Shibari and Olympic Gymnastics

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Let’s make a social experiment, shall we? We’re going to explore the similarities and differences between Shibari and Olympic gymnastics, and this will help us illustrate an important point. The standard by which society accepts and encourages certain practices, while it criticizes and obstructs others is not clear.

First, the similarities. Olympic gymnastics requires strength and skill; so does Shibari. Olympic athletes must learn and practice a lot. Bondage professionals also have a lot to learn before they can truly say they know their art. Moreover, they have to practice for endless hours to master their art. Olympic gymnastics, as anyone can tell, is not just a physical prowess, it is also a form of art. In the same manner, Shibari is not just a difficult physical maneuver, a complicated thing you do with your body; it also has a clear aesthetic value, for anyone willing to appreciate it without prejudice.

To sum up, both Shibari and Olympic gymnastics are demanding, difficult, and beautiful.

Now, the differences. Most people accept and admire Olympic gymnastics. Millions of people watch it every four years at the Olympic Games. And most parents would be happy if their children showed an interest in becoming athletes. We look up to the people who practice it as heroes. And they are public figures whose public perception is positive.

What happens with Shibari? Until very recently, BDSM practices were something to be ashamed of. Many people don’t practice bondage simply because they don’t have a clear idea of what it is about. Also, there’s a strong social prejudice against it. Only this year, it was acknowledged by professional psychologists that kinky lifestyles are not a pathology in themselves.

We won’t try to explain these differences. It is better if the reader thinks about it for a while. We should start discussing these things.

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