rope bondage howto

 

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Some videos about rope bondage for beginners



Beginner’s Guide to Buying Rope

When you don’t know what you are doing, buying the right rope can be a confusing activity. There are a lot of options and figuring out what is right for you can be frustrating, to say nothing of expensive.

This guide seeks to help you make an informed decision when selecting your first ropes.

Buying rope involves three main choices: fiber, diameter, and length.

Fiber

The fiber of your rope presents you with your most important decision. Fiber determines the properties of the rope, it’s look, strength, texture, handling, and even smell are all relative to the fiber. This can have a profound impact on how you tie and the kind of scenes you have.

A gathering of riggers of different styles will likely bring into the room four different types of rope: hemp, jute, nylon, and MFP (multi-fiber polypropylene). These are the four most popular fibers in rope bondage.

Hemp

What stands out about hemp is its softness. That is not to be mistaken for dowiness. Well treated hemp rope will glide across the skin with a firm gentleness. It feels solid, dependable, and masculine.

Hemp ropes also have a great earthy smell.

This makes hemp ropes a common favorite among many bottoms who prefer sensual rope play and likewise with many tops.

Hemp fibers have a great deal of bend in them, more so than other ropes. This means that hemp ropes will fold themselves around the contours of the skin or surface, while still letting it breathe, and stay in place with only a minimum amount of tension. This makes it easy to tie complicated patterns over the body, involving only tensioning. The flow of the scene remains uninterrupted by pauses to tie complex knots to keep everything in place. In this category, hemp ropes dominate the field.

Hemp knots are very secure.

The ropes are washable and may be put through the dryer. After drying, the ropes need to be stretched firmly to regain their lengths. That said, hemp ropes will weaken with every wash.

The softness of hemp also carries a downside. Under tension the ropes will flatten against each other. This has no practical consequence when doing bondage, but it means that elaborate knot-work will clump rather than keep its shape. In systems such as Shibari bondage, which does not rely on knot-work, this is completely irrelevant.

Hemp fibers lean toward the heavier side. This is a sign of density, which speaks to the strength of the rope (more on that later), but it can also make the transition a little unflattering for someone used to rigging with lighter ropes.

In person, hemp looks fantastic, but it can look grainy and dully in photographs unless lighted properly.

Because it is a natural fiber rope, which must be grown, processed, and conditioned, hemp ropes are more expensive than synthetic fibers.

Jute

As the other natural fiber rope, jute serves as hemp’s counterpart. The two contrast each other on almost every particular.

High quality jute rope starts out very firm. This makes it a favorite rope among many sadists and masochists who want a little more edge to their play.

The firmness of the ropes also means that decorative knots hold their shape marvelously in jute rope. In general, jute rope is a photography whore. The natural sheen of the ropes really plays to the camera.

Jute fiber weighs next to nothing. This adds a lot to the process of rigging. Movements become more fluid and elegant. The weight also applies to those who want to do outdoor bondage. A jute kit weighs one down far less than a kit of another fiber on a long hike.

Its tight weave also makes my jute ropes very durable, although one should be weary of other suppliers. Traditional jute is loosely woven which results in a very short lifespan for the ropes. When buying jute, it’s important to ask about the weave.

Jute ropes have enough grip to stay in place, but not as well as hemp. Careful tensioning is very important when rigging with jute ropes.

Jute also requires more handling when going through the wash. Jute ropes must be stretch dried under tension to prevent shrinkage.

Nylon

Nylon is a synthetic, oil based product. This makes nylon cheap as grass to produce. For this reason, nylon rope costs half of what jute and hemp does.

Nylon fiber shines brilliantly too. This makes it by far the brightest possible choice.

Like all plastics, this rope has great durability. It takes to water without a hitch and feels cool against the skin on hot summer nights.

These ropes do not flatten at all. They maintain their shape perfectly. This makes them ideal for decorative knots. Unfortunately, they do not have as much grab as natural fiber ropes, so tension based Shibari bondage systems are a lot harder to implement, as nylon ropes tend to slip and slide all over the place unless expertly handled.

