Tying Various Body Types

Handling - Body Type Considerations

Most pictures on this site feature Kajira Blue or Natasha, both which have a particular body type.   But there are lots of different body types and, as we have said, rope is for everybody and every body that is interested in tying or being tied.

Interest in shibari is found in every demographic.  Every gender, every orientation, every identification, every body type, every level of physical capability.

The nice things is that there are a few relatively easy techniques that will allow you to modify many ties to suit almost any need.

Some people assume that many chest harnesses will only work if the person being tied has breasts.  In fact, it is rare that a chest harness requires breasts.  It may include considerations that allow it to be tied on without putting undue pressure on breasts, but most chest harnesses work equally will without them…

The only time this issue typically arises is when you want to run rope down between the legs, directly over where the penis is.  There are several ways to handle this, but the easiest is to…

You can also convert it to a strap-on…

This technique can be helpful when tying someone with softer flesh or skin that is more sensitive to pressure.

It is important to manage the amount of force rope places on the body.

That management starts with how tight the ropes are when you tie them.  The guidance to always making sure you can get two fingers between the rope and the skin helps you confirm the is not too tight for most people.  But what if it is still pressing too firmly and is uncomfortable for your partner?  Perhaps their skin is particularly sensitive to certain kinds of touch or pressure.

Even if the rope feels fine to them when you tie it, it is still possible for the pressure of that rope to change later.  If they are in a different position, the internal parts of their body move relative to each other and a strap that previously felt fine might become uncomfortably or even dangerously tight.  This is why we advise that you put someone in the general position they will be in before you tie them.

If the rope is tied to some other object, the pressure might change or increase.

When Tension increases, Risk of Injury increases

No matter the reason, if the tension of or on the ropes increases, the risk of injury will also increase.  As the tension increase, the pressure of the band and force of the rope against the skin increases; the ropes will dig more deeply into a person’s skin and press more firmly onto what is beneath: nerves, blood vessels, muscles and bone, increasing the risk of damage.

When a person’s flesh is softer, the rope will have more ability to press more deeply into them.  This means that muscles, nerves and veins can be moved further relative to each other.  Meaning the risk of nerve damage by press on a nerve too hard, or by stretching that nerve too far, is greater.

There is yet another consideration:  Comfort/Pain.  Our body is sensitive to forces on it.  Too much force is not comfortable.


There is a single solution that can help in any of these cases:  Make wider straps.  Spread the force over a wider area.  This reduces the pressure on the skin and the forces on things under the skin.

Here are two common ways to do this:

  • Make wider straps by using thicker rope
  • Make wider straps with more strands

Make wider straps by using thicker rope

Keeping all else the same, thicker rope will mean wider straps.

Pinching hazard

There is a larger gap between strands of rope if the rope strands themselves are larger.  Some people find that it is easier to get their skin pinched between the strands when those strands are larger.

Make wider straps with more strands

Adding more wraps also widens the strap.  There are limits to this.  If you add too many wraps, it can make the strap bunch up to much at the knot and make it difficult to keep all strands parallel and at the same tension at points where the rope puts pressure on the skin.  It is usually possible to do 3 or 4 wraps for a total of 6 or 8 strands, more can take more work to get right.

For even wider straps, do both!

You can also combine both, use larger rope and more wraps.

Another helpful solution: Make more straps!

Another way to distribute force over a larger area is to add entirely new straps.

This applies more when combining multiple techniques or when doing more advanced ties.

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