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Kink Play Shibari

“Tying is touching, this means interacting with someone’s body for hours”

published on 07 February 2021

© Lycraandropes

Hello Lycraandropes, nice to have you here to talk a bit about Shibari. What is it, what you personally like about Shibari (as Dom or sub)?
I’m particularly tactile, tying is touching, interacting with someone’s body for hours. I like all aspects of Shibari. It’s an excuse to be very sensual to sexual. It made me discover that I was relatively sadistic (and masochistic when I bottom), it’s very relaxing for me when I tie and some guys can get into a very meditative state when suspended.
The visual aspect is very important to me, I think boys look beautiful when tied in odd positions, and I love taking pics during a session.
Regarding the psychological aspects, while I do very much enjoy planning and leading a session, I do not get a kick from the domination aspect of it. I’m more sadistic than dominant.

Which moments during a Shibari process are most exciting for you?
The first physical contact with a new sub, when you get the first reactions which tells you the session is gonna work.
I get a real buzz from tying for suspension. It requires an incredible level of concentration as you’re conscious of the responsibility you have. You need to get the technique right while constantly monitoring your model to spot any sign. People that have seen me suspending at events often tell me that I look like I’m “in the zone”.

Which different aspects of Shibari do you like?
The main aspects I see fall in these 4 categories: sexual/sensual/erotic/sadistic, meditative/relaxing, visual/artistic and psychological/domination/control/trust.
For some, Shibari is not sexual, for some others, it’s not interesting if sex isn’t involved. Some obsess about the aesthetic while some don’t care at all. I tend to like all 4 aspects – and they don’t need to all be in the same session.
For example tying for a suspension outdoor is not sexual, but requires an incredible trust between the partners.

Which Shibari styles do you use in a session?
In terms of style of Shibari play, there are several that I do:
– Itchinawa (itchi = one, nawa = rope) is a form of floor play where you just use one rope only and you do very simple ties with no patterns and you go from one tie to another. You’re using the rope and the tying as an excuse to interact with your partner’s body, it’s very tactile and sensual.
– Semenawa (Seme = torment, nawa = rope) is when you use the ropes for predicaments, torsions, pressure, and the ties are more challenging and painful.
– And of course suspensions, which despite being very pretty are most of the time a form of BDSM play as pain is often involved. They are also a form of edge play, meaning there is a possibility of injury and both parties need to be aware of it and accept the risks.
In addition of these 3 styles, you can also mix sex and other types of BDSM play, such as spanking, flogging, wax, electro…
I tend to like all aspects and styles of rope and mix them in my sessions.
In terms of aesthetics, there are also different styles, the most well known are Naka style, and Kanna style, both named after the Japanese masters that developed them. Naka style is very organic, minimalist, never contains hip harnesses, while Kanna style is more structured, has a lot of patterns and geometrical shapes like diamonds, etc… The style that I have learnt is closer to Kanna style.
The visual aspect is very important to me, but it’s the position/shape of the body in a tie or a suspension that I need to find beautiful, not the tie itself.

© Lycraandropes

Can you say a few things on the cultural origins of Shibari bondage?
Shibari, also called Kinbaku, simply means “tie” in Japanese. It is derived from Hojojutsu, an old Japanese martial art consisting in restraining a person with ropes. It was used to restrain prisoners. You can find some old images of thieves being tied and paraded through town, as a form of humiliation, sometime suspended to bamboos.
Bondage has been done with erotic intents in Japan since the 17th century.
It’s a similar evolution to what’s happened in Europe, where medieval forms of restrains (pillory, shacklers, cuffs, chains…) have been eroticised and are now part of occidental BDSM.
Shibari became known in the west after the Second World War when American soldiers resided in Japan and saw Japanese porn.

Which preparations do you take before a Shibari session?
A few hours before, I’ll go through the list of likes and limits of the sub I’m gonna meet, I’ll look at the photos from previous sessions, and I’ll try to find a new sequence of ties, positions, shapes. I’m trying to include floor work, partial suspensions and full suspension, and in many cases some “play”.
Just before the session, it’s about getting the ropes and toys out, adjusting the lighting, starting a playlist, relaxing in a bubble bath and getting in the mood!

