Shibari 101: The Definitive Guide To Japanese Rope Bondage

shibari japanese rope bondage cover woman in bondage

So you've heard about this bondage thing… Shibari.

It's growing in popularity and is an incredible mix of sensual bondage and japanese art. Something for variety.

However if you're new to rope bondage you might have more questions than answers like:

  • What really is shibari? What is kinbaku?
  • What does it mean to be a rigger or rope bunny?
  • How do I actually tie the damn knots? 😿

This guide is meant to be the perfect introduction to shibari rope bondage arts.

More...


womans butt tied in bdsm knots

Credits to: dougsmode

I'll explain what it is, how to get started, answer the common questions and point you to the best shibari, bondage tutorial videos.

You'll also get to read a lot of other people stories about their experience with rope bondage and their best tips.

Here's the table of contents:

  • What is Shibari? What Is Kinbaku?
  • How To Practice Shibari? What Are The Best Bondage Tutorials Out There?
  • Beginner’s Tips: Becoming A Rope Bunny & Getting Tied For The First Time, How To Prepare?
  • How To Practice Shibari Rope Bondage By Yourself?

japanese city for rope bondage

What is Shibari? What Is Kinbaku?

Shibari and Kinbaku are terms both used interchangeably nowadays in Western culture.

But basically, it's Japanese erotic bondage.

By definition:

  • Shibari is a Japanese word — “to tie decoratively”
  • Kinbaku is a Japanese word — “tight binding”
woman with hands tied using shibari rope bondage

Credits to: Aaron Mcpolin

Whichever word you use it's about beautiful, functional, and erotic rope bondage that's inspired by Japanese aesthetics.

For a deeper dive into Japanese bondage history and description check Wikipedia.

Shibari attracts mostly BDSM players who want to take their bondage experience to the next level.

In BDSM terms:

  • rigger — is the one who is tying his partner
  • rope bunny — the one who’s being tied.

Differently from BDSM though, for Shibari rope bondage historically people use a specific non-stretchy type of rope — either jute or hemp.

However, nowadays I would recommend other type of softer ropes that will be much more pleasant for skin and more forgiving for beginners.


The main tools you'll need for practicing Japanese bondage:

  • rope
  • medical grade scissors for emergency cases (for quick release)
  • a person or mannequin to practice it on
  • How-To Tutorials — further in the article
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I review each product thoroughly and recommend only the very best.

house where people practice rope bondage

Doc Johnson Japanese-Style Rope (10 meter)

This rope is made from soft cotton, comes in several different colors and is highly regarded between riggers.

red bondage rope

Fifty Shades of Grey Restrain Me Bondage Rope (Twin Pack)

Instead of one longer rope, pick 2x5m ropes to give you creative ways of using these ropes together.

It's a nylon material that feels soft on the skin.

two bdsm ropes for shibari ties

Liberator Silk Binding Sash ($100 range)

If you want to go really spicy hot, consider this silk binding sash from Liberator.

Instead of less forgiving rope, silk binds could be a classy way to introduce bondage to your partner. Silk is super soft to the skin.

silk bondage ropes for kinbaku

It comes in 7ft and 14ft lengths (2 sashes).


jute ropes for practicing bondage

How To Practice Shibari? What Are The Best Bondage Tutorials Out There?

In this section, I've collected all the best tutorials and tips for beginners.

But before that I wanted to share this nice bondage belt kit I've discovered and love to cheat a bit to quickly get her restrained:

A good beginners option could be these easy bed restraints:


Under The Mattress Bed Restraint Bondage Kit — 4-pieces

These are super simple to use. Just place under the bed, fix the lengths and you can use it to spread your victim to all four sides — hands and legs.

Cuffs are made from Velcro — simple, well-made, and unescapable.

bed restraint bondage kit

Learn more here.

See how much you like that play…and then move into much more complicated art of Shibari.

Anyhoo, back to Shibari.

For beginners here are some good starting tutorials:

But single and double column ties are two rope bondage techniques that you must learn first!

Further down the line…

Join Shibari Academy for serious learning.

It's always a lot faster to learn from one expert. Eve has several year experience in rope bondage, she has read the books, attended the workshops, and decoded the arts of shibari all in one place.

Instead of looking for scattered pieces of information everywhere, take the course from scratch till advanced.

shibari academy for serious rope bondage training

Here's how it looks inside.

Plus, Shibari 101 (which is the beginning of the course) is 100% free (you get access by registering an account there).

