A Year in Rope

At the beginning of 2022, I was in a bad way. It became impossible to avoid certain truths as my body refused to be numb any longer. Suddenly, I was drowning in emotions—grief, shame, remorse, plus my usual dose of melancholy.

In the midst of all this darkness, something that felt unsurvivable at the time, I found refuge in rope. Shibari taught me that being bound is a way of freeing oneself and words cannot express how grateful I am for that lesson.

Rope blanket—surprisingly, the sensation of a bunch of untied rope all over my body was similar to that of a weighted blanket.

Rope was a huge part of my growth this year. Initially I used it to force myself out of the house: go learn something new and socialize, you can cry later.

By spring, it propelled me so far out of my comfort zone that I was flying across the world to meet my favorite Shibari artist and surrender to her rope.

Wanderlust—a little tied up in Notting Hill on my birthday.

Over the summer, I attended more rope classes and made more rope acquaintances. I tied and I was tied, nothing too crazy though, nothing that compared to the fire I felt in Lust at First Tie.

In the fall, I felt myself slacking so I started the Self-tie Tuesday series to motivate myself to tie at least once a week.

Flexibility—contorting and stretching my body in new ways for rope actually led to me practicing yoga more frequently.

Looking ahead, I hope to grow more with rope in 2023.

I look forward to the day when I can tie knots with my eyes closed because I know them so well. I look forward to the day when I can tie something as delicate as a rose.

Dreamer—the featured image of this post is by Hajime Kinoko, a Shibari artist and master whose work is otherworldly. 2023 will bring me closer to working with him, whether as a student or subject.

When I tell people I’m into Shibari, after asking what it is, most assume that means I’m having outrageously kinky bondage sex all the time. That’s a great story, and unless I care about their opinion, I usually don’t correct them. But between you and me, Dear Reader, I’ve never had a sexual experience that included rope.

Sacred silence—there’s a sensual element to rope, yes, but it was learning about the psychological benefits that stirred me to action.

It’s largely been therapeutic for me, much like exercise can be therapeutic. Similar to the runners high, there’s a state of euphoric bliss, a sacred silence that accompanies rope. When your body allows it, when it feels safe to do so, you slip into this softer state of being, this oneness with body and self, this other type of aliveness—rope drunk is what they call it.

As you can imagine, tying can be quite the intimate act as it requires a great deal of trust while fostering closeness and connection. Hopefully I’m lucky enough to share that with someone next year so we can, you know, have outrageously kinky bondage sex all the time.

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