A point I work hard to deliver in my rope bottoming classes is that the bondage experience will be different for everyone and that this is okay. So many of us make judgements of self worth based on how much we can achieve compared to other rope bottoms.

There seems to be a growing expectation that to be an informed, empathetic rigger you must have experienced being tied up, usually in some kind of painful tie, for example a futumomo or some kind of single point suspension. Personally I think this has the potential to be quite damaging and can be very misleading.

If you are a rigger or switch who enjoys being in bondage and open to that experience, then that’s great, go forth and have happy times. For those riggers who are not that way inclined for whatever their reason, should not be put in a position where they only feel valid as a rigger if they have been tied up.

A couple of points;

  • If someone is tied up and they do not enjoy the experience, the information they get from this experience will not reflect those they are tying who do enjoy being bound. It becomes a redundant experience at best and can be devastating at worst.
  • Many rope bottoms cultivate their preferences, body awareness and how to process rope over time, a one off experience will not inform months and years of rope bottoming. Bottoms with little or lots of experience will know that processing differs depending on how fit you are, how hydrated, what your day was like, how stressed you are and a whole myraid of reasons will impact on each bondage experience. What a one off tie will give you is a superficial glimpse into bondage as you experience it in your physical and emotional current state.

This is only my personal opinion and I respect that many people will disagree with me, I feel there are more informative ways of finding this understanding, empathy and validity as a rigger.

  • Treat each rope bottom you tie as the individual they are, even if they have years of experience remember it is their first time tying with you, have a conversation with them, ask them open questions about how different ties feel to them, how they process them, what makes them happy, what do they dislike or find challenging. If it is not their first time tying with you, do this anyway. I regularly have discussions with Dave about ties on different days, if I have felt different in a tie we discuss together what might have caused that, positive or negative. Over time you will get a [riggers] body awareness of bottoms. Collectively you will gather which ties have a trend for being more distressing than others, but do keep in mind that this is not a rule for all.
  • Never make assumptions about how someone will experience a tie, even if all of the feedback you have had suggests a particular tie is comfortable or painful, there will always be someone who does not experience it this way. Always be aware of your bottoms reactions, which is why it is good idea to have a conversation beforehand and ask what reactions might come out, do they cry, how do they respond emotionally, what does that mean for them, etc.
  • Understand your bondage. Understand what your bondage is doing to your bottom physically, then discuss afterwards to confirm how that feels. Think about where you want the pressure to be and tie with that intent, then discuss afterwards, this will inform if your intent was accurate, it might tell you that you need more practise. When you attend rope lessons, ask questions, your teacher should be able to explain the why’s of each tie to you, where the pressure will be etc. Take the opportunity to ask lots of questions.
  • Be focused. Communication is everything, I cannot emphasise this enough. You will learn more through communication with your bottom than experiencing any tie will teach you. Read your bottoms body language, hear their breathing, hear the sounds they make, get in close and feel it, then step back and see the full picture. Speak to them afterwards, listen, its wonderful talking about rope, you can learn so much as a bottom just talking through what you went through physically and emotionally.

To summarise, I really feel that as a rigger it will be more beneficial to you using your technical knowledge to understand the pressures and restrictions of your bondage, discussing what that means to them, being aware and focused on your bottom and not only being open to communication but actively encouraging it.