Start from the basic ties till you can graduate to couples play and make shibari art! 🙂

Here are other Shibari rope bondage video tutorial guides:

Here, embedded for you the 30 video series about rope bondage (you can also check out this leg spreader bar):

Afterwards, you can try looking out for shibari community locally…

Or just check out the Reddit communities for inspiration and support.

The best one is Shibari + Kinbaku joint subrreddit (NSFW).


strong japanese lock on doors

Beginner's Tips: Becoming A Rope Bunny & Getting Tied For The First Time, How To Prepare?

Bondage is a truly surrendering experience, a type of meditation and the success of the experience depends on your frame of mind.

Are you open to experiences? (reminds me of my first cock sheath experience)

Are you relaxed?

Do you trust your rigger?

Or do you exude calm confidence towards your rope bunny?

Here's what other bondage practitioners suggest:


“You should read about basic safety concerns involving rope… especially concerning nerve damage and circulation.”

“Outside of that, I would also suggest stretching a few minutes beforehand.

If the rigger doesn’t tell you to stretch, ask about physical limitations/injuries, or has safety scissors nearby, then both of you are two new to be tied together.”

Source: GiveMeFree

hogtied woman in japanese rope bondage position

Credits to dougsmode


“Hydrate and stretch. “

“But don’t drink too much or you’ll be fighting a different issue haha.

Just make sure you’re safe about it and that your rigger understands where the ties need to be done to avoid injuries.

Also, make sure to keep a pair of medical grade scissors close by in case there’s an emergency and you need to get out quickly.

Relax and happy tying.”

Source: TheExMormon


“Think about what you want out of getting tied and try to express that the best you can. “

“Do you want to just feel all bound up, do you want to feel pain, get comforted while tied (like having your back/arms/hands rubbed), or whatever else.

Talk through all that before you actually start tying.”

Source: JakeLackless


“The rope bondage basics are eating before, hydrate, stretch, and replenish afterward (my go-to is chocolate 😋)”

“Beyond that, try to find out what your friend has in mind.

  • Is she suspending you?
  • What ties is she putting you in?

This’ll let you know more about what parts of your body you have to be mindful of.

For instance, if she’s putting a Takate Kote tie on you, a great due diligence thing for you to do would be to look up what nerves are near the surface in a Takate Kote tie.

You’ll find the radial nerve is nearby and that lets you know what sensations you should be mindful of if you experience compression on that nerve.

A good top will be checking in on you and asking about sensations you’re feeling if it’s your first time.

I’m going to assume you’ve vetted this person and that their skill level is appropriate for the ties you’re going to do.

If you have safety concerns, might be good to have a friend/spotter with you.

Oh ya and if you have any history of injuries or range of motion limitations, let your rigger know.

Other than that, I’m sure you’re gonna have fun 😋

Welcome to the exciting world of rope bondage 😈

Source: datsherbert

hip harness made from bdsm knots

Credits to: Roccobot, name of the knot: Lelo Hip Harness (video).


“Girlfriend is interested in trying soft bondage, any recommendations as to where to begin?”

Blindfold. A blackout mask like a sleep mask, you know. You can use scarves but sometimes they slip off too easily.

Collars. A nice leather collar with a leash is an easy and light way to get off the ground floor. Add in some leather wrist and ankle cuffs, all with chains and snap hooks and you’re really going places. Handcuffs are okay, but they can be a little painful for some people and that may be too hard for just starting out.

Shibari rope. It’s usually soft and there are scores of tutorials on Youtube and other sites. Start with something like a basic chest harness or binding arms lightly.

The act of binding in itself is the thing.

First and foremost, choose a safe word, and maybe even a safe gesture that you both agree on means unequivocally, “all stop”.

When you hear it, respect it.

It’s for both of you, not just the sub.

Now, all those things above are just tools.

Couple them with teasing, dirty talk, foreplay, denial play, etc, and use them to give the total experience more edge.

You have tons of options.

Be creative, be safe, and have fun.”

Source: D_Mon_Taurus


tons of japanese shibari ropes laying on floor

“More Bondage ideas, tips, tricks to help expand the Shibari play”

“Whenever I’m dominant, I’ll do lots of teasing, then a bit of pain (candle wax, spanking,etc.), then I’ll do something sexual.

Sometimes I’ll spend over an hour getting her really close to orgasm, then stop and do the tease/ torture thing over again.

There are also times when I’m getting dominant when I’ll just do whatever I want to her.

