Shibari at “Neon Boots” Southmore House “Naked Tuesdays”

Sometimes it’s fun to play in an “uncontrolled” environment – no dungeon monitors, unvetted guests, vanillas, alcohol, drugs, shaky and uncertain equipment, hosts without knowledge of the scene, gawkers completely unschooled in kink, insufficient space for backswings, loud music so you can’t hear your sub (well that’s usual anyway), horrible lighting (well that’s usual anyway).

It makes the play edgier, give the top WAY more to handle. Dealing with a boorish aggressive drunk is probably the most difficult of challenges. I have tied in semi-vanilla settings, but I had a great tripod, which formed kind of a natural perimeter. My difficulty not a drunken male, but a drunken femme friend of my “pick-up” sub, who was perfectly sober, had her own shibari hemp and wanted a suspension experience. Another actor in the scene was her boyfriend, also sober who had participated in our pre-scene negotiations.

The scene started off very well, the tying went well, and her rope was from the same rope company (DeGiotto) that I use, so I knew it’s length and properties very well. We were kneeling, and I had just finished her TK (she was going into sub-space) and was tying on her uplines when her girlfriend came up, smoking (yuk), and started talking to her and gave her a smoke. Naturally, I was stunned and horrified.

(Oh, this was a predominantly gay country-western bar on the outskirts of Houston and there were at least 60 people in close proximity to the tripod).

My sub handled this – coming out of subspace, she politely told her friend to step back – I was very grateful. She (and I) regained our composure and got her into the air in an easy face-down TK “donkey-kick”. My sub was deep in bottom-space, swinging easily and securely without stress. I did a hair-tie back to her ankles for a sort of suspended hogtie. She was up an easy 10 minutes, with frequent checks of grip, wrist strength, etc.

This was one of the few times where I felt like my check-ins interfered with my bottom’s sub-space. She had a body that was made for suspension and all the TK ropes fell in good places. It was just a great tie where everything worked out the first time.

I decided it was time to bring her down and back to reality.

I got her down and seated, still very much in space, and sure enough, here comes her friend, smoking of course! Chatter, chatter, chatter. “oh my god, that was so great, can I try it, can I try it”. I told her yes, but we needed to finish. She wouldn’t step back, so I blindfolded my sub with a Japanese tengu (which I didn’t make it back home with) and that helped right away.

Many unschooled vanillas think that as soon as you come down, or stop impact, the scene is over.

My sub didn’t want to be taken out of her TK (she was tied in her ropes, after all). We had a very minimum of aftercare (like 5 minutes). I sent her off with her boyfriend and untied her about 10 minutes later.

My mistakes:

1. not insisting she be fully untied before I relinquished “custody” of her. If she had tripped or somehow hurt herself, it would definitely have been my fault. She was fine, sober, but in retrospect, this was my biggest blunder. A friend pointed this out to me afterward, for which I am grateful.

2. not appointing her boyfriend as a dungeon monitor. He was sober and sitting close by in a chair watching the whole scene. He just had not been given instructions by me to guard the play space.

3. tying there in the first place. Well, it was a rope event, and it was fun, the sub enjoyed it, her boyfriend enjoyed it, and I’ll bet her smoking and inebriated friend enjoyed it, too. Pick-up play is high-risk. Oh, I enjoyed it.

4. not establishing a “perimeter” with rope, bystanders, etc. I could have easily done this.

5. I’m used to tying in protected environments – defined play spaces, dungeon monitors, knowledgeable bystanders, sturdy equipment, people who know CPR and first aid, etc.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! It was one of my best scenes ever. I wish I knew the bottom’s name – I’m not even sure she’s on Fetlife. She was wonderful, her boyfriend was polite and respectful, and they were both grateful for the scene, and so was I.

On the difference between Japanese and Western Bondage

I responded to an extensive post about the difference between Japanese and Western Bondage.  I am not reproducing their post, but in my opinion, it didn’t cover a key characteristic, which I am remarking on below:

I looked through the above responses, but I don’t think I found the following technical points that I see as the key differences between shibari and “western bondage”.

The tying in Shibari almost always starts at the “bight” of the rope, forming a single column tie around a limb. From this point, the doubled rope will form a pattern, such as a TK, a futo, a karada, etc. Because a single column tie will not collapse on itself and compress the limb, and because a doubled rope wrapping necessarily has more surface area than a single rope, shibari has a more “huggy” feeling that western rope application, in my opinion. This is often evidenced when I tie a new bottom in a TK and they remark, “This feels really good!”

By contrast, many western ties often begin either with a larks head, where the line has to be drawn all the way through the bight of the rope, which is awkward and time-consuming, and can effect rope burn, or a tie can start in the middle of a length of rope, and then individual lines are wrapped in opposition, and after a certain amount of wrapping, the opposing ropes are joined with some type of knot, such as a square knot.

You will almost never see a Japanese tier pulling 15 feet of doubled rope through a larks head, wasting time, boring the bottom, and risking rope burn.

In shibari, “knots” are really not that much of a thing. Sure, the single column tie and the double column tie does involve a knot, but ties usually finish with a “hitch”, and not a “knot”. Rather, “frictions” are used at key junctions to maintain the integrity of the bondage structure.

Properly done, a larks head start can be made to be non-collapsible, but I find that many ropesters will omit this very important step because they have not been taught how and are just going on the seat of their pants. So, many ties will begin with a collapsible band, crushing down on the column. Not good.

Another characteristic of western bondage, which I consider very disadvantageous, is that many Western tiers will “cinch” between two columns, which is taught in the Boy Scouts in the “lashing” instruction, which is used in building camp-sites, etc. Lashing between the wrists is a perfect way to cut off circulation and people who conceive of two wrists crossed behind the back as a pair of sticks to be lashed together, can cause considerable harm, and the tie will lack sustainability.

It’s not much fun playing in bondage when your wrists get tingly, and you have to ask your partner to release you after a few minutes.

Again, by contrast, a well-placed TK, or double-column tie behind the back can be sustained for a very long, time, making for fun and extended play, possibly in the hours. And, well-placed single column ties on the wrists and ankles can make for an extremely sustainable spread-eagle on a bed, again, sustainable for hours.

I guess you can tell which I prefer, no sense hiding it. I’m always ready to hear arguments to the contrary, however.”