Shibari 縛り is a longstanding Japanese art that literally means "To Tie", rope bondage and Shibari share many similarities. Shibari can be very rewarding over traditional rope bondage because it is creating a form of art with your partner that you can experience together. You also may hear the term Kinbaku 緊縛 used synonymous with Shibari, Kinbaku translates to "binding tightly." Shibari in some depictions has loose rope as part of the aesthetic, while with Kinbaku this would be incorrect. Kinbaku is often considered Shibari, while Shibari is not always considered Kinbaku.

Note: Shibari and Kinbaku are Japanese meanings are sometimes disputed. Some say the modern western meaning (one I used above and is growing in the west), others argue the traditional Japanese meaning "tying, but in a generic way." While Kinbaku is "erotic tying" in contrast, it depends on whom you ask and their perspective, there is no true single definition now, and the exact meaning may vary in your culture, especially if you are Japanese.

How Does Shibari Differ From "Rope Bondage"?

There is often much confusion between what is Rope Bondage (Western Bondage) and what is Shibari, the opinions vary, but the general census is Rope Bondage is focused around restraint above all with looks not a consideration. While Shibari is making those knots and restraint effective and beautiful, hence why many call it ‘art’. There are multiple ways to tie up your partner and they come out all knotted and tangled (think of tangled headphone cables) without must symmetry, meaning or design. Shibari is about putting thought and technique into your bondage using Japanese aesthetics. Admittedly rope bondage often shares the same name of Shibari in the west because Shibari is "Rope Bondage" in a literal sense, but Rope Bondage is NOT always considered Shibari, this is an important distinction between Shibari and Rope Bondage. Shibari in the west is often disputed as being true 100% Shibari (about 90% right). If you want to be a purist sourcing your information from Japanese Shibari sources will provide the best accuracy, but of course "western" Shibari and Japanese Shibari share almost identical aesthetic so for any beginner it will not matter to you as the fine details are what vary. With that said, it may be fun to learn about cultural differences once you become proficient!

Do I need a partner to do Shibari?

Yes & No, you can practice on yourself and perform many techniques and bindings. While you will not be able to complete all of the things you may want, you can learn the foundation of making weaves, knots, and bindings. Starting without a partner is possible and especially encouraged if you do not have anyone to experiment with!

What kind of rope should I get?

Rope can be a rabbit hole of complexity, anyone into Shibari may have strong opinions with what kind of rope is best, but the reality is get something soft, flexible and cheap with good reviews when starting. Amazon has many types of ropes that advertise themselves for bondage with reviews you can read. You should avoid any rope from hardware stores, Walmart and such as most of this will be rigid and not really what you are looking for to use with Shibari. You should look at packs of rope so you can have enough to use. You can expect to pay around 15$ for a pack of 3 @ 32 feet or so on Amazon. If you already have a rope, you are half way there!

Examples of Some Starter Rope Choices On Amazon.com

If you want larger selection of more BDSM ropes you can use sites like Twisted Monk, they offer a vast selection or ropes with varying qualities, colors and cost. The image below demonstrates exotic ropes and how expensive fancy ropes can get, Twisted Monk also has number of standard ropes too. Twisted Money is regarded as reputable bondage supplier if you want true "Bondage Ropes".

https://www.twistedmonk.com/collections/exotic-ropes

Exotic Ropes (They Have Normal Ones Too) @ https://www.twistedmonk.com/collections/exotic-ropes

If you are interested in Shibari associates and gear, this site has a good assortment in addition to ropes http://www.esinem-rope.com/accessories/

Being Safe (Part One)

If you plan to do any rope suspension you need to buy expensive and reputable rope advertised to do such. Doing any suspension as a beginner is hugely ill-advised, buy cheap rope for now and see if Shibari is for you before trying harder stuff.

Sometimes things happen, you may have a panic attack, your partner may panic, even worst your partner may pass out and become unresponsive. All of these are significant concerns, and you need a way to quickly undo any restraints. As a beginner I highly suggest getting "Paramedic Shears" or "EMT Shears" or "Trauma Shear." They look like the image below and can be added to your order on Amazon.

These will allow you to quickly cut rope without the concern of using sharp scissors and injuring yourself or partner; you do not want to be using sharp scissors if your partner is having a panic attack. Also, I recommend testing them on your rope and make sure they are up to the quality and can cut it before putting them in an accessible spot. Please do not use them for anything else (like cutting paper) you want the pair to be unused, so they stay as sharp as possible when needed.

