Why play with rope when there are easier and faster ways to bind someone? There are as many answers to this question as there are rope players. Some people appreciate the aesthetics, others, the history. Some like the feel of rope on their skin or running through their hands. Some enjoy the near infinite flexibility rope bondage provides, since you can contort your partner into just about any position the body will allow.

If you’re being risk aware and everyone is enjoying themselves, play on. That’s a big if, though. Rope can be deceptively simple and many people start playing with rope before they know how to do so safely.

This article will give you a brief overview of the safety concerns associated with rope play and some ideas to get started. But nothing takes the place of hands-on learning. If you want to become accomplished at rope bondage, I strongly suggest you seek out rope groups in your area.

The Rules of Rope: Safety First

There are a few basic things to look out for when you’re playing with rope or engaging in any kind of bondage. The first is nerve compression. If you want to do advanced play, getting some background in anatomy is a good idea. Keep the dog collar rule in mind: make sure you can slide one or two fingers between the rope and the body part being bound, especially when tying wrists. Keep rope away from the neck, underarms, and other joints like knees and elbows. (If rope isn't your thing, there are plenty of super-safe, simple bondage kits.)



Another thing to look out for is breathing restriction. This can happen in the ways you’d expect, like having tight rope around the chest, but you also have to look out for positional asphyxiation. Positional asphyxia is a risk when the position the body is placed in makes breathing more difficult. Extra care needs to be taken when using positions such as the hog-tie and any position that brings the chest and knees together.

When trying anything new, especially bondage, keep open communication with your partner. Don’t play with gags at the same time. Make sure you’re checking in frequently, and verifying your partner can breathe well, and that none of their limbs are going numb or tingly.

When you’re going to use rope for bondage, have EMT sheers within arm's reach at all times. If your partner needs to be free of the rope right away, you need to be able to cut it immediately. Also, and this is very important, never leave your partner alone when they are restrained. Not even for a minute. Most bondage-related fatalities happen when a bound person is left alone.

It’s best to practice bondage on the ground or on the bed, especially before you know how you’ll react to being in rope. Some people are prone to fainting and a fall can cause injury.

When it comes to choosing rope, you have a lot of options. But beware of rope from the local hardware store, as much of it is too stiff or not skin friendly. Your best bet is rope made specifically for bondage. Most sex shops carry at least simple cotton rope and online the choices are almost limitless.

One of the great things about rope bondage is that the building blocks you learn as a beginner never lose their usefulness. They simply become components of more advanced and complicated bondage. One of the basic building blocks for almost any kind of rope bondage is the single column tie. A column is any part of the body. It's commonly a wrist or ankle, but it could also be a torso, etc. You can use the single column tie to bind your partner to the four corners of the bed or to bind one part of the body to another; wrist to ankle, for example.

Much of rope bondage has to do with the control and flow of the rope, so try to handle the rope in a way that maximizes efficiency. Most styles of rope bondage use a piece of doubled rope, starting with the bight (the middle of the rope.)

Tying Up Your Parnter

First, pull out about an arm’s length of rope and drape it over the column to be tied.

Wrap the running end of the rope (the one with the bight) around the limb several times. Three wraps seems to be ideal for comfort. The wider the wraps, the greater the area over which pressure will be distributed.

Cross the running end over the wraps.

Next, pull the running end underneath all the wraps (between the rope and the limb.) At this point, you simply tie the running and standing ends together. There are several ways to do this, but the simplest way is to create a loop in the long end of the rope (the standing end) by twisting it in toward your wraps.

Finally, pull the bight through and tighten down. (Depending on how slippery your rope is, you may need to add another half hitch or overhand knot to make sure this holds.)

The important thing to look out for with any bondage tie is that it doesn’t tighten down on the limb when it’s pulled on. If you’re going to have someone in bondage for a while, be sure to check on your ties regularly.

Once you get the hang of a few basics, there’s a whole world of decorative and functional ties to discover!