Shibari Bondage

Shibari Bondage

When someone says bondage, sometimes there is the vision of fuzzy pink handcuffs that someone picked up at an adult toy store. Someone more invested in bondage many mentally see a vast variety of tools and objects that may be used for the restraint of a partner. I see the willing submission of a playmate to the will of my hands. We all see it a little differently.

One of the more elaborate forms of bondage is an art form called Shibari. This Japanese style of rope bondage includes artistic knots and elaborate ties to restrain or suspend a person in a specific position with a natural fiber rope.  This term is also sometimes used interchangeably with the word “Kinbaku” which refers to the sensual, artistic, and sexual practice of bondage.

The earliest records of Shibari being used is within the Edo period of Japanese history (1608- 1868). This practice was in place as there were no jails at the time to keep prisoners. Under the Tokugawa  Government, Hojo-jutsu (art of restraint) was used by Samuri as a form of punishment, along with flogging, suspensions, rope restriction to create poor circulation and immobility. Most often, this was used as a form of torture and humiliation. Different colored rope would be used for the crime type as well as the social class, spirituality as well as the season. Later in the Edo period, this bondage was used for the torment of the female prisoners of war. Couples that could not be together in would use a breast harness to tie themselves together to then commit suicide in the lake, river, or sea. These ritualistic suicides were called “Shinju Suicides”, in a Romeo and Juliet style of forbidden love.

We like the idea of improvisational bondage here at Bait’D. We design products that hide in plain site with materials that are atypical to tie the hands or to restrict the movement of someone. Many of our items (The Ring, The Scarf, The Tie) can be used to tie  or bind someone, but I like the idea of using other items that are less typical.  Stockings, bra straps, a belt or to go a little more industrial and use that extension cord or old phone charger that you’re not worried about breaking.

As with most forms of bondage, the goal is submission and power control. Sex isn’t always the desired end. The act of tying someone up can be gratifying on it’s own. Suspending the person in the air can be a liberating experience for the person as described by Melanie G., a pacific northwest practitioner. “It’s a complicated feeling really, like a heavy weightlessness. The restriction allows me to surrender and no longer make decisions about even my own movements. Gravity and [person doing the tying] decides for me. This letting go, trust, and complete submission feels like the ultimate gift between my partner and I.” She describes further how she personally had to deal with anxieties and fears that she did not know even existed before she participated in this form of bondage. While Melanie finds it as almost a religious experience that is both cathartic and healing, I have only had the opportunity to witness the art form and speak to practitioners. I look forward to exploring this art further.

If you are interested in learning more about Shibari, here are a three books that you can find on Amazon that might be useful:

The Beauty of Kinbaku: (Or everything you ever wanted to know about Japanese erotic bondage when you suddenly realized you didn't speak Japanese.) Second Edition - Completely Revised and Updated – By Master K


Showing You the Ropes  and Back on the Ropes – The Knotty Boys


Shibari You Can Use: Japanese Rope Bondage – Lee Harrington and Rigger Jay