Many bottoms also report feeling disconnected from nylon ropes, as compared to hemp and jute.

In terms of weight, nylon is close to being on par with hemp.

Nylon ropes are very strong.

Strength

We calculate the safe working load of a rope by first looking at its breaking strength. The breaking strength of a rope turns out to be exactly what you might think: it is the average weight under which that rope broke in testing. This is approximately 300 lbs. for one strand of 6mm jute, 400 lbs. for one strand of 6mm hemp, 1100 lbs. for 6mm MFP, and 1200 lbs. for for one strand of 6mm nylon.

So far so good; however, to rely upon that number is to invite disaster. For one thing, it is only an approximation. No one can tell you the breaking strength of a particular rope without actually breaking it first. It also does not account for the effects of wear, conditioning, momentum, and any number of other factors which can cause the strength of the rope to deteriorate.

Instead, we calculate the safe working load by dividing the breaking strength by 10.

This makes the safe working load of 6mm jute 30 lbs, 40 lbs for hemp, 110 lbs for mfp, and 120 lbs for nylon.

That can sound pessimistic for those contemplating going into suspension using natural fiber rope, but consider that we typically have our rope doubled over when doing bondage. This doubles the safe working load. We also run it back and forth from the hard point once or twice as a typical rule and distribute the load between several points along the body.

Except for some fairly edgy suspensions, the math tends to work out.

Still, you should always keep this in mind when hoisting someone into the air.

Diameter

The choice of diameter typically involves a selection between 4mm and 8mm.

Three factors influence one’s choice of diameter: maneuverability, handling, and safety/comfort.

Thicker 7mm and 8mm rope often gets chosen because of it’s superior strength. Because the safe load for natural fiber rope is so much smaller than synthetic fiber, this is not a nebulous consideration. An 8mm piece of hemp rope has a breaking strength of approximately 800 lbs an a safe load of 80 lbs. Definitely an improvement over the 6mm.

People who prefer thicker rope also observe that the extra thickness serves to distribute the pressure over a wider area, leading to more sustainable bondage.

While all that is true, the thicker a rope gets, the stiffer it becomes. This becomes a handicap in complicated patterns where sharp turns with the rope look spectacular. It also serves as a drawback when doing hand or face bondage, where precision is more important that the area covered.

Thicker rope also weighs more. That makes it more difficult to handle.

Still, 8mm hemp might be a great option for suspension lines, especially by beginners with limited budgets.

At the other end of the spectrum is thin rope, such as 4mm. This rope possesses great flexibility, but is very weak. Its thin surface can also bite into the skin when put under tension.

Most riggers today prefer 6mm rope. It features the best compromise between strength, surface coverage, weight, and flexibility.

Some jute lovers, this author included, who are heavily into performance bondage, prefer 5mm jute over the 6mm for the superior handling experience afforded by the lightness of the 5mm rope.

Length

The length of your rope depends largely on who you are, what you do, and to whom you do it.

The Japanese believe that length is all about the rigger. They measure the optimum length of the rope by taking the length of one’s full arm span with the arms outstretched and multiplying it by four. With the rope doubled over, this makes it easy to draw the rope through any knot in two smooth hand motions. Usually, this measures to lengths between 7 and 8 meters, between 23 and 27 ft., with 12.5 ft. ropes used when the full length isn’t required.

This system works well when used on sleek Japanese bodies. When bondage began to get popular in the West, many found that on bigger North American bodies their ropes were coming up short consistently within a foot or two of finishing their ties. To compensate for this, many North American riggers started to employ 30 ft. ropes, with 15 ft spares.

Some North American riggers also still use 50 ft length for body harnesses that separate the ends during the rigging process.

