So, you’ve decided you want to tie up your partner or want to be tied up. Then you should choose what to do that with. Of course you are here because you thought rope would be the best thing. I agree :-) But of course you could use anything to tie up your victim as long as you know what you are doing and willing to bear the consequences.
As to what type of rope is good for you, only you can decide. Get some experience with all types and pick your preference.
There is a first distinction to be made; natural fiber rope or synthetic rope.

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Natural fiber rope:

Synthetics:

  • nylon
  • paracord
  • multifilament polypropylene

Some considerations for choosing your rope

There is not one “best rope”. I once read a quote that said:”The best rope to tie up a girl is the one you are holding in your hand at that moment when she asks you to tie her up.”
The right rope for you is the right rope for you. Personal taste is without a doubt of course very important. And if you both get pleasure from it… well, great!
But if you want to be more specific, I’ll list some of the specifications of the above mentioned types below.

We’ll get to the plastics right after this:

Natural fiber ropes.

Ok, now onto the really nice stuff. (OK, I am opinionated). Once you’re hooked to rope bondage, you’ll find yourself wanting higher quality, more specifics, and you’ll find that natural fiber ropes are just more well… natural. Even though the mechanics of bondage just need a good rope, mechanically, the “look and feel” of a natural rope may enhance your experience of bondage. Cuz you’re not tying up a parcel; you’re tying up a person :-)
Natural fiber ropes need more loving care and attention, that’s true. Because they’re natural products they have a tendency to attract little creepers and rot. Moist is not a good match with natural fiber ropes. But don’t let that scare you. If you take good care of them they will reward you with strength and beauty and a great overall experience.
You know those favourite jeans of yours? The one you just can’t get rid of because it’s just so comfortable even though it’s worn? Well, as far as rope is concerned the same can apply. A natural rope can age beautifully. You polish it with your hands when using it. It will become YOUR rope.

Hemp
GeneralGrassy smell that you either like or not, very strong, softens a lot with use, holds knots well, heavy. Unconditioned hemp needs some work to be suitable for bondage. Ages beautifully. Light grayish/beige pale colour. Dyeable. Sheds fuzzies… (don’t wear black ;-)). Allergy risk.
StrengthStrong, no stretch. Very durable.
CareWashing in machine. Dry under tension. Fuzzes and therefore burning the fuzz off. Oil. (Told ya it needs more care!)
Jute
GeneralLightweight, so good for speed, original for Japanese style bondage, dyeable. Polishes beautiful under use making it silky smooth. Unconditioned has “oily” smell from machines in initial processing. Golden natural colour. Allergy risk.
StrengthNot nearly as strong as hemp. No stretch
CareWashing only if absolutely necessary. Mostly a hot wet cloth and immediate drying will do. Otherwise in dishwasher or cook in pan of water. Dry immediately under light tension. Fuzzes and therefore burning the fuzz off. Oil or wax.
Cotton
GeneralEasily obtainable. Easy to dye. Very soft. Stretches a lot!
StrengthVery weak therefore NOT suitable for suspension.
CareEasy to wash in washing machine in a lingerie- or pillow bag.
Sisal
GeneralWidely available. CHEAP ! Coarse, scratchy. Stretches just a bit. Perfect for sadists. Watch out for splinters!!
StrengthFeels strong but actually isn’t. Hard fibers break more easily.
CareDon’t. Just buy new. Remember it’s cheap? ;-)
Coconut
GeneralHard, coarse. Punishment rope. Actually made for gardening stuff :-) Great for sadists. Watch out for splinters!!
StrengthSame as sisal
CareWash it… retwist… dry. Use.
Flax
GeneralAbout the same things as hemp. More golden colour.
StrengthStrongest natural fiber of them all. Very durable.
CareTreat like hemp.

Synthetics:

In general don’t need any preparation before using them for bondage other than doing your rope ends. The ends can be melted to avoid unraveling or you whip them. They’re easily washable and don’t need much care. Of course you need to be hygienic about all the stuff you play with.

Nylon
GeneralCheap, light weight, hard to dye, slippery so knots will slide, stretches very much, silky, causes rope burn
StrengthStrongest of all ropes
CareEasy to wash
Multi filament Polypropylene (MFP)
GeneralWidely available, boating rope, light weight, all kinds of colours, slippery so knots will slide, stretches, soft, causes rope burn quickly
StrengthStrong
CareEasy to clean, doesn’t absorb fluids
Paracord
GeneralBraided around a multi strand core, flexible, MIL-specs, light weight, slippery so knots will slide, stretches, soft, causes rope burn, all the colours of the rainbow
StrengthStrong
CareNo need for more than just washing

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Rope specifications.

These are all subject to your personal taste and experience, but a few general remarks aren’t that bad to read, right?

Diameter
Yes, size does matter. It makes for strength, comfort of working with the rope, size of knots, spreading of pressure.
The most commonly used diameter for bondage is 6mm. It has a comfortable feel in the hands of the one tying. With a few wraps it’s spreading pressure good enough (of course depending on the load). Knots and hitches aren’t too lumpy. So therefore this size is very popular.

A thinner rope digs more into the skin so you’d use more wraps to make it more comfortable and safe.

Weight
Rope like hemp is rather heavy. This makes that if you move fast the rope doesn’t come “with you”. The working end drops to the floor while you’d like it to fly. On the other hand it also feels like a real “rope-rope” for the one being tied.
If you want a natural rope that is light and flies when you tie fast, you should choose jute. Swooossh!

Length
Another subject about which whole books could be written with even so many opinions and trends. There are people that state that the so many times the arm span of the one tying is the rule.
Other people say that it matters who you tie. A larger woman takes up more rope than a tiny one. That’s just a matter of simple math… eh.
Or it is so many time the circumference of a Japanese tatami.
To me first of all it depends on what type of rope style you practise. If you like Japanese rope style and therein extending your rope (attaching a new one) when you get to the end of it, I think it doesn’t matter if you use 7 or 8 or 8,5 or 9m lengths.
If you like tying off at the end of each rope it still depends on the size of the partner you’re wrapping around what length you’re left with.

And I still don’t understand why it would be wise to use 4 or 5 times your own arm span. When you’ve wrapped it around the torso of your subject you’re left with a length that has nothing to do with your arm span anymore, right?
Anyway… I think it’s somewhere around 8m to be able to work comfortably and not having to pull through too much length the whole time. And you’ll be fine :-)
Generally I think you can say that if you’ve wrapped around the torso twice and you still have lotsss of rope left… it’s too long. And if you can’t wrap around 2 times… it’s too short ;-)

You see? So many arguments possible and depending on so many factors.

Endings
A matter of taste. Most important is to prevent your rope ends to unravel. A knot at the end of a rope disables fraying of it, but you can also use these buttons to help attach a new rope easily.
Now, a simple overhand is easy to make, but it’s lumpy. When you want to pull that through a tight space, let’s say under an armpit, your rope can get caught. Also it’s uneven/asymmetrical.
A Thistle-knot however is smaller (and prettier), hence easier to pull through. Also it’s round.
If you don’t like knots at the ends of your ropes you can whip them. That means to wrap and knot a thin twine around the end. That makes it about the same size of the rope itself and so there are no problems pulling it through a tight space.

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