Lance Hermes Top 10 Books about Rope Bondage

Rope bondage has been always part of BDSM.  During the 1950s, photos of Betti Page were all the rage.  However, we have learned a lot since then. In many ways, it is one of the most technically demanding of areas of BDSM play.  It is also an area where more advanced technical knowledge can lead to better play.  This page only focuses on those books available in English.

  1. Jay Wiseman’s The Erotic Bondage Handbook  – This is the seminal book on rope bondage in the BDSM context.  Written in 2000, it set the stage for a lot what was to follow as.  In fact, this book did a lot to raise general awareness in the community about the complexity of rope bondage.  It is more than just a how to do specific ties but helps to give some sort of theoretical understanding of western style knots, safety, and technique.  It is a book that will be read more than once during a BDSM career, as simple and important introductory material is intermixed with advanced material that will not be immediately understood on a first reading.
  2. Lee Harington’s Shibari you Can Use – This is a perfect beginners book.  It conveys a sense of fun and it is easy to read.  It is not a surprise given that he is one of the community’s best educators.  Make a point of attending one of his workshops if possible.  By the end of the book, you will have a good start in rope bondage.
  3. Midori’s The Seductive Are of Japanese Bondage is extremely popular.  This book is lushly produced with beautiful photography.  This book, released in 2001, introduced the beauty of the Japaneese rope bondage to Western audiences. This books serves as a very good introductory book for many.  Midori’s rope weekends have helped many.
  4. Doug Kent’s Complete Shibari, Volume 1, Land – This book is more pictures than words.  You get a lot of step by step coaching in many of the Shibari knots.  This is very much an engineers approach to a problem, where a complex problem is broken down into easy steps.  It is a good way to work towards a solid foundation in Shibari fundamentals.  Still it is not the only book that you will ever own, but it will make a real contribution towards your progress.
  5. Doug Kent’s Complete Shibari Volume 2, Sky – There is some controversy about suspension and whether it is safe to learn from a book.  The book takes a neutral stand.  Nevertheless, it will contribute, regardless of your learning strategy, to the eventual goal of doing rope suspension.  This book is a companion volume to Volume 1, so it is not recommended that an advanced rope expert skip Volume 1 and go to Volume 2.  Personally, I would recommend this book be used as a supplement towards the goal of suspension bondage.
  6. Knotty Boy’s Back on the Ropes – This is their second book.  It in many ways improves on the first book, and stands on its own. It is larger and the production is more lush with color photographs rather than black and white.  This book is targeted at beginners, and there is a general consensus that the picture by picture descriptions are among the best that you can get.
  7. Knotty Boy’s Showing You the Ropes – Is the first volume of this two volume set.  It is to some extent surplanted by their second book, although there are many ties in this book that are not in the second.  Most people end up getting both.
  8. Master K’s The Beauty of Kinbaku  – This book is about rope bondage but it is not a how to book.  The contribution of this book is that it helps understand what it is that makes the rope bondage coming out of Japan so special.  There is a lot of the history and feel about why people do rope bondage.  The extensive gallery will give you a lot of ideas.  Plus a detailed exposition in back on TK chest harness is very useful.  This book is not targeted on beginners, but those at an intermediate level and up.
  9. Ariso Go’s KINBAKU Mind and Techniques 1 – The organization of the two books may be confusing to some as Volume 1 actually goes into suspension and Volume 2 go into the floor work.  In both cases the books are bilingual in both Japanese and English.  The books contain pictures giving the step by step process for the ties, although the production values are not up to Doug Kent or the Knotty Boys.  These books are unique as they are the only books written by a true Japanese Rope Master available in English. It is evident that Ariso has lived this lifestyle for decades, and learned from people who had been doing it all their lives as well.  The suspension techniques given in this book are now what would be considered mainstream.  This book compliments Doug Kent’s Sky, as you will see the same basic ties from different perspectives.
  10. Ariso Go’s KINBAKU Mind and Techniques 2 – This is the actual introductory book on floor work.  The level is very uneven with advanced material intermixed with introductory material.  The net impact is that the book is not a good first choice for beginners but it is a must on the bookshelves of someone intermediate and above.  There are many very valuable ties, such as the Zenpou Takate Shibari, which is a chest harness with the arms in front, thus avoiding shoulder problems.  Ariso Go’s books are not available from North American sites but must be ordered from his web site in Japan. Care should be taken to order the format appropriate to your country if you get the DVD.

 

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