By Myka Kent

I mentioned in my last article that as a Domme, I fall into the “DS” part of BDSM. While the Dominant/submissive dynamic is one I absolutely love, I’m no stranger to many other things under the kink umbrella. For instance, I’m a huge fan of bondage, especially when it’s in the form of beautiful rope work. Sure, you can restrain a sub using other methods – I admit, I also love cuffs, but that’s a discussion for another day – rope, however, is something special. Tying a sub, whether it’s a single column tie or elaborate shibari (Japanese bondage which features artistic binding, also referred to as kinbaku in relation to the created scene as a whole), takes patience, knowledge, and most appealing to me, control.

Recently, my sub offered to purchase more rope for my collection as a slightly belated housewarming gift for our new place. Picking out the right thing can be incredibly fun, challenging, or scary as hell if you look over all the options and don’t know where to begin. There are various methods and materials to make it, widths and lengths it comes in, and even a multitude of colors to choose from (yes, this is a thing you’ll most likely want to consider). I promise though, making purchases like these isn’t nearly as terrifying if you know what to look for or even have a vague idea about what you might be interested in, and I’m here to try to make it as easy as possible for you to start your own rope search.

It is absolutely necessary to have a means to free your partner as soon as possible – whether you’re using rope or another method of bondage – if the scene becomes too much and a safeword is uttered. So, before you think about binding anyone, there’s one thing you should own: medical shears. These inexpensive scissors are designed specifically to be safe to use near someone’s body without having to worry too much about stabbing or cutting into flesh. They are important to own simply because bondage, on any level, comes with risks and, if it becomes necessary, you want to be able to free your sub immediately instead of hectically fumbling with the knots you’ve tied. Also, it’s mentally reassuring for both you and your partner to have that safety measure sitting on the table next you. Always keep in mind, the safer you are, the more trust your sub will place in you, and the better your experience will be.

Now, on to the rope itself. One major question you have to ask yourself is what material you want your rope to be made of. There are good things and bad to every variety, and no matter what, it’s going to come down to personal preference. Personally, I like natural fibers. The most common of these for bondage are hemp, jute, cotton, and silk. Jute was used in traditional Japanese bondage, but hemp has gained a significant following because the two are rather similar. Hemp and jute are naturally stiff and rough which is why they require extensive treatment before they can be used on a partner. While some enthusiasts treat their own rope, most of the hemp or jute rope you will find available for sale has already been treated and can be used immediately. These ropes will still be stiff at first, but will become more supple as you use them. Cotton rope is soft on the skin, but can also be stretchy, which makes it harder to create uniform pressure over the body and harder to untie knots. Still, it is very cheap and can usually be found locally. Silk is durable and soft, but also more expensive than other natural fibers.

Often more accessible than rope made from natural fibers are the synthetic varieties. Nylon, polyester, and multi filament polypropylene ropes are almost identical in their qualities, and one huge advantage to them over natural fibers is that they can be found at your nearest hardware store. However, they don’t hold knots as well as natural fibers, and even though they feel soft against the skin, will easily cause rope burns on your partner if they struggle. That pain is not necessarily a bad thing if both you and the person being tied are aware of it happening, but it is far different from the rubbing and chafing usually associated with rope bondage. Overall, though, synthetic ropes are easier to care for and are a good choice for beginners.

As you start looking at rope, you’ll find that material isn’t the only differentiating factor. How the rope itself is made is something many people don’t think much about. Honestly, it’s not the most important thing, but twisted rope, rather than braided, will leave those lovely indentations you see so often in BDSM photography in your own partner’s skin. Natural fibers are predominantly made in the twisted style, while synthetics are often braided. Braided ropes can either be a solid braid, which is more stiff, or have a core. Most practitioners using braided rope will remove the core, leaving a hollow space between the braid which significantly softens the rope. Really, the only advantage of one over another is that the braided style is often easier to tie, which is another reason synthetic rope is often suggested for beginners. For me, I’d much rather have the aesthetic benefits of twisted rope.

