Rope rants.

No one can say Gray doesn't love the pussy.

No one can say Gray doesn't love the pussy.

 Leave it to Gray to go ranting about some shit.

 The subject of the most recent Graydancer’s Ropecast included a rant (which isn’t all that ranty, so if you are hoping for spittle-flying desk-pounding histrionics, you’ll be sorely disappointed. I kinda was hoping for some heavy breathing and shouting, but noooooo…) about the difficulty of teaching suspension bondage in the environment of a broad-spectrum BDSM event.

To get it from the old goat’s mouth, go here:

(and if you want to hear the BEST ROPECAST EVAR!!1!! go here)

To paraphrase: the thrust of his rant seems to be that it is near to impossible to teach suspension well in the context of a short-form class.  There are too many skills involved to really do the thing right. In a mid/advanced-level rope-specific setting, with several hours allocated, small classes and multiple instructors, he beleives a class on suspension would  seem to be more feasible.

 This is partially due to the fact that many, many people attending cons might be dabbling in playstyles with which they have little to no familiarity, and zero experience.

Gray pondered the core issue of someone who possessed no rope of their own and had never done any rope bondage deciding that they wanted to take a suspension class. The issue being, you know too little: why would you think you could do this at all?  Seems kind of presumptuous to jump in to one of the most complex types of rope bondage there is on your first go, right?I think this is less presumptuousness on the part of those new to rope as it is ignorance combined with “making the difficult look easy.” No one can see your typical rope scene and know anything about the players. It is a fairly human reaction to say “Well, if they can do it, I can too.” And jump right in. Thing is, it takes experience to know how little experience you have. Conundrum.  And so much of ropework is showy, and grabs attention, how can one chide a neophyte for wanting that too?

You can’t walk into a play space anywhere in the US without seeing people doing suspensions. Some of them make me wince and pray for the players, but as I’m not a DM, that isn’t my business. But familiarity breeds comfort, and the ubiquitousness of suspension leads players to believe it is something easily accessed.

I have had a rather fortunate career in rope. My first partner was a presenter, and subsequently I’ve been spoiled by access to top-level rope bastards riggers. Nowadays, I am extremely arrogant about my health and well-being, to the point where if I haven’t heard of you, it is unlikely you’ll be roping me off of my feet. I simply will not risk a break, concussion, nerve damage or sprain due to the attentions of a novice rigger.  It is tough enough when you DO know what you are doing.

Rather than NOT offering any suspension level classes at broad-spectrum BDSM events (because if it isn’t Gray, SOMEONE will do it.)I’d like to see the “rope community” be more stringent about monitoring who is attending these classes, screening folks, giving disclaimers, making a suspension-geared classes that ARE about floorwork, thereby providing the grounding that is necessary.

Those unfamiliar with rope might have little idea that suspension is an extremely advanced bondage activity. It is so common, and so easily spotted and so showy, why would they assume it takes any particular skill UNTIL THEY SEE the behind the scenes?

So long as Conventions and organizations offer “Suspension Bondage for Beginner” type classes, this misconception will thrive.

Presuming that someone KNOWS and respects the complexity and level of rope bondage is…presumptuous.

Furthermore, I’d like to see coverage / discussion on how to be a good rope bottom, because little respect is paid to what it takes to be IN a rope suspension. First time I went up I thought I was going to be split into 3 big chunks of Mollena and wind up ruining a perfectly good set of hemp rope. But that wasn’t the case, and now I am competent to be suspended. This too takes time and practice, and the profligacy of public suspension scenes does little to bolster and underscore the risk and skill inherent in suspensions. Having presented, several times, on bottoming in rope and having been the bottom in many rope demonstrations, this side of the equation is only recently being acknowledged.

All this talk makes me wanna get roped up. Dammit…

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  1. Graydancer on November 19, 2009 at 12:46 PM

    Actually, in the classes I do talk a lot about the skills necessary to be a competent suspension bottom – for example, when we presented at Spank Lqqkout and I also said our class was being taught by us two AND Sabrina Fox and Nyxx, our bottoms.