Example Of Safety Scissors Used Popularly With Rope Bondage

Nerves (Being Safe Part Two)

I recommend people to start with snug bondage, while tight rope can look alluring there is more risk involved that needs to be discussed that beginners may not realize when starting out, consider this a warning. This info does provide value to all ranges of rope bondage though, but concerns like these are more prevalent in tight rope bondage.

If you are serious and want to preform tight rope bondage like Kinbaku you need to understand human anatomy like circulation and nerves as well as signs of problems. You need properly communicate to your partner what they need to look out for to be safe. If a submissive feels odd shooting pains, hot, cold or itches on limbs or the body this is often indication of nerves or circulation points being pressured beyond safe levels. The other concern is tingling, if your partner feels like circulation is being cut off you need to loosen restraints. In addition if your partner feels numbness without tingling you need to immediately undo restraints, this is a total block of a nerve. The rule is, if your partner feels uncomfortable or experience weird feeling address it.

The rule of thumb, every feeling of "weirdness" needs to be addressed by the person in charge. Nerves and circulation do not necessarily hurt and can be very hard to recognize before it becomes serious problem, often leading many to feel false sense of safety.

One popular and recommend way to see if your partner is safe is do a "Range of Motion" test. Ask your partner to clench their hand into fist with their thumb inside their hand. As well as expand their fingers out as much as possible creating a web with their hand. If partner struggles to expand their fingers to form a fist this indicates nerves have too much pressure and you need to loosen the possible nerve points until your partner regains range of motion.

One of the popular concerns by those who do Kinbaku is upper chest / arms. This is a popular area for Kinbaku but also contains some of the most vulnerable nerves and circulation points in the body due to lack of tissue / fat between your outside arm and your nerves.

Whoa this looks scary! How do I know I am Safe?

There are variety of exercises you can preform to test if you are restrained in a safe way. The exact exercises will vary based off the types of rope bondage you do. For example a popular, but often higher risk bondage is done with the upper chest. Because the chest and arms have less material compared to the legs, you are more open to nerves being effected by ropes. This image demonstrates some test you can ask bound partner to perform, if they struggle

(Images Provided By RopeGeek (Tumblr))

Playing around with Nerves is not a game that should be experimented with, effects can last for hours to months (sometimes years) creating limited ranges of motions even after sessions. In rare cases it can cause life lasting nerve damage when taken too far.

Drawing Some Inspiration

The first thing to understand is, with any type of art there are multiple different ways to achieve the same result. Referring to some inspiration is essential in being successful, especially when being a beginner you must learn from the masters as the saying goes. If you want True Shibari, I recommended a Japanese site called https://www.ropemagic.net/gallery/ it has many free galleries you can use to learn with quality modeling, photo angles, and camera work for you to refer from. You may need to use Google Chrome and enable google translate if you have trouble navigating the website.

Enabling Automatic Google Translate On Chrome

If you are having problems navigating the website. The second resource of Shibari is Tumblr, Tumblr has a massive following of BDSM / NSFW content you can look up an search.

Other Possible Sources Of Shibari Images (NSFW)

https://www.oscarmike.co/blog/shibari (Mixed Content)

https://www.reddit.com/r/shibari/ (Hit or miss, but many amateur original content and discussions)

https://www.reddit.com/r/MenTiedUp (Good Content - Strictly Male)

https://www.kinbaku-studio.com/kinbaku-photography#/rope-bondage/

https://www.pinterest.com/audvet/shibari/?lp=true (Pinterest Site)

https://www.pinterest.com/texdiver78/shibari/?lp=true (Pinterest Site)

If you know some more sources be sure to DM me on our Discord and I will update this page!

Now What? Time To Learn!

You got your rope, you got a vision, and you are ready to go! If you are a visual learner and do not know how to get started. I would recommend giving this Imgur album a view https://imgur.com/gallery/ujwy4 it has an assortment of knots and is quite informing, although some require a partner. As you get familiar with tying knots and working with a rope, you will better be able to create and replicate from inspiration.

Large Collection of Knot Types Visual Videos (Downloadable)

http://knottyboys.com/code/downloads.php

Some Easy To Follow YouTube Videos

Content By Rope Trixx - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAw9BF_DloQ3DdUnqwjtqtA

An easy to follow video, she has a few other videos you can find on our channel as well.

Playlist of Assorted YouTube Creators Regarding Knots

This video is a playlist of multiple different creators, it was put together to showcase how to tie varying knots. Learning to tie knots is an important foundation for Shibari.  

This is yet another playlist of multiple videos by varying creators, it covers various bondage methods and has almost training like ordering, is not exactly Shibari focused but there is a lot of cross over.

This page will be updated and improved as time goes on.