Restraint and Domination

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The Oxford Dictionary defines “restraint” as “keeping someone under control or within limits”. As you can deduct, it is obvious from the start that there is a strong relation between restraint and domination. However, strong doesn’t mean simple. Read the article and join us. We will explore the dynamic among restraint as the essence of Shibari, and domination as its most visible result.

The simple idea is that restraint equals domination. Consequently, the rigger is totally dominant, and the bottom is totally submissive. Things are not so simple, however. While it is true the most evident form of domination is tying someone as you wish, you should also consider that invisible bonds might be as strong, if not stronger, than rope.

Apparently, the bottom is at the will of the top. However, it is also true that, because of their vulnerability, the bottom demands the complete attention and care of the bottom. That is, in psychological terms, it is the bottom that dominates the top. This is due to the fact that the bottom’s welfare is totally in hands of the top.

So, while physical domination lies in the top; psychological domination resides in the bottom. Things get even more interesting. It is up to the previous power dynamic among participants to reinforce or contradict this dynamic. Any true practitioner knows that a bottom can be the dominant part in a relationship. In that case, even if they are the person tied, they can comfortably dominate the whole scene. On the other hand, if the bottom is of the obedient, passive kind, such as a “slave”, domination will rely on the rigger.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to break your head studying the details of the power dynamic of your scenes. It does mean, however, that Shibari is more complex and more interesting than a “weird game with ropes”, as some non-kink people still perceive it.

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