About Shibari

 

There are several aspects of Japanese rope bondage which can be more or less present in a scene. We can play with restraint, eroticism, sadomasochism, beauty and symbolism.

 

All of these elements are different depending who is involved, but it can be useful to think about sadomasochism as not entirely being about pain per se, but rather about sensory and emotional experiences that have the possibility of being painful. Pain on the other hand can be very individual, and one rope experience can be very painful for one person, and not painful for another.

 

Some notes on terms: Shibari is the verb, that which describe the action to tie. Rope is also an element which features heavily in both social and religious contexts in Japanese culture. Historically, a rope could be used to mark ownership of a land, or to mark a religious space. Shibari could then be likened to the technical and aesthetic mastery of dance, like the tango.

 

Kinbaku is the word which more specifically points towards erotic binding, bondage. We can also frame Kinbaku as that which also the relational, physical and mental experience, a dialogue or a dance between those involved. However, it is only danced as the tango when the passion and the symbiotic flow of a dance comes into place, otherwise we would only dance according to a step by step instruction. The debate on what Shibari and Kinbaku is and contains is an ongoing one, without definite answers, and we must remember rope as a practice, art form and sexual expression has old connotations but a very contemporary and quickly evolving practices.