5 Common Mistakes Rope Bottoms Make, by Evie Vane

 

So you’ve discovered how amazing rope play is, and you want to strip and dive right into that tantalizing rope high. Not so fast! Diving anywhere without scoping out the area can lead to a major injury or even be fatal. And that includes rope play, whether you’re doing floor scenes, partial suspensions, or full suspensions. Let’s have a look at 5 common mistakes rope bottoms make.

1. Not Communicating with Their Rope Top

A rigger doesn’t need to know your whole life story, but they do need to know anything that could affect your safety while you’re being tied or when you’re in the rope. Communicating before the scene includes relating physical and medical issues, mental issues, triggers, and desires.

During the scene it includes disclosing any kind of pain, numbness, tingling, itchiness, or unidentifiable weirdness—you don’t want to risk nerve damage. Also tell your top about any dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, or breathing problems. While fainting may not be a life-threatening issue, your rope top would have to deal with getting dead weight untied or cut out of the rope quickly. Similarly, you don’t want to vomit in rope, which can be gross at best and dangerous at worst.

If you’re having a lot of trouble with something, share that too. It could be the tie itself, your shoes, the room temperature, the noise, the creeper edging into your scene space… Whatever is taking your focus away from the experience of being tied is worth communicating.

2. Not Trusting Their Instinct

Instinct is that little voice or feeling that lives outside of conscious thought, logic, and reason. If something doesn’t feel right (“Hm, is that rope too close to my windpipe?” “Yikes, I don’t think my leg is meant to go that way”), don’t second-guess yourself. You can apply instinct to everything from evaluating rope tops to deciding whether a certain scene or tie is right for you. Bonus: Learning to honor your instinct will help you stay safe in all kinds of situations, not just rope scenes. Much has been written about developing instinct online and in print; all you have to do is look.

3. Not Being Properly Prepared

So you’ve had a couple of drinks and you haven’t had time for dinner yet, but someone pulls out the rope and you think, “Whoo-hoo, it’s my lucky day! Why not?” The reason why not is that you can get seriously injured. When you’re intoxicated, your judgment, balance, and coordination are all compromised. You may be dehydrated too, which can increase your risk of fainting—the same goes for not having eaten enough. Don’t drink (or do drugs) and tie.

Proper preparation includes eating something (but not stuffing yourself), making sure you’re hydrated, hitting the bathroom right before the scene, and being in a mindful, nonintoxicated state. Stretching is a good idea too, as is doing your homework by checking out your potential rope top’s credentials and references. If you’re preparing for a more intense scene not in your home, you may want to put together a rope bottoming bag with any important medications, a snack, a water bottle, a sweater or wrap, and anything else that will make your scene or aftercare better.

4. Not Showing Appreciation

Your rope top worked hard to make that scene happen. In the delightful post-scene haze, please remember at some point to thank them. You could even offer a towel to wipe the sweat off their neck or get them some water or a snack, if there’s a food table. How about a backrub or neck massage? Just say, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Even if they say no (which, by the way, hasn’t happened yet in all the times I’ve asked), they’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness. And riggers who feel appreciated are more likely to want to tie you up again. Call it a win-win.

5. Not Owning Responsibility for Their Safety or for the Scene

Being tied up is an act of submission, but completely relinquishing responsibility for yourself is a recipe for disaster. You and you alone are ultimately responsible for what happens to your body. Be proactive about safety and creating the kind of experience you yearn for. Research causes of injury in rope and learn your body’s abilities and limitations. Figure out your turn-ons if you haven’t already. Learn what kinds of stretches and strengthening exercises will make your rope scenes better.

Own your part during the actual scene too. Rope tying is a dance. Someone else may lead, but you’re right there with them. Be present, be vulnerable, be real.

Happy and safe tying to you!

 

About Evie Vane:

Evie Vane is the author of The Little Book of Rope Bottoming, available on Amazon and RopeBottoming.com. She is an active member of the rope and BDSM communities in San Francisco, the co-founder of a local rope bottoming meet-up, a regular guest on Kink.com’s The Upper Floor, and a member of the BGG (Bondage-a-Go-Go) Association.