Rope is a toy that is bound to please

Do you think of knots when you feel naughty? Do you get a little excited when you see someone in a movie tied to a chair or with their hands bound in duct tape? Have you ever thought it would be fun to be tied down (or tie someone down) during sex? If any of this sounds intriguing or familiar, then you are in good company - using rope in kinky and sexy scenarios is both common and a lot of fun!

Using rope to tie up someone is often referred to as rope play or bondage play. Rope is a highly versatile toy and can be used in a number of different situations for various purposes.

Hello, I'm Jay, a sex-positive, kinky gentleman from Nova Scotia. Today I'd like to share some thoughts with you about rope, tying up people, and how to have fun with rope.

Why would tying someone up, or being tied up, be fun?

There are a few reasons why someone might like to be tied up. It may seem counter-intuitive, or even scary at first, but being tied up by someone you trust can be a relaxing, even comforting experience. When you're tied up you don't really need to do anything, plan anything, worry about what you are doing or will do next. You're effectively out of the driver's seat for a while. You can lay back and enjoy whatever is happening in the moment without distractions. People who enjoy being tied often talk about feeling like they can let go, stop worrying, and just be. Others talk about how being tied in rope feels like a hug all over their body. Some others talk about the sense of anticipation, of being helpless while also excited, from handing control of the situation over to their partner.

People who like to tie others up may do so for a number of reasons. For some, rope is a hobby - like making plastic models or knitting. It's something to do with their hands. There is an art to the knots they use and how rope is employed. It's an interactive hobby they can do with a partner. Others might enjoy the feeling of taking over a scene, of immobilizing the other person for the purposes of a sexual scene where they get to lead the action. Others may just enjoy seeing how their partner enjoys being tied up.

Whichever side of the experience you are on, there may be an element of role playing involved. Lots of people like pretending to play out a kidnapping scene or rescue operation as part of their intimate play and having one person tied up can really enhance the setting of the scene.
Aaaaand, action! 

Whatever the motivation, there are several different approaches to playing with rope, various styles of rope play, and I'd like to talk about three of these.

What styles of rope play are there?

At first glance, a person might not consider there are multiple styles of rope play. After all, tying up a person is, well, tying up a person, right? However, there is some variation in the types of approaches people take when they set about placing another person in knots. I tend to break them into three key categories.

The first category is functional bondage. One person ties up another person with the intent of keeping them immobile. This is often done to act out role playing scene, engage in kinky power exchange, or to restrict a person's movements during a sexual scene. Sometimes it is done to get a person to "let go" in the moment and enjoy a rope-themed, all-over hug. Whatever the purpose, the idea is to hold the person in knots still.

The second type of rope play is artistic. While functional rope ties can also be pretty, often times rope is placed over and around a person in a way to demonstrate form rather than function. The use of brightly-coloured ropes, elaborate ties, and patterns which criss-cross the body can make for stunning visual. A lot of people engage in rope play for the artistic imagery rather than any attempt to restrain a person.
Behold, my creation! 

The third general category is suspension. Suspension involves using rope to hold a person up in the air. Suspensions are often artistic and can also be functional, but the focus is on keeping a person levitated safely. The safety part is key. Suspensions look amazing, and can feel amazing for the person floating in the air, but there is also a higher degree of risk. The person being lifted by the rope may fall and hurt themselves if a knot is not done properly. A person is also more likely to pinch a nerve or lose circulation in a limb. For this reason I highly recommend taking a workshop class in suspension if this type of rope play appeals to you. The first two styles are easier to get into with less risk.
I can fly! 

Who to join for rope-themed fun

Lot of people like to engage in rope play for any of the reasons mentioned previously. Rope can be artistic, sexy, and exciting. One of the key elements to rope play is picking the right partner. Being restricted in any scenario requires a good deal of trust - not only that the other person will treat you well, but also they should also be careful when tying knots around you to avoid cutting off blood flow. You also want to make sure the person who is going to tie you up will let you go as soon as you want to be released.
Choose your partner wisely. 

From the other side of the experience, if you plan to tie up another person, pick someone who you trust to tell you if they are not feeling right. If a person feels nauseous, numb, uncomfortable, or scared they need to be able to communicate that clearly and right away.

In short, make sure your rope buddy is careful, trustworthy, and communicates well. I often recommend asking to watch them tie with another person first so you can see how they interact with another rope scene partner prior to playing with them yourself.

