Main differences

In this article I will try to best summarize the main characteristics of the ropes commonly found on the market and used for doing Bondage. Obviously, these characteristics will also differentiate their use.

There are many types of ropes, more or less suitable for doing bondage.

The most common fibers are: Jute, Hemp, Cotton, Nylon, MFP, Hempex, Coconut, Rice.

The first main distinction we can make is to divide them into natural and synthetic.

A second differentiation concerns the method of construction. They can be braided or twisted.

In the following picture you can see, from top to bottom:

  • red braided cotton rope
  • blue braided linen mixed synthetic
  • purple MFP (multifilament polypropylene)
  • twisted bleached hemp
  • reinforced* (nylon) twisted jute
  • twisted jute

Braided ropes have a fairly regular profile and are constructed using a yarn of the fiber that is worked into a braid precisely. The rope that comes out may have a circular cross-section (see above, blue rope), that is, the braiding is built around the so-called “core,” a series of fibers of the same or another type of yarn arranged lengthwise, or it may have a flat cross-section, thus no core (see above, red and purple rope).

Usually the ends of twisted strings are closed using the splicing method, this then does not allow for easy extension of the strings through a “wolf’s mouth.”

Twisted, or twisted, strings, on the other hand, are more “vibrant” because of the wavy shape and are constructed by twisting the fibers around each other. The fibers are placed in a machine that arranges them lengthwise and begins twisting them to create a yarn (strand), then multiple strands are bundled together and twisted to create timbers. Commettiture, or the joining of several strands, produces the rope and is a process that is done by twisting 3 or 4 strands in the opposite direction to the direction of the twisting of the strands themselves (e.g., if the commettiture of the strands is done by clockwise twisting, the commettiture of the strands will be done by counterclockwise twisting). The twisting direction of the commettiture will produce a rope with either an S profile or a Z profile (see image: top Z profile, bottom S profile).

Unique traits

The characteristics by which ropes are classified are: Strength, Softness, Ease of burning (meaning abrasion/burning of the skin), Tightness of knots, Ease of untying, Elasticity, Ease of maintenance, Performance in water.

Nylon and other synthetic fibers: synthetic fiber, generally braided. PRO– very strong, suitable for water. CON– elastic and slippery. Despite being strong it is a rope that I do not recommend using for making suspensions because of the high ease of leaving abrasions and because, certain fibers, in knots could get so hot to a critical temperature.

Regarding Hempex ropes: these are polypropylene ropes that resemble hemp ropes in every way, only they are synthetic, so they don’t have the classic barn smell of hemp ropes and can be used in water. They are so much like hemp that they are difficult to distinguish, unless you have a lighter handy.

Warning. Only synthetic ropes can have a reliable load certification and it refers to new rope only!

  • Strength – High,
  • Softness – High,
  • Ease to burn – high,
  • Knot holding – low,
  • Ease of untying – good,
  • Elasticity – fairly elastic,
  • Ease of maintenance – very easy,
  • Performance in water – suitable for waterbondage.

Cotton– Natural fiber, generally woven. PRO– Very soft and does not require too much maintenance. CON– Elastic and not suitable for suspension.

  • Strength- Medium,
  • Softness- high,
  • Ease to burn – medium,
  • Knot holding – medium,
  • Ease of untying – good,
  • Elasticity – fairly elastic,
  • Ease of maintenance – very easy,
  • Performance in water – suitable for water bondage.

Hemp : Natural, twisted fiber. PRO– very durable, CON– odor not particularly pleasant and poor fiber adaptability.

  • Strength-high,
  • Softness – low,
  • Ease to burn – low,
  • Knot holding – medium,
  • Ease of untying – good,
  • Elasticity – low,
  • Ease of maintenance – easy,
  • Performance in water – very hygroscopic, tends to swell and therefore not suitable for waterbondage.

Jute: natural, twisted fiber. PRO– handy and easy to knot. CON– difficult to maintain.

  • Strength- weak,
  • Softness – medium, (depends on the twist of commettiture)
  • Ease to burn – difficult,
  • Knot holding – good,
  • Ease of untying – medium,
  • Elasticity – low,
  • Ease of maintenance – difficult,
  • Performance in water – best not to get it wet.

Coconut and rice: these are made of natural fiber and their purpose, or rather our use of them, is to create not-so-pleasant sensations on our partner’s skin.

The hard fibers of coconut make the rope very “hard,” thorny and unwieldy.

Rice fibers, being quite similar to straw, make the rope a little less hard than coconut but still quite prickly. It is advisable to moisten the rice rope before use to prevent the fibers from breaking down because they are too dry.

I personally do not recommend using either type of rope for making suspensions.

Mixed ropes: these are types of ropes constructed by combining natural and synthetic fibers.

The first photo shows a rope braided from linen with an unspecified synthetic fiber. They were sold to me as 100% linen ropes but, as you can see, the lighter test does not lie and the fact that one part burned while another melted indicates precisely that the rope fibers are mixed.

The next image, on the other hand, shows a “reinforced” yuta rope. It is a simple jute rope with a nylon thread inside each strand, the purpose of which is precisely to bring greater resistance to loads. Personally, in terms of safety, I do not recommend them.

Differences between Asanawa and Tossa

By the term Asanawa, the Japanese refer to ropes, made of hemp or yuta fiber, with a fairly mild committal twist that are usually used in agriculture–or for bondage.
The term Tossa, on the other hand, is of Western origin and is used to refer to ropes with a fairly high commettiture twist.
A different degree of twist makes the rope more or less resistant to loads and abrasion, makes it more or less soft and manageable, and more or less durable. To give a practical example, if a rope has a high degree of twisting the fibers that make up the rope will be more compact and therefore joined together and the rope will be stronger, less prone to wear, stiffer therefore less manageable and less adaptable in knots/tightening, more long-lived and need less maintenance. A rope, on the other hand, with a mild commettiture, will be a fairly weak rope but very soft and easy to tie, not too durable over time and will need maintenance.

In the following two photos you can see the difference in twisting of an Asanawa (photo 1) and a Tossa (photo2)

1-ply and 2-ply: what does it mean?

Tossa and Asanawa, however, are both trade names, but they do not specify well the characteristics of the rope. Another very important piece of information that is generally omitted is the number of Ply, that is, the number of “layers” of which the strand is composed. The ropes we usually use for bondage are single or double ply, that is, single or double layers. The following photos show this substantial difference.

As you can see in a 1-ply rope, the strands are composed of a certain number of individual strands.

Whereas in a 2-ply rope the strands are composed of pairs of strands.
This makes 2-ply strands stronger than 1-ply strands but a little less soft and manageable.

That’s kind of all there is to know about the various types and differences between the ropes we use for bondage, I hope it’s helpful to you and if you have any doubts or if you want me to elaborate on any points please let me know.

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