    And I got some very nice succinct feedback from one of the attendees of my recent BR class, which I will be featuring in the next RC. Also, the talented Artemis Hunter will be doing a class on “rope bottom skills” at the Rope Academy in DC Feb. 26-28th.

    Thanks for the support. I’ll do my best to become the Glenn Beck of rope in an upcoming ropecast.
    .-= Graydancer´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…RAZOR: Risk Aware Zombie Orgasmic Restraint =-.

    • mollena on November 27, 2009 at 1:29 AM

      To that end, I insist you do a show that properly instructs people on teabagging.

  2. […] yes, I agree, there is a problem. And I agree with Mollena Williams that as long as conventions offer the “beginning rope suspension” type class in a 1.5 […]

  3. qatana on November 19, 2009 at 2:38 PM

    In addition to learning how to be a good Rope Bottom,(and somewhat OT), a lot of rope bottoms need to learn “Bottoming for the Camera”. Nothing wrecks a beautiful rigging like a t-shirt & jeans. Predicament bondage is another story, but if you are doing an artistic rope photoshoot, for heavens sake wear something complementary to the scene, or nothing. I will ALways be photographed fully clothed, for political reasons, but nothing on a naked body will detract from the rope.And for heaven’s sake, don’t just hang there like a sack of beans.Make a Presentation of yourself, this is a Performance!
    I agree with all the points Gray made and agree that yeah, if he doesn’t, someone will. Not only will I only allow reputable, known riggers take me Up, I will only attend classes of people who are known , with checkable references and Street Cred.
    Thinking of hitting SD GRUE this winter…

    • mollena on November 27, 2009 at 1:33 AM

      If you go, pinch Gray for me. I’m unable to make it but I award you my pinch proxy.

      Just be sure to run like a chihuahua on fire once you’ve delivered. He’s wily.

  4. StacyCat on November 19, 2009 at 6:11 PM

    I think there are two issues that I am worried about. The first is that suspension is dangerous, and many classes do not emphasize how dangerous this is. Safety is given a short mention, and then not really discusses.

    The second is that not everyone has access to great rope people. Graydancer mentioned that he learned from Lee Harrington and Monk, and not many people have that opportunity. At least, not those without access to lots of kink events. MargoEve points this out in her rant, that the person who can only make one event may not have the opportunity to learn this elsewhere.

    In kink, there is the camp that says you should learn everything one on one with someone experienced. And, in most “edge play” classes, they do mention that if someone really wants to do it, to pull someone aside (even the presenter), and have them do a more one on one tutorial.

    And, there is the side that says “lets get as much information out there as we can,” to both say that this is really dangerous, but to give useful information to those that are going to do it anyway. I tend to fall in this camp, but I am the one to say “I am okay with my partner accidentally killing me, and if you arent, think twice about doing this.”
    .-= StacyCat´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Monkeysphere =-.

    • mollena on November 27, 2009 at 1:38 AM

      It IS a catch 22, but facts is facts: suspension is advanced play, and you really ought not fuck around with it without training. I’d love to SCUBA. COULD I buy the gear, read a book, suit up and wade into the surf? Sure. Would I? No, because there are things you just have to learn under someone’s watchful eye. I believe advanced rope shit to be one of them.


      .-= mollena´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Submission is delicious. With gravy. And stuffing… =-.

  5. Master Geasa on November 23, 2009 at 8:54 PM

    I sort of agree with the it is hard to find good people to learn from post. All of my rope skills are self taught, and I think if I met a lot of the people mentioned, I could easily become a rope bore.

    Surpose it is like a lot of things, and about money. People want to learn this, so we will do courses.

    That said, I can honestly say not sure how much I would learn with Sabrina Fox in the room. There is a course that would be a test of my concentration.