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Busting myths about rope bondage and why it's not just about sex

15 August 2021 8:40 AM
Tags:
rope bondage
bondage
Shibari
Japanese Shibari

Sara-Jayne King talks to Astrid AKA Desire Lines founder of Embodiment CT who holds space for those wanting to explore the practice.
Copyright: monstarrr /123rf

Astrid AKA Desire Lines is the founder of Embodiment CT which she created as a space to hold space for people to learn about rope bondage.

She's an educator and a practitioner who holds workshops for those who are into or want to learn more about rope bondage or 'shibari', explains Sara-Jayne.

How did Astrid find her way to this practice? She explains that in 2015 she went to a 'kink party' in Cape Town.

The events are posted online via a social network website called FetLife, 'a kinky MySpace hideously put together' she adds.

I went to a house in Tokai mainly out of anthropological interest, and when I got there I saw all manner of naughty things happening and I thought damn this started as a research mission but I might be one of these weirdos that I want to see in their natural habitat.

Astrid AKA Desire Lines, Founder of Embodiment CT

While completing her Master's degree and later her Ph.D. in Australia she learned shibari, the Japanese practice of rope bondage.

I would bring back what I had learned about rope bondage to South Africa.

Astrid AKA Desire Lines, Founder of Embodiment CT

She says it began with peer-to-peer learning and sharing skills and learnings.

Shibari is a form of artistic Japanese rope bondage that evolved at the turn of the 20th century where it came out of Kabuki Theatre moments as 'sex theatre for the middle class' she says.

She explains that whereas in Western culture leather is often regarded as the restraining mechanism, in Japan that is rope.

There are some misconceptions about rope bondage, she agrees.

It is important to recognise that the origins of rope is an erotic craft. It is about really cracking open a person and feeding into their vulnerability and helplessness and that can be very erotically charged.

Astrid AKA Desire Lines, Founder of Embodiment CT

Astrid says practicing the art of rope tying does not mean practitioners are automatically into BDSM or sex bondage as many might assume.

She says elements of sex can be added but it does not have to be. It can be a mindfulness or meditation tool and practice as well.

It's so lovely to run rope over your skin and use it as a sensational object rather than a restrictive object, and then when you get into actual tying for restriction, then you can tie someone in a harness that feels more like a hug than something restrictive and that shadowy shameful humiliation aspect. You don't need to go there at all.

Astrid AKA Desire Lines, Founder of Embodiment CT

She says it can be used just as a space for being 'held' by the rope.

You really want to tie with intention and tension....where it really feels quite delicious is where there is a bit of tension and pressure, similar to how a corset hugs your body

Astrid AKA Desire Lines, Founder of Embodiment CT

There has not been research done but it floods your body with feel-good endorphins.

Astrid AKA Desire Lines, Founder of Embodiment CT

She is committed to broadening what has been historically very middle-class white space to becoming more inclusive of diverse people

I encourage queer people, people of colour, disabled people to come to my classes and while it is not yet a rainbow nation it is more diverse than some other spaces I have been in.

Astrid AKA Desire Lines, Founder of Embodiment CT

That has been a real conscious effort.

Astrid AKA Desire Lines, Founder of Embodiment CT



15 August 2021 8:40 AM
Tags:
rope bondage
bondage
Shibari
Japanese Shibari

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