Learning To Truss

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cats-paw-flogging-cuff

I recently had the experience of trying out some simple Shibari on a partner.  What follows is a rough outline of that experience.  If you’re looking for rope erotica, this is not it.  The purpose of this post is to share some thoughts on the process, in the event it may be helpful to someone else – especially to anyone (top or bottom) who is new to Shibari.

Shibari, for those who are not familiar, is a Japanese rope-tying technique.  Originally militaristic in application, it has developed over the past 150 years into an artistic erotic bondage art, also known as Kinbaku.

Shibari interests me for two reasons:

    1. Form and Function – It is a form of restraint that is as beautiful as it is purposeful.
    2. It requires focus and creativity, which are two things that fuel both my brain and my body.

Most of my past binding experience has required me to use my creativity along with whatever materials are at hand (or at waist; belts come to mind), and while I have had a great deal of fun using cuff restraints, my previous attempts at rigging with rope-type materials (shoelaces, anyone?) have left much to be desired.  My partners never seem to mind how things look.  They are typically too blissed out by being tied up to notice.  I, however, have always found the aesthetics (or rather, the lack thereof; if it looks like Spiderman threw up all over my partner, I’m not exactly aroused by the sight) to to be distracting.

But with Shibari, the ties themselves are as beautiful as the person bound in them.  Thus the appeal.

HOW IT STARTED

COMMUNICATION:  I shared my curiosity about Shibari with a partner, who had previously shared with me his less-than-stellar tied-up experience.  (He broke some things, if I remember correctly.  The handcuffs.  The bed.  His head.)  Knowing how responsive he is (read: he struggles and squirms delightfully under my touch), but also how well he hands over control, I thought he might take to the idea of allowing me to truss him up.  He did.  (And, for the record, I was willing to be on the receiving end of the rope ties as well if he wanted to try his hand at rigging, but we never got that far.)

PLANNING:  We only get to see each other every six months or so.  I shared my interest in Shibari following our last visit, and as the time grew closer for my most recent sojourn to his part of the country, we started talking more in detail.  We each researched on our own, and shared relevant information.  I talked to people locally, and found a website with great tutorials.  He found a message board and video instructions.  We shared links and discussed risks.  I picked up some things I wanted to play with during our upcoming weekend together, including but not limited to four 6-ft lengths of nylon rope, and put together a package that I sent ahead of my own arrival.

RESEARCH, RISKS, AND BEST PRACTICES

The internet is a vast and wondrous thing.  It is also full of misinformation and highlights the hubris of People Who Think They Know Everything.  I have a decent bullshit meter and a reasonable amount of life experience – including bondage experience – so I was able to sort the wheat from the chaff without too much trouble.  For a lot of people though, the overabundance of (conflicting) information is overwhelming, and instead of making an already-intimidating practice (seriously, have you seen some of the photos people post of Shibari ties? – yikes!) simpler or more inviting, the excess of data becomes a barrier to moving forward.  So in the spirit of sharing useful information with other would-be riggers, these are the things I found most important:

  • Silk rope is what ‘they’ say to use, but silk rope is not really a thing.  Use nylon rope.  Cotton, while soft, is more likely to chafe, and rougher materials like hemp can be downright dangerous.
  • The recommended lengths of rope you are “supposed to” start with vary from 6-150ft.  I chose 6-ft lengths because I wanted to start with simple ties, and to focus only on binding my partner’s wrists and ankles.  Longer lengths are better for body ties, but if – like me – you are new to Shibari, I don’t recommend you start by binding arms, torsos, or thighs.  First, get some basics under your belt.
  • Shibari is a foundation exercise.  There are simple ties that build into more complicated binds.  Learn the basics first.  Just as you wouldn’t take over as head accountant at a law firm without having the first clue about the basic principles of addition and subtraction, neither should you attempt complicated rigging without first building your basic foundation skills.  Not only would it be frustrating, it would be dangerous.  Never put your partner at risk.
  • What’s so dangerous about it?  Two words:  nerve damage.  Binds that are too tight can damage nerves permanently.  You should always be able to fit two fingers between the rope and your partner’s skin, and if your partner indicates that something is hurting or pinching (communication is key!), attend to it immediately.

