How did I learn to ‘connect’?
Rope scenes are pretty much my favorite thing in kink and something that I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at. But I didn’t start out good at them. It took a long time for me to be able to use this tool in any meaningful way with my partners. It seems silly; kink is about play. We even call it “play” but when it comes to rope, it used to be like I would forget about that play aspect and turn into this boring clinical person just tying knots and laying pieces of rope on someone’s body. I’m pretty sure that those scenes weren’t satisfying for anyone. I did it for so long that way; that I forgot that kink is about enjoyment and fulfillment.
Later, I did start to understand that those weren’t the scene that I wanted but by this time it was so built into my rope DNA that I didn’t even know where to start to try to break this habit. It so happens that I had someone come into my life that was able to guide me out of it, but it wasn’t easy. One of the first things I had to do was figure out what I actually did want out of a scene. I had the technical skills but none of the emotional skills. I said that I wanted to “connect” with my partner but every single connection class I had been to was the same. It was about slowly tying your partner, frequently in freeform styles and almost always on the ground. I wanted more than that. I wanted to be able to make all kinds of different emotions and I wanted to do it in the air.
Once I knew what I wanted to do, now I had to have one of the biggest internal battles that I’ve ever had in kink. I had to fight to broaden my definition of what connection looks like in rope. This most certainly didn’t happen over night. In fact, it was a months-long process with almost as many steps backward as there were forward. What I took away from the introspection and from the connection activities that I did with rope is that there are dozens of ways to connect in rope, some of them that resonate with me, and many that don’t.
What does this all mean? Potentially, nothing, but I like to believe that I am not the only person that had the experience of learning to tie rope but not learning to play with the person. Now my scenes are focused on evoking something, even with people that I’ve never tied before. With friends and partners, I generally ask what kind of mood they are in and we tie to evoke that emotion. That might be sexual or silly or sadistic or simply a desire to feel beautiful. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as we’re both feeling it. With people I’m not as familiar with, I talk extensively in negotiation about how I tie and then if they are not comfortable having that closeness or vulnerability that comes from tying with me; I gently suggest that they find someone else to tie with.
I am at a point in my kink life where playing in a way that makes me feel happy and fulfilled. This takes a number of forms. I am selective about who I play with. The personal connection has to be there before I will want to play. I don’t do service topping except with very rare cases (and always as volunteer work to help my community). And most importantly, I speak up about who I am and what I need out of a scene as a top. While this has led to some significant disagreement about how I am to the community, not being willing to tie everyone that asks, it has allowed me to find joy and fulfillment in rope. Connecting with people through rope is how I express my feelings towards them and it is an act of self care by sticking to this.