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Bondage Knots 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Hogties

Bondage knots are a fun way to spice up foreplay and sex. But they require very serious precautions. Here’s everything you need to know.
Grindr
&
Editorial team
April 30, 2024
May 21, 2024
7
min. read
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If sex is in the air (you don’t care) and ropes and ties excite you, it might be time to follow RiRi’s lead and explore a little S&M. 

It’s no coincidence that BDSM starts with bondage, sex play that involves consensually tying or restraining a partner. It’s a beginner-friendly way to explore Dom/sub role-play without any expensive equipment. Keep saving those pennies for a hanging strap cage — a silk tie, bathrobe belt, or pair of knee-high socks are all perfect tools for tying up your partner. 

When done correctly and with consent, tying someone up with a bondage knot is just as exciting as the sexy times that follow. From a basic overhand knot to proper safety precautions, here’s how to tie bondage knots like a true dungeon master. 

How to tie bondage rope knots: B for basics

Much of today’s bondage scene owes its inspiration to traditional Japanese shibari, which originated from Hojo-jutsu, a samurai technique to restrain and torture prisoners. Over time, the practice morphed into erotic rope bondage and spread around the globe. 

But before you grab that silk kimono and get ready to sword fight with your samurai, it’s important to learn basic bondage knots, foundational tie patterns, and safety precautions. Plus, if bondage is a “willing to try” and not a “hard yes” on your BDSM checklist, experimenting with basic knots makes it easy to untie if you feel too overwhelmed. 

Once you’ve got your bondage patch, you can graduate to getting hogtied spread-eagle and suspended from the ceiling. 

1. Overhand knot

The overhand knot is the simplest of all ties and forms the basis of more advanced patterns. Make a loop (also called a bight) with your rope and pass the end through the loop. Tighten by pulling both ends. If you’re on the fence about bondage, the overhand knot doesn’t restrain you to anything and is easy to loosen. 

2. Square knot

Another go-to staple for BDSM knots is the square knot, which is basically two overhand knots. The extra knot makes it firm and less likely to come undone. Hold one end of the rope in each hand. Cross the right end over the left and loop it underneath, then cross what is now the right end (originally the left) over the new left and loop it underneath again. Pull both ends tightly to secure the knot. 

3. Lark’s head

The lark’s head is the starting point for more complicated shibari ties. Begin by practicing on a bedpost. To start, fold a rope in half and place the bight over the bedpost. Place two fingers through the bight, grab the tail, and pull it through. This is a basic lark’s head. 

Next, make another lark’s head in the opposite direction. Place your fingers on top of the bight, pull the tail in the opposite direction, and create a loop with two fingers. Wrap the tail around the object, feed the tail through the loop, and tighten. You should have two lark’s head ties side-by-side. This looping pattern is foundational to more complicated, aesthetic ties like an unchastity belt, handcuffs, and armbinders. 

4. Half hitch

This knot is used to tie one object to another. Imagine you’re tying your partner’s restrained hands to a bedpost. This creates a loose end (the end of the rope) and a tight end (what’s attached to your partner’s hands). Wrap the rope around the bedpost. Take the loose end and cross underneath the tight end, forming a loop. Pull the loose end through the loop, pull to tighten, and repeat. 

5. Prusik head knot

The Prusik head knot is a common knot that naturally loosens and slides when not under tension, which can provide quick relief if and when anyone says the safeword. 

Practice with one hand. Loop a rope around your thumb and index finger. Loop around your index finger twice, holding the rope in place with your middle finger. Loop the other side of your rope twice around your thumb. Touch your thumb and index fingers, grab the bight, pull it outward toward the tips of your fingers, and tighten. 

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Test your new skills

Once you’ve mastered your basic bondage rope knots, here are four simple tie positions to practice. 

1. Elbow tie

This tie restricts arm movement by binding the arms together at the elbows, either in front of the chest or behind the back. Bring your partner’s elbows as close together as comfortably possible. Wrap the rope around both elbows several times and secure with a square knot. 

2. Arms behind head

With your partner’s hands placed behind his head, loop the rope around the wrists and secure it with a square knot. If your man never misses arms and chest day, this position naturally flexes his biceps and gives full access to those tiddies. 

As you and your partner become more comfortable with bondage, an arms-behind-head tie can be used to tie him to a wall hook using a Prusik head knot or half hitch and have fun with standing sex positions

3. Heel tie

If you love your man in a pair of pumps, the heel tie will keep them from flying off. Rather than creating a loop, grab one end of the rope. Lay the rope just under your partner’s ankle with about six inches of tail. Wrap the long end over the top of the foot and around the back of the ankle, forming a loose circle. Pull the rope across the foot, back around the other side of the foot, coming out underneath the sole of the shoe. You should have two loops (one around the arch and another around the ankle) that form a woven “X.” Repeat several times and tie a square knot under the heels. Run your fingers underneath to adjust the tension. 

4. Burlington bowline

Begin with a bight and wrap around your object two times. To finish the knot, you'll need about a hand-length of bight.  

Take the bight and cross the cords with your finger underneath to create a loop. Pull the bight underneath and up to avoid tension. Take your tail, make a loop, and pull your blight through the loop, leaving it loose. Flip your loop in the opposite direction, put your finger through the loop and underneath the strands, hook the bight, and bring it underneath the strands and through the loop. This is a stable single-column tie that can be used to tie an arm or leg to a bedpost or wall anchor. 

Safety first

Although decorative heel and heel ties and loose-fitting harnesses don’t typically pose threats, rope play can be a dangerous bondage activity, which is why it requires serious safety precautions. 

1. Know the risks beforehand

If a Dom doesn’t know what he’s doing, excessively tight or poorly positioned rope can cause serious bodily harm. You can injure nerves, creating long-term and even permanent nerve damage. If blood flow is cut off for too long, a blood clot can form in a matter of seconds and potentially cause a heart attack, stroke, or death. Likewise, if a submissive falls while tied up, he may break or dislocate a limb. 

Rope play isn’t the only way to restrain your partner. Over-the-counter handcuffs, spreaders, and restraints are all sex tools you can use to explore a bondage kink without being a Boy Scout. 

2. Use the buddy system

There’s a reason why shibari communities exist. And it isn’t because kinky bitches love company. Properly tying elaborate knots requires serious training that extends beyond learning to loop and pull. If you’re serious about bondage and rope play, a tribe of kinksters can provide valuable information and experiences to keep everything safe. 

3. Always ask for consent

It’s never a good idea to bring up a kink during sex. If you haven’t talked about tying your man to the bedpost, right before you go balls deep isn’t the time or the place. Sex puts you and your partner in a vulnerable headspace. Asking during the heat of the moment might coerce your partner into something he isn't fully comfortable with. 

Ropes and ties 

If you’re ready to learn bondage knots in a safe environment, you’ll find plenty of hunks to hogtie on Grindr. Download the Grindr app today.  

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