Boundaries and Limits in Shibari

There are boundaries and limits in shibari and, in contrast to what you might be thinking, these are healthy and necessary for its practice. Hearing the word “boundaries” or “limits” may sound like a restriction or obstacle. Some times, people associate these to something negative, like if it limits your expression or the experience.

In shibari or any other BDSM practice, talking about your boundaries and limits with your partner is something very serious. A boundary is a personal property line of yours that establishes the aspects where you have a right to and you have the responsibility for. Your body, your sensations, your needs, emotions, thoughts, values, opinions, time, personal space and sexuality are your own. And this will never change.

Boundaries and Limits in Shibari: a Responsibility

In a shibari scene, when you are being tied up, you are not giving away your responsibility. You still own your body, emotions, and sensations. For this reason, you are the only one responsible for them. During a session, you give the power to make choices for you to someone else temporarily. Regardless, the responsibility is still on you.

When someone has the power to choose on your behalf, it is because you have to trust them with your body, feelings, sensations, and your experience. Then limits become a very important element, as it happens in every human relationship. Limits are our choices about how we exercise our boundaries. Limits are your decision: and the decision bases on how you feel in the moment. Your boundaries are changing all the time depending on the mood, situation, or partner.

How to Establish Them

In order to know limits and mark them, it is very important to know yourself. You must be sure to know how your body behaves in ropes, how you process pain, your needs for safety, your reactions on stress, your personal vulnerabilities,  and the preparation you may need for the shibari scene. After acknowledging all this, it is your choice to set boundaries and limits. In this process, verbal and bodily communication with your partner is essential.

Remember that understanding your boundaries and limits might take time and experience. Nevertheless, sooner or later they will become a natural reality in your body.

Image: Mitchell Haindfield

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