Ropes are, for us and for many, the best materials for bondage. They look well over the skin, were used throughout history for the purpose, and are what we grew up seeing on movies and TV, so it matches our fantasies of prisoners. Only they require knowing a little about knots, but not too much for our games, as you will see in the corresponding article.
Ropes can be found almost anywhere, but don’t forget to check in sailboat shops. Sailboats use many kinds of rope, mostly synthetic nowadays.
Types of ropes
For our games, there are two main types of ropes, twisted and braided.
Twisted ropes are the traditional ones, made for centuries along history. A rope is made of long fibers, vegetable then, mostly synthetic now.
Those fibers are twisted into "yarns". Three of these yarns are made fast at one point, and then individually twisted, all in the same direction and at the same time, at the other point. As the tension of the twisting increases, the three yarns will coil one around the other in the opposite direction, forming the rope.
The usual way for making thicker rope is beginning the same twisting procedure with three thinner ropes.
The twisted rope can be smooth or rough, depending on the material. It bytes more into the skin, it doesn’t slide easily, and after some time, leaves beautiful diagonal bondage marks on the sub’s skin which can last from minutes to some hours, depending on the rope’s type and the sub’s skin. .
Braided rope is usually made of a soft braided skin over a core of untwisted or twisted fibers. The materials on the cover and the core can be similar or different.
Even if they are not as traditional and do not leave as beautiful marks on the sub, they are softer on the skin, and usually easier to slide, knot and handle.
The braided rope could have no core, in which case it is called a “hollow braid”. It can also be solid, braided for all the rope thickness. Solid braid is firm, round and tightly woven. Finally, it could be braid over an also braided core, which is called “braid on braid”, very strong and expensive.
There are other types of “ropes”, some of them found easily, as those that are made of a single strand of plastic, or plastic coated rope, that are sold everywhere for clotheslines. They are of no use in our games, because they are too thin and not strong enough.
The original, historical ropes were made with twisted natural fibers. Even when they look good over the skin, they usually feel rough and hard. Hemp and jute are commonly used for bondage.
- Cotton, for us the best of the natural ropes is in a different category form the other natural fibers. It is the only one that is not rough on the skin. It comes twisted and after washing, it becomes soft. I like the soft feeling of cotton, especially if the bondage will be long-term. The problem with cotton is that it is not as strong, so it should not be used for suspension, and that is hard to find nowadays.
- Hemp, a fiber from the cannabis plant, is the typical rope on the old sailing ships and for Japanese bondage. They fibers are softer than the manila ones and do not leave splinters. Repeated washing softens it. Anyway, it will produce rope burns if rubbed on the skin. The subject will have to stay quiet, because struggling against a hemp rope will chafe the skin. "Whipcord" is made of hemp fibers.
- Jute is made from a soft fiber extracted form the inside of the bark of some East Indian plants of the linden family. It is good for bondage, because it is not so rough, and it is also commonly used for bondage in Japan. It has the same abrasive conditions as hemp.
- Manila is made from the leaf stems of the abaca plant, a member of the banana family. The fibers are hard, and this kind of rope is not usually used for bondage because the fibers can break and leave splinters on the skin.
- Sisal, from plants of the agave family, is a modern equivalent to hemp. It is also a hard fiber, with the same problems as manila, but it is not so strong.
- Coir, made form the outer fibers of the coconut husks, is rough and hard. It is the rope used to made coconut mats. It has no use for us, just for you to know.
As for the synthetic materials,
- Nylon, that comes twisted or braided, has most of the feeling of cotton. It is silky, but the knots can slide a little
more easily than in the natural fibers. Is the most used for almost all everyday uses, including bondage, if you are not a traditionalist. It is elastic, stretches a lot, and can absorb sudden loads. The braided versions can be found in two-color combinations.
- Forget polypropylene ropes, the ones used, for instance, for the water-skiing rope. It is hard, rough, and unsuitable. You will find them everywhere; but just touching it, you will know that it is not fit for our games.
- Rayon, used mainly in sailboats, has all the advantages of nylon for our purposes, only it is more expensive.
- Dacron (polyester) is similar to nylon, even if it is not as strong or elastic as it.
They are sold in craft
stores for decorative purposes. They come in matching or contrasting colors that can be esthetically
pleasant. . We have some braided Dacron rope, and we like it as we like cotton.
- Kevlar (stronger then steel, used on bulletproof vests), usually with a Dacron braid, is too expensive for our purposes
- Parachute cord, braided over a monofilament core, is soft and strong, but it is too thin for most uses.
- Finally, climbing rope, made of exotic materials, is the strongest; only it is expensive, and too thick for binding somebody.
The ones commonly used for bondage are hemp and yute, among the natural fiber ones, and, the most frequently used, nylon among the synthetic. We like cotton and Dacron, not so easy to find.
There are several matters to consider when selecting the rope you will use for bondage:
- Comfort. If you want your sub to be comfortable, go for the nylon, dacron or cotton ropes. If you prefer a rougher feeling on the skin, go for hemp or jute.
- The purpose of the bondage. If it is just for restraining, and the actual stimulation will be from a flogging or any other playing, choose the softer ones. If the bondage is the stimulation in itself, go for the rougher ones.
- Another is aesthetics. If you like the traditional look when your sub is bound, go for natural fibers. If you like the spiral markings on the skin, go for twisted ropes. Twisted cotton and nylon leave marks, but not as much as the natural fibers.
- There could be a health consideration also. Natural fiber could produce allergy in sensitive people. You could test by tying loosely a piece of rope around one of your subs limbs, and controlling the results. If there is reddening, swelling or itching, don’t use that type of rope.
Rev: 04/26/05; 10/12/05