I have tied up a lot of first timers. This gives me a fascinating view into people’s first reactions to rope. Of course the more experienced people I have tied up also provide insights. The reactions range from seeming indifference to body shuddering arousal.
The latter is exactly what happened this last weekend at one of my favorite playspaces. Naturally it is much more fun to play with someone who has a great reaction to ropes. This particular person surprised themselves at the intensity of their reaction. She was completely turned on. For her the experience was very sexual and pleasant.
On the other hand, some rope work, like full suspensions, can be extremely physically demanding. Ropes are not a feather bed. This side of rope play works well for people who like to get their endorphins going. Think of it as the runner’s high – only from rope. Sometimes the reaction is more meditative and the person does not want sexual stimulation because it pulls them out of the headspace they move into with pressure or even pain from the ropes.
As a rope top there is always the question of what to do during a scene. It is important to determine what direction the person wants to go in. The signs can be very confusing. I know at least one woman who complains bitterly when I play with her while she is up in the air. But out of the scene she confirms that the experience is exactly what she is looking for. She likes resisting and fighting back a bit. It’s part of surrendering and giving in to the experience – resisting something you cannot control. Red is always available as a safe word, so there is a way out. But the play with pleading and torment is powerful if the person wants that.
The woman I played with for the first time over the weekend was moaning and squirming as I squeezed her nipples – then she broke scene briefly just to say “harder please.” And then she fell right back into her ‘resistance.’ If you play with someone a lot you know what they like – but the first time is always tricky. But it can be fun when you uncover someone who responds deeply.
A good friend I play with periodically will drop into “sub-space” almost the second I softly draw a rope over her shoulder. This is fine for play, but a few years ago she was my model for a rope class. She quietly said to me that she was working as hard as she could to stay present and not drift off and become “useless” as a model for the class.
One tricky situation is when the bottom is having a great time, but not really expressing it or overtly enjoying it. It is best to let things unfold and not try too hard to get an visible reaction. Checking in and having a post scene debriefing can be very informative. An easy trap to fall into is working at getting a reaction when the person is quite happy and just not expressing it.
Each person learns what they want to get out of being a rope bottom. To me the top’s job is to understand and adapt their play and the scene to make the most of it. Be ready for varied reactions, and let things unfold. A meditative scene can be just as satisfying as a sexually charged one if everyone knows that is where things want to go. Reactions to rope can be as varied as people themselves.