Advice for Rope

We came across this very useful set of advice for Tops and Bottoms by Topologist. It’s rope-oriented, but much of the advice is very relevant for all sorts of play.

Note: Everyone is encouraged to read all sections regardless of identification

TOPS

When looking for new partners:

  • DON’T touch anyone without their clearly expressed verbal permission (or touch their toys, garments, etc.)
  • DON’T invite yourself into in-progress play
  • DON’T assume that if you saw someone do something with someone else, they’d like to do it with you

When playing with somebody new:

  • DO talk about limits and goals before playing
  • DO ask your bottom about their medical history
  • DO advise your bottom of all possible risks
  • DO establish safe words/signals
  • DO establish check-in procedures
  • DON’T use techniques you are unsure of on bottoms you don’t know well

Whenever playing with rope:

  • DON’T exceed your ability
  • DON’T play intoxicated or with impaired judgment
  • DON’T push bottoms too far beyond their experience and comfort levels
  • DON’T ignore warning signs of tingling / numbness /discomfort or requests to loosen / adjust / remove a tie
  • DON’T make bottoms feel bad if a tie isn’t working out; take responsibility for tying in a way that is appropriate for the individual you are playing with
  • DON’T keep playing if your bottom reports lightheadedness, seeing spots, or ringing ears, develops a cold sweat, or becomes incoherent; they are likely about to pass out and/or throw up
  • DO have safety shears within reach at all times
  • DO educate yourself about nerve safety and anatomy
  • DO check periodically for normal feeling and strength in your bottom’s extremities
  • DO get expert instruction when learning suspension
  • DON’T ever leave a tied bottom unsupervised
  • DON’T allow anyone to join your play unless negotiated in advance with all parties
  • DO protect bottoms from external interference while playing and immediately after play
  • AVOID rope across the front of the neck
  • AVOID ties on the upper arms (until experienced)
  • AVOID hardpoints you can’t fully inspect (especially anchors into concrete ceilings)
  • ALWAYS consider what would happen if your bottom loses consciousness, the electricity goes out, and the building catches on fire

BOTTOMS

When looking for new partners:

  • DON’T assume that someone knows what they’re doing just because they sound experienced / have a big toy bag / taught a class once
  • DO check references (and be sure they are reliable)
  • IGNORE any assertion that “a true submissive would …” or that you need to be submissive in order to be a good rope bottom, or that bottoming makes you submissive
  • AVOID tops who don’t want you to have a safeword, limits, or independent interaction with the community
  • SPEAK UP if someone makes you uncomfortable or violates your boundaries – if you’re at an event, promptly advise the host

When playing with somebody new:

  • DO ask a friend who knows your limits to observe
  • DO use safecalls if you must play in private
  • DO let your top know what your needs are for before, during, and after play
  • DO tell your top about any medical conditions, injuries, orphysical limitations
  • DO advise your top ahead of time if there is anyone you would want to join in while you are playing
  • DO make sure you know how to safeword, including nonverbally if you may be gagged

Whenever playing with rope:

  • DON’T leap into difficult ties without experience
  • DON’T play when dehydrated, hungry, exhausted, or sick
  • DON’T play intoxicated or with impaired judgment
  • DO warm up and/or stretch before playing
  • DO communicate when something doesn’t feel right
  • DON’T ignore what your body is telling you to avoid ending play; ask to do something different or take a break
  • DO learn about your body so that you know what is safe for you and can recognize danger signs
  • DO talk with others about how they experience rope and how they stay safe while rope bottoming
  • DON’T rely solely on your top’s judgment for safety; determine for yourself whether an activity/situation is safe, and insist any concerns you have be addressed
  • ALWAYS pay attention for warning signs of nerve compression: tingling, numbness, and loss of strength/motion should be taken seriously even if not painful; lasting damage can occur quickly and without discomfort at the time of injury

Latest version always available at http://crash-restraint.com/advice

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA

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About RobinDoood

RobinDoood has been active in the Singapore BDSM community for the last five years, although he has been exploring kink privately for the last decade in Australia and the U.S. He enjoys community building, and likes to build safe, collegial spaces for participants to learn and share their experiences and skills with each other. He feels that there is such a wealth of knowledge, experience and viewpoints floating around in the community, and seeks to facilitate the sharing of the knowledge. While he currently identifies as a switch, RobinDoood started out as a submissive bottom. He has been actively exploring his top side over the recent years and is enjoying the process of learning and discovery. RobinDoood is one of the founding members of Singapore Learn and Play (SLAP!), a non-profit organisation that strives to provide quality and affordable BDSM education for the community, where he leads discussions, presents skill-shares and writes for SLAP!. He is always interested in hearing about new ideas/formats/mediums for BDSM education.

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