Senses and Shibari

Posted on Tue, 26 November 2013


This is my friend Hedwig's (pictured above with Clover) undergraduate dissertation. She finished it in 2011 and presented it at Stockholm Pride to a very receptive and appreciative audience... including her mother, so this was quite an emotionally charged coming out about bondage as well. In it, she explores previous research into kink in general and rope in particular, to then move onward to phrase a different kind of understanding. From the introduction: "The purpose of this dissertation is to examine how Shibari practitioners understand their own practice. I will consider if Shibari can be understood by contemporary theories on bondage and BDSM. In trying to understand the practice, this dissertation also considers if it is possible for Shibari to some extent reframe and expand the sociological knowledge on bondage. Furthermore, the intention is through ethnographic research to explore what tactility means in this bodily practice; how touch can be understood as something active and communicative, reaching out to others as well as reaching towards the self." Join as a free or full member to read more...

You can see the full text here:Senses & Shibari. It's well worth a read.

The thing that struck me profoundly was the paucity of previous academic research on bondage. As far as I recall, this consisted of merely monitoring posts on an alt group in the infancy of the Internet. I think we all know the vast amount of bovine excrement that is spouted in forums and what sort of opinion one might form if that is the only exposure to the scene. It is certainly not something I would want to basis sociological, never mind psychological, research upon. I picked up enough from studying sociology and quantitative methods all those decades ago spot that one! However, the worrying thing is that that sort of stuff is what the International Classification of Diseases, published by the World Health Organization (WHO), is based upon. In F65 lists fetishism, transvestism and sadomasochism as psychiatric diagnoses. Revise65 is an organisation fighting these definitions, who deserve our support. It was through their work that Norway removed fetishism, fetishistic transvestism, sadomasochism, multiple disorders of sexual preference, and transvestism from their version of the national classification of diseases in 2010. It was only removed in Sweden the previous year. These are countries we generally regard as pretty open-minded, there are many more that still need to remove this diagnosis.