Velvet has a running joke that despite the amount of bondage I do, I still can’t tie my own shoelaces. It may not be entirely accurate, but it does make the point that you don’t have to know much in the way of knots to be effective at bondage. In fact, 99% of the time, you really only need to know one knot.
It has several technical names and may be familiar to people who ride horses or go rock climbing, since it’s sometimes used as a hitch-knot. However, when I first learned it, it was just called ‘the bondage knot’ and that’s good enough for me.
It’s based on the use of repeated loops, and it has one serious advantage for bondage work – done properly, it will neither loosen nor tighten up. Your sub remains secure, but at the same time the use of this knot avoids one of the main ways in which hands and feet can end up with their circulation cut off.
You can use the knot in almost all situations. The description below is based on one wrist, but with slight modifications it can be used on two wrists together, or a torso, as a tether around some suitable fixed point, etc.
If I’m using this to tie one wrist – for example so I can tie the wrist to a bedpost – I tend to use about three metres (ten feet) of rope. It’s always surprising how much rope you end up using once you start tying someone, and out of a three-metre lenth around one metre will be taken up in the tie itself and there will be two one-metre lengths left over you can use to secure the wrist to the bed, chair, rafter or whatever…
1. Find the mid-point of the rope, and double the rope. A lot of people, incidentally, make some kind of mark on the rope at the mid-point because almost all bondage relies on having the rope doubled. This is especially true of ‘Japanese’ bondage, or shibari (how much Japanese bondage is actually Japanese in origin is a whole other question and I may post about this some other time!). Place the mid-point on the wrist and bring both ends all the way – the same way – around the wrist and pull them through the loop. This gives you a basic hitch called a lark’s head (Figure 1).
2. Now bring the two strands back around the wrist the way they came. There’s a loop of doubled rope formed where the two strands fed around the centre of the rope, and you put a loop of the strands through that (Figure 2).
3. Pull the ropes through about 6 inches/15 cm – and put another loop through the one you just made (Figure 3).
4. Finally, pull the whole remaining length of the rope through that last loop, and snug the knot down against the wrist (Figure 4).
If you’ve done all that properly you should have one wrist, four strands of rope around it, one biggish knot made of repeated loops and two ends that feed out of the knot from the same place. And if you give it a good tug, you should find it doesn’t tighten up.
I normally arrange the knot so it’s at the front of the wrist and the person who’s tied can close their fingers around the knot, which give them something to hang onto. Unless they have double-jointed fingers they won’t have the purchase on the rope to pull the loops loose.
If you’re tying two wrists together, the process is very slightly different. You tie the same knot, but around both wrists thather than just one, and do it loosely because your next move is to repeat the procedure on the loop of rope itself, between the wrists. Take the two ropes and feed a loop between them, feed a loop of the rope that’s left into the ‘tongue’ that sticks out, loop through that loop, the rest of the rope all the way through that. You should end up with the first set of loops around the wrists and the second set, between the wrists, cinching the first set tight.
While I’ve described this knot as if it’s going around a wrist, you can use it in most situations. The same knot – though obviously using rather more rope – is the basis of a tie that can go around the body. Once you know the knot, you’ll find plenty of ways you can use it.
And you should also find that once you pull the ends back through the last loop you made, the whole knot should unravel all the way back to the original lark’s head with one pull. This means it’s quick to get off when it needs to come off in a hurry.
First, keep the knots off the wrist pulse and base of the thumb, because pressure there will make the hands numb quite quickly.
Second, do a ‘pinky test’. If you can’t slide your little finger underneath the ropes, they’re too tight (though obviously if you can get much more than that underneath the rope your captive is going to pull free quite quickly).
Third, have scissors handy. In an emergency, it’s better to lose a few pounds’ or dollars’ worth of rope than have someone struggling with permanent nerve damage. I don’t know anyone who does bondage who doesn’t have scissors in their kit bag, and most pharmacies sell useful bandage scissors with sharp blades and blunt ends.
Fourth, check for circulation every 5-10 minutes. There are several ways to do this. Unless you’ve gagged someone they can probably tell you they’re losing feeling in their hands. Other tests include: put a finger in the captive’s hand and ask them if they can grip it (if they can’t, they need out); squeeze the end of a finger, which should go white, and make sure colour returns when you take the pressure off; stroke the inside of their thumb and ask if they can feel it. If you have someone’s hands above their head do this rigorously because by elevating their hands you’re reducing the blood supply to start with, and pressure on the ropes will reduce blood supply further. And while people may get pins and needles as circulation returns when they’re released from bondage, a feeling of pins and needles while tied up is a clear indicator of pressure on nerves. Release them straight away!
By way of a disclaimer, I should point out that like most things in life, your knot-work will improve with practice. I regularly use this knot on one wrist, invite people to suspend my full body weight on that one wrist, and then show them that (a) it hasn’t tightened and (b) I have no bruising. However, telling you how to do a knot doesn’t mean I have any control over how you use it and if you have (or cause!) any problems I’m not going to take any responsibility for them. There are no substitutes for knowing your sub, being aware of any medical or other problems that may be an issue for bondage, and using a modicum of common sense…
But that said – have fun!
Text by Fulani. Illustrations courtesy of SintheticNation. Text and pics first appeared in a now-defunct fetish magazine, Midlands Fetish Scene, several years ago.
If you found this item useful or interesting, you may also like the following stories by Fulani which include some technical descriptions of bondage ties:
Sex, art and aromatherapy, by Fulani. Xcite Books
‘Zen and the Art of Bondage’, by Fulani, in the Cocktales: Kiss in the Dark collection. Xcite Books