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Bondage 101 With Shibari Artist Unnamedminor

8 April 2020 | Phetcharada Pacharee

When we’re shut inside, it can be hard to keep our hands to ourselves. With that in mind, we reached out to someone who can help put idle hands to good use—or punish anyone who won’t sit still.

 

Phetcharada Pacharee, known to friends as Minor and professionally as Unnamedminor, is a shibari artist, performer, and ‘rigger’ in Thailand who shared her talents live at Wonderfruit 2019. Shibari is a traditional form of artistic rope bondage that originated in Japan. The word shibari literally translates as “to tie”. Unnamedminor’s shibari practise relies on the intimate and unbreakable connection between ‘top’ and ‘bottom’, ‘rigger’ and ‘bunny’; a connection we explored in this (remote) Q&A. 

 

It should be noted: this conversation includes references to domination, restraint, and forcible sexual interactions. If you are affected by content of this nature, this article might not be for you.

 

All photos supplied.

 

e.lishka, photographed by Ptls Sna

 

Wonderfruit:

What are the first, foundational things all hopeful shibari participants should know?

 

Unnamedminor:

Those interested in shibari have to always consider consent, negotiation and the safety of your partner before starting any bondage activity. Direction and terms have to be agreed between the partners. Are you aiming for BDSM, suspension, or floor bondage? What actions are acceptable during tying? How much physical contact and force can be used during the activity? Is slapping acceptable? What about choking, or more? Establish limits and a safe word for each person, so you can end the session when you need to. 

 

Safety is the most important factor in shibari. Rope tying can be dangerous. Accidents and mistakes can happen at any time, for both the person tying and for the person being tied up. Safety can’t ever leave your mind. You cannot merely go with what you want to do—you are responsible for the safety of another person.

 

It is important to use the right materials. Shibari tying rope is specific. I use Ogawa jute rope. After several sessions, the rope is cleaned and treated. Nylon or cotton ropes can also be used, but I only advise these for light binding or to create play scenes.

 

WF:

How can someone get involved in rope play if they are alone?

 

UM:

If you’re just starting out, you can practice rope tying on yourself before you seek out a bondage partner, group, or jam session. Rope bondage is considered a closed group activity, and it’s quite difficult to be accepted into a jam session unless the host has extended you an invitation. The culture within Thai society restricts and prohibits sexual expressions. Rope bondage is seen as sexually risqué and indulgent—people who practice are deemed ‘perverts’, and those who watch ‘voyeurs’. So it’s challenging for anyone to find a like-minded community to gain more experience here. The same goes for finding a shibari partner. It’s very difficult, and may take up to a year to find a partner that shares mutual tastes, styles, and openness. But of course, it’s not impossible. It’s an unexpected, mysterious network to search through, just like finding true friendship. 

 

WF:

Why would you recommend shibari as a practice?

 

UM:

Shibari is the science of rope tying. Studying from visuals, online video clips, and books is not enough. You should have an experienced master as your teacher. Lots of practice is required to improve your skills and a teacher will help guide you towards bondage excellence.

 

Napatsanan Jaiya, photographed by ThierryC

 

WF:

Where did you get your start? 

 

UM:

I started studying and tying myself 4 years ago, which allowed me to really learn from many mistakes. After the first year, I finally got chances to study shibari with numerous foreign teachers in Asian and European styles.

 

WF:

What have been your most significant learnings?

 

UM:

I learnt most about the human body and the limits of each body. But the most impressive thing about rope binding is the touching, the physical contact and feelings shared between me and my partner. It is like getting to know each other and sharing stories through touch, without speaking. Feelings of care, comfort, and arousal are connected through a cord of rope. This taught me a lot about life, that to find someone I can connect with is much more important that learning all the tying techniques. It makes me feel no longer lonely.

 

WF:

What does shibari teach us about ourselves?

 

UM:

I embrace rope bondage as my hobby, something that serves the personal desire to have fun and relax. It teaches me to be conscious and to pay attention to details that I previously thought little of. I have to respect the life that has been submitted to me. 

 

WF:

Can you give some examples of helpful resources for getting started?

 

UM:

I propose myself as your learning resource! I’m happy to give advice to anyone who wishes to study rope bondage, has questions about this artform, or even would like to try being a bondage model. It is always a pleasure when I find someone interested in rope tying, and who has the same taste as me. Please don’t start trying it out by yourself, it’s dangerous. For online studying, I would suggest Shibari Study. Their tutorials can be found on Instagram.

 

Chart, photographed by Tar311

 

WF:

We originally wanted you to share a DIY, but you explained to us why that wouldn’t be a great idea. What kind of mistakes do people tend to make when they get started?

 

UM:

You really need to study the basics of shibari before developing it into other DIY or improvised rope tying forms. Because without the knowledge of this bondage, it may seem like any other weaving or knot crafts. Shibari is the science of rope tying, where all actions are made with rope and only a very small number of people know this field. Most people see it as a harmless, playful activity and think that they can just try it out. Carelessness and presumption are the most dangerous mistakes.

 

Always keep in mind that rope bondage is an intervention of the body system. It affects muscles, ligaments, arteries, blood circulation, and the nerves that make our whole body function. Importantly, you have to consider your’s and your partner’s health. We may never know the current health of the other person. How is their blood pressure, did they get enough rest, have they ever had a surgical procedure? Some people don’t even know if they are really healthy at the time, so how can you even know? If you tie them up, will they be able to breathe easily and not faint? When will they feel numb? Some people have their hands tied but feel numbness in their legs. Some feel fine during the session but become numb afterwards. A model of mine had muscle weakness for 2 weeks because she had been carrying a heavy backpack on a work project for over a month. All these considerations have to inform any type of rope tying activities, no matter how simple or complex. There are only two consequences from making these mistakes—injury or death. This is my reason for not presenting a DIY rope tying play where people can easily misunderstand its science and context. 

 

WF:

How can we avoid making those mistakes?

 

UM:

We can avoid making mistakes by asking our partner questions, and receiving honest answers. Communicate during sessions about how a knot or body form makes you or your partner feel, so the ties can be adjusted in time. Studying and learning directly from experienced practitioners also helps set you on the right path.

 

WF:

Any other bondage or kink practise that you think we should be trying during isolation?

 

UM:

I support any form of kinky activities. If you have a chance during this isolation, try out all available types so you can find out more about your own pleasure. I cannot suggest a particular practice, because everybody’s tastes are different. If you are isolating with a partner, it’s most effective to discuss what you both would like to explore. If you’re by yourself, you know best what gets you going, so just get to it!

 

For me and my partner, we’ll probably get the other naked and tied up, play and slap with toys, tease and torment. We’ll do it in every corner of the house. Take turns dominating. Swap roles to keep it interesting. It’s the perfect opportunity

 

Unnamedminor’s beautiful shibari work can be found on Instagram, where she also discusses her world of bondage, and the fetish in Thailand.