Bondage Ropes Explained

Cordage: rope, twine, or thread has always been an essential part of man’s tool kit These have been made of both animal and plant fibers, and now, synthetic fibers and wire are used as well. Examples of animal fiber cordage would include sinew for sewing, the Mexican braided rawhide reata, and the twisted horsehair hackamore. Probably every long-fiber plant known to man has been used at some time or other in history to make cordage. To judge the significance of rope, it should be noted that the maritime economies of Europe would never have come into existence without it and the New World would, in all likelihood, would never have been discovered and settled by Europeans. Without rope, the pyramids might never have been built, mountains may never have been climbed and there would be no shibari.

Different Ropes for Different Folks

Here, I will discuss the various types and and give my opinions of them. Owing to human diversity, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me or my reasoning. Hey, what makes the world go round anyway?

Rope for shibari can be classed as either natural fiber or synthetic fiber and is further divided as being made by twisting or by braiding. Braided rope is made by braiding fine yarns of fibers over a core. The core can be of the same material as the shell or can be completely different, for example, nylon is often braided over a cotton core. Twisted rope is made by spinning fibers into yarn, usually with a right-hand twist. Multiple yarns, usually three, are then twisted or set into strands using a left hand twist. Multiple strands, usually three again, are then twisted or laid into rope using a right hand twist again. The twists in opposing directions create torque which is what holds the rope together. To determine the handedness of the twist, hold the rope in a line away from your body. If the twists or spirals of the rope recede to the right, you are looking at a right-hand or Z twist, if they recede to the left, you are looking at a left-hand or S twist. The latter is less common, by far, than the former and to my eye, simply looks “wrong.” Twisted rope is preferable for shibari in a couple of ways: most knots are designed so that the natural friction of the twists working against each other helps in their setting and stability. Twisted rope also leaves beautiful ligature marks on a subbie’s skin after the bindings have been removed–a lovely reminder of a happy time.

Synthetic Fibers 

I don’t like them! let’s get that out of the way first. I don’t like them for shibari, at least. The main synthetic fibers would be polypropylene, that nasty hard stuff that floats and is used for things like water-ski tow ropes: nylon; rayon; and the weird compounds used for climbing rope. Synthetic ropes have, as a class, certain advantages as well as disadvantages. On the positive side, they are very stable. They tend to be waterproof and will wash well. On the negative side, the can produce significant rope-burn very easily when moved quickly over the skin.

Poly, usually made by twisting, is out because it feels nasty and doesn’t knot well.

Climbing rope, always braided, is out for me because it’s so expensive and doesn’t come in small enough diameters. True, it comes in wild color combinations, but I don’t find them esthetic for bondage.

Rayon can be twisted or braided and is usually used for sailing as halyards and sheets. It is very stable, has a nice texture and is very expensive.

Nylon can be twisted or braided and is very stretchy. The most commonly available types, what you would find packaged in the hardware store, are not nearly as strong as one might expect. Nylon is very slippery and doesn’t always hold knots well. In humid weather, it seems to have a moist feel to it, making it rather distasteful to me. Braided line uses a core which is not always of the same material as the surface braid. When the materials are incomparable, washing or exposure to water or humidity can and will substantially alter the characteristics of the rope.

The breaking strain of top quality nylon twist can be defined as 5D²/300 tonnes where D=diameter in millimeters and the safe working load would be defined as S/6 where S=breaking strain. Top quality nylon braid would be S=6D²/300 tonnes. It is important to note that these formulae are for top quality nylon line. I like the Lehigh company, but their packaged nylon line doesn’t live up to these standards.

A word here on breaking strain: just how important is it? I really don’t know since I’ve never broken a rope in shibari. However, one should be aware that a struggling suspended subbie could exert a momentary dynamic load on her ropes equal to up to ten times her weight. Obviously, it would be foolish to try to suspend someone weighing 135 lb. using string with a breaking strain of 20 lb., so, if you know the numbers, never use a line with a safe working load less than the weight of your subbie.

