Why Shibari?

Bita von Seil
2 min readJan 10, 2021

The draw of having rope across your skin

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

When I first discovered rope, I was euphoric. The feeling of being tied up securely by a competent rigger was not only sexy and hot but also took me back to the primal feeling of being cared for that I got from having my hair brushed by my mother as a child.

Having the rope moved across my skin, pulling my body tightly into itself, or immobilizing my limbs in vulnerable positions, like my arms above my head or my legs spread wide, made me aware of my body in a new way.

There’s a phase at the beginning where you resist the bondage, the restriction, but then something magical happens. There’s a moment when you stop struggling and submit to it. You accept the lack of power, and from that acceptance comes a deep peace. Even meditative insights. It doesn’t stop there, though, as being released again is just as insightful. As the ropes are removed one by one, inch by inch, another layer of consciousness is revealed.

You are not the same as before you were tied up.

When I discovered Shibari, I was new to BDSM too. I had some catching up to do on the lingo and the various roles. At first, I couldn’t understand why someone would want to tie anyone else up.

“What’s in it for you?” I’d ask my riggers. “What do you get out of it?”

I thought about it a lot and compiled ‘research’ from my conversations with riggers and bottoms and the experiences I had tied with different people. Eventually, it was a philosophical — even metaphysical revelation that helped me see: If I liked being tied up, there must be someone who liked to do the tying! I wouldn’t have this desire, this preference — even need — to be a rope bottom, a sub, if there wasn’t someone who had the corresponding leanings. This was very comforting to me.

Even though I haven’t yet explored that part of myself much that can tie someone else up, I feel like I can place myself somewhere in the grand BDSM puzzle where I’m a crucial piece of a larger picture.

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