. Wrap the scarf around the area and then apply the rope.
EMT/Safety shears costs $10.
How much does your sub's well being and trust cost?
EMT/Safety shears are a must. They’re designed to safety go along skin without cutting it, and give you a shearing surface that won’t hurt the bondee. It’s a small investment that can also be used around the house. Standard scissors may not be able to quickly cut, and many will slip, cut, break, and may not be able to cut through your choice of rope. Always make sure your shears are in good working order, can slice through whatever material your using, and that you know where they are before and during a session.
The funny scenario is the kids coming home early from school, wackiness ensues, and the studio audience laughs.
The less funny world scenario is misreading a binding or knot and your sub suffering nerve damage.
Always ensure that you can fit two fingers between the rope and the bondee’s skin.
Encourage him or her to report any tingling, pins and needles sensation, or numbness. This is especially important with more dedicated subs who have a stronger desire to not disappoint his or her Dom than to report a problem.
Time, despite what Sir Jagger said, is almost never on your side. A rope play scene involves setup, preparation, the scene itself, deconstruction and cleanup, and aftercare. Make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for a surprise, rather than a happy, ending.
Safe bondage = Happy fun time.
Unsafe bondage = Injury or death
Binding a sub is fairly straightforward:
Tell them what to do and do it.
How to bind a sub however...
The human body is full of nerves, major blood vessels, and delicate muscles and organs. Our goal is to avoid having to explain to the triage nurse at the ER why any of them are damaged.
NEVER bind a person’s neck
It can be done by professionals, but so many things can. You wouldn’t drive the same way as a professional stunt car driver. You wouldn’t go skydiving for the first time without practice. NEVER do this.
The closest you should ever come to this is a lead or leash that gives them plenty of room to breath.
NEVER suspend someone
Unless your very certain of your skill at binding, knot tying, how load bearing the rope and the support is this can very easily go wrong very fast and very horribly.
NEVER leave the bondee alone
The human body is a beautiful and frustrating machine made up of ten thousand faulty parts that could go at any time. Imagine someone tied securely spread eagle to a bed, a gag strapped around their head, you leave to room, and they spontaneously vomit.
There are very few good endings for that, and a few specifically horrific ones.
NEVER bind ON the joints.
Always go above and below. If you plan on binding the breasts, or running a line across the happy fun zones, make sure you allow for slack and movement. As you and your sub become more confident and comfortable you can always tighten the lines.
Remember, sex is a pool with a shallow and deep end:
If you aren’t certain of your ability, diving into the deep end can very easily end in injury, or worse. I’m not attempting to downplay the fun, excitement, or thrill of securing a person. I need YOU to understand that, as with any BDSM scenario, there is always a risk, and it’s always best to minimize unnecessary risk when it comes to your sub’s health.
Public rope play is a thing, as well. I’m sure more than one of you has worn something to work, school, or any public event that would raise eyebrows and cause a few people to suffer a fit a vapors, and why I haven’t received any videos or images is beyond me. As with any play, be it rope or otherwise, PRACTICE first. Figure out your comfort zone and move out from there.
Rope is a virtually limitless tool
when it comes to bondage, it can become anything from handcuffs, to a leash, to a corset so long as we communicate, practice, and respect each others hard and soft limits. Communicate with your partner what you want and what he or she is willing to give. Practice with your partner. Long term comfort will become an issue in rope play and a mistake can cause injury.
Respect your partner to know when to stop or change up the game.