“I’m on the verge of getting too high to drive myself home,” she whispered. “I better come out of these ropes soon.”
Last December I attended my first rope bondage meeting. In a beginner’s class, I saw the model become visibly floaty as her arms, hands, and torso were bound. The instructor told us the body often responds to bondage by flooding the system with chemicals that give a sense of being high, or “rope-stoned.”
Enthralled, I watched the grace of the instructing rigger, deftly moving rope around the model’s body, pointing out where nerves could become compressed, offering safety protocol at every step. It’s like knitting on a big scale. It also looked intensely pleasurable. And sexy.
My mind reeled. I want to make someone feel that; I want to feel that myself.
I live in Portland, Oregon, a place with many players and resources to experience bondage and other forms of kink. I have options for meetings, for instruction, for all kinds of people with whom to explore.
Liandra has written about her first experience being tied at Sex Camp in Australia. During the same time, across the expanse of the Pacific, my own fascination with ropeplay was blossoming. As I continue to delve into ropes from the position of being tied and as the one doing the tying, you’ll likely see further posts on this topic.
After my first meeting in late 2011, there followed a few false starts and delays on my journey into rope. Eventually, in April, a series of serendipitous events led me to experience my first rope bondage. We’ll call that first rigger MrOldSchool, a skilled and generous magician with ropes and their effects. He warned me that ropes could be addictive, but I wasn’t dissuaded. If anything, I welcomed an activity that promoted an impulse to stretch my limbs in anticipation, to be more present and aware of my body.
Newly sober, I deeply craved a chemical release, similar to what I watched during that first rope class.
In ropes, I receive information transmitted through my flesh, without the clutter of filtering through my often overbusy mind. What I learn about myself when I sink into that inner space is something that delights and surprises. In ropes I have experienced a deep calm, a comfort that soothes jagged edges deep within me.
That calmness is not surprising. Babies are swaddled, to give a sense of security. Dr. Temple Grandin’s ground-breaking research and “squeeze machine” have shown the calming effects of deep tissue pressure. The effect is not universal, and some experience neutrality or anxiety rather than pleasure from feelings of compression. But some people, myself included, have found that being bound, being held tightly, provides a welcomed release.
While I realize that ropeplay is not without risk, I find that safe and sane and consensual play has much to offer. In bondage, there can be freedom, for both the one tied and the one doing the tying. The symbiosis, the flow of energy between the one holding the ropes and the one whose body receives the ropes, is a dance of grace, attentiveness, and surrender. Subscribers to Li’s site, www.LiandraDahl.com, can see what I mean in a series of videos she’s recently posted of Hebari and Nawa Chou, in a scene of Japanese rope bondage with breathtaking interplay.
Styles of rope and its application differ widely. Having now been tied by a few different riggers, and beginning to learn to tie others myself, I am increasingly conscious that rope on bodies varies. The size and type of rope, where and how it’s applied, where and how it’s removed, with what intent or energy or purpose – these elements intertwine and diverge to create landscapes of possibility. At this point I’m insufficiently educated to express the elements of Western, Japanese, fusion, and other styles, except to say that variance exists.
In that variance, I’ve experienced being bound fast to a table, nude and frog-legged, unable to wriggle an inch. A cotton rope ran between my legs, attached to my bound hands, where the slightest twitch of my wrist would press the rope against my swollen labia and clitoris.
Unforgettable was the inverted suspension at a lively public event, under the quick and nimble hands of Stuart, proprietor of Renaissance Rope. His product is exquisitely-crafted, right here in Portland, and shipped worldwide. Wearing “I ♥ My Cunt” panties, rainbow-striped kneesocks, and a huge grin, I was hung upside down in utter bliss. Swinging back and forth, vivid red rope encasing my chest and hips, I was ecstatic in the sensation of flying.
But it has been in MrOldSchool’s ropes where I’ve spent the most time. He has done a series of tandem ties with my partner and me, and some single ties with just me. We are coming to find a rhythm with each other, as our breathing syncs and we settle into the give-and-take of roper and ropee. He often does a quick-capture, securing my wrists, wrapping me with fast strokes. Before I know it, I’m encased, immobilized. Using pressure points and rope placement, he helps me drift away, my eyes fluttering, trusting that I am safe in his enclosures.
After a time, he will ask me if I’m ready to come out, and I nearly always say no, longing to stay in the floating cocoon of hemp or jute or linen. When eventually he does release me, it’s not all at once, else I’d flail, panicked. He unwraps and re-wraps, unties and ties again, using less and less rope, easing me back to reality. I feel profoundly lucky that my first experience was with him. Being in his ropes is a blessing, and one I do not take for granted.
After being tied the first time, my dreams that night were saturated with the tandem sensations of being tightly held while falling without fear. Those feelings have not abated; I've found myself ensnared by the allure of surrender and release.