Natural Fibers 

I prefer natural fibers, well, some natural fibers. Some of them are truly nasty and are totally inappropriate for bondage. Stability varies greatly between the fibers and, of those suitable for bondage, their resistance to moisture is such that I regard them as un-washable

A word here on washability: I don’t advocate washing rope and feel that caution and personal hygiene are the answers to the problem. According to Jay Wiseman (Jay Wiseman’s Erotic Bondage Handbook, Greenery Press, Emeryville, CA; 2000, p 116) there are no known cases of anything being transmitted to anyone through rope. True, I don’t do a lot of casual play any more and, even in light of the “harshness” of the rope I use, I’ve never had an instance where I’ve caused skin to break even slightly, so for me, it’s never really been an issue.


Manila is made from the leaf stems of the abaca plant, a member of the banana family. The fibers vary in length from 4 to 15 feet.and are classified as hard. This is very stable and strong rope. S=2D²/300 tonnes for new, top quality rope. Typically, manilla is treated with petrochemicals to inhibit mildew and has a smell like diesel fuel. This rope is totally unsuitable for bondage, the chief disadvantage is the possibility of infection from fiber splinters that break off and become embedded in the skin.


Sisal is made from either of two fibers from tropical plants, cesarean and henequen. These fibers are shorter than manila but have the same drawbacks and are classified as hard. If the breaking strain of Manila is given as 100, sisalana=80 and henequen=65. Again, unsuitable for bondage.


Mentioned for curiosity value, coir is made from the fiber of coconut husks, is very light and floats. The rope is very rough and stretchy with a breaking strain of about 25% of manila.


In Japan, cotton is used for static bondage (no suspension). It comes as twist or braid and is often died red, or, occasionally, other colors. Cotton has a very low strength index and is best used for decorative work. I’ve seen some lovely twist in hardware and tack stores but it’s usually too large for bondage.

The Real Shibari Nitty-gritty

   This is the rope I make and use myself. From left to right: jute, raw hemp from Hungary, and sized hemp from Hungary. The sizing in the leftmost rope probably has a casein content as the twine I made it from smelled just like Elmer’s glue when I got it. The Preferred diameter is 6 to 8 mm or 1/4″.


Hemp is a soft fiber that grows in many parts of the world, It is very absorbent and was usually tarred for use as standing rigging in old, square-rigged ships. The strength index of hemp is 100, identical with that of manila. This is a common rope for shibari in Japan. There is little or no danger of fibers breaking off in the skin and the feel is not uncomfortable at all. Hemp will stand up to repeated wettings but it shrinks at least 10% when wet and may not expand fully unless stretched. David El, in San Francisco, finishes his hemp rope with mink oil. I use mine raw and am happy with it that way. One day, perhaps, I will try out various finishing techniques on the ropes I make.


Another soft fiber, this is my favorite rope. It is nowhere near as abrasive or uncomfortable as it looks. The fiber is from the east Indian linden plant and has a pleasant licorice smell. It is processed with small amounts of creosote which some people may find unpleasant or irritating though, in my experience irritation is exceedingly rare. I know some subbies who, after being tied a few times who can go into headspace just smelling the rope. Jute is definitely not water-friendly since wetting expands the fibers and weakens the line. I have no idea what the strength index is though it is the most commonly (as I have recently been told) used rope for bondage and suspension in Japan. The trick is to inspect the rope and make sure it’s not fraying and to replace it before that starts to happen. Old rope can be used for static bondage, of course, where strength is not critical. Knots set well in jute but remain easy to untie. I use this rope raw, with no additional finishing but James in Seattle has been doing some experiments finishing jute with paraffin. He tells me my rope creaks when he uses it.

Satisfy Your Fetish

Fetishism is a very broad category and that’s something we all know. There are so many things to talk about and cover, that it would take months of writing to even scratch the surface and mention all the stuff related to fetishism.

What we have noticed is that there is an increasing number of different methods of how it is possible to satisfy the fetish you have. The reason for that is a technology and the availability of cheap or even free ways to explore sexuality. Without explaining the nature of fetishism, we want to remind you about the approach many fetish fans are missing even if it is easily accessible and literally a few clicks away.

