When you think about shibari, “dominant” and “submissive” are two of the words that might come to your mind. And it is true: shibari is about domination and submission energy. In that domination, the person tied consents to submit to the experience.
In brief, the meaning of dominance and submission is a set of behaviors and rituals. These involve the submission of one person to another in an erotic episode. Shibari creates an opportunity for a person in the rope to submit to the other. During rope bondage, the person tying controls the ties, the positions, the mood, and the speed of the scene.
Dominant and Submissive: Some Misconceptions
One of the misconceptions around domination and submission is that only the former enjoys. And that s/he does so at the expense of the latter. Specifically in shibari, the dominant is normally in the service of the submissive. This person is the one tying and who has the control, but also the larger portion of responsibility. The submissive needs to trust the dominant; this action will keep them both safe.
In case of rope bondage, the top bottom (or submissive) will let go everything. This person lets go of their body and thoughts. By doing so, s/he loses all control of her or his safety which hands in completely to the dominant. However, being submissive has its benefits. Because you are not in charge of anything, you just let to go. You experience and feel differently, which for some means a way of finding freedom.
Conclusions: What It is Really About
The Shibari that we know today is more like kinbaku, a form of erotic bondage. Kinbaku means “the beauty of tight binding.” This definition shows that it is not about tying each other up. The aim is to make your partner feel loved, cared, and safe—and those tied up look beautiful and serene.
Being a dominant or a submissive in rope bondage is just the role that you have in the play. You can always experience and enjoy being both.
Image Hélène Veilleux