Assembled by Mx Bliss (Mx_Bliss on IG, MxBliss on Fetlife)
I’m thrilled you’re interested in exploring rope. There are as many ways to do rope as there are rope folx so don’t be intimidated. Please let me know if there are other resources out there that you love so I can add them here. These are the resources I use(d).
How to get started:
- Safety: Rope is edgeplay. Period. Of all the mainstream kinks, it has the real potential to really fuck someone up and frankly, rope is rife for opportunities for consent issues so know before you tie. There is a lot out there but here are my top 3 safety resources:
- Shay’s Remedial Ropes. If nothing else, see this Intro to get an overview.
- Shibari Study features some free safety videos.
- Crash Restraint (by Topologist) is a great resource for those of us that prefer an orderly curriculum and approach to their rope education. Topologist’s safety course/skills are entertaining and thorough.
- Self tying: Rope didn’t become a daily ritual/exercise for me until I started to self tie. After you do some basic safety orientation, all you need is yourself, some safety shears, and some rope to start.
- Self suspension: If self suspension is your goal, there is only one real place to go: Shay’s ‘Flying and Tying’ book. It will take you from beginner to suspending yourself with easy to understand direction, stunningly clear and simple pictures, and all this with an inclusive and accessible style. Of all the influences in my rope journey, this book really connected me to rope.
- Sexy time/bedroom rope: I mean…yeah, rope can be pretty but at the heart of it, it’s about connection and sexy time, amiright? Here are the go-to resources for all you perverts. Oh, pro tip: nylon is the best rope if you will have fluids. Take my word for it.
- On the Ropes: The Knotty Boys wrote THE book on sexy bedroom rope. The ties are simple, effective, and JD and Dan can help learn all you need to know to Rope Top in the bedroom.
- Lew Rubens: Lewbari is the original American-style sex bondage rope. Lew’s knots, style and approach is about sexy time! His videos (downloadable) are easy to follow and its no mystery why he’s a bondage icon of porn.
There is a lot out there and most of what I’ve seen is fantastic. I’ll build out a list of additional resources but here are the ones that really shaped my practice:
- Shibari Study: TBH, there isn’t anything like it. The tutorials are first rate. For most of the content, it is subscription based. But if you want access to the ties that you see on Instragram and Fetlife, you really need to invest in a subscription! They now have an app and live classes. It makes your rope instruction accessible everywhere you are!
- Crash Restraint: When I first started to tie, my partner kept sending me to Topologist’s Crash Restraint site. It’s the original definitive online resource on rope bondage. If you like learning in a systematic way, Topologists “skills’ and lessons approach breaks down many of the underlying skills.
- BUT, I want to tie NOW!
- Wyk’d’s somerville bowline videos are free and elegant in their simplicity. When someone tells me they want to tie, I tell them to learn the somerville bowline first. Once you grasp a non-slipping single column knot, I think the rest comes intuitively.
- The first tie I was in (and that my Rope Top taught me) was Midori’s LIghtening Tie. If you want to impress your partner with a simple, effective, and sexy AF tie start here. It will have you hooked. I promise.
- Skill Shares, Rope Dojos, Rope Jams, Private Instruction. For me, rope is also about community. I have yet to find a group of people so generous in sharing their skills and so concerned about one another. Check out Fetlife for local events like rope jams, munches, classes, and dojos. Also, there is NO substitute for private instruction if you are able to afford it. Learning tensions, rope placement, and the impact of your rope choices can be most effectively guided by an experienced rope pro. I have recommendations for private instructors in NYC, SF, Portland, and TX.
Bottoming for rope is risky, IMO for 2 reasons. First, its edgeplay and you can get permanent nerve injury, head injury, falls, rope burns/blisters, and even die. Second, there are countless stories about consent or boundary incidents in rope. For me, when I am in ropey subspace, I am impaired. My main tip here is to expressly negotiate all sexual contact prior to tying (whether a Top or bottom) and don’t ‘level up’ midscene.
- Nerve Damage. If you are bottoming for suspension or floor work where rope will go on your arms (including wrist restraints) you should be doing some sort of hand checks with your Top. See Hand Checks video on Shibari Study (free) for a quick tutorial on what to look for and tips for negotiating hand checks.
- Vetting Tops. As a Rope Top, let me say that many of us have a bad reputation. We tie above our skill level. Some of us get more handsy than expected. Some rope Tops are out and out predators. Take your time observing how a person ties, whether they seem to have longer-term tying partners, and ask around. There are numerous rope bottoming communities that share information about the reputation of Tops. And alway trust your intuition.
- Evie Vane is my go-to resource for rope bottoming instruction and inspiration. Better Bondage for Every Body will give you tools to navigate your new bottoming journey.
*A note on Shibari/Kinbaku History and Context: I practice ‘American Rope.’ While I deeply appreciate, am inspired by, and use (or borrow from) many of the ties created by shibari artists, my rope practice really is uniquely American, pragmatic (as opposed to artistic or steeped in tradition/history), and is intentional in its inclusiveness. Regardless, understanding rope history and context can help you to better appreciate not just what shibari is about at its core but better understand its troubling history and how you can build a rope/shibari/kinbaku practice that is respectful of Japanese culture, sex workers, and fellow shibari artists. I highly recommend Midori’s Japanese Rope Bondage not only for the first chapter on history and context but for a great overview of some beautiful ties.