We are talking about getting in contact with hot and sexy girls on live webcams. Yeah, you know all those boring popup advertisements all around the web, shown on many of the most popular adult websites. The trick is that between all those advertised sites, there are some really worth visiting and spending your time there.

One of our favorites is a live fetish cams, the resource dedicated to all things about online fetish sex and filth. The mentioned page will give you all the necessary info about how to find best looking fetish women on the web and will also give you some practical pieces of a device on how to get most of the fetish webcams. That site is a big repository of useful data and it is covering all sorts of online fetishism, from femdom fetish up to bondage on webcams. The list is too long to count it here so at this moment the only thing you should know is to prepare yourself to spend some additional time reading and learning before you finally start adult fetish chat on webcams. 

Master/Slave Contract

We found an old sample slave contract. It is intended to structure the relationship between two consenting adults in a master and slave relationship. We thought you might find it useful

Slave NAME, slave, previously in possession of her own person, agrees and states that she wishes and intends to deliver herself entirely into the hands of Master NAME, her Master. Master agrees and states that he wishes and intends to take possession of slave.

By signing this Slavery Contract, it is agreed that slave gives up all rights to her own person in every manner, and that Master takes entire possession of slave as property, claiming for himself her life, her future, and her heart and mind.

1.0.0 Slave’s Role

(a) Slave agrees to obey and submit completely to Master in all ways. There are no boundaries of place, time, or situation in which the slave may willfully refuse to obey the directive of Master, except in situations where the slave’s veto (section 2.0.1) applies.

(b) Slave also agrees that, once entered into the Slavery Contract, her body belongs to her Master, to be used as seen fit.

(c) All of slave’s possessions likewise belong to Master, including all assets, finances, and material goods, to do with as he sees fit.

(d) Slave agrees to please Master to the best of her ability, in that she now exists primarily for the pleasure of Master.

(e) Slave understands that all that she has, and all that she does, shall now move from right to privilege, granted only as He wishes.

2.0.0 Safewords

If slave feels that a situation is approaching a boundary unforeseen, slave may utter the safeword “Yellow” signifying this. Master accepts the responsibility of assessing situations where slave calls the safeword and will, to the best of His ability, make judgment on whether to modify the activity or stop activity entirely. Slave agrees she should not hold ill will due to Master’s decision. Master agrees not to punish slave for the use of the safeword.

2.0.1 Slave’s Veto

Slave, where appropriate, holds veto power over any command given by Master, at which time she may rightfully refuse to obey that command. This shall be signified by the safeword “Red.” Utterance of the safeword “Red” necessitates immediate termination of activity, is considered a veto, and is grounds for termination of Slavery Contract.

3.0.0 Slave’s Behavior: General

(a) Slave will strive diligently to remold slave’s body, appearance, habits, and attitudes in accordance with Master’s desires. Slave agrees to change the slave’s actions, speech, and dress to express the ownership by her Master as he requests. Slave will always speak of and to her Master in terms of love and respect, and address Him appropriately (i.e. “Master”, “Sir”, “Daddy”, “Keeper”, etc.) when so directed.

(b) Slave will seek to learn how to please Master better, and will gracefully accept any criticism in whatever form Master chooses.

(c) Slave renounces all rights to privacy or concealment from Master. This includes but is not limited to photography and video photography of slave, in any situation, to be used and displayed in any manner Master sees fit.

(d) Slave agrees to confess all of slave’s desires and fetishes for the Master’s consideration.

(e) Slave will answer truthfully and completely, to the best of the slave’s knowledge, any and all questions Master may ask of slave. Slave will volunteer any information her Master should know about her physical or emotional condition.

(f) When so directed, when in the same room as her Master, slave will ask permission before leaving the room, explain where she is going, and why. This includes but is not limited to asking permission to use the restroom.

(g) Slave shall be responsible for maintaining the cleanliness and availability of all toys. None shall be used without the express permission of Master, unless agreed to beforehand.

