SHIBARI & SAFETY

Read This Before Trying Bondage

It was an overcast June afternoon when I attended my first rope workshop.

About half a dozen pairs must have signed up; their designated riggers eagerly holding onto lengths of brightly colored red rope.

The rope artist teaching the class, had just applied the finishing touches to a hog tie on his rope bunny (model) and all around them were students eager to try.

That was the day I first felt that unique rush, saw an inkling of the boundless possibilities, and enjoyed the overall novelty that revealed how fun kink could actually be.

That was in 2013 and—while I've gone through more workshops and experiments since—the major lesson that's only gotten clearer over time is that...

Bondage (and other kinks) can be dangerous.

Yes, even the regular, floor-based rope bondage. Professional rope artist WykD_Dave wrote a post in 2013 saying:

Rope isn’t safe, especially not suspension.

However having said that it doesn’t mean that we should accept injuries as a matter of course, they should be few and far between.

I am horrified when people shrug off injuries to models with an ‘oh well, these things happen’.

- WykD_Dave, RopeTopia.com

With the rising popularity of kink in media, such as the Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy, it's easy to be excited by the fascinating new world ahead of you.

That said, Sub Frenzy—the thrill of and desire to just dive into kink that overrides common sense—is a very real occurrence that places newbies at risk.

So what can rope newbies do to stay safer?

1.) Go Slow and Steady

Just like in mixed martial arts, parkour, and rock climbing, going slow lets us familiarize ourselves with the lessons and risks involved so that we can avoid inflicting (or suffering) serious and lasting harm.

New riggers and models shouldn't immediately jump into suspension bondage for the same reason that newbies at the gym don't bench press 500lbs on their first day.

It's essential to have a good understanding of how rope behaves, the quirks of our model's anatomy, and the difference between good and bad pain while we're still on the floor—way before we even add the possibility of falling from a great height.

2.) Go with a Group

Thankfully, there are communities all over the world with like-minded folks that you can ask for advice—and yes, even here in the Philippines!

You can join munches held by various kink groups in Metro Manila (Manila, Makati, QC, and Alabang, to specify a few).

Some community members even have websites aimed at educating curious vanilla (non-BDSM) members on what life is like on the kinky side of fence.

One of the first things you'll hear is a reminder that safety is paramount; that accidents can and do happen regardless of age or skill level.

They'll tell you about safety frameworks we should follow, like staying Safe, Sane, and Consensual (SSC) or by observing Risk-Aware Consensual Kink (RACK).

They'll warn you that, although we aspire to ideals that treat consent as sacred, sexual predators still exist and violations/abuses do happen.

They'll teach you about why certain ties are done a particular way and which parts of the body would be best avoided.

That's because serious injuries can come from harmless looking ties that slip or tighten unexpectedly. You can seriously hurt your model or have them suffer permanent damage.

It's for this reason that we strongly encourage you to seek out an experienced and responsible practitioner. Studying in person exposes you to certain nuances which might escape your notice if you explore on your own.

3.) Join the Community—we'd love to meet you!

The benefits of being part of a community that wants to educate, empower, and protect you far outweighs the risks of exploring BDSM alone or with strangers whose modus operandi might only put your life at risk.

Drop by Fetlife.com and find a group near you. There might even be a local chapter of a larger rope collective from countries abroad.

Some of these include ManilaFet, Manila Gap, Manila Rope, Fet QC, and Kink for Success.

Chances are, we're already hosting munches (social gatherings), beginners' workshops, skill-sharing events, and rope jams (practice events) where you'll be in the company of new and experienced practitioners who can guide you on your way.

For the more discreetly inclined, private classes are an option too.

At the end of the day, what counts is that we all consistently strive to stay safe, sane, and consensual.

Cheers!
Shibari.ph

Photography by Hazymirrors. Go show them some love!