The shooting of traditional Japanese tortures is one of the most beautiful shibari projects I’ve ever took part in, but, at the same time, it’s an example of how a beginner bottom shouldn’t start doing bondage.
It was one of my first experiences with suspensions and, looking at the photos, you can easily understand how difficult to manage they are, physically and emotionally.
However I’ve been very lucky to find an experienced and careful professional, which does not always occur.
Lately, since the big spread of bondage, I’ve been asked by people who want to start playing with ropes. The range of questions is very heterogeneous: “Have I to be flexible to do bondage?”, “Does it hurt?” or “What can I do without a partner?”.
There’s a lack of information about the role and the knowledge a bottom should have. This is reflected in some diametrically opposite experiences: some people got themself suspended at several meters high at their first time in ropes, others don’t even begin because they don’t know who ask for.
Let’s see some tips for a first virtuous and safe approach to fully enjoy ropes.
Check websites, look for pictures and videos, read articles. It’s trivial, isn’t it? Sometimes people approaching bondage, do it without having an idea of what they would like to try. Like looking for a dance class but without knowing if you prefer ballet or Latin dance.
Don’t stop at the first impression a picture gives you; watch performances videos, try to figure it out what the way to tie of a top or the way to live ropes of a bottom arouse in you. Read articles to find new styles and different ways of approaching ropes.
Maybe your preferences will change during your journey, maybe you’ll discover something unexpected, anyway try to focus on what you feel close to you since the beginning. What does fascinate you more? The aesthetics, the eroticism, the suffering or tender communication?
Bondage is a dangerous activity and, if learning the right techinique is a top’s task, also a bottom must have a good knowledge of risks and a good consciousness of their own body under the ropes. This way you’ll be able to give the right feedbacks.
Take your time to acquire this kind of consciousness, without rush for doing extraordinary things. Your body, your mind can react to ropes with unespected feelings and emotions.
A good reading about safety in bondage are the “Safety guidelines for bondage” on La quarta corda’s website.
As well as online articles, the most effective way to be informed about safety in bondage is to attend a workshop.
Nowadays there a are a lot of opportunities to get an idea of what bondage is: workshops, performances, rope jams, peer ropes, themed events. Get in touch with your local community to join an event. Start to break the ice putting yourself in contact with shibari in a safe way.
Watching a professional at work, attending a class just only as a listener, talking with people of the community is very useful to get informed, to know other bondage enthusiasts and to come closer to this activity.
If you want to be tied, just ask for it! Look for reliable people within the community and propose yourself. The top can be also a beginner like you, but conscious of their level without attempting any risky solutions.
Find information about the approach and the level of the people who ask you to be tied or you want to be tied by. Pay attention to all the self-styled professionals! It’s not uncommon to find people who have been tying for several years but always without a safe and sound technique.
Attend workshops and rope jams in order to take your first steps in a safe context where you can find expert people.
Lastly, don’t take personally a possible refusal; bondage is about showing something very emotional and sometimes it simply could be not the right moment to have a so deep interaction.
It’s time! We’ve decided to be tied! Be careful! Would you start skying from black ski slopes? I don’t think so. That’s why starting with floorwork is the wisest choice you can make. As a bottom you have the right to choose the session you want to do. Also in a D/s relationship this is a crucial point.
Bottoms aren’t tops’ means of expression. Too many times this message has passed. A rope session is 50/50 between top and bottom. For this reason you have to point out you are beginner and demand to proceed step by step.
From now on, the path is yours. Don’t rush it, study, attend workshops, practice, refine your taste and your preferences.
This whole process will make you a reliable and conscious bottom and, above all, a person able to fully and safely enjoy ropes.