Rope and Restraint Play: An Introduction

I remember the first time my partner and I went shopping for rope at our local adult store. A kindly-looking woman my mother’s age showed us a fine selection of ropes, leathers, and tape and then, laughing, said, “That’ll make sure her cute ass can’t escape!”


I could tell it was gonna be awesome.

It was a kink we’d wanted to explore after experimenting a little with scarves and bedposts. We settled on some simple nylon rope and to this day, this bundle of rope is one of our favorite toys. Here are some tips and tricks for experimenting with rope and restraint play with your partner!


Once, I was tied in a very sexy position. But this position had me face-down on the bed, which was extremely uncomfortable. The sexiness of the position soon wore off when my neck began to ache from trying to breathe the way that I was laying.

“This isn’t fun anymore,” I thought to myself. I told my partner, who quickly un-did the knots that bound me and saw to my mental care by asking me if I was alright, if there was anything I needed, and snuggling me.

Like with other forms of BDSM, rope and restraint play needs to involve a special degree of communication. Perhaps that’s what makes it more intimate than even regular sexual encounters. When you are restrained, you are at someone’s mercy. You need to trust them completely.

Many couples who use restraint play employ a safe word to let their partner know when things get too uncomfortable or too real. Others use auto-release handcuffs or silk ties so that they can break themselves free if need be. What you decide to do depends on your level of trust with your partner, and also on your other safety agreements.

For the safest play, make sure to discuss everything beforehand. Come up with a game plan, make sure you’re very clear with your partner about what you want, what you don’t want, and what positively, absolutely cannot happen (and what absolutely, positively MUST happen too). Just talking about it can get you riled up and ready to go and it’ll make sure there aren’t any unpleasant surprises.

Safety rules:

  • Keep a safety kit on hand at all times! This kit should have safety scissors (also called EMT sheers) or some other blunted cutting instrument that can’t hurt the bottom if it’s slipped under the ropes.


  • Never tie around the neck. It is an accident waiting to happen. Experienced tops may feel comfortable doing this, so make sure you’re on the same page before you begin playing.
  • If doing suspension play of any kind, have an emergency plan in place. It may be far more unsafe to immediately cut someone free and have them fall then to take a minute to carefully cut them down.
  • Never leave someone who’s tied up alone.
  • Never try to tie yourself up alone.
  • Don’t do it while intoxicated.
  • Never tie on joints. Wrists, knees, elbows, and ankles need to be avoided, sexy though they may seem. Instead, tie a couple inches in the other direction. Here’s a handy chart:
  • bondageanatomy

    Image via


For beginners to the world of restraint play, the Vanilla Bondage Kit is a great place to start. It has some simple but attractive silk ties, as well as a blindfold. That, or something like our Furry Handcuffs.


Advanced players in the restraint game may prefer something like our Hog Tie Kit.


No matter what restraints you’re using, remember, it’s not just about having sex while tied up or tied down.  It’s about playing, about trust, and experimentation. Try playing with temperature by gently exposing your partner to colder or warmer temperatures (if they’re comfortable with that). Or try some pain-based BDSM. A clitoral vibe is a gentler way to spice things up, or any of these others spicy couples toys.



Kinbaku is a very advanced form of rope play that couple art with restraint play. It comes from a form of imprisonment founded in Japan. The goal was to imprison enemies in a way that was not invasive, but also beautiful. It gave rise to an entirely new art form.


A very SFW Shibari photo via Raphael Kluzniok, The Chronicle

Shibari, on the other hand, is considered to be done for purely aesthetic purposes, not sexual. Although calling the sexual form of this type of play by either name is considered alright within the community. Check out this Pinterest collection of Shibari/Kinbaku photos!

Both forms adhere to strict rules of aestheticism and beauty. It’s not just about being tied up, but it’s about the practice, or the road to being tied up. This can be sensual not only in the way that it allows one partner to share their body with another, but also because of the care, power, and preparation that goes into a successful demonstration.

Check out this awesome and easy-to-use guide to many Kinbaku poses!

5 thoughts on “Rope and Restraint Play: An Introduction

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