I love rope. I would consider rope bondage one of my number one kinks. I love it because it is the closest you can get to dancing in bondage. To me, a good rope scene is a conversation. Rope itself is just a tool that lends very well to this conversation. A piece of rope outside of a kinky context doesn’t turn me on. I don’t get shivers when I’m holding a horse’s lead rope, or when I’m tying my shoe. The rope coiled in a fist of someone who is standing over me, now that is a conversation starter.
I attended Thunder in the Mountains this past weekend. During a class with Shay and Stefanos on dynamic bottoming, they cracked a joke. The joke was: What do you call a group of rope tops? A gaggle? A herd? The answer is a pissing contest. I about died laughing. The joke was so true and such a jab about rope culture, that it stuck with me for several days. It made me start thinking about some issues I have with the rope community, which I find myself quite entwined with (pun intended).
Now everything below is my opinion my belly button, so take it with a grain of salt.
Don’t Tie for Other Tops
I think that in rope, we get so caught up in the technical skill required to suspend someone. I walk around with rope top friends, and the first time a rope top will ever say about another scene is something about how good or not good the rope work is. Oh, he did a good job. Or oh, if he adjusted that wrap she would be more comfortable. Almost never do I hear them say: Wow, those two have a really beautiful connection right now.
Going back to rope as my conversation tool, if you’re talking to someone else in the room with your rope, you aren’t making me happy. If you are putting me in technical, difficult ties because you want to show the room you can do them I’m not happy. A difficult tie can be beautiful and enjoyable, if you are challenging me and the conversation is asking me to be a good rope bottom for you.
Simple is Sexy
If I think back to my favorite and most memorable rope scenes, almost none of them incorporated fancy ties and complicated transitions. In fact, some of my favorite rope scenes were the ones where I didn’t even get suspended. Floorwork forces you to be in more contact with your bottom, and one of my favorite ways to get tied is while facing the top, or in between their legs sitting in front of them. When I think back on those memorable scenes, the conversation was the best. The focus wasn’t on the rope, but on what we were trying to say with the rope. Whether the conversation was brutality and catharsis, or a budding romance. Rope was the tool to guide me to that place, and I chose to follow. If I am simply being put through transitions like someone spinning a follow in a partner dance without much thought to following the music, then I can be bored by something that might look beautiful to a bystander.
Stop Trash Talking
I find a very distinct difference between letting a bottom know the experience level of another rope top, and trash talking your peers. Obviously I don’t want to tie with someone who might hurt me, but a lot of the time the negative talk about other rope tops I hear is either too much about the rope, or too much about the character of the top. I want to know if someone violates consent, is unsafe, or has any other red flag indicators. I don’t care if you say that he doesn’t tie in a way you like. What you say about other people reflects in you, and if you think that putting your peers down is attractive in any way to rope bottoms then you are mistaken.
I see a lot of bad blood in the rope community. I would say out of all of the kink groups I’m involved with, the rope community is the most ‘cliquey’. My local rope community isn’t as bad as when I go and travel. Bondage Expo Dallas was a perfect example of a con where a lot of the time I felt kind of left out and unhappy. My friends who I care about don’t get along, or I see people being unfriendly too each other, or spending way too much time criticizing and less time just doing you.
Do It Because You Love It
Tie because you love it. Tie because it makes you feel alive, satisfies something in you that cannot be quenched any other way, because it turns you on. Work hard during practice time, spend time sharing skills with your peers, and attend classes to make you a safer rigger. When it comes to play, do what feels good to you not what looks good to everyone else and I will promise to do the same. Which, by the way, makes the scene look that much hotter.