Creating Safer Rope Scenes During The Relaxation Of Lockdown

Creating Safer Rope Scenes During The Relaxation Of Lockdown

Lockdown has existed for many months in various parts of the world, with different measures put in place. It has meant in person rope events and classes have moved online and an overall stagnation of activities between people. Which is a good thing, as hundreds of thousands of people have died across the world and we still don’t have a vaccine for it.

Safety is a very important part of what we do. Rope is very risky in of itself. Add a pandemic to the mix and mitigating risks means we need to rely on our government’s guidelines and scientific research and advice. Playing like before is unacceptable. Until this virus has gone or we have a reliable vaccine, which may not be until next year, I strongly advise exercising maximum caution possible.

Last week, I tied one of my regular tying partners. Current guidelines allow for people to go to hairdressers and do outdoor sports under certain restrictions, so I used that as a guide for safety standards.

These are the precautions I took and recommend, based on more cautionary interpretations of local guidance, all pre-negotiated prior to meeting (along with all other usual negotiations):

  1. I chose a very safe person. He is a tying partner I’ve known for three years and have tied for over two. We have a healthy relationship, where we have already established trust and strong communication. I am already aware of his medical history and know the different ways he reacts to my rope.
  2. We used a safe outdoor location. It is a location I’ve used many times before, including with him. A place I know we can have some degree of privacy. There is mobile phone signal in case of emergencies. Being outdoors, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is known to be far lower.
  3. I wore fresh clean clothes and an appropriate mask, as did he.
  4. I cleansed the means of transport. I picked him up in my car, so I sprayed the car with 80% alcohol spray, that kills viruses as well as bacteria, before he got in. We both had masks on before he got in and used hand sanitizer.
  5. We maintained social distancing at every opportunity, as the norm. Walking to the spot, we kept 2m apart as much as possible, not touching each other or each other’s belongings. During tying I kept as far away as possible at every moment, and backed away at every opportunity.
  6. I cleansed the rope before using it and immediately before tying. I used the same alcohol spray. I used goggles and latex gloves to protect myself.
  7. We both sanitised our hands and wore surgical gloves that I brought, immediately before tying. They were removed at the end of the tie and put in a plastic bag to dispose of at home. I also had wipes available, should they be needed to clean equipment or our hands.
  8. We kept the tie simple and one I’ve done many times before, including on him. This allowed minimal physical contact.
  9. We used simple safe words and instructions. Talking even with a mask on increases the chance of transmission. We also avoided having our faces close to each other to avoid breathing on each other and our clothes through the masks.
  10. He was responsible for sourcing his water during the tie. I made sure one arm was free to move and his bottle was close to him. I did not touch his bottle at any point. This would apply to any emergency medication or sustenance usually needed during tying or for your model’s general health.
  11. All photos were taken at a distance. Any adjustments for the photos were made very briefly indeed. Perfection of photos should be kept to a minimum. I used my own device for photos of him, and he used his device to take photos of me for when I self tied.
  12. Hugging wasn’t an option during aftercare. Fortunately, he’s not much of a hugger anyway, so this I knew wouldn’t cause any distress to him nor I. Aftercare needs to be self delivered by both of you. You need to discuss this fully beforehand.

Additional learning:

During the tie there was one concern that came up that we hadn’t expected. He found the mask almost suffocating in one position, and needed to adjust it to be able to breathe better. Because his hands were free he could remove it temporarily, whilst I stepped away. He is someone that likes to escape from ties and the tie was simple enough that he could remove it. I would’ve stepped in and cut the rope if needed, but fortunately none of that was necessary.

So, I learned to factor in breath play considerations more fully when tying someone with a mask, even if it’s not been a problem previously.

Also, tying wearing surgical gloves is a very different experience. I expected some variation, but not to this extent. I’m used to using the feel and vibrations of the rope during a tie to inform me very accurately of rope tension and placement. This was hindered, so we need to bear that in mind. I intend to self tie using gloves to improve my skills in tying others.

I hope this is useful to anyone wanting to do rope under lockdown restrictions. Please check your local guidance before planning any tie, and take all precautions advised. This is an ever changing situation, and you need to recognise public safety.

Keep safe

Dea Nexa

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