Rope Bondage 101

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a rope bondage class by Yin Q. Yin Q has been a BDSM practitioner for over twenty years. Q has been featured in publications such as Paper Magazine and Huff Post. I highly recommend attending one of her group or private classes, public speaking engagements, or any other classes offered. She is truly amazing.

I have always been interested in BDSM culture but this was my first class on rope bondage. Rope bondage is just one small section of BDSM, or kinks. BDSM is basically an umbrella term for kinks. BDSM is largely misinterpreted because of movies & media. It is shown as a warped power struggle – or even abuse. You can combine submission, sadism, and masochism in a healthy way. For those unfamiliar with the BDSM culture here are some terms to know:

Submissive – One who gives, relents, or doesn’t have power.

Sadism/Sadist – Someone who finds enjoyment in giving pain to another/the act of enjoying giving pain to another. Sadists like pain for many different reasons; some are sexual, some aren’t.

Masochism/Masochist – Someone who enjoys pain/the act of enjoying pain. Can sometimes indicate the feeling of pain as pleasure, or the simple enjoyment of pain as pain.

Bottom – A role referring to the person receiving sensation.  One who receives sensation of action.

Top – A role referring to the person giving sensation. One who gives sensation or action.

Safe Words – These are very important to establish because part of the fun can be yelling “no no” but you do not actually mean stop. These words can be used to stop, pause, or completely end a scene. “Yellow” is most commonly used for pause and “Red” is used to stop. Using “Red” three times means completely end scene.

A scene is a pre-planned space where BDSM activities take place. The scene is discussed fully and consists of an agreed upon beginning, middle, and end. 

These terms and more definitions of kinks can be found from one of my favorites, Rekink.

Kinks can range from using cuffs, rope, biting, blind folds, nipple clamps, fisting, tickling, to more uncommon kinks such as wax play, sounding, animal fur, pins/needles or sharp objects, staging a murder, fire play, tooth fetish, golden showers, etc. There are lists out there with “all” kinks within BDSM but our imaginations are limitless, so do not feel restricted by these lists.

Now since I have discussed the basics of BDSM, time to get into the actual act of bondage. The best way to learn how to actually do the knots is to take a class but I will share my tips.

  1. Nylon rope is the best for starters and for your skin. Nylon is soft yet strong, so the knots stay in place. It is also relatively cheap and easy to find. Etsy has some good rope and cute colors to choose from.
  2. If your bottom does use a safe word and the scene is over cut the rope calmly and quickly. Even if you have beautifully tied them up and it took 20 minutes. Their safety is most important. Etsy also has some good safety shears that cut nylon rope easily. Make sure you have some when participating in bondage.
  3. Be careful of key pressure points. There is a very sensitive nerve on the upper arm -halfway down the outside of your upper arm – so make sure you move the rope either higher or lower to avoid this point.
  4. Start with wrists, lower calfs, lower stomach, and upper thighs. Always make sure you can fit two fingers between the skin and rope. Yin Q recommends not tying the neck until you are an expert.
  5. Tingling is normal for 20 minutes. If the pins and needles continue for longer the rope may need to moved or the scene may need to end.
  6. Always check in on your bottom to make sure their fingers can move easily.
  7. Minor injures from bondage can occur so treat like any other rash or burn. After the ropes are removed there may be slight indents on the skin. These will fade in about 20 minutes.
  8. When tying knots use the over under method. This makes the knots tight.

Rope Bondage is about communication and understanding each others needs. It is very important to discuss prior to a scene what you want and what you do not want. Checking on your bottom throughout the scene is critical and it can also help to discuss after the scene. Being restrained can be very calming and invigorating if done in a healthy way.

Playing with bondage is usually an emotional and intimate activity. It can be rough, soft, or anywhere in between. Make sure you really trust your partner and that you both feel safe and comfortable prior to a scene. Communicate your needs. Check in with each other throughout the scene and do not be afraid to speak up. Bondage should be a pleasurable and freeing experience.

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