What type of rope should I use?
When you are just starting off, just go with cheap solid-core braided cotton. It is a natural fiber, so it has decent “tooth” (enough friction so that knots will hold well without special consideration).
If you love to color rope (think your partner would look hot in deep purple or something), nylon is also a good choice (pure nylon, not poly-blends with nylon, not poly-pro).
Nylon is nicely smooth and comfortable as well, but it has very low tooth, so you need to use surgeon’s knots instead of square knots and any half-hitch style knot should be done three times instead of two. (If you don’t, your partner may be able to manipulate the tie and wriggle out, and rope bottoms kind of hate that. Knowing they cannot escape tends to be part of what does it for them…)
If, after practicing a while, you like rope bondage enough to invest more, then look at hemp or jute, processed to be soft. TwistedMonk is great source and buying from othem helps support TheDuchy!
What are the pros and cons of different types of rope?
What type of rope is best for you? I have some recommendations above, under “What type of rope should I use?”, but here are some qualtiies that will let you understand why I made those recommendations and let you better decide for yourself.
“Natural Fiber” Ropes:
Hemp, Jute, Sisal, Cotton, Coconut
“Synthetic Fiber” Ropes:
Nylon, MFP (multi-fiber propylene), “Mixed Fiber” Rope, Poly-pro, Parachute cord
- Pro: Better “tooth”, so it grabs better and takes fewer knots to hold securely
- Pro: Preferred for suspension as it doesn’t stretch as much and has more consistent stretch characteristics
- Con: Doesn’t take dye as well. That is, the colors will be more muted, less brilliant.
- Con: More expensive
- Pro: Less expensive
- Pro: Perfectly fine for most types of bondage (other than suspension)
- Pro: Nylon and MFP takes dye very well, resulting in brilliant color
- Con: Poly pro or mixed material does not take color well or consistently
- Con: Stretches in inconsistent/unpredictable ways. Not recommended for suspension.
If you want to buy your own natural fiber rope and condition it yourself so that it is ready to use for bondage without being too prone to giving you or your partner rope burn, McVarij has a nice tutorial on what you need to do. Perhaps after doing this yourself once or twice, you will understand why bondage rope vendors charge what they do for bondage-ready rope! 🙂