How can we do it safely?

Playing with rope is a lot of run and there are lots of different ways to incorporate it into a scene with your partner. Rope can be used to hold a person in place, as a decoration, as something soft (or coarse) to run across the other person's skin. It's a versatile tool.

It's just so darn useful!

Mixing rope into play, whether it's to tie a person to a chair, add colour to a scene with a rope harness, or used to bind someone's wrists together. Rope, because it's so useful, also needs to be approached with caution. Earlier I mentioned it's a good idea to form trust and communicate well with a person you want to join with for rope play. There are also some other safety considerations to bear in mind.

For instance, I recommend people have safety scissors on hand for any scene involving rope ties, especially ones involving more elaborate or restricting knots. Safety scissors can be slid between rope and the skin to quickly cut away the rope and release the person who was tied. This comes in especially handy if the person's extremities are going numb or if they feel anxious about being tied up.

Safety first!

Try to avoid tying a person to anything where they might fall. Beds are pretty sturdy, but stools are not. Some chairs are, while others are not. If the person being tied up slips you don't want them to end up crashing to the floor or taking your furniture down with them.

When tying a person I recommend leaving a little space between the rope and their skin. Enough space to slide your pinkie finger into the gap. This avoids cutting off blood flow and it also means the person being tied can escape if need be.

Which brings me to a key consideration. Both people should have a plan in place for how to salvage the situation if the person doing the tying becomes unable to untie their partner. If the person doing the tying trips and hurts themselves, faints, or otherwise becomes unable to help, make sure the person being tied can get loose. Maybe they have safety scissors in their hand, maybe you give them extra slack in the ropes, maybe you both have a "safe call" in place where a person you trust will stop by to check on you in a few hours. Whatever approach you take, make sure you have a Plan B in case someone is incapacitated.

Finally, I recommend starting off small and working your way up. Rope is an easy skill to pick up and start small, but it's a tricky skill to master. The good news is if you learn a few basic knots and patterns you can gradually build on that knowledge, slowly making slightly more elaborate ties and patterns. Take things slow, practise on yourself when possible, and remember to start small. The big, complex, beautiful ties of artistic patterns will come. But when starting out, just work on a basic knot around your wrist or try tying your ankles together (with safety scissors within reach). As you become proficient with the basics, you'll naturally find adding more knots to your rope work easier.
Knots are tricky things. 

When it's a good idea to add rope to a scene?

While it is a good idea to be cautious with rope and to plan for using it carefully, there are a lot of fun scenarios which benefit from some rope-themed bondage. Earlier I mentioned role play, power exchanges, and artistic expression as some key situations where rope spices up the scene. There are some other situations too. Often times it is fun to tie a partner to a bed or chair as a prelude to teasing them with other sensations. Rubbing ice or a feather over someone bound in place can yield a heightened scene of anticipation and arousal. Likewise, some people like to be tied to a bed leading up to sex as they enjoy the feeling of having the other person set the tone and pace.

It can be fun to tie a person's hands together to see how they engage in a kink or sex scene with restricted movement. Some people also find it hot to tie up their lover in an exposing sexual position.
[Editor's note: We are not showing you this!] 

Any of these scenarios, and others, can be exciting and hot. Rope is often paired with other toys like blindfolds, flavoured lubricants, and vibrators to enhance sexual scenes and bring the person being tied up more into the moment.

I'd recommend making sure when you plan to do a rope scene that you give yourself some extra time. Tying knots carefully and getting them undone again at the end of the scene can take some time. When planning out a rope scene make sure you give yourself some buffer time. You don't want to be fiddling with a tricky knot that is holding your partner in place while running late to pick up the kids from school.

Where to learn about rope

There are a number of useful guides and tutorials out there which can help you get started. My partner Elle and I really like a YouTube channel called Rory's Brainworks which features some good examples of simple knots and tutorials. The channel's examples cover some material geared towards artistic ties while also showing some good functional knots.

Most cities have toy shops or kink clubs which put on workshops. Chances are, if you live in or near an urban centre you can find in-person classes on rope work. Indulgence, for example, has a range of classes which include rope, among other hot topics. Before tackling any complicated ties or scenarios I recommend learning from someone, in person, who has experience with rope.

Some guide books and survivalist texts have sections dedicated to ropes which, while useful for making snares and tying up boats, work equally well in the boudoir.