Levels of Rope (it’s not what you think!)

Levels of Rope (it’s not what you think!)

I love rope. I’ve been practicing it for years, and practicing and practicing. And then a bit more practicing. I practice different ties on different bodies in different contexts with different types of rope. To me, it’s the bees knees!! I suppose that’s why people come to me for rope advice. I share what I know, and what I am completely confident in and routinely self reflect on.

A rigger may have razor sharp precision in their ties, but that’s not what makes them a good rigger.

A rigger may have studied under Japanese masters and know all the philosophy of traditional Shibari, but that is not what makes them a good rigger.

A rigger may have the most polished of profiles and the slickest of websites, but that doesn’t make them a good rigger.

A rigger may have beautiful models, young and bendy and willing to give all sorts of things a go, but that doesn’t make them a good rigger either.

A rope bottom may be in peak physical condition and young, bendy, experienced, well travelled, excellent knowledge of rope on their bodies, but to me that doesn’t make them a good bottom either.

So, I hear your ask, what does make a good rigger or bottom? Aren’t we supposed to seek knowledge and pursue the highest standards in rope? Are we not safer and better for our commitment and focus in rope?

Of course we should be doing rope safely, learning anatomy and the structure and influence of different ties on the body. Of course we should look after our health and take tying so ruddy seriously. It is edge play, after all. But, in my opinion, that approach to rope excludes so many people. That is not what rope is to me.

I’ve heard riggers feel unskilled, despite years of experience, and talk of “another level” of rope that they can’t achieve. I’ve heard of so so many bottoms feel that they can’t access rope because there’s the rampant perception that you have to be 20 years old, a super bendy yogi, submissive and usually white or Asian (East Asian). No, just no!!!

OK, so some people do follow certain philosophies and approaches to rope, and that’s their choice. But rope is, and always will be, far more than that.

Let’s just enjoy rope! Strip back those stereotypes, learn safety and consent, and the structure of ties, and all the wonderful things that factor into rope. But, PLEASE don’t feel you can’t do rope because of what other people say or do.

Suspension ties do require an extra layer of knowledge and the risks increase exponentially. But floor ties are dangerous too. There are some ties, like neck rope and using coconut rope, that increase the risks hugely. There are some contorted positioning and transitions that are far more intense and carry increased risks. But you are not on a lower level rigger or bottom for not wanting to try or being ready for those experiences. Of course not. Risk comes with the territory, but risk aversion should be as equally celebrated as it is encouraged in some spaces.

Good riggers and bottoms practice safe rope. That’s it. Even single column ties can be deeply meaningful and expressive in the given moment. Your body is yours to explore with your partners. Rope is your tool to do so. Embrace that journey, because it is your own. And no one can take that away from you.

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