This post is for people who want to be tied up; and for rope tops who want to link the people they tie to a useful education resource.
(Such as myself! Instead of doing lots of talking, I’m just going to say “here’s something I prepared earlier” and link my aspiring rope bottom here, because I’m EFFICIENT. Not lazy at all. )
This post covers:
– pre-reading regarding safety
– responsibilities when bottoming
– health disclosure
– tricks and tips for being an awesome rope bottom
There’s actually a lot more that goes into rope bottoming than you might think. It’s not just the top that has to plan and prepare; it’s you, too.
First, it’s important to read this writing on emotional safety. This tells you some of the factors that are helpful for you to know about when it comes to having a good time in rope.
Second, it’s important to read this writing on physical safety. And then this one, because it’s very helpful, and also somewhat reassuring. These tell you about the physical risks that come with rope, and what needs to happen to keep you safe.
Read those? Still keen to go ahead and play?
Step One: Learn About Your Responsibility To Communicate.
A rope scene isn’t one person doing stuff to another. It’s a partnership, with mutual trust and two-way communication.
One of the things that really helps with this communication and thus ensuring good rope bondage times is good negotiation.
Before A Scene:
We need to know what you’re hoping to get out of rope bondage with us. It’s helpful to know what you enjoy about rope, the feelings it causes in you, what you’re inclined to explore. Do you want a sensual experience? A mean, scary experience? A bit of consensual non-consent?
It’s also helpful to know what your experience in rope is. Have you done rope before? How many times? Has it always gone well, or have you had times not go so well? What caused that? What makes or breaks a scene for you?
What do you really want NOT to happen? What things do you not want said, or done?
What kind of aftercare works well for you? Cuddles? Chocolate? Being left alone?
We’ll discuss what we enjoy as well, and what we hope to achieve, so you know where we’re coming from and what we want to do. This adds to your understanding of us, and what we want to get out of things, and in general adds to the connection.
Before playing with a rope top, whether you’re male or female, it is your responsibility to communicate any and all conditions, or history of conditions, that might potentially cause any problems at all (This goes for the rope Tops, as well).
This includes but is not limited to; diabetes, asthma, allergies, joint problems, hypermobility, arthritis, fibromyalgia, anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, depression, anything at all that is likely to impact on you in stressful or physically strenuous moments. Because play can count as both.
It is still your choice whether or not to disclose; but there is a very good rationale for doing so. It’s entirely possible to plan around nearly any condition you might have, and ensure that you have a good time, but if those conditions are not disclosed, then the risk of something going wrong that impacts on both you and your partner is magnified enormously.
Physical things can be planned around. Had broken wrists in the past? Okay, we won’t put strain on those. Have hypermobility? Okay, I’ll take note of that when considering how tightly I’ll tie your elbows together. Diabetes? We just need to make sure you’ve eaten enough of the right things today, so you don’t have a crash during the scene or just past it.
With conditions related to mental illness, I’ve seen that there can be unexpected side effects. There’s a thing called “drop” which often happens 1-4 days post scene. All that exuberance and excitement wears off, and your endorphins gradually disappear. This can cause a low. With many people, that low isn’t too serious, or may not happen at all. You can plan around it with good coping strategies and some positive communication between partners.
I’ve also seen drop seriously aggravate any existing symptoms of mental illness. Certainly not every time; I know people who occasionally suffer depression who have never had this happen – but other times, I’ve seen other people with symptoms of various disorders show the absolutely worst of themselves and their conditions for multiple days in a row following a heavy scene.
Mental illness conditions can also be planned around. Appropriate aftercare can be put in place, the two of you can create a plan regarding the coping mechanisms, medications, or other treatments that might be helpful for you to cope with those symptoms. But you need to disclose so that your partner doesn’t get blindsided and suddenly have no idea what they’re dealing with.
If you’ve had a really bad few days, or a really stressful time, that’s a good thing to consider and tell your Top about as well. It’s a temporary condition, but it does affect play a lot. Your honesty about this can make or break a scene.
During The Scene:
We still need good communication.
With rope play, there’s a lot going on. Lots of fun, exciting stuff. And a lot of the time, the Top is focused solely on you.
But that doesn’t mean we can read your mind. If there’s something happening that isn’t comfortable or that you aren’t enjoying, a lot of the time we won’t know that, unless you tell us. We can’t tell if your foot is tingling, or if your fingers can’t move. We can’t tell if you’re feeling dizzy or nauseous. Only you can.
