Shibari

Shibari

Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on January 12, 2021

Shibari is rope bondage that originated in Japan that has been incorporated into BDSM culture. It is also considered by some as an art form.

The word Shibari translates as “to tie.” The term shibari is frequently considered interchangeable and encompassing of other types of rope bondage, but they are not all completely synonymous.

In Shibari, pieces of rope are used to create intricate geometric patterns and shapes. Shibari doesn’t use many knots, instead focussing on friction, folding, and wrapping techniques. The rope connects at the bight, the middle point where it is doubled over at the middle.

A Shibari session can be considered a form of power exchange wherein ropes are used to facilitate dominance and submission. The person who restrains and ties is called the rigger. Their scene partner is known as the model.

Shibari ropes and knots are strategically positioned to stimulate the body’s pressure points. For some, the sexual practice of shibari is called kinbaku. The model typically derives pleasure from ties across their breasts, genitals, and other erogenous zones. In some scenes, the model may also be stimulated with sex toys or impact tools.

Shibari is often used in conjunction with suspension bondage. Some shibari sessions can involve intercourse and other sexual activities, but not always. This may depend on the relationship between rigger and model or the specification motivation for the scene. Some work together for sexual purposes, others work together to create art. For some Shibari practitioners, the elaborate rope designs and the material’s rugged texture contrast visually and physically with the model’s smooth skin creating a significant sensual experience. Some believe Shibari can stimulate Ki energy flow and transfer. Some models consider a shibari scene to be so affecting that they enter a trance-like state due to the increase in endorphins and other hormone levels. This is sometimes known as being rope drunk.

Shibari is also commonly called Japanese rope bondage.

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