(h) Slave is responsible for maintenance and completion of all household chores. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(i) cooking meals; including preparing food for Master while He is at work,
(ii) cleaning; including vacuuming, dusting, and maintaining the kitchen, bathrooms, and porches,
(iii) laundry and dry cleaning,
(iv) paying all bills in a timely fashion,
(v) running errands and shopping,
(vi) laying out clothes for Master before work,
(vii) website chores.

3.0.1 Slave’s Dress/Body/Appearance

(a) Slave when requested shall diligently maintain and adorn slave’s body parts in such manner as will ensure that they are fully open and available to Master. Slave’s body parts shall be able to be displayed by slave in public or private, to others or to Him, when so ordered.

(b) Slave shall never close nor cross her legs in Master’s presence, unless specific permission to do so is granted.

(c) Slave shall never wear undergarments at any time, except when allowed to wear shorts or pants, and shall cover no part of her body with apparel or material of any description, except when the act of doing so, and the design of the item of apparel or material, are expressly approved by Master.

(d) Miniskirts, boots or shoes-with-heels, garters and stockings, and revealing tops or dresses will always be acceptable as the mainstay of public attire.

(e) Slave shall keep slave’s body parts clean-shaven or waxed at the direction of the Master.

(f) Slave shall keep slave’s hair cut, styled, and colored as directed by Master.

(g) Slave shall keep slave’s fingers and toenails painted and maintained as directed by Master.

(h) Master has the right to tattoo or have tattooed, pierce or have pierced, scar or have scarred, or brand or have branded slave’s body.

(i) Slave will wear, at all times, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, a token of her possession, given to her by Master.

4.0.0 Master’s Role

Master accepts the responsibility of slave’s body and worldly possessions, to do with as He sees fit. Master agrees to love, care for, protect, respect, and cherish slave, and to arrange for the safety and well-being of slave. Master also accepts the commitment to train the slave, punish the slave, love the slave, and use the slave as He sees fit.

5.0.0 Punishment

Slave agrees to accept any punishment Master decides to inflict, whether earned or not. Slave agrees that severe punishment may be assessed for any infraction of the letter or spirit of this Slavery Contract, and will accept the correction gratefully. The form and extent of the punishment shall be at the Master’s discretion. He may punish her without reason to please Himself. Slave enjoys the right to cry, scream, or beg, but accepts the fact that these heartfelt expressions will not necessarily affect her treatment. Further, she accepts that if her Master tires of her noise, He may gag her or take other actions to silence her.

6.0.0 Other People

(a) Slave may not seek any other Master or lover, or relate to others in any sexual or submissive way, either in “real time”, or “virtual” or “cyber” time, without Master’s permission. To do so will be considered a breach of Slavery Contract, and will result in extreme punishment or Slavery Contract termination.

(b) Master may accept other slaves or lovers, but must consider slave’s emotional response to such actions.

(c) Slave agrees that her Master possesses the right to determine whether others can use her body and to what use they may put it. Master will discuss all such instances in advance with slave. Slave has no say in the choice of these other partners, with the exception that play with others must be “safe” in terms of the exchange of bodily fluids.

7.0.0 Alteration of Slavery Contract

This Slavery Contract may not be altered, except when both Master and slave agree. If the Slavery Contract is altered, the new Slavery Contract shall be printed and signed, and then the old Slavery Contract must be destroyed.

7.0.1 Termination of Slavery Contract

This Slavery Contract may be terminated at any time by Master, but never by slave. Upon termination, all materials and belongings shall belong to Master, to be shared or kept as He sees fit. Slave, owning nothing and having agreed to give up all worldly possessions and body to Master, shall once again own her body, but nothing else.

8.0.0 Slave’s Signature

I have read and fully understand this Slavery Contract in its entirety, and by my signature below agree to fully abide by its words and their spirit. I agree to serve Him to the best of my abilities. I agree that by signing below, that I am from herewith Master’s slave as defined and detailed above. I understand that I cannot withdraw from this Slavery Contract.


8.0.1 Master’s Signature

I have read and fully understand this Slavery Contract in its entirety. I agree to accept this slave as my property, body and possessions, and to care for her to the best of my ability. I shall provide for her security and well-being and command her, train her, respect her, and punish her as a slave. I understand the significant responsibility implicit in this arrangement, and agree that no harm shall come to slave as long as she is mine. I further understand that I can withdraw from this Slavery Contract at any time.


