Rope 101

Dear Domina Jen,

I’ve been experimenting with Femdom with my boyfriend, and so far we both are having a lot of fun.  It’s still really new and we’re going slow but we both like it.

We both like bondage.  I really like restraining him.  We got a set of those “under the bed” restraints, and that’s awesome.  And we have handcuffs too, but those get way too uncomfortable for him because he has big wrists.  I want to try tying him up with rope but we’ve been having trouble getting it right.  Either it’s too tight and cuts off his circulation or it’s too loose and he can get out.  Are there any techniques you know of to help?



Hi, Sarah.  Congrats on delving into the wonderful world of Femdom.  I have no doubt that you’ll fall more and more in love with it, the deeper you go.

I do want to point out that I am in no way a rope master.  It is, sadly, one of the few things I have limited knowledge of.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to learn, though.  Shibari is absolutely stunning, and really is an art form in and of itself.

Case in point.

Case in point.

Incidentally, if anyone happens to have experience with shibari, and lives in the Las Vegas/Henderson area, hit me up.  I want to suck the knowledge from your brain.

So I’m not a rope master.  However, I do have some basic knowledge that I’m more than happy to share.

Before anything else, we’ll do the whole obligatory SSC thing.  If you’re doing ropework of any sort, particularly with methods you’re not familiar with, or suspension, etc., make sure you have a pair of blunt-tipped scissors.  Should something go wrong, and you need to get him out of the ropes fast, that’s the way to do it.

First, you need to use the right kind of rope.  Nylon is okay for basic stuff.  Silk is better (but expensive).  And judging by the tone of your question, I’m assuming you’re just looking for a couple of basic techniques to get you started.  Nylon will work fine.

You could always buy a ready-made, idiot-proof set like this one.  It’s definitely got its advantages.  It’s pre-assembled, it’s nice and soft, and it requires basically zero work.  I have a set myself, for those days that I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to go through and actually hogtie someone (hint: even basic ropework is time-consuming).

Here’s a picture of my set.  Sounder was kind enough to “volunteer” to be my guinea pig for all of this.

Quick, simple, effective.

Quick, simple, effective.  And you KNOW I totally took advantage of this position after putting the phone down.  Let’s just say he’ll be very sore tomorrow………

So there’s always that.  The obvious problem with a set like this, though, is a lack of versatility.  Sure, you could tie his wrists and ankles in the front, rather than behind him.  But that makes it too easy for him to get out of.  And unless your sub is extremely flexible, like, Olympic-gymnast-flexible, being hogtied is a position he’ll only be able to handle for a short time.  So it’s fun occasionally, but this by itself is just not enough.

One of the most basic ways to tie a sub’s wrists together is called (I think) the Handcuff knot.  It’s pretty easy.  You’ll need about 25 feet of rope for this technique.

Rope work takes way more rope than you realize.  A good thing to remember is that it’s better your rope be too long than too short.  Don’t waste your time getting 5- or 10- foot lengths of rope.  You won’t use them often enough.

Okay, so here we go.  The Handcuff knot.  Oh yeah, and Sounder is only allowed to wear women’s panties, so that’s why he’s got them on here.

Step 1:

20151021_201607Have him stand with his wrists out, about a foot, foot-and-a-half apart.  Find the middle of the rope and lay it across his wrists.

Step 2:

20151021_201643Wrap the lengths of rope around both wrists two or three times.  Count how many individual ropes are wrapped around his wrist.  There should be at least five, especially if you’re going to keep him in this for awhile, or if you expect him to squirm and struggle and pull on it a lot.

Step 3:

20151021_201803Cross the two lengths of rope underneath, then bring them up and over the two 5-rope-wide sections.

Step 4:

20151021_201910Begin wrapping each length of rope around, until you reach his wrist.


Make sure there is some space between the wraps and his wrist.

Space. You should always be able to work two fingers in between the rope and his skin.

Space. You should always be able to work two fingers in between the rope and his skin.

Step 5:

20151021_202036-1When you’re done wrapping, it’ll look like this.  Take each length of rope and pull it through the last wrap on each side.  From here, if your rope is short, you can tuck the ends in, underneath the wraps.  Or, if you’ve still got some length left, you can tie a square knot in the center and use it to lead him around, tie him to things, etc.



You can also use this to tie his hands behind his back, or to tie his ankles together, or to tie his wrists to his ankles, or his wrists/ankles to the furniture, the possibilities are endless.  And this is a pretty comfortable tie for subs, so as long as it’s not too tight, you can keep it on him for extended periods (obviously communicate with him, watch his fingers/toes to make sure you’re not cutting off circulation.  Common sense and all that).

So that’s one technique.  Tomorrow I’ll detail how to do a basic shibari harness (don’t worry, it’s easy once you get the hang of it, and doesn’t take much time to do).

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