© Lycraandropes

How do you interact with the sub before you start the session?
It’s mainly done by online messaging, I most often meet people through Recon, Instagram, and sometimes Twitter.
I’m rarely asked to meet in person before a session. It’s probably because I post so much online and I’m very transparent, my instagram has more than 800 photos, and there are a lot of videos where I’m tying, playing and doing demos, so people can get a pretty good idea of who I am and what I do.
I very rarely initiate a connection with potential subs, it’s usually them who message me first. It can go very fast as I know very quickly if I want to play with someone. My “filter” seems well tuned as most meets have been enjoyable and most guys come back!
I realised I was spending a lot of time discussing about likes and limits so I developed a “survey” in the form of a web page where they can just slide cursors for each “activity”. It can be used by any sub with any dom, and I have crowd-sourced the list of activity on
Twitter, so feel free to use and share it. (Here’s the link)
The “survey” is very revealing! And it gives me a very good view. Sometimes I can spot some inconsistencies which need to be discussed, for example if someone want suspensions but doesn’t want marks… it usually means they haven’t realised how intense suspensions can be.
On occasion, I have to say no to someone when I feel their expectations are too different from my kind of play, or if they dislike something that I find essential for me.

What’s important concerning the quality of the material you use?
I only use natural jute ropes in 6mm diameter. Hemp can also be used for Shibari, but I’m used to jute.
Jute just has the right friction, feels good on the body, smells nice, and doesn’t cause rope burn. Cotton and nylon cannot be used for Shibari, at least for how I do it.
I tend to use my older, softer ropes on the body, and my newer, rougher ropes as suspension main lines. It is recommended NOT to use handmade rope as they tend to break a lot more than machine made one.
Obviously when you’re suspending someone, their life is in your hands so I need to make sure the ropes are not going to break; when ropes are showing signs of damage I’ll use them for floor play only.

Do you have a particular after-care?
Although most sessions have moments which are more intense and where pain is involved, these are mainly peaks within a less intense session. In many cases caring moments (if that’s the vibe) are happening within the session itself and during the untying. I’m not looking to push someone too far and I’ve never felt that someone needed something in particular apart from coming back to reality slowly, stretching and relaxing for a bit, with a drink, while we look at the photos taken during the session.

© Lycraandropes

Which safety aspects are important in Shibari play?
If you respect a few basic rules which you learn in the different workshops, floor play is unlikely to cause any issue. When looking at suspensions, people assume the biggest risk is falling, but there are plenty of techniques to minimise that risk and it almost never happens. The main risk is nerve damage. While the rigger needs avoid certain parts of the body, it’s never possible to completely reduce the risk to zero. Nerve damage is not visible to the rigger and it’s not necessarily painful so the model may not realise it’s happening.
Each time I meet someone new, I’ll make sure they understand and accept the risks, and check that they know the gestures they need to do to detect nerve damage. I’ll remind them on occasion during the session if the suspension is a bit longer than usual. I also make sure they feel at ease and that they should not hesitate to communicate if they feel something is wrong.

What kinds of play do you like with rope models? Left them laying there? Cuddling? Teasing? Pain? Humiliation?
Leaving them laying there? I’m far too impatient for that! My session a very interactive and there’s always something happening, but I should learn to slow down sometimes and make use of the silences.
Cuddling? Yes, very much if that’s how I feel about the model. With some it can be a lot more distant.
Teasing? For sure!! When the session is sexual, I love teasing, stimulating, tormenting!
Humiliation? I’m not vocal at all during my sessions, so there is no verbal humiliation, but I love placing subs into humiliating and exposing positions. Is there anything cuter than a hot guy drooling?

What do you like, when you are a rope model? The Tightness, loosing power, being dominated, feeling more sensitive for play?
Unfortunately I don’t have many occasion to get tied myself, in general there are more subs than doms, but in addition, a rigger needs to learn many techniques which takes a lot of time and dedication, so they are pretty rare. I’ve had the chance to make connections with a few riggers, and have very much enjoyed being tied by them, but two riggers I knew in London have gone back to their native country – any takers?
When I bottom it’s most often (but not always) for non-sexual rope and generally for
intense suspensions. I do love the sensuality, the challenge, the pain and I go very quickly into a meditative “rope space”.

Thanks for this interview

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(Interviewer: Michael)

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