I'm not good at tying knots around a beautiful woman.
December 28, 2008 7:14 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend loves being tied up. Unfortunately, I never was a boy scout and suck at tying knots. (nsfw)

I've got this book and lots of rope, but I'm still fumbling around and slow tying her up after several months. Sure, the anticipation can be great, but I'd love to get more dextrous with the rope.

Particularly, many of the bindings require very long stretches of rope, and I'm not quite sure how to manage it. It seems like I spend most of my time pulling the yards of rope on the loose ends through the knot. Push the rope under, yank the rest through for a minute or two. Should I be rolling the rope around my hand somehow, so I can push it through the knot all at once?

Do you experienced ropers have any tips or resources? Any creative ways to tie her up? How to drive her wild during the long setup time?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite


If it is the elaborate tie-downs that she likes, I don't think that speeding things up is the right goal. (However, do be very careful when pulling the slack rope through, because it's really easy to give someone nasty rope burns at that moment. And learning when to keep the rope looped up and when to let it drop adds efficiency and smoothness.) Part of what makes the elaborate arrangements fun is the slow, ritualistic nature of the process. But for that to work, you need to set the stage, as it were, to keep her in the right frame of mind. Think music, lighting, etc. Everyone's different, but you will probably either want to talk her through each step, or maintain a serious silence, whatever works for her.

Or, if the goal is to just get her strapped down and helpless, then you don't need to be doing such elaborate arrangements. You just need to know some very basic wrist and ankle ties, of a few varieties -- each limb tied out separately; wrist to wrist/ankle to ankle; wrists to ankles; etc. Shorter lengths of rope help for this, as does practicing, both on a chair leg or other rounded object, and on your own ankle to get a sense of tightness.
posted by Forktine at 7:33 PM on December 28, 2008

These knotless tie down doodads will at least minimize the amount of knots you have to tie, give you some fun anchor points, and still let her feel rope on her skin.

As an Eagle Scout I have to suggest practicing knots by tying around your thigh while you're sitting around. Easiest way to practice while sitting on your duff.
posted by piedmont at 7:48 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I was recently at a bondage demo and the man demonstrating had many sections of rope in many different lengths. Using one long one isn't a great way to go. I'd suggest taking classes if you can (most large cities will have something).
posted by chairface at 8:13 PM on December 28, 2008

Animated Knots.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:33 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't have a lot (any?) experience tying people up in bed....but, I do have a lot of experience tying them up for climbing. Off the top of my head, I would use clove hitches instead of knots, these are super fast to make...though these may tighten themselves depending upon the material that you use. It might be worth trying, since clove hitches are made using any section of the rope (ie. you don't use the ends at all). You just make two different loops, slide one on top of the other...then I would slide this over an appendage. The drawing at the top of the clove hitch section on this page show what I mean.
posted by fieldtrip at 8:38 PM on December 28, 2008

Argh. These knotless tie down doodads
posted by piedmont at 8:44 PM on December 28, 2008

It's not rope at all, but I have to second carabiners.

I picked up a dozen small ones a few years ago and I don't know why everyone doesn't use them. They're perfect for quick snap-together bondage. Unless there is a rope-specific fetish involved (i.e. rope burns, hemp smell, whatever) they're much better than rope, because:

(1) you can snap together whatever your 'regular' setup is in a few seconds
(2) you can change from one restraint position to another in seconds
(3) they snap very easily to restraint points, like the O-rings and D-rings in collars, arm binders, leg spreaders... pretty much everything.
(4) Screw a couple of O-ring screws into your walls, ceiling joists, bedposts, whatever... and you have fifteen thousand new combinations.
(5) They're innocuous and non-embarrassing to travel with. Ten of them jangling together looks like nothing more sinister than a keychain.

Get black or stainless steel and they even look good with your high-fashion leatherwear. :)
posted by rokusan at 8:50 PM on December 28, 2008

I find that the most helpful thing, as chairface suggests, is to have all of my rope cut up into multiple pieces of appropriate lengths.

I think my bag currently contains 2x30ft, 4x10ft, 4x6ft. The six-footers are perfect for binding arms and legs to one another (handcuff style). The ten-footers are for tying legs and arms to other things. The thirty-footers are for binding tits, or tying nooses, or whatever else it is that I need a long piece for.

The exception for this rule is if you're doing shibari, which does require longass single stretches of rope for authenticity. In that case, I suggest you appropriate a more Japanese mindset: the journey, and not the destination, is really the point. A nice shibari tie-up generally takes me at least an hour, if not four. It's definitely all about keeping your girl in the mood.

