Handling – Moving Rope

Handling - Moving Rope

Rope bottoms get into a scene much more deeply if they feel the Top (the rigger) is knowledgeable and in control.  One of the best ways to show that you are knowledgeable and in control is to move with speed and confidence.  Mastering the tips in this tutorial —  practicing them until they become muscle memory that you don’t even need to think about — will be a big step forward in this area.

How you handle the rope as you are doing the various ties — where you put your hands, how you hold and move the rope — is one of the most important elements of this.  These techniques will allow you to move the rope more quickly and efficiently but also more safely, helping you avoid rope burn and protecting your ropes from damage.  If you like to perform or have an exhibitionist streak, moving with confidence, speed and precision also makes watching a rope scene much more interesting and enjoyable.

These are fundamental skills that will help improve your rigging no matter what you tie:

  • Pull rope, don’t push it … use the Hook or the Scissors
  • Use the big hole
  • Control the rope during tail pulls. Move rope like a stick … or pull all strands at the same time.
  • Protect your partner from rope burn

When trying to move rope, pull it, don’t push it.

There are a few very rare cases where something is very tight, where it can be helpful to create a small bend in the rope and push it through the tight passage.  In 99% of the cases, things will work much better if reach through and hook the rope and then pull it through instead.

Avoid using your fingers as pinchers to grab the rope, especially with twisted-strand rope.  You can accidentally grab just one of the strands and end up pulling that strand away from the other two, hyperthreading it.  It is difficult to repair that damage and, if this happens, that piece of rope should never be trusted to be as strong as it once was.

The following two techniques—the Hook and the Scissor—can be helpful:

The Hook Technique

This is the most common technique.  It is very flexible and fast.  It also works well in many tight areas.

The Scissors Technique

Alternatively, you can use two fingers in a scissor grip.  This can sometimes be helpful in areas where using the hook is difficult, and some people just prefer this style.  This can also be a way to ensure that you are able to run two fingers under a strap of rope, something that you should always be able to do for safety reasons.  The technique is very similar to the Hook.

If there is a path to run the rope so it will move through an area of lower resistance and friction, it is usually better to choose that path.

“Use the Big Hole” – Example 1 – Through a bight

When you are running your rope through a bight or bend, do so in such a way that the rope passes through the path of least resistance.  This can often be done with a simple twist of the wrist!

Using this technique has many benefits:

  • It makes it easier to move the rope
  • It makes it easier to keep the rope more controlled (because you don’t have to pull as hard to make it move),
  • It increases the life of your rope because it reduces friction and friction damage to your rope!

“Use the Big Hole” – Example 2 – Through a different path, then reposition

Run the rope though a location where you have more room, then reposition.

One quality that marks experience in a rigger is how well they control the rope.  How it moves around the area while being tied.  Does the end fly all around, potentially hitting their partner in unexpected ways or hitting a bystander?  Are their movements hesitant or controlled and purposeful?

Big, rapid movements, long extensions of the arm when doing a tail pull, etc. are impressive.  They are fun to watch and fun for both you and your partner to feel.  But the need to be done with control.  Without explicitly controlling how the ropes move, the ends will begin whipping around, perhaps hitting people.  This will detract from the impression of how skilled you are.

Move rope like a stick (for medium and short tail pulls)

If you control both ends of the rope when moving it, you can control almost everything else you need.  Let’s walk through it and show how you can pull together all the tips above in what to most people would look like a single move!

Pull all the strands, not just the free ones (for long tail pulls)

If you have a long tail pull, trying to move the rope like a stick doesn’t work, your arms aren’t long enough. But you can draw the loose strands through by pulling them all.  Only the tail strands will move!

This technique also helps protect your partner from rope burn!  As you are pulling all the stands, you will naturally be pulling the moving rope away from your partner’s skin!

When doing a tail pull, moving rope may come into contact with your partner’s skin.  If it is moving too quickly or under too much friction, it can give your partner rope burn.

Some of the techniques above already help with this!

“Use the big hole” for example.  Doing so helps the rope move more freely, with less contact and friction on the skin!  But you can do more!

Use tension to pull the rope away from your partner’s body during the tail pull

Another technique that helps keep moving rope off your partner’s skin is to pull all the strands, not just the free ones, as described above.

There are a lot of tips above, but they will become second nature as you practice them.  Let’s do an example from the Bikini Harness, looking at each action in terms of the tips above!

To a watcher that doesn’t know much about rope, it will look like you just ran a rope through a node or under a strap, but in reality, you will be doing so in a very efficient way that also protects your partner from rope burn and reduces the wear on your rope!  Nice, right!?

