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Shibari & Safety

Read This Before Trying Bondage​

If you’re excited to try Shibari, this is the best place to start.

It was an overcast June afternoon when I attended my first rope workshop.

About half a dozen pairs must have signed up; their designated riggers eagerly holding onto lengths of brightly colored rope.

The rope artist teaching the class had just applied the finishing touches to a hog tie on his rope bunny (model) and all around them were students eager to try.

That day was the first time I felt the unique rush of kink space and enjoyed the overall wonder of kink’s boundless possibilities.

That was in 2013 and—while I’ve attended more workshops and experimented since—the major lesson that’s only gotten clearer over time is that…

Bondage (and other kinks) can be dangerous.

Yes, even the regular floor-based rope bondage.

Professional rope artist WykD Dave wrote a post in 2013 saying:

Rope isn’t safe, especially not suspension.

However having said that it doesn’t mean that we should accept injuries as a matter of course, they should be few and far between.

I am horrified when people shrug off injuries to models with an ‘oh well, these things happen’.

WykD_Dave, RopeTopia.com

With the rising popularity of kink in media, such as the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, it’s easy to be excited by the fascinating new world ahead of you.

That said be aware that Kink Frenzy—the thrill of and desire to dive into all of the possible kinks regardless of safety—is a very real threat that gets newbies seriously hurt.

There are people who will downplay the risks to get what they want, rushing you into ties and activities your body isn’t ready for despite your partner’s skill level. 

So what can rope newbies do to stay safer?

1. Take Things Slow

Just like in mixed martial arts, parkour, and rock climbing, going slow lets us familiarize ourselves with the lessons and risks involved so that we can avoid inflicting (or suffering) serious and lasting harm.

New riggers and models shouldn’t immediately jump into suspension bondage for the same reason that newbies at the gym don’t bench press 500lbs on their first day.

It’s essential to have a good understanding of how rope behaves, its effects/risks on the bodies being tied, and the difference between good and bad pain while we’re still on the floor—way before we magnify the forces via our full body weight plus the possibility of falling from a great height.

2. Make Studying your Best Friend

Thankfully, there are communities all over the world with like-minded folks that you can ask for advice—and yes, even here in the Philippines!

One of the first things you’ll hear is a reminder that safety is paramount. Accidents can and do happen regardless of age or skill level.

They’ll tell you about the importance of negotiation and of safety guidelines we could follow like observing Risk-Aware Consensual Kink (RACK).

They’ll warn you that, although we aspire to ideals that treat consent as sacred, sexual predators still exist and violations/abuses do happen.

They’ll teach you about why certain ties are done a particular way and which parts of the body would be best avoided.

Go on! It’s free! 🙂

That’s because serious injuries can come from harmless looking ties that slip or tighten unexpectedly. Rope Tops (the ones doing the tying) can seriously hurt their Rope Bottoms (the persons being tied) or even have them suffer permanent damage.

It’s for this reason that we strongly encourage you to seek out an experienced and responsible practitioner. Similar to martial arts, studying in person gives you the chance to notice crucial details that might go unnoticed if you explore on your own or rely solely on videos.

3. Join the Community—we’d love to meet you!

The benefits of being part of a community that wants to educate, empower, and protect you far outweighs the risks of exploring BDSM alone or with strangers whose modus operandi might only put your life at risk.

Drop by Fetlife.com and find a group near you. There might even be a local chapter of a larger rope collective from countries abroad.

Keep an eye out for:

Chances are, we’re already hosting munches (social gatherings), beginners’ workshops, skill-sharing events, and rope jams (practice events) where you’ll be in the company of new and experienced practitioners who can guide you on your way.

For the more discreetly inclined, private classes are an option too.

At the end of the day, what counts is that we all consistently strive to stay safe, sane, and consensual (or risk-aware with consensual kink!).

Cheers!
Shibari.ph

Photography by Hazymirrors. Go show them some love!