Baby’s First Shibari Session

As a lover of adventure, nothing gets my blood pumping like a hot hookup abroad. There’s just something so sexy about meeting up with a stranger in a strange land. When I’m in New York and I see a guy on Tinder, I immediately typecast him based off of what neighborhood he lives in. But when I’m traveling, all preconceived notions go out the window. My sexscapades while living at an ashram on the small Thai island of Koh Phangan ended up being especially next level. Not only was the ashram full of horny hippies eager to exchange massages under the guise of “practice,” but the island itself is known as a haven for wanderlust flower children seeking enlightenment — something to do with the ample amount of rose quartz, which emanates “good energy” and facilitates healing. Just imagine a bunch of yogis super into drum circles, nude beaches, and tantric sex — a.k.a my version of paradise.

Immediately upon matching with a guy named Amnon on Tinder, I knew I was in for some fun. He branded himself as a digital nomad creative type and was looking for a muse. Our first date entailed hiking up a waterfall and doing a naked photo shoot. At one point, I slipped and nearly cracked my head open. All I could think was: “This would be a pretty epic way to die.” After the shoot, we returned to his villa, which he was renting out with his friend and business partner. His Israeli accent was intoxicating and it wasn’t long before we ended up in an intense make out sesh. I had to be back in time for a lecture, so we cut things short but not before he told me about his passion for shibari and asked me if I would be down to try it next time. I had heard of it but had yet to meet a guy who possessed the skill set. “Hell ya!” I responded.

 

Shibari is the perfect exemplification of sensual dominance. It’s not about pain so much as it is about psychology. Trust is essential, and while I hadn’t known Amnon for more than a week, there was something safe and nurturing about him that I had picked up on from the moment we first exchanged hellos. To be fair, I also suffer from the “do first, think later” way of life, which has a tendency to bite me in the ass on occasion. Luckily this time around, my instincts proved to be spot on. Amnon took me to his bedroom, where he had installed some sort of rig and played around with a bunch of ropes, while I stripped down to my lingerie and got into position, folded over in a sort of child’s pose with my arms extended upwards.

We agreed on a safe word and he gave me a quick rundown before blindfolding me and tying up my hands. What followed next was a pleasant blur of Amnon whispering orders, me contorting my body into pretzel-like positions I never thought imaginable, and the two of us engaging in some light foreplay – kissing, massage, affirmations –  whilst he periodically checked in with me. About 30-40 minutes later, he untied me and we had passionate sex. I was officially sold. “Why is everybody not doing this?” I wondered.

The Shibari Lowdown: What is it and Where Did it Come From?

Photo Source: Shibari Academy

Shibari translates to “to tie” or “to bind,” and according to Shibari artist and instructor, Sydona: “It refers to intricate and beautiful knots and patterns used to restrain and give sensation to the body.” She goes on to say that: “Shibari is not inherently sexual,” and that “Many practice it as a form of meditation, as a tool to create connection and intimacy with a partner, or simply enjoy it because it’s beautiful.” A word that pops up and is sometimes even used interchangeably with Shibari is “Kinbaku.” As one Reddit user aptly puts it: “Shibari is bondage tying and Kinbaku is Shibari plus emotional connection.” So where exactly did this bondage kink originate?

Japan has a rich history of rope tying. Back in the Edo era (1603–1867), the samurai class used rope to restrain prisoners of war in a martial art called hojojutsu. Around this time, law enforcement also used hojojutsu to torture captives and extort confessions, with each tie symbolically fitting a given crime. In the 1900s, kabuki performers began adapting hojojutsu rope ties for their performances, and this is said to be the earliest instance of what is now recognized as kinbaku – a knot-tying technique similar to hojojutsu, minus the whole infliction of pain bit and with more of a focus on aesthetics.

World War II saw the globalization of kinbaku, through its depiction in fetish magazines like Kitan Club and Uramado, which became popular amongst western soldiers. Today, shibari and kinbaku remain incredibly popular around the globe, with influencers showcasing their knots on social media, hosting workshops, and promoting safe BDSM practices. 

Why More People Should be Getting in on the Shibari Game

If you have yet to try this traditional Japanese art form, sexologist and author of Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage, Midori, makes a compelling argument for why you might want to:

  1. It forces you to let go of control, which can be a very empowering thing to do during a sexual encounter. 
  2. The tactile sensation of the rope against your skin is quite lovely and can feel like a comforting hug.
  3. Changes in body positions and resulting muscle contractions can increase sexual sensations and intensify orgasms. 
  4. It’s a fun way to spice up your BDSM game and strengthen your emotional bond with your partner. 

Given the amount of time and energy required to become skilled in shibari, it’s understandable why it’s not as mainstream as something like handcuffs, which require virtually no skill and are an incredibly cheap investment. Yet for this very reason, shibari is something worth giving a go. If you’re in a relationship, shibari is bound to foster intimacy with your partner. If you’re single, shibari will make you stand out from the crowd. Speaking from personal experience, it made me go from feeling rather blasé about a lover to being mildly obsessed. And if you’re a sex worker – especially one already working in the BDSM / Dominatrix / Spanky space – shibari is totally a niche worth charging premium prices for.

Before you go buy a whole god damn rigging set, I recommend signing up for a seven day free trial at Shibari Study, which is an online school that offers over 500 classes ranging from beginner-friendly to advanced. This will give you a risk-free opportunity to get your toes wet and see if shibari does you as right as it does me. And if it does, I encourage you to continue exploring Japan’s fascinating sex culture in a respectful, non-fetishy, non-appropriative way. Free from Judeo-Christian moral conditioning, Japan has a unique relationship to sex, kink, and sex work, and we look forward to doing more deep dives into various trends unique to Japan. 

Culture
BDSM
dominant
shibari
Jules

Jules

Author

Based in Brooklyn, Jules has dedicated her twenties towards harnessing her pussy power, exploring the muse, whore, and wild woman archetypes along the way. When not blogging, you can find her sweating the toxins out in a hot yoga class or sipping a matcha latte at a pretentious coffee shop, whilst she scribbles away in her journal.


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