WHAT WE DID

We dressed practically and comfortably.  I wore yoga bottoms, he was in a T-shirt.  It was important to me that we both be as relaxed as possible, and that we were each able to move without clothing-imposed restrictions.  Running around in a negligee and high heels while trying new ties for the first time?  No thank you!

We used the living room for our practice area, rather than the bedroom.  This worked well because it gave us plenty of room to maneuver, provided a well-lit area to practice in, and took the “You must be SEXY” pressure off; I was learning something new, with someone for whom Shibari was also new, and the location was instrumental in keeping the focus on the learning process, without either of us feeling like we had to ‘perform’.

We worked together.  When there was an instruction that was confusing, he helped me figure out what it meant.  When I needed to scroll through a second tutorial to figure out how to turn the Cat’s Paw into a Flogging Cuff, he held the ends of the rope so my hands were free to find the screen I needed.  (“Yes, I’m a willing participant in my own bondage,” he said at one point.  We both grinned at that.  Indeed, he was.)  When he said, “That’s pinching,” I paid attention.  When he liked the way one hand was tied better than the other, I made adjustments.

THE RESULTS

And how, you are wondering, did things turn out, Feve?

Well, let me show you:

flogging-cuff

.

prusik-head-shackle

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double-coin-knot-hand-catch

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And when I was finished with his wrists and ankles, I moved on to his cock. I may write about that particular exercise another time, but you won’t be seeing those photos. 😉

TAKE-AWAYS

Four-poster binding is probably not going to be practicable for us.  He squirms and has a tendency to pull and ball up (I call him my Bug), which can hitch knots too tight against vulnerable nerve points in wrists and ankles.  That limits any splayed-restraint play, as it would be too easy for him to hurt himself.

I found the act of creating simple ties (I focused on single column ties) – while not always “simple” in terms of looping and twisting and pulling in the correct directions – to be immensely satisfying.  The enjoyment of the process and the sense of accomplishment when each tie was completed correctly were well worth the work.

In the future, we will likely dedicate a longer segment of time (our first session was about 75 minutes), use longer lengths of rope (50-100ft), and focus on body (torso) ties.  I’m particularly interested in putting him in a takate-kote.  I think he would relax into it, and I can envision… possibilities… with him restrained in that way that would bring us both pleasure without causing him injury.

Did I like it?  I loved it.

Did he like it?  All the evidence points to “YES.”

Would you like it?  Only you can know, and you’ll only know if you try.  🙂

ADDITIONAL INFO

HELPFUL RESOURCES:  The Duchy has excellent step-by-step picture tutorials for both beginning and advanced ties, including the ones pictured above, which are (top to bottom):  flogging cuff (with a cat’s paw base tie), prusik shackle, and double coin knot hand catch.  A video demo of a simple alternate to a single column cuff can be found here.

QUESTIONS, CURIOSITIES, OR CONCERNS?  Leave a comment, send me an email, or get in touch via the contact form on my ‘About’ page, here.  I’d love to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Learning To Truss

  1. F Anderssen

    One of the best ropes available is magician’s rope.—most hardware store rope is rubbish and should be avoided

    No I didn’t believe there was such a thing either–but there is.

    Pervy magicians use it to tie girls into boxes and stuff—very easy on skin, difficult to do rope burns with it unless you’re really stupid, very soft and pliable and doesnt twist itself into impossible knots.

    Reply
    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      I’m so sorry – I think my original reply got lost!

      Thank you for the suggestion of magician’s rope. I’ve seen some long-length spools available online, and will be investigating further before I truss him up again. 🙂

      Reply

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