Here are a few good style tips that will generally give you better “presence”.  Doing these things will give your partner a stronger feeling that you are in control. They will demonstrate confidence and competence.  Practice these things, and you will both have a better time!

  • Practice and use all the tips on this page.   They are important!
    • Use those tips when you are untying, just as much as you do when tying!
  • Keep tension on the rope the entire time you are tying, don’t drop it. Let your partner feel your strength and control throughout.
    • Even when “using up” rope at the end, keep tension on it so they can feel you moving the rope and pulling on them or, holding it, and therefore them, still and in place.
    • Don’t relinquish tension on them until the tie is completely finished.

But just as important as your rope handling technique, is the mood you set.  The way you move and the way you interact with your partner can do more than almost anything else to set the mood of a scene.  You can change up your style to meet your needs!

So … what do you and your partner(s) want your scene to be?

  • Fast or slow?
  • Light or dark?
  • Playful or serious?
  • Powerful or flowing?
  • Sensual or demanding?
  • Teasing or tormenting?
  • Hands-off or hands-on?
  • Passionate or peaceful?
  • Intimate or objectifying?
  • Worshipful or degrading?
  • Exploratory or goal-oriented?
  • Collaborative or domineering?

Be honest with yourself and your partner.  Make this part of your negotiation.  Plan ahead.  By making conscious choices about these things, you both have a much better chance of getting what you want.

Perhaps these questions will help. 

  • What is the purpose of the scene? … Instructional?  Demonstration?  Exploratory?  Professional (for photography, etc.)?  Foreplay to sex?
  • What mood? … Playful?  Serious?  Sensual?  Demanding?  Dark?
  • How proprietary do you want this scene to be? … If you need them to be in a certain position or place … Will you ask them to move?  Order them?  Physically force them to move where you want them to be?
  • What is their role? … Are they a stranger to you?  Are they a play partner?  A lover?  A spouse?
  • How do they want to be treated? … As a respected partner?  As a gift?  As prey?  As an object?
  • What are the rules of contact? … Will you be minimizing contact, touching their skin with yours only when absolutely necessary?  Will it mostly be only the rope that touches them?  Will you be casually and comfortably brushing their skin as you tie?  Will you be all up in their business, teasing and tormenting them as you tie, i.e. the more touch the better?
  • Is sex planned to be part of the scene? For some people, sex is an important aspect of a bondage scene, for others it is not part of it at all.  IMPORTANT:  If the answer to this is any type of “yes”, make sure you know what that means!!  The spectrum of activities that can be called “sex” is huge.  Be very clear and specific what is ok and what is not ok.  Your definition may not be the same as theirs!

Understanding what you both want can help you choose how you will behave in the scene.  Here are a few examples:

  • You can set a dominating mood if you move quickly and with confidence. Use big movements when you are doing tail pulls, fast and sure tie-offs, etc.  You can enhance this by physically moving them where you want them (spinning them, for example) without talking to them very much, demonstrating that you are in control.  But it is important to understand that doing this to an extreme can make them feel extremely objectified.  Feeling objectified can be very good or very bad depending on the person or how that person is feeling that day.  Treating someone like an object without their consent is not likely to go well for you, but doing so when you have talked about it and are both into it can be hot as fuck.
  • You can set up a sensuous experience by moving slowly and gently, dragging the rope slowly across their skin as you tie. Letting it brush sensitive things like lips or nipples.  Take your time, make the tying process itself a primary part of the experience.  Even more, make untying just as much part of the experience.  Untie just as slowly and sensuously and you will extend the scene and intimacy even longer.
  • If you are tying with someone that has never had rope on them or that you have never tied before, you can set an instructional and light mood by keeping your voice at a higher pitch (less intimate), explaining in detail what you will do before you do it, explaining again as you are doing it and checking in with them about how it feels each time you complete a phase. Keep skin contact to a minimum and let them feel just the rope.  If you are clever or charming, use that to set them at their ease.  Do one short tie, let them feel it for a short time, and then untie them completely.  Once they are completely out of the rope, take a step back, then smile and check in.  Ask them how it felt and how they feel now.  Let them process with you.  Let them be heard.

There are as many moods and ways to set that mood as there are people.  Your desires will change from day to day and encounter to encounter.  Figure out what works for you.  No matter what it is, I guarantee there are others that are just as into those things as you are.  Once you understand yourself, find those other people that share your passions and pleasures.  Those people are the path to amazing experiences.

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