A mentor is someone experienced who can share their knowledge and guide the development of another less experienced person. In terms of rope, I really feel there is not much benefit in rope tops mentoring rope bottoms, there may be some but if a rope bottom is looking to learn, develop and grow with a mentor, it would be more beneficial if that person was also a rope bottom. (I don’t think I need to go into the reasons why, I think it is fairly obvious).
I really feel a good mentor/mentee relationship should be like a friendship, this friendship may develop over time, but makes the need for titles such as ‘mentor’ redundant. Maintaining a friendship, with both people taking part in discussions, exchanging experience, personal development and knowledge is the best kind of mentorship in my opinion.
The title ‘mentor’, is one that doesn’t really sit well with me, you see a lot of it with people who are new to BDSM and the kinky community, as well as places such as FetLife, I have never really understood the need for a mentor. For some, it may be about having multiple relationships linked to a social networking profile and then there is the negative side of mentoring too, the predator who mentors to mould and shape people into what they want them to be. Convincing them that they need a mentor to learn and grow and by having a mentor they will learn amazing things about themselves. Not so much about that person’s personal development, but shaping the mentee to be their ideal.
I have a lot of friends, especially on social networking sites, some I do not keep a lot of contact with, some local and some I have have met on my travels and have kept in contact with and others are people I have not yet met but correspond with and have many similar interests with. There are no titles needed, I am always happy to share my experiences and knowledge with people who want it. I have learned a lot through my friends and have not needed any titles, a friendship has developed and we learn from one another, discuss different topics and gather differing opinions and ideas which helps us grow and develop. I have learnt a lot from my relationships and friendships and think that I have equally given back.
My observations and my own experience regarding ‘mentors’ at munches, events, with people who are new to the ‘scene’ and even online have not been all that positive. It is something to be aware of and I would recommend some caution.
Due to my own experience, often I associate predatory behaviour with ‘mentoring’, and if you want more clarification what I mean by predatory, WykD_Dave has written an excellent post explaining it. I am pretty sure that there are plenty of people out there who are genuine and honest and are excellent mentors. I am not referring to those people, although I have noticed that often people who are honest with their intentions do not use the word ‘mentor’, they simply maintain a friendship.
I have noticed these predatory ‘mentors’ often target those very new to BDSM and the kink community, they tend to mentor a person they are interested in being in a relationship with, someone they wish to mould and acquire. Blocking growth and development by any other means than through that dominant is a common characteristic of these predatory mentors.
I terms of D/s in my mind it would make more sense for a submissive to mentor another submissive, rather than a Dominant mentor a submissive. Similarly with rope, I think a rope bottom would be best to mentor another rope bottom.
I think the best way to learn and grow from mentorship is by making friendships. Go to events, meet people, and make friends.