Shibari. Kinbaku. Rope. Bondage.
Shibari originated from Hojo-jutsu, a method of restraining captives and a form of torture, before morphing into the erotic bondage Kinbaku – which literally translates to “the beauty of tight binding”.
Central to the art is creating patterns that contrast and complement the natural curves of the (traditionally female) body. The beauty lies in juxtaposition: bare skin against rough rope, strength against exposure, a sense of calm against the knife-edge of risk. More than eroticism, gender and sexual representation is the focus on connection, art, and trust intertwined with the delicate rules of submission and dominance – how much to take, how much to give.
Every Tuesday night in Sydney’s Inner West, rope tops and bottoms gather under the blanket of night as they enter the doors of Sanctuary.
Ambient lights filling the space with soft music and a heavy beat. Half naked torsos shining under the lights, suspended mid air. Tops begin to uncoil their rope, while bunnies stretch themselves in yoga poses, no doubt preparing their bodies to contort.
Each bottom somehow perfectly fitting to their top, matching in character and understanding. The top begins to bind the bottom in rope. A chest harness, hip harness or TK, enabling the suspension to be safe.
Men, muscular, tattooed, and chiseled, tying pretty girls. Sweet women, tying rough men. Feminine women, tying other feminine women, Men, tying other men.
It’s certainly sexual, intimate, and loving. But there’s not a hint of anyone doing anything unseemly.
The connection and intimacy in rope seems far greater than a sexual kind.
Some pairs gentle, others hard. An entire range of emotions that become as flexible as the material itself. An ascetic experience