It can’t be helped that in my site’s long period of malfunction, various writing got caught in the delay. This was started months earlier this year, but I suppose its better shared here than put into the delete pile. It’s got a certain timelessness to it.
When I entered the kink community, rope topping was very much a boy space.
I am occasionally shy to talk about my bondage because I told myself I am bad at it. I am not, and tying up Silver in a Vancouver hotel room was the kind of meta empowering I know is going to stick with me until I am old.
I took a lot of pictured for posterity, even filmed us playing by carefully setting my phone on a tripod. When we watched the clip together later, you could hear me saying over and over again: pretty, pretty, pretty.
I was savoring his body, marveling that he could be wholly there for my consumption.
The pictures that include me, and indeed the angle I captured my own use of him, both didn’t care how I looked. He was the prize, I the winner. I take a good enough selfie and know where I sit on the matter of the artifice of performed beauty. The ability to put him as the object, in rope of my design made me the victor.
I doubt he knew he was going into the moment with me with a metamour of ten years of pent up irritation at how kink, as a community, treats my sexuality, but this was a rare moment in which I was able to see this creature and step on its throat.
In the late aughts, all of the BDSM world was obsessed with the shibari master/rope bottom dynamic. even vanilla fashion was deeply influenced by the endless pictures of diamond pattern body harnesses, posted by fancy male photographers and exhibitionists- the strappy elastic body harnesses that are still worn today are its descendant. The ability to string a flexible young woman up was a mark of prestige for men and women alike. Events were happy to have one or more “bunnies” artfully suspended as the centerpiece. Big to dos, like LordMorpheous‘s thing in Toronto, wedged a shoulder into the Overton window and created a space to be kinky that both challenged everything, but was not so unfamiliar as to upend any hegemonies that would make it impossible.
Women being tied to things for pleasure, being excused as art has always been a wedge issue for erotic content, since long before The Perils of Pauline bound a woman to train tracks, a sawmill, and any other excuse that has let kinky content squeak through. The self identified bunnies and edgy topping-as-art tie boys were the good kind of pioneer, don’t get me wrong. It also was a rising tide that profoundly didn’t float my boat.
So, let me continue, I do have a lot to say.
I wouldn’t have minded this explosion of other’s pleasure if they were aware they were excluding me.
Everything being emphasized on getting anything young and femme on stage and suspended was not good for me. Not, you know, like it should be banned and knuckles rapped, but fuck did it suck. Does it still suck. It’s always been an extension of the fact that I know my gaze is the least priority, as is my desire. It was, after all, made clear by the attention you got at a play party: nobody wanted to see men sub. Besides, I got a reputation for being terrifying when I did do anything public. That’s a whole kettle of fish in its own right, connected to how we frame female aggression, but they had nothing nice to say for my “victims” either.
But boy did people climb out of the god damn rafters if I chose to publicly bottom. They wanted to try to connect with me on how cute my squeaks of pain were. They missed who I was, seeing my twinned true masochism with my sadism as something for them. I will never be more open, calm and welcoming than when I am erotically cruel and my empathy is stretching out into the whole room, wearing the sense of being there like a warm, diffused light.
I found shibari early, before I went to my first munch. I think the first place I saw it was flipping through Japanese porn, a physical magazine in a book that included everything from extreme play to some sort of fancy award winning high quality series, with ads for various fetishes, particularly vividly photographed scat. I was too young to be looking at it in the legal sense, although the context I took it in was indifference. It wasn’t particularly exciting compared with slightly more lurid but amateur scenes, including a tail plug and what looked to be a simulated(?) real life eunuch, replete with dramatic crotch stitches. But when western media got tie obsessed, the way that my entire nerdy peer group wanted to teach itself Japanese and inject dubbed anime directly into its veins, I had this as a prequel. It looked objectifying and challenging, but told a story I wasn’t inspired by. At that point I just let it slide past as part of a buffet.
Enter 2008, Obama’s been elected and everyone’s suddenly very interested in where the load bearing ceiling beams are.
