Getting Started with Rope


Basics for Any Play

Before getting into how to actually tie or be tied, you should spend some time learning about how to establish your boundaries, identify safe play partners and environments, negotiate for the play that you want, and so forth. The Topping Book and Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy are good introductory resources on BDSM play and relationships.

To hear an example of negotiation for a rope scene, check out this animation (there's also a text script linked from there, if you don't like the animated version). Note that in the example, they are negotiating for a very advanced and dangerous type of rope play (suspension from a Takate Kote), which I wouldn't actually recommend for a beginning bottom; but it's a good sample of all the things you should talk about with someone you want to tie with.

I've summarized some advice regarding the most common pitfalls while navigating the rope community in this one-page handout, which may also be freely printed and distributed at events.

Additional Resources for Bottoms

While I encourage bottoms to learn as much about tying as they can, and in particular to view all the various safety information on this site, I don't currently have a lot of content posted specifically about rope bottoming skills. Eventually I hope to expand Crash Restraint to include a true educational program for rope bottoms, but in the meantime, I suggest you check out the following excellent rope bottoming educators:


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    dirtclrdeyes | Jan 25th, 2019 4:51pm PST #


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      Dnile | Oct 3rd, 2020 11:35pm PDT #

      Very educating . We love your site and will be learning from it for some time to come.

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      Rahere | Apr 7th, 2019 8:15pm PDT #

      As someone who's a former member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers (long before shibari arrived) with a background in military engineering, rope handling is something I learned long ago.

      When handling long lengths, for example, never ever disturb the pile it landed in: as long as what landed on top is still on top, it will lift off easily 99 times out of 100.

      When handling rope, keep one hand for the rope and one for yourself, which is another way of saying use one to control it so it doesn't flail around and the other to work with it. This way I can use far longer ropes than the lengths most people do: it's just a question of experience, as you also develop speed.

      When freestyling, remember that shibari's far more about frictions than knots. A friction wraps the foundation line: a knot secures it. Ideally you only want to end with a knot.

      And finally, the basic philosophy, because it's not been mentioned: keep it Safe, keep it Sane, keep it Consensual. SSC, every time. It's all very well a rigger attacking the work aggressively, partly to demonstrate their dominance, partly to do a crisp job, but that shouldn't be a constant, imho. A master is certain in what they do, but also measured in doing it.

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        IdiotSoapbox | Nov 16th, 2020 7:57am PST #

        That was really great information to read. Those idiomatic lessons are much easier to remember in the heat of learning. Thank you.

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        jimmyjoe | Apr 18th, 2020 1:54am PDT #

        It should be possible.

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