Introduction To Sadomasochism – Part 2

 S/M is not repressed anger or covert hatred. Actually it isimpossible todo good S/M with someone you do not like.

S/M takes a lot of energy, preparation, time, and attention. Most practitioners do a lot more of “vanilla” (i.e. non S/M) sex than they do S/M.

S/M is as much an attitude as it is action. When traveling, the dominant may wish to drive the car in order to be in control and express their power; or the submissive may wish to drive the car as an expression of taking care of their dominant. Who’s in charge is far fiom obvious. It is a dance involving both parties.

S/M people come from all walks of life. Some come from abusive backgrounds and practicing S/M can be part of their healing. Some come from healthy families and are looking for self fulfillment. Some identify as “liters’,having S/M fantasies from their earliest memories. Still others are new tothe concept and felt a connection when they tried it. S/M people come fromall genders and oricntations. As a result, S/M groups have been on the forefront of establishing common ground between heterosexuals, gays, and lesbians.

S/M people are every where. There are national organizations, such as theNational Leather Association. There are local chapters of the NLA in many states. There are many independent local organizations supporting people in the S/M life-style. These local organizations have different charters and purposes. APEX is one such local organization whose charter includes individuals of all genders, gender orientations, and all associated fetishes. Every year some of these organizations put on local and national conferences and conventions. Some of these conventions may have only a hundred or so attendees. Others have thousands. Like any convention, there are meetings discussing a variety of topics, as well as a vendors’ exhibit area with the S/M life-style equipment and literature of the available for purchase. To attend one of these conventions is to truly know that we are not alone.

Introduction To Sadomasochism – Part 1

S/M is not an aberration. S/M is a sexual orientation that is found in a significant percentage of the population. Surveys have listed S/M behavior by as much as 7 to 14 % of the population, with interests at up to 50% of the population. To see the prevalence, just look at the public’s interest in movies, books, and other artistic expressions with S/M as the dominant theme. After all, Hollywood would not invest money if there was not a large interest. Historically, S/M behavior was listed as a psychological problem, as was masturbation and homosexuality. Today, however, these various orientations are not considered a problem unless the person with the lovemap is unhappy about their interests.

S/M is not new. S/M activities have been performed by many religions and cultures. Early Christian mystics used it (flails and hair shirts, oh my.) Native Americans continue to use it for vision quests. Fakirs from India use it. That same energy can be used for spiritual journeys, sexualecstasy, or personal bliss.

S/M is not fetishism. Fetishism substitutes an object for relationship.S/M can very much involve relationship. In fact, because of therequirements for trust and good communication, to even participate in S/Mwith another calls for the development of good relationship skills.

 S/M is erotic psychodrama. The exchange of power in S/M is a framework forrisk taking and for trusting. The shared reality created by S/M gives theparticipants the permission to explore their erotic fantasies. S/M hasoften been referred to as high-tech sex. The experience is incomparable.

S/M does not feel like what it looks like. In the model of the popular press, the dominant or sadist does as he/she wishs, without regard to theneeds of the submissive or masochist. In practice, it is the submissive ormasochist that has the final say. APEX teaches the needs for goodcommunications up front, the use of “safe” words that will stop the actionif the submissive ever feels the event is not working, and a time ofcommunications after the event so that both parties can learn and so thatthe next time will be even better.

S/M is not especialy dangerous. Some S/M activities are more athleticthan others. For more strenuous activities the individuals should be ingood physical shape, just as for any other sport. For most S/M activitiesthe players must know what they are doing. The shared education and experience of other players can be invaluable.

 S/M is not sexist. Sexism tries to impose dominant-submissive rolesaccording to gender. In S/M roles are chosen according to our innerfeelings. S/M is honest, shared eroticism which includes men and women whoprefer either or both roles.

 Sometimes S/M is done in a brief scene with a stranger. Sometimes it is a full time relationship. Usually S/M is done in negotiated episodes (or scenes) between people who know and like one another.