12 Useful Bondage Rope Tips

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If you’re interested in trying rope bondage, there are plenty of things you’ll need to learn beforehand – things like anatomy, knots, and safety etc.

Another very important one…

The actual rope – because there’s way more to buying and collecting cords than just going to your local hardware store grabbing whatever is the cheapest.

IMPORTANT TIPS BEFORE YOU START


  • WATCH THE PRICE – Sex shops tend to overprice their products. Try a hardware store or other places to find what you need.
  • WATCH THE TOOTH – Tooth is the rope’s “drag” or friction and therefore how well your knots, twists, and loops will hold together.
  • WATCH THE DIAMETER – It’s best to work with something 5mm or thicker. Thinner rope should be avoided for safety reasons (excess pressure can lead to discomfort, circulation problems, bruising, or worse). ALSO, some robe fibers (like cotton) might stretch and lose their diameter, which could cause problems.
  • MIND THE BRAIDING – Braids are how the rope is woven together. Various densities will affect how tight your knots get and how easy or difficult it will be to take them apart. The same goes for twisting.
  • BRANDS MEAN NOTHING – Take the same kind of rope from different makers and they will be different, so keep that in mind while you’re shopping.
  • KNOW YOUR NEEDS – There’s a big difference between tying someone up for light bedroom fun vs. going into a full-blown, load-bearing suspension rig. Also, wanting a visually pleasing result vs. a functional one will change what rope you’ll need.
  • CUT IT UP – If you buy a long section, you’ll have to cut it into manageable lengths – how long depends on your preferences.
  • BREAK IT IN – Stiff ropes are like shoes, you have to break them in before they become easier to work with. This also goes for natural fibers that might need boiling, waxing or oiling (or just plain washing because it’s raw and smells).
  • KEEP AT UPKEEP – Certain ropes have a longer lifespan, but it doesn’t last forever. Trim stray fibers, keep it stored in a bag, wash it when necessary (read washing instructions at the end of the article).
  • WHIP IT GOOD – Whip your ends. This means fixing the ends so they don’t fray or unfurl.
  • WATCH FOR ALLERGIES – Natural fibers come with the risk of an allergic reaction to some people Synthetic obviously doesn’t have this problem.
  • NO RIGHT OR WRONG – All riggers (and even rope bunnies) have their own preferences. As long as it’s safe, don’t let anyone convince you there’s only “one correct choice”.

WHAT TYPES OF ROPE ARE THERE?


They break down into two categories – Natural and Synthetic. And each one comes with their own pros and cons. Let’s start with natural…

Piece of hemp rope

HEMP 

Commonly used for Shibarivery traditionalfantastic toothnatural lookvaried diameter rangenot as stretchyLots of colorsSheds fibersExpensive, raw or treatedWashing affects durabilityScratchier against the skin Possible allergyNeeds a lot of work to break in
Piece of Jute rope

  JUTE

Traditional for Shibari  Can be dyedEasy to unknotexcellent toothUse improves the qualityNatural smell More expensiveWashing or boiling degrades fibersSlower to tie with because of toothNeed more time to break inNeeds care and inspection 
Piece of cotton rope

 COTTON

Can be dyed different colorsStrong but soft on the skinAcceptable toothLightweightNo allergiesSlight elasticityLower change of rope burns Not good for beginnersNeeds working in after washingKnots get very tight/compactEasy to get dirtyCan stretch over time 
Piece of linen or flax rope

  LINEN/FLAX

Good toothEasier to tieSoft but will still leave marksFlexible, moderate durabilityGood strengthDon’t need to work it inLess to no allergiesExpensiveHarder to clean 
Piece of silk rope

SILK

Flexible and softmoderate frictionlow stretchokay durabilitygood tooth despitemore similar to cottonQuite expensive (luxury choice of rope) 
Piece of bamboo rope

 BAMBOO

Flexible and softModerate frictionLow stretchOkay durabilityLess grip than silkShine of nylonAnti-bacterial propertiesIn the luxury range so it will be expensive
Piece of mannila rope

  MANILA, SISAL, COIR

(abaca plant, agave fibers, coconut husks)

CheaperHarsh tooth (pro OR con)Leaves better “rope marks” UncomfortableLess stable (especially coir)Not strong enough for suspensionExpensiveNot as easy to cleanLimited diameters 

Next, let’s see what synthetic options are out there …

Piece of nylon rope

 NYLON, POLYESTER, PARACORD

Heavy duty DurableCheaperEasy to findSmooth and softEasy to cleanNo allergiesBad toothCompact knotsSlipperyMore rope burnsStiff compared to other ropesNot “traditional” 
Piece of synthetic hemp rope

 SYNTHETIC HEMP/HEMPEX

CheaperLess prep or working inNo allergiesEasier to keep cleanGood toothKnots don’t get very compactAcceptable for suspensionNot as many diametersNo color optionsSheds quite a bit 
Piece of Multifiliment polypropylene rope

 MFP Multifilament Polypropylene

Low frictionLots of colorsDecently strongSoft and smoothFound in all hardware storesNo allergiesPoor toothNot good for suspensionMore rope burns 

KEEPING YOUR ROPE CLEAN


For natural fibers, washing can degrade the quality and durability of the rope.

BUT, it’s going to get covered in all sorts of bodily fluids (sweat at minimum) or things like dust, dirt, or wax (if you’re into was play), so you’ll have to wash it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

This is not a be-all-end-all guide to rope bondage. I high recommend scouring the internet for as many articles as possible. And, if you want to get serious, find a qualified teacher to show you how to enjoy this art form while staying safe.