Misconceptions About Shibari

About Shibari

There are plenty of misconceptions about shibari, as you can already tell from our entry on its myths. In the following paragraphs we will further the examples on how people assume certain characteristics of this practice. The reason to do so is for you to be as well-versed in this universe as possible so you can enjoy it correctly and with no additional risks.

Misconceptions About Shibari: Kinkabu

The first misconception about shibari we will offer today is that people think the Japanese call it kinbaku. This does not mean that shibari is the wrong term for Japanese rope bondage. The thing is that shibari is a general term that means “to tie.” In contrast, kinbaku is a more specific word. If we break it down, “kin” means “tight” and “baku” means “restraint.” From this, you can see it involves intricate knots for binding and suspending people for erotic or artistic purposes.

Despite this specificity, shibari has become more common internationally. The reason the practice has spread around the world. Thus, it has adapted for non-Japanese audiences and practitioners.

The Origin of Kinbaku

In Japan, locals prefer “kinbaku,” although they know what you are referring to if you mention shibari. Many think shibari was a sacred and ancient art that every Japanese person practices in secret—but of course this is not the case. The truth about kinbaku is that it has its roots in a practice called hojojutsu. Law enforcers used hojojustsu to bind prisoners in Japan hundreds of years ago. Therefore, it was a punishment, a torture, or a means for transporting prisoners.

Misconceptions About Shibari: the Danger

In opposition to its origin, modern kinbaku, or shibari, is for pleasure or artistic purposes and not for punishment. So here comes another misconception: that shibari is dangerous. Although it does look dangerous, if you practice correctly it is totally harmless.

As mentioned before, practicing shibary involves many risks. For example, there isnerve damage or suffocation if the rope is too tight. However, there are a lot of established safety measures during a shibari scene. These measures involve knowledge, experience, and a deep understanding of human anatomy.

Misconceptions About Shibari: the Madness Claim

Last but not least, here comes another very common misconception about shibari. People think that participants in shibari are demented or psychotic. More disturbingly, they assume that shibari lovers have some sort of trauma from which the desire for pain stems. I do not think we can judge people as demented or psychotic for practicing Shibari or any other BDSM form. Some people are not into shibari just for sex, but for the artistic experience itself.

Of course this misconception originates in the fact that alleged experts deemed atypical sex as a form of perversion. It is not right to think that people who practice shibari have some childhood trauma or a mental problem. The fact is not everyone fits the stereotypical desire (which is heterosexual and for reproduction purposes only). Shibari practitioners come in all shapes and styles. And its enjoyment has nothing to do with looks or with a specific kind of person. You will never be able to catalogue into a single figure what “kind” of people might participate in shibari.

Conclusion

So remember: shibari is a truly safe and rewarding pastime when done right. People in Japan call kinbaku, but only because it emerged from hojojutso, a practice for punishment. Nowadays, however, shibari is for pleasure and it is for everyone to enjoy!

Image: Helene Veilleux

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