Although there’s lots of talk about Rope Masters in the sense of accomplishment, shibari, with it’s lengthy prep, needs the patience and self awareness of bottom, as much as their flexibility. For the tops, for the most part, there was a lot of rigid rules and tie types to learn to prove you were skilled, which was supposed to impart an atmosphere of praise and largely got tangled up in “I studied the blade!” wishful thinking of white people. Though bondage-as-restraints or as a sensation, itself, appealed to my sadomasochism, shibari, kinbaku or whatever Serious terminology you like… wasn’t it. Not how it was presented.
Although I flirted with trying to learn a few things- the ubiquitous harness, the more useful restraint ties, I derided as “erotic macramé”. And, worse than the cultural undercurrents, the prestige of the various “kinbaku masters” hosted a whole pile of missing stairs. The kind you tolerate because you delude yourself that knowledge has to be bottle necked and the consent of a bottom is less important than the quality of the knot. Explicitly, people like Dunter left a foul taste. I spent a decade of my life with capital R rope as the apex of kink, not so quietly disliking the whole thing.
While I don’t actually think pure materials fetish should be removed from the BDSM scene, in hindsight I hated what it facilitated. The topping skill oriented, non-consensual power hierarchy it justified was repulsive, particularly for a competitive person like me, who did not like the gentle pressure that recognition in my subculture was only really possible if I went hard lesbian or bottomed.
It was ironic, given that tying people up has always been part of my own fetishes and fantasies.
All those thing come to mind as I put Silver in place in the hotel luggage cart. I tested the solid brass pipes of its structure and carpeted base, via the ancient femdom safety technique of giving things a good yank. Since nothing would be suspension based, and it was sturdy enough he wouldn’t immediately pull it apart if he sneezed, it would do.
The rope is grey hemp in three lengths, a beginner bondage kit from one of the fancy names. I don’t find Twisted Monk as irksome as many of the prospects out there (damning with faint praise, I know!), but I admire his products. The promise of a no cost replacement if you have to cut it for safety is particularly charming. When Silver gave it to me, it came with an instructional DVD, which I looked at briefly and decided not to watch. It was much the same for flipping through the Two Knotty Boys book I acquired. Girls in rope. Girls in rope. Girls in rope. Save the rope gag example in the latter book, such material inexplicably thinks I only want to see female bodies bound. They know their market, I guess. You know I think the Femdom Ratio is a myth, but the nature of the beast is that the larger world supports a particular kind of buyer, and a particular kind of performed heterosexuality and femaleness.
Not here. Silver could, if he wish, pump himself into a protien padded extreme. Most men I know want to be as big as possible, he has the discipline he could if he wanted. I know that he’s always tied his aesthetic between what the women he knows likes and is personal aesthetics. My slutty little masochist bought suits that fit and the softest shirts. My little bitch has a lingerie collection almost as large s mine, not borrowed from me but in that tight band of masculine tailored silk and lace and so forth.
A squintillion women have been suspended in luggage carts over the years. It’s a sturdy frame when you travel and hotels are always notoriously low on hard points.
In binding him, I find his beauty as a man.
I have tied up both men and women. Not to get horribly cis about this, but even in the language of emphasis, you are working with different things. No gender is absolute, but Silver is on the far side of that binary, intentionally, his body spare and the shape sculpted. He sends me pictures from the gym in his purple workout gloves, bulging at the upper arm or thigh. I adore the vain vulnerability of admitting he wants me to admire him. It makes me feel intensely dominant. Watching his lifts and weight-contortions, the meat there, swelling, reminds me of the way his cock behaves in my hand.
We tend to think of a cock as a static thing when it is hard, but it is alive, responsive and controllable. The constriction you place decides if the head will cap, flaring immensely or the length will go rigid as a single drop escapes the tip and you clamp down on the base, pushing back their capacity to come. There, the hardness of the shape in your hand is only an extension of the tension in their core and the pulled in tightness of their balls, bracing to deliver something vulnerable.
Cum, which I now spell so, as people got too enthusiastic about Silver visiting when I said he might come, is a vulnerability of its own. It could, in theory, kill me, carrying some of the most potent information in the world. In the wrong place, I’ll swell and lose control of myself, my circulatory system and metabolic processes, even my brain chemistry, all hijacked by a parasite. And yet, leaving his body, a man loses all choice. That terror is erotic to me in an inverse of an impregnation fetish. In my darker fantasies, fucking raw, leaving man begging not to be made to come inside me, makes something twitch, even though my worst literal nightmares are a pregnancy.
