The four “C” of ropes

Shibari is based on four interrelated aspects, namely the “4Cs”.

Shibari is a powerful practice, physically and emotionally, and it is precisely for this intensity that distinguishes it that we love it. This practice implies a knowledge of the risks and a continuous effort to prevent them.

Usually, we think of physical risks when actually bondage can expose you to emotional risks that can leave invisible, painful and lasting wounds. Shibari is a practice in which each of the participants has responsibilities regarding physical and psychological safety.

Some French associations have drafted a leaflet on these topics and here is the English version.


Make sure you can trust your partner.


Make a commitment to respect consent.


Practice only in an unaltered state of consciousness.


Keep the dialogue active.


Before tying with ropes, make sure you weave the bonds of trust!
Take time to get to know the person you are going to play with, without relying on nice pictures you saw on the internet.
If you have any doubts, it’s best not to practice it!

Before practicing with a new partner

  • Take some time to build a bond of trust with them.
    Gather information on the new partner and check references from several people you trust (who may have already practiced with this person).

During a session with a new partner

  • Take precautions (warn a person close to you, choose a safety word, go with someone you trust and already know).
  • Favour collective spaces such as local shibari groups and peer ropes.

During a rope session

  • Respect the trust.


Respecting consent is the basis for practicing shibari and it is important to know in which aspects of the session we will have to ask and express our consent. The partner’s choices must be accepted and respected.

Before a rope session

  • Ask yourself what you are looking for in this practice (whether it be aesthetics, eroticism, D/S, S&M, acrobatics, relaxation, etc.).¬†Talk about it with your future partner and make sure your intentions converge.
  • Report any health problems, any anatomical or psychological difficulties and anything that may need attention.
  • Choose a safeword (or multiple ones) and agree on the immediate reactions to pronouncing it.
  • Set body limits (face, hair, private parts, etc.) and also limit for your practices (nudity, caresses, impact play, sex, stimulations of various kinds, etc.). The limits are valid for one session and will need to be reviewed each time.

During a rope session

Just like with intense sports, the hormones (adrenaline, endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine) secreted by the body of the participants of the play can lead to an altered state of consciousness. Under these conditions, the limits that were previously established should not be re-discussed. On the contrary, you can withdraw your consent at any time during the session.


Only practice when you are in full possession of your abilities to ensure safety.

During a rope session

  • The practice must always be carried out in an unaltered state of consciousness.

Do not practice if you are

  • tired or sick
  • under intense emotional distress (anger, sadness, rage, etc.),
  • under the effect of lawful (medicine, alcohol) or unlawful (drugs) substances.


Ropes are neither handcuffs nor chains. The only key we have is communication.

Before, during and after a rope session

  • Keep the dialogue going.

After a rope session

  • Practice proper aftercare.
  • Don’t hesitate to discuss what you liked and disliked.

The tying person should pay attention to

  • never leaving the tied-up person alone unsupervised,
  • predicting everything that might hinder communication (noisy places, inability to express oneself, difficulty breathing, physical difficulties),
  • being attentive to their partner and evaluating their ability to adapt and react according to the difficulties expressed or perceived.

The tied-up person should pay attention to

  • knowing, accepting and communicating their limits,
  • immediately reporting unwanted or abnormal situations.

Whatever your role, remember to

  • exercise your free will,
  • try to express yourself without guilt,
  • check with your partner on the possibility to say no in any situation, whatever the reputation or despite your relationship with the person.

This page was created from a flyer written by some French shibari associations (Lyon shibari, Au fil des cordes, Asso EDO, Kinky Club) to provide information regarding the necessary conditions for a safe and enjoyable bondage session.
Concept grafico: Rimou
Illustrazioni: Crobard

This post is licensed Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND.

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