When Ropes Go (Hysterically) Wrong

When I unfurled the first rope to begin our scene and the tails knocked over a glass of wine, I should have taken it as a sign that this wasn’t going to be my night.

My friend Layla was interested in being tied. Unlike previous partners, her interest was mostly in the aesthetic of tying and the beauty of the rope. Her unique perspective drove my desire to get her to an event. Since I’m more into the sensual nature of tying and also the aesthetics, I thought this would be a perfect fit. Turned out to be more like to stubborn Taurus’s butting heads.

I took her to a BDSM party and it was a lot of fun, but the night went way differently than I hoped. For example, I didn’t really consider what she does for a living and how this might impact her in a rope scene. She works in theater production and, among other things, is often rigging people or things for the stage. So she was bringing a level of technical knowledge into the scene that I’d never experienced before. And she kept asking about what I was doing with the rope.

As mentioned above, from the moment we began our scene, things went hilariously off the rails. It started with me spilling the wine. Then, halfway through tying a chest harness, the hosts stopped the music to sing Happy Birthday to a regular.

Note to hosts – once people start getting into their scenes, don’t interrupt the flow!

So here’s Layla with half of a chest harness, holding onto the rope so it won’t untie, while singing Happy Birthday to a person she doesn’t know and while I’m mopping up the remaining wine. 🤷‍♂️

OK! Deep breath and let’s reset.

As I’m finishing the chest harness, I’m about six inches short of rope to finish. The shortest length I have is 15-feet, so I have to use that and then “burn” the extra rope. No, not literally “burn” – this is a term when the rigger has extra length and needs to use it up. But in my haste I don’t fasten it well and Layla steps on and almost trips over the loose end later on. 🤦‍♂️

Next I tie a hip harness and it generally goes well. But only after the particularly intricate pattern is complete to I realize that an early section is loose and there’s no easy way to correct this. It becomes a mild annoyance as Layla moves but at least there’s no danger of her tripping over anything this time.

Next up I start working on a wrist cuff and completely forget how to properly wrap and tie this one. Layla begins to use her professional rigging experience to ask about the various knots and ties I’m using because she’s intellectually curious, but this only makes me feel like my rigging skills are inadequate.

I’m able to redeem myself when we move over to the St. Andrews Cross and she suggests a bowline for the next knot. Unbeknownst to her, the Somerville Bowline is among the primary knots learned when beginning to tie Shibari, so I know this one well. In fact, when I tie it, she’s overly curious about how I did it because the result is exactly as she expected, but the steps to get there that I used were different. I was also able to tie a sliding hitch on the cross to allow for movement and a quick release knot that came in handy when we were done on the cross and she was getting a little tired.

I have a high tolerance for pain.

After the ropes we spent some time at the bar talking to kinksters and watching other scenes. While not part of the original plan, Layla mentioned her high pain tolerance and I asked if she wanted to test this out with some impact play. She did and we negotiated the terms of this scene and then set her up on the spanking bench.

I began with the flogger and using it more for tactile sensation than impact. She liked this a lot, but did want to move through more impact as well, so we progressed. She ultimately really liked the metal studded leather paddle, but unlike other impact partners, her reaction was entirely different. First, she was very squirmy, and not in an erotic sense. Second, when the impact was higher on the pain threshold, she would laugh uncontrollably. She ultimately was laughing and squirming so much that she sort of fell off the bench and hurt her foot.

Tie me to the bench.

She wanted to continue and asked me to tie her ankles to the bench so she couldn’t move as much. This was very helpful even if it wasn’t perfect. I was next able to find the impact sweet spot that wasn’t causing her undue discomfort, but was pretty high on the pain scale. Her ass was getting quite hot at this point so I would alternate between heating her up with the paddle and cooling her down with slow and sensual flogging. Despite her desire to dial up the pain, it was only when I was “soothing” her with the flogger that she began to drop into a cozy subspace. She never got all that far into that space, but it was just enough that we both felt sated for the evening.

My playtime with Layla was fun, but I learned a few valuable lessons:

  1. Knocking over wine before the scene begins is probably a bad sign
  2. When a scene is interrupted, it might be better to reset than continue
  3. I need more practice with the basic ties – I need to be able to do these with my eyes closed
  4. If your partner has more intellectual curiosity than desire to reach a particular state, treat it like a workshop, not a scene

Lessons learned for future!


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My wife is the love of my life and my absolute soulmate. So why are we exploring polyamory and other sexual experiences that are often considered socially unacceptable? Read on to find out! Spoiler Alert: These things are AWESOME and have strengthened our marriage in ways you might not expect. Or believe.

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