Oh dear, if you are reading this, Silver, I apologize. Even to my audience, we have meandered from tying a man to a luggage cart in a hotel in Vancouver to stacked taboos and true terrors. Cum, I guess, like my relationship to rope, is edge play of a different sort. As I bind Silver I take back a power denied me by m insecurities as I watched a room ooo, adoringly, at a man do a knot just so and I cannot map to replicate him. NO. Admire me, damn it. I am the master. My friend, those 5 years ago is sweet and helpful, accommodating, but I don’t have the language to say I don’t want to learn from him as someone we will see as a dominant, I want to see him as the switch he is. I wanted him tied.
My other lesson, with the Swede, watching him spool rope effortlessly, his submission etched me more easily. 2008 was me in an in an innocent moment, when I had enthusiasm and a certain awkward, bloody danger that needed to be tempered. I didn’t understand escalations, precisely because I could take pain. I recoiled at the glorified hierarchal leather style mentorship, craving the sort of flat keys to power that didn’t override me in the process of learning.
My gaze, my power
Yeah, ain’t tryna be cool like youDoja Kat, Boss Bitch
Wobblin’ around in your high-heeled shoes
I’m clumsy, made friends with the floor
Two for one, you know a bitch buy four
Doja Kat can’t help but open her anthem with a not-like other girls observation that she’s clumsy and makes friends with the floor, while other people are at the club to be looked at and fuck. not to dance and party, and to flail and fail sometimes in the process. I can’t fuck without juggling knives, the twin edges of sex that hurt in the past, and a future harm as life changing as a serious car accident, only one that adds one more life to the world as much as it could take one out. I can’t tie for my aesthetics without doing so in defiance of aesthetics that rejected me and called my desires ugly.
Oh, but he is meant to be bound!
I defy the books. I have to defy the classes that keep their monopoly on form by placing themselves as the essentials of safety. I defy the eyes of those who looked away, when I post his body, censored with cute stickers, for my audience on twitter. If you are reading this you understand. You know on some level on some level how we don’t belong, too queer for a heterosexual play party, too straight for the other kinds. How could the cis-male body be made queer in a heterosexual context? Take the original meaning, that strangeness that means that to this day a sexy naked man will still be called “homoerotic”.
How straight it is, when I buy a hood from Mr. S Leather, a website that fills my inbox with little injections of chiseled bear born alongside their coupons, reminding me if I want a fit for a man this is the market they expect to cater most to? When the collars I picked for him are all made by people imagining a much more slender cis female throat in them? When our sexuality is so uncatered to by sexual education in the wider culture that we both cannot find ourselves there?
All those traditional ties meant for female bodies, to frame breasts, pinch waists. Fuck those ties. they never look right, like a bra’ cups collapsing on a cross dresser’s chest or those last inches of a thrift shop prom gown zipper gaping, where narrow hips fit the skirt, but the widening of the armpits won’t fit the top. And yet , glory to him/her, we’re both going to be falling over, doing, escaping our containers by the strength of our frantic flailing.
I tie Silver up to free him, to centre the gaze on him, emptying his head of all thoughts but pleasing me in the process. I share him and my intimacies here, to free myself. While the world would have me tied and him unleashed, here I am, flailing and failing and making what I want of things. I don’t belong hung from the rafters, but on the floor.
And I am not actually bad at bondage.
Look at that, thrown together in the immersion of experiencing him? I thought, every step of the way, of looping and knotting, how understood rope as easily as I understood his body.
I should know better, but its only in making this art that I can see the same story repeated. My dominance has not been served by anything but self trust, here. That I bough into the idea of a right way to do things of shibari’s culture bound me to putting myself as some sort of novice.
I am not. I can take the beauty in front of me and capture everything that all those photographers and weeabos in utility kilts blather on about.
Are there some useful ties you can learn from others? Yeah, the stow rope or safety cuff stuff helps. Don’t think I think the whole of kink is a leather boot stamping on a face forever. But it’s nice to know, on the other side of the long weekend in Vancouver, I took a big piece of confidence away with me along with the orgasms and art.