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Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Art of Sex - Shibari/Kinbaku

The Art of Sex - Shibari/Kinbaku
Is there an art to sex? I should think so considering it takes time, maturity, and experimentation to assimilate how your own body functions, to find your pleasure boundaries, and establish what your likes and dislikes are. It's similar to raising a child; none of us are born with a handbook. And, for some, sex is literally an art form, which has become prevalent in mediums such as erotic photography and painting; even erotic novels have been classified as art. What about bondage? I know, I know, it may sound crazy, but many people find bondage visually stimulating. One country that seems to have mastered the art of bondage is Japan.
Japanese bondage, Kinbaku, which means 'tight binding' (the art of erotic bondage), or Shibari, which means 'to bind', is a centuries old technique of knotting rope originally used by the local police and Samurai between 1400 to 1700 as a form of imprisonment. The Samurai found that rope provided many usages from binding a prisoner to tethering a horse, and given that jails didn't exist, they needed a way to immobilize their captives. They used silk rope on straw dummies during practice, and hemp rope when dealing with the public.
The ancient Samurai lived by a type of honor system, training in 'hojojutsu', the Japanese martial art of restraint with a cord or rope, and they were rated on how well they took care of their prisoners. The Samuari's status and honor depended on the technique used to tie the incarcerated. Hojojutsu dictated four basic rules: never allow the prisoner to slip their bonds, never cause any mental or physical injury, never allow others to see the techniques, and the end result must be beautiful visually.
During the Edo period from 1600 to 1868 an association was established between Shibari and four colours, which were black, white, red and blue. These colours symbolized the seasons, and the four guardians of the four compass directions (celestial emblems of the Chinese Emperor) otherwise known as the black tortoise (black warrior), white tiger (kirin), red bird (phoenix), and blue dragon. The Samuari changed the colour of their rope to match the season, and their prisoners faced the direction to coincide with the rope.
The rope colouring seems to stem from Japanese Buddhism, though I can't be certain because I haven't had the time to research any further. But if you're interested I've added a link that provides information on Asian religion and the celestial emblems.
Anyway, getting back to Shibari, this rope binding technique evolved at the beginning of the 19th century, and took on a more sexual connotation by becoming Kinbaku, 'the art of erotic bondage'. Which has spawned other avenues of visual eroticism like Shibari Fetish Photography. The emphasis of this art form is not placed on the binding but how the rope is actually bound around the body. Kinbaku is a real discipline, no different from practicing a marital art. It takes the heart, spirit and mind, or 'kokoro' in Japanese, and performed as a ceremony. The texture and rigidity of the rope creates a distinctive contrast between the smooth skin and natural curves of the body, and the hard edge accentuates the softness and shape, all of which are beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. And depending where the rope is stretched and knotted it will apply pressure on the erogenous zones, granting added pleasure. And this stems from combining the bondage aspect with Shiatsu (Japanese massage). The whole idea of positioning knots to stimulate pressure points, or the erogenous zones, on the body was derived from Shiatsu. In some ways Kinbaku is akin to western culture BDSM, though also entirely different.
So, there you have it! Shibari is part martial art and sacred, as Kinbaku is part Shibari and Shiatsu. Oh how I love the Japanese and their convoluted traditions! LOL Have a great weekend, everyone!
Happy Yaoi Hunting!
~Blak Rayne


  1. Loved your descriptions. The color coding of ropes, etc. has a basis in Shinto as well as Buddhism (and a trace of Hinduism, as well). All 4 colors are symbolic of different types of life.
    The most intriguing part of the shibari practice as it relates to kinbaku is that it is also a meditation in art. For the nawashi (master) and his subject, the entire session or meditation is a mutual communion. That it has sexual connotations and the sub is rewarded by the nawashi afterward is the high point. For a complete view of a kinbaku session, I hope all of you will read my newest from EC, TIE ME DOWN!!!

    1. Thank you, Cerise! And thank you for the information. I must confess I'm not into bondage of any kind, but I am into the Japanese culture. And anything they do, they seem to master to a perfect extreme. So, I find shibari and kinbaku interesting.

  2. I am thoroughly impressed with the fount of information provided in this blog post. I had no idea about the color coding of the ropes. It was also very interesting to learn how the knots can be placed at strategic pressure points and erogenous zones.

    For a variety of uninformed reasons, I've always thought the erotic aspect of Shibari and/or Kinbaku was based entirely on the submissive's state of mind. This post has opened my mind to many other possibilities and now I'm going to do some research of my own.

    Cerise Deland, I will take a look for your book - Tie Me Down.

    1. Thank you, Benjamin! I'm happy that I was able to pass on the information.:)

  3. Great post :) I like Shibari a lot, it's always been my most favorite thing Sir does with me... I love the way how it manages to get me deep into subspace in a complete different way than it happens when Sir is using the whip or the flogger. It's more a slinding/floating feeling combined with the intense feeling of safety the rope provides.

    I find the colour code very intersting, I'll have to research on that!