I don’t actually own any of this stuff, because I’ve never felt the need. I had my Zen rope for quick synthetic ties, and I later moved on to focus on natural fibres. Very washable. Cons:. And naturally I’ll tell you which are my favorites and why, but at the end of the day I’ll leave you to make up your own mind, based on your own sets of priorities, which may very well be different from mine. I’ll even include pictures! Aren’t I just the nicest? Goes well with the traditional shibari aesthetic; has that natural, organic kind of look. Can be either scratchy or soft, depending on the conditioning process. Somewhat pricey, it comes in a variety of lays (“lay” refers to how tightly it’s twisted together). The tighter the lay, the stiffer and more durable the rope tends to be.
Pros:. It’s easily accessible; cheaper than most bondage ropes, it has decent tooth (essentially, friction; what holds your knots and stuff together), it’s washable, and it’s decently strong. That said, for restraint, this will generally get the job done. The knots used in the single column and two column ties which I posted about earlier will do a solid job of holding things in place, but feel free to use anything that isn’t a slip knot. If you want to buy your own natural fiber rope and condition it yourself so that it is ready to use for bondage without being too prone to giving you or your partner rope burn, McVarij has a nice tutorial on what you need to do. Perhaps after doing this yourself once or twice, you will understand why bondage rope vendors charge what they do for bondage-ready rope!
Just make darn sure to keep those EMT shears handy and be prepared for a bit of swearing and frustration over the knots if it’s a loose braid. If you like shopping on the internet for your rope (either because it’s hard to find cotton rope near you or because you prefer your bondage gear to arrive in anonymous parcels), then you can buy cotton rope here instead. Likely to get quite compact knots with it. Very washable. It’s not particularly aesthetic. You don’t get great photo worthy ties with it; though you still get a restrained person, which is always good, and may be all you want in your photo. In summary, cotton is pretty great for most forms of bondage other than suspension. You can do a lot with it, it’s cheap, washable, etc.
I’ll even include pictures! Aren’t I just the nicest? I’m going to go over the kinds of rope pictured above, from left to right. Far fewer knots required. It’s generally quite strong; you can usually put it under heavy load with minimal fear of stretch or breakage unless its obviously frayed. Two kinds of braided cotton rope. They’re both technically braided ropes; however the rope on the right seems to have a denser kind of braid, which means it doesn’t have the same issue with the knots compacting down as hard as the stuff from the 1-8 dollar shop. So, interesting learning from that one; denser braid makes for less difficult knots.
In general, most synthetic ropes are like that, to one level or another. This is actually a hollow braid kind of rope; meaning it’s a polypropylene braid wrapped around a core of something. Knots that look so-so with cotton or synthetic somehow look amazing with jute. It has a sort of liveliness to it. Likely to get quite compact knots with it. Very washable. It’s generally quite strong; you can usually put it under heavy load with minimal fear of stretch or breakage unless its obviously frayed. Goes well with the traditional shibari aesthetic; has that natural, organic kind of look. I’m not actually a dick like that. I realize that what I just wrote may be true, but it’s not actually useful.