People can do as they choose. They can take whatever risks they want, and need to make themselves aware of those risks amd mitigate them accordingly. They can negotiate whatever scene they like, so long as they have the mutual trust and strong communication skills they need to do so. They can be motivated for all sorts of reasons in the scenes they create, so long as everyone is open and honest about their intentions and only play when those intentions align.
However, people aren’t always aware of their risks. People aren’t always skilled in negotiating scenes. People place their trust in the wrong people. People lie and manipulate the situation to get what they want. People have very unhealthy approaches to rope. And some people just want to look good in front of their peers, no matter what it may cost others.
It is an open secret that there’s a level of competitiveness in kink and rope spaces. It is natural to some personality types and is certainly not necessarily a bad thing. It’s good to want to strive to create more ties. It feels great when we accomplish a new tie, especially if it is something you have been aspiring towards for some time. It is great to find open minded people willing to explore rope and kink with, to find our limits even, if that’s your thing. But, there’s an elephant in the room, and we have to stop ignoring it….
When ego drives our journey, we must understand how ego is the worst reference point for success. Rope is extremely dangerous. Just because your ego says “Look at that, you’re fucking amazing!”, doesn’t mean you are. Rope requires humility. It requires respect for the process, your partner and the rope itself.
We see posts and go to events, and those ties inspire us. As riggers/tops, we want to see if we can do that tie, achieve that technical skill, create that bonding moment with our partner. As bottoms, we want to feel how that tie might feel, especially if you’re a masochist and/or want to find new headspaces. It’s a good thing. What isn’t good is neglecting the physical and psychological impacts of that rope. Socially, we might look great, get ALL the likes and comments on social media, we get recognised for our tying or bottoming skills. But what you won’t see in any photo or video is all the hard work, years of graft, to get to that point. So, the temptation of onlookers is to give it a go without the groundwork.
Or worse, a rigger takes advantage of someone new to do something that anyone experienced would require months of training to do. I see that a lot. People rush, and some people exploit that for their own gain. When the bottom complains, if they’ve got the guts to do so, they are met with “well, you consented to it!”. No. That’s not okay. People might think you’re the bees knees for that tie, but ethical rope practitioners see that red flag a mile away. A photo of someone new in an extreme tie isn’t hot, it’s sickening.
Unethical competitiveness is the culprit, in my opinion. The rush to look good and gain validation is strong in most people. But it has the potential to foster an unhealthy environment for our rope practice. What could we do instead?…
- We need to create a rope culture that doesnt praise bad practice. The desire to be the best rigger or bottom or self tier needs to come with humility and discipline.
- We need to be praising the ethics and risk mitigations we take. Not to show off our knowledge, but engage with rope and onlookers with humility and self reflection.
- We need to move away from one-upmanship that is prevalent in many kink spaces, in favour for praising individual journey progression, in whatever form it takes – actual ties, physical barriers, emotional learnings, body celebration, headspace changes, relationship building, and so on.
- People need to slow down and respect the process to achieve our rope ambitions.
- People need to know that being rushed is abuse. Being at events in particular, or creating content for social media, adds extra peer pressure to perform or put up with something you are not comfortable with.
- People need to know the risks they are taking, negotiate around them, and take full accountability if the scene goes wrong or the experience wasn’t as expected.
At the end of the day, most people want to experience the rope they see around them, see if the shoe fits. So long as we go to classes, take our time and only tie with people that respect our skill and experience level, we can have truly life changing experiences. Treating rope like a competition to win does not.