I never want to really hurt her, but we both like it when I’m really rough.

Experiment with each other, find out what you both like.

Also, a safe word is always a necessity.

There might be times that she’s saying no but really wants you to do what you want.

So, keep going until she says the safe word.

Likewise, however, if she does say it, stop immediately and comfort her.

If she is ok, then continue, if not learn from the experience.”

Source: Sausage9724


Oh, and watch this quick Bondage 101 introduction video:


“Rope Bondage Tips on Safety & Improvement Ideas”

“First tips regarding safety:

  • Agree on a safe word and safe signal (if she can’t speak).
  • Always have a pair of scissors or a knife to be able to cut her loose fast.
  • Blue/purple limbs are a no go.

Improvements/tips;

  • Order some good quality ropes meant for bondage, as they feel better and last much longer.
  • Try tying her up with toys ‘attached’.
  • Blindfold and feathers are a great, yet cheap way to tease her.
  • The internet provides thousands of ways to tie someone up, try the ones you think you would like very loose the first time. (So you won’t have to cut the ropes).
  • Communication is key, best is to set limits for both, which won’t be crossed.

But mostly, have fun and enjoy!”

Source: FatFugu

woman practicing shibari by herself

How To Practice Shibari Rope Bondage By Yourself?

There are several ways:

  • you can tie your own legs
  • you can get a full-body mannequin to practice on
  • ..or yeah, sell the idea of friends from fun perspective (don't mention BDSM terms)

But the best way is to get a mannequin with an attachment base (so it doesn't move around) and you don't need to put it on floor.

Also what helps is to get sandpaper and sand the mannequin to ensure the rope doesn't just slide off it.

And here are more tips from other people:


“Practising knots/leg ties, you can do on yourself on your legs. “

“Practising harnesses you could get a mannequin, or I’ve seen people even use big teddy bears lol.

There's a guy on this sub that shows off his ties on a mannequin body. It's not a perfect substitute, but worth a shot to get the jist of things.

As for tying others up i find often you should let peoples curiosity get the better of them.
Instead of asking “can i tie you up?” (this is to someone who’s not already kinky, lol) and getting the ‘you're such a weirdo’ look or answer.

Bring it up in conversation, say you're getting into shibari, its a hobby, nothing sexual or weird, throw out the artistic side of things.

Unless someone is very vanilla, they’re likely to be curious and could be interested in finding out more.

Either about tying or being tied. From there you can both workshop together, keep it platonic.

Don't go straight for crotch rope and ask them to call you daddy.
Learn together, rope is just a medium, it can be anything you want it to be.

I’m a straight male with a girlfriend (who is into rope, thank god lol).

When i used to go to classes, the best ones were when another friend of mine, also a straight male with a girlfriend, came too.

We’d try new ties on each other, give feedback in and out of the rope, keep it all about the rope and have a great time.

No pressure is when you learn the most.

If you have to undo and redo a knot 3 times to get it right, that's fine, its just practice.

If you’ve not already, check out fetlife and see if there are any workshops or classes near you.

Everyone is there for the same reason, and the whole “can I tie you up” scenario is much more accepted haha.”

Source: Jamabope


“How Do You Keep A Rope Bunny Engaged While You're Busy With Knots & Ties?”

“Adding movement while you’re tying is a good way to keep your bottom engaged.

A drill for this is that every time you move your rope, move your bottom.

Experiment with big movements likes steps or smaller movements like a small twist.

You can use movement to fatigue your bottom, sensual movements, or movements to take away control.

It feels a little clunky at first but does wonders for adding variety to scenes and for keeping the bottom engaged.

Allowing the bottom time to respond to the movement makes the tying more of a conversation and has the bottom be more than a warm body that rope goes on.”

Source: nutrita

A good example and bondage performance on how to keep things sexy and entertaining.

japanese city in evening

Bringing It All Together

I hope this was helpful and you're armed now with tons of tools, people tips, and most importantly helpful resources to further your Shibari journey!

It's plenty of fun and exploration.

If you're looking for more interesting experiences, how about some Japanese sex dolls or using a sex swing stand.

It can be whatever you want it to be, don't be afraid to venture away from the less taken path.

Maybe you'll dive deep into Shibari, maybe you'll create your own version that works for you.

Don't be trapped by other people thinking, take these guides as suggestions, not rules!

And have fun! Cheers! 🍷

Oh…and if you want to have even more orgasmic and sexually satisfied life, check out my other guides about sex toys & education.

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