So you need to tell us if something is going wrong. We rely on you and trust you to do that. Because we don’t want things going wrong. We don’t want “bad pain”. We want erotic, hot times. So we need you to be our partners in this.
Step Two: Physical Preparation:
There are a lot of things you can do before a scene to add to the likelihood that you and your partner will have a great time.
1. If your body is still recovering from a recent injury… just don’t play. It’s a good thing to be mindful of practical limits. Your physical resources are busy helping you get better. Don’t overtax them by indulging in rope stuff as well.
2. Make sure you’ve had enough sleep; going into rope severely overtired is a bad plan, both emotionally and physically.
3. Make sure you’ve had sufficient food and water through the day that your body has the resources it needs, and you’re not going to dehydrate during the 1-4 hours you might be in rope. It’s especially important to drink plenty of water in summer.
4. If you know you have a rope scene coming up, then don’t eat a large or carb heavy meal in the three hours beforehand. I’ve had a person vomit while tied up after they had a hefty lasagna with beer an hour and a half previous to a scene. It kinda killed the mood. Eat lightly instead, maybe some protein, fruit, nuts or veges.
5. Do some stretches! This is really helpful. It warms your muscles up, gets some endorphins going, and means you can do more and stay in rope for longer with less soreness afterward. It’s great. Leg and arm stretches are really useful, so are anything that stretches your back muscles. You’d be amazed how often you use those.
6. Check in with your Top. This is actually something we really appreciate. We’re often so focused on what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it that we can overlook our own state. Plus it’s nice to know that you’re thinking of us as well, not just of the things that we’re going to do to you. It all adds to the connection.
7. Make sure you’re showered etc beforehand, and that you present as you would for any other date. It makes for a much more pleasant time all around.
Tricks and Tips For Being An Awesome Rope Bottom
– Know what your general intent is for a scene, but be prepared to let go of that and take what comes. You and your partner may have planned every move, and still find that things get fluid and spontaneous. If you don’t roll with that, you may be super disappointed and down. If you do, you may have a super awesome time.
– Remember your prep. Sleep, food (how much or how little), water, stretching, be in a good space.
– Use the bathroom right before you get tied up. Trust me. You’ll thank yourself later.
– Whenever you have your wrists being bound together, have the inside of your wrists facing each other. This means the pressure of the rope is on the outside of your wrists, and your blood vessels, tendons etc are protected.
– Keeping your fingers flat against your skin (unless told otherwise) is a very good way to prevent rope from randomly getting caught on your hands.
– Try not to step on trailing ends of rope, it really does interrupt the flow of things.
– If you’re in a struggling resistance kind of mood… you probably want to let your Top know that before you begin, or at least have negotiated an arrangement regarding that beforehand. If your Top goes in hoping and planning for sensual and you get all bratty, you might just ruin their night and the scene.
– When the Top goes to untie you, don’t help. If you move your arms etc around while the untying process happens, you can complicate it or put tension in places we don’t want it, resulting in untoward knots and tangles. Plus, you’re also taking more control, which is kind of the opposite of the bottoming/submitting mindset. Not helpful for you or your Top.
– It’s often a good idea to move slowly when coming out of rope, particularly if you’ve been in a tie for awhile. Give your muscles a chance to get blood flow back and you a chance to gradually assess the strain on your body.
– The feedback you give during rope practice/rope lab often has no place in a scene. True story. Rope practice/rope lab is where experiments happen and you and your partner do science. Lots of clinical feedback there; but the scene is where you just let go and react. The exception to this is if something goes wrong, if there’s bad pain, or any other issue relating to safety.
– After the scene, keep discussion positive. Focus on the good things that happened. If there’s constructive feedback or discussion about negative things or mistakes, save that for the next day when the two of you aren’t so floaty and vulnerable.
– Talk to other rope bottoms. Discuss useful things like processing pain, building physical fitness and endurance, building flexibility to be able to do more. Collaborate and share information!
– Keep learning. There’s always more stuff to learn, more useful tips and tricks to improve your experience in rope, and how you connect with a rope Top. Learn from your experience and from everyone else’s.
Now I’m primarily a rope top; I’ve picked up some useful stuff, but I’m by no means a great authority on bottoming. There’s always more to learn; so if anyone else has useful stuff to contribute, then please add it in the comments below! It will be appreciated, I promise 🙂