However, even there, you can cheat easily by cutting up your rope into two or three pieces. You might use one piece to bind the tits and arms; another piece to bind the pussy and legs; and one last piece to tie those together so that the sub can't move.

Also, don't worry about your knotting skills. I use a grand total of about four knots on a regular basis. Half hitch; lark's head; square knot; bowline/sheet bend (which are essentially the same). Anything else is flair.
posted by Netzapper at 9:07 PM on December 28, 2008

Off the top of my head, I would use clove hitches instead of knots, these are super fast to make...though these may tighten themselves depending upon the material that you use.

For both safety and comfort, please don't do this. Reserve the clove hitches for tying the free ends to the bed posts -- tie body parts in ways that a) absolutely won't tighten down, and b) provide a wide and comfortable surface to pull against.

Carabiners are great... but you still need to safely connect to a wrist, which leaves you with rope, cuffs, and all sorts of options like industrial velcro. The advantage of rope is that it is adaptable -- the same piece of rope can tie a wrist, wrap around a waist, or go over a door frame. Most other items (eg wrist cuffs) are single-purpose, and are sometimes surprisingly clumsy to use.

And again, if the goal is the elaborate and ritualistic style of bondage, special devices designed to avoid having to tie knots is probably not the ideal solution.
posted by Forktine at 9:12 PM on December 28, 2008

"Since we introduced Heavy-Duty Straps to river runners 30 years ago, they've been used for virtually every hold-down application imaginable..." Mm-hmmm!
posted by ottereroticist at 12:19 AM on December 29, 2008

Yep, clove hitches are definitely a no~no. They are very easy, but any knot that can change and tighten is unsexy at least, and dangerous at worst. Rope work is fun and if you scout around for pix, maybe even together with your sweetie, you'll find plenty of simple, relatively quick binds around neck, breasts, arms, waist, crotch. I would also suggest bondage tape. You can wrap body parts and create beautiful looks and feels for your partner. It's available from stockroom.com or other fine sex stores. Other cheap and fun options are available at hardware stores. Carabiners have been mentioned, but simple snaps, like on dog leashes, either single or double~ended, and bits of chain of various weights can be used. Chain has a feel like nothing else, and the cold sensation when initially used can be stimulating. Call me and I'll come over and assist you LOL. Good luck!
posted by davoid at 7:48 AM on December 29, 2008

If it doesn't actually have to be an old-fashioned rope knot, you can get restraints that will be more comfortable (less chafe) for her at any adult shop.
posted by mkultra at 8:22 AM on December 29, 2008

Does it have to be rope? My husband loves bondage; I find tying him up with long lengths of rope to be tedious and boring. So, I prefer to use the following instead: vet wrap, saran wrap, duct tape (not directly on skin), leather cuffs, belts, nylon straps, rubber straps, and truck tie-downs. Except for leather cuffs, all of this stuff is cheap and easy to find.

If you're at all handy with a drill and a saw, we've built two racks that make tying him up a cinch: it's literally as easy as lacing your boots, he can't possibly get out without assistance, and it's easy to release him when I want to. If you want pictures, email me.
posted by desjardins at 12:02 PM on December 29, 2008

Oh, as for your second question about driving her wild during setup: nipple clamps (with the occasional tug), vibrator, whispering in her ear, pulling her hair, fingering her, kissing, blindfolding her, gagging her, having her listen to music through headphones, or whatever else floats her/your boat. It depends what you're trying to achieve: do you want her relaxed and spacey? submissive? fearful of what comes next? sexually frustrated? in pain?
posted by desjardins at 12:10 PM on December 29, 2008

Vetwrap? You mean in all the colors?

desjardins, you made my day. Let's just hope none of the kids at the barn ask me to explain why I'm giggling insanely at the sight of vetwrap...
posted by Lesser Shrew at 12:25 PM on December 29, 2008

Lesser Shrew, we went to Farm & Fleet yesterday to pick up a dozen rolls. We didn't buy anything else. From our style of dress and choice of vehicle, it's pretty clear that we're not farmers. I always wonder what the cashier thinks. Fortunately, you can buy it online.

Other farm implements, like riding crops, work well for impact play. One of my most embarrassing moments is when the cashier had to call for a price check on a pig slapper.

Oh, and rope from Home Depot works just as well as anything you'd buy from a BDSM site/store, and it's a lot cheaper - unless you're really attached to the pretty colors. In which case you can dye it yourself.
posted by desjardins at 1:11 PM on December 29, 2008

These are fun, effective, and safe.
posted by angiep at 8:17 PM on December 29, 2008

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