I sure as hell won’t suspend you! I get strangers asking me this all the time. People I’ve met maybe once, if at all, messaged a few times. They love my profiles, enjoy my writings, adore my blog, want to be the person in my photos. They take the bold step of asking me, because asking is a vulnerable position for a rope bottom to be in. But I say no. Always.
There was a time I was less discerning. There was a time I’d say, sure let’s meet at an event and see if we vibe right. I was naiive. People lie. People manipulate. People use people. There are still people that have wronged me using my photos of my rope on them to promote themselves. They were special moments. I’m not that bothered. But they do remind me of a time when I trusted too easily.
Rope is edge play. It’s extremely risky. Few people know and respect those risks. I run in person classes in my area to counteract the prevalent ignorance of safety in rope. So, when a stranger or someone I barely know offers to do rope with me, I see it as a huge red flag:
1. They don’t know me. My online presence isn’t me. They don’t know my risk profile. Not one has ever asked about that, alarmingly. So, I have no reassurance that they can meet my health and safety needs. I have no idea if they respect my journey and where I am on my rope journey. It’s funny what people assume.
2. I don’t know them. I don’t know their journey. I don’t know their aspirations. I don’t know their intentions. Whatever they are saying has too often been to get in my rope by any means necessary, lying or deceiving me. I don’t know their body in rope, what works and doesn’t, and if I could compound an injury they already have. I very rarely have a conversation around their risk profile, because most people in my area don’t write one. I can’t work from a place of ignorance.
3. People watch too much porn or stereotypical scenes. They have come to me with little working knowledge of developing rope scenes and all the damned hard work that goes into it. They are driven by fantasy, not reality, more often than not. They want something other people have, rather than taking the time to figure out who they are and what they want – which are far more important and meaningful.
4. The kink community is as toxic as the wider world. There is racism, misogyny, transphobia, and many other hateful attitudes out there. As a queer person of colour, with complex disabilities, people’s prejudices affect me personally. I’m struggling to recall how many people have taken the time to ask me about my identity before we tie, if we had honest and open conversations about discrimination beyond the discussions on online platforms. I have learnt to take this shortcomings much more seriously. My rope is as much a part of me as other characteristics are.
5. People assume I’m safe. I have a somewhat strong online presence. I curate my image as ethically and professionally as possible. That does not make me safe. It makes me social media savvy. There’s something very unsettling about that assumption. The internet is its own reality. But real life is a very different entity.
Yes, there are (typically cis-het older white men) people that will snap up any young new person, especially if they are a woman or present enough that way. And if that’s the risk people want to take, so be it. Is it ethical? Perhaps. Is it steeped in society’s damaging privileges? Yes. Do we have to only experience rope within that confined reality? No, definitely not.
So, dear readers, take your time in finding people to tie. Being thirsty and frenzied is not a good starting point. Be still a while, connect with your inner sense of self. Go to classes, meet and discuss different perspectives. Learn about your body and mind in rope. Learn how consent works and different negotiation tools. Then, maybe then, I might just think about tying you.