The only other essential thing you have to keep in mind when choosing the right rope is the size. Yes, length matters depending on what you are planning on doing with the rope, which is why I suggest having a few lengths around. As you work with rope more and more, you’ll learn what you need, but having a couple in the 5’-10’ range and a longer one of around 30’-40’ is good if you’re just starting out. Length isn’t the only issue, though – the diameter of the rope is more important than most people realize. Quite simply, the smaller the diameter, the more pressure you’re putting in a specific spot. For this reason, the smallest ropes (usually 4mm) are generally only used for delicate areas like hands and genitals. Of course, that is not always the case, and if you know what you’re doing, making a full body harness out of rope that thin is perfectly fine. Personally, I would recommend something in the 8mm range for beginners. This is the thickest rope you’ll usually find with rope specifically made for bondage, and even though I’m suggesting it for beginners, it’s a favorite thickness for those who have been tying up people for years. But, if you want something smaller, there’s always the 6mm.

The above information should be enough for you to at least start the process of purchasing rope for the first time or adding to your already established collection. The only other thing I have to add is for those who are interested in the aesthetics of bondage along with restricting the movements of their partner(s). I mentioned previously that you’ll probably want to keep color in mind when making your purchase. I know I find the contrast of black rope on the pale skin of my sub ads to the overall beauty of rope work. I also know there are people who hate using anything other than natural because that’s how it was done traditionally. Hell, maybe you’re one of those people who like to have all their toys match the color of their partner’s eyes. Point is, keep colors in mind, and you aren’t limited to synthetics if you want color because even natural fibers can be dyed (many places, like Twisted Monk or Maui Kink will custom dye their ropes by request).

I hope this is enough information to make buying rope a little easier for you, but if there’s another question on your mind about this or another topic, feel free to contact me directly.

Risk of Death
Tying the Neck
Pressure on the front and sides of the neck can rapidly impair blood flow to the brain; if allowed to continue past the point of unconsciousness, this will quickly result in brain injury and death. It’s also possible to damage the trachea and larynx by applying too much pressure to the front of the throat.

Acknowledging that breath play is a popular fetish, my recommendation is that you become an expert on breath play and an expert on rope before considering combining them, which multiplies the risks of both. When you choke someone with rope, it is both harder to judge the amount of force you are applying and to modulate that force; it’s also possible to apply a greater amount of force to a much smaller area of the neck than you could with your hands/arms. These all increase the risk of injury or death.

Being Tied Up Alone
Never, never, never leave someone who is tied up alone, or tie yourself up when you are alone. That is how almost all bondage-related deaths occur. There are all sorts of life-threatening things that can go wrong when someone is unable to assist themselves, from positional asphyxia to choking on a gag or their own vomit.

If you want to act out a fantasy that involves someone being left alone in bondage, take advantage of a blindfold, or use a hidden camera to monitor them.

Always Have a Way Out
Knots jam. Buildings catch on fire. Someday California will fall into the ocean. You may need to get out of the rope faster than you can untie. When that day comes, you’d best have something to cut your rope with that won’t also cut your bottom in the process. I recommend safety/EMT shears; they are cheap and widely available. I keep a pair in every bag I use and every room of my house, just like pens; but I’m a bit of a rope nut. The ones I like best have an extra-long hole on the hand side that actually fits several fingers, like in this photo. Regardless, price doesn’t guarantee quality; always test that the cutter you have works on the rope that you use.

Rescue hooks are also a popular option — if a rescue hook is what you go with, make sure to practice using it and keep it sharp. Avoid similar-looking implements made for skinning animals, which have an opening large enough to easily catch small body parts on the blade.

What Happens If …?
This is a question you should be asking yourself constantly when putting together a bondage scene. What if they lose their balance or pass out? What if they kick when they orgasm? What if the power goes out? I’ll talk more about specific hazards in relation to particular techniques that bring them up, but a lot of it comes down to just taking a moment to think about what might go wrong, and planning accordingly.

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