What is a Rigger in BDSM?

What is a Rigger?

A Rigger is a BDSM term used to describe someone who enjoys restraining their partner with rope bondage (sometimes referred to as Shibari or Kinbachu). This might be for sexual stimulation, performance art, to help the Rope Bottom relax, or just as a hobby.

The counterpart to a Rigger is a Rope Bunny (who enjoys being tied up).

What does a Rigger do?

A Rigger is a role within BDSM, someone who enjoys tying other people up with rope.

A Rigger’s style varies from person to person.

Some are bondage Riggers, who enjoy using tight rope patterns and knots to completely restrict the movement of the Rope Bottom. The partner may be placed into an uncomfortable position, perhaps even as part of a predicament play scene where the Rope Bottom has to choose between two less than pleasant options.

Shinju chest harness with leather collar
Here a Rigger (me) has tied his sub with a Shinju chest harness. This rope bondage pattern can be used in suspension, but I like it as a decorative piece. Add a collar and lead and you’ve got a great kinky party outfit!

Some are sexual Riggers, who reserve tying to the bedroom for use in sexual play.

In this scenario their partner is restrained in ways to heighten sexual arousal. It may be as simple as tying their wrists together with a simple double column tie and attaching the other end of the rope to the bedhead.

Or it may be an elaborate set of ties which hold the legs apart for teasing.  (If this sounds like you, check out my rope bondage for sexual play course).

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Some Riggers simply enjoy rigging and rope bondage for the pure look or it. It is an artistic hobby to them, not necessarily sexual.

These types of riggers may perform suspension rigging, where the Rope Bottom is hoisten above the ground, suspended by rope to long bamboo poles or wooden rings suspended from the ceiling. (This requires lots of training, as suspension rope bondage is the most risky form of rope bondage).

Is a Rigger a Top?

A Top in BDSM, loosely speaking, refers to the person who is performing the action in that moment of time.

When a Rigger is restraining his or her Rope Bunny, they are the Top in the scene, their partner being the Rope Bottom.

They are in control of what ties they use and how their partner is restrained.

So yes, the Rigger is a Top in a rope bondage scene, and might be referred to as the Rope Top.

Is a Rigger a Dominant?

Not always.

A Rigger doesn’t have to be a Dom. There are plenty of subs who enjoy tying others or even themselves up with rope.

You may also have a situation where the Dominant partner requests his sub tie him up. He would be the Rope Bottom, and his sub the Rope Top, yet he would still be the Dominant due to being in charge of the overall scene.

Are Riggers always male?

No. Just like a Dominant can be male or female, a Rigger can be male or female. Gender makes no difference.

What type of Rigger are you?

I consider myself a sexual Rigger. I restrain my partners for two reasons primarily:

  • For Play themed scenes. My subs tend to be naturally submissive and thoroughly enjoy being restrained in order to get out of their head. It gives them a deep sense of relaxation and I am happy to oblige (Read Better BDSM Scenes with the 5 Big Themes for a deeper look at scene structuring). I also combine restraints (rope restraints or bed restraints) with spanking to help my subs achieve subspace.
  • For Arousal themed scenes. These scenes are about enhaning sex, in or out of the bedroom. I enjoy having my sub spread eagle in an X shape on the bed so I can tease her with one of my many toys. Or I might tie her legs with a Futomomo to keep them up for penetration. Or I might tie her arms behind her back in a Katate Kote which also accentuates her breasts, ideal to have her in a kneeling position for a good oral session.

I don’t find rope bondage itself a turn on – as in the act of tying does not arouse me. But I do enjoy knowing I am able to give my partner what they want and make them feel amazing.

I do get turned on after my partner is restrained however, and I’m free to use them however I want 😉

Woman tied using rope in hog tie position
The Hog Tie is a classic tie for a Rigger to learn. The Rope Bottom (and sub in this case) is restrained face down with ankles and wrists tied to a chest harness. It’s a great tie for discipline themed scenes, or for having her lie on a bed for forced oral (consensual non-consent style)

How do I learn to become a Rigger?

Know you know what a Rigger is, you are probably wondering how you can learn to be one!

Well I have good news for you. First up, read my guide called Learn Rope Bondage: A Beginner’s Guide to Rope Bondage for Dom Sub Dynamics. It goes through all the terminology and basics you need to understand about rope bondage.

When you’re ready to take things to the next level, or want to be shown how to restrain your partner and use the ties to enhance sexual play, you need Sinful Shibari, my rope bonage course designed for Dom sub dynamics.

Conclusion

A Rigger is someone who enjoys restraining another person with rope, either for sexual pleasure or simply as an art form.

Anyone, can learn to be a Rigger regardless of whether you consider yourself Dominant or submissive (although it is more often the submissives who enjoy being restrained and the Dominants who enjoy doing the tying). 

I consider learning rope bondage an essential skill for any Dominant, as it is such a versatile skill to have at your disposal, especially as so many subs enjoy being tied up.

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