Suspension

Suspension can be an incredible experience for both bottom and top.  People do this safely all the time, but this is not something for dabblers; it requires real skill, practice and dedication. There is a lot of information linked from this page; information you need to understand before you accept the responsibility of dangling a helpless person above the ground.

MAKE NO MISTAKE:  Rope bondage–particularly suspension–is some of the most dangerous and injury-prone bondage that you can do.  This is absolutely edge play. 

  • If the top doesn’t know what they are doing, a rope can be positioned improperly, impinging on nerves or blood vessels
  • If the bottom is not communicating with their top–letting them know if they feel numbness, tingling, a “dead” sensation anywhere or other such crucial indicators, the top cannot react and adjust to fix the issue.
  • Improperly placed ropes can cause nerve damage in just minutes.  Nerve damage can take weeks or months to heal, and in severe cases, may never fully heal.
  • If blood flow is cut off; clots can form.  A blood clot in the blood stream is no joke.  It can cause stroke, coronary, or even death.
  • In suspensions, if the hard point lets go or the ropes break or some other unexpected thing happens that causes the bottom to fall, they could get something wrenched out of joint, break a limb, strike their head, or possibly even freaking die.

So take this seriously.   Read everything on this page–more than once.  Go read the General Rope Bondage Risks and Nerves & Circulation pages again.

Tops:

I talk about all of these things and much more throughout the tutorials below, but just a few quick words as a preview:

  1. Learn and practice before you try this on a person.  Get some heavy free weights and practice suspending them–the techniques and the rope control, both getting them suspended and in letting them down easily.
  2. Find a local mentor to guide you, to watch what you are doing the first few times and give you live correction.  I do the best that I can here, but that is no substitute for live instruction from an experienced suspension rigger.
  3. Find a bottom that you can trust to communicate clearly and completely when you are doing your first suspensions–it is best if you can find one that is experienced as a suspension bottom.  You can learn from them just as much as from suspension riggers–respect that, welcome it as the gift it is.  They can tell you where your ropes are too tight or pressure is in the wrong place and all sorts of other things that will make your rigging much better.
  4. Medical issues become much more important when suspending.  Joint or muscle issues show up quickly and the bottom cannot easily adjust to compensate like they can with floor work.  Blood pressure and circulatory issues are obviously even more of an issue.  But the hidden one that many people don’t think about is diabetes and hypoglycemia; these conditions make your partner even more susceptible to changes in blood pressure and in heat.  A person with diabetes, in a hot room, under physical stress can go low very quickly.  Be sure that your partner has had the right nutrition and liquids before you begin.
  5. If a bottom wants to include another rigger the first few times you play, don’t take that as a kick to your ego or an insult to your skills.  You are new to each other and your potential partner is literally trusting you with their life.  It is OK if they want someone else along that they know better.  You will build trust and perhaps even new friendships by graciously accepting.  You will likely learn more about your new partner more quickly and–who knows–you might even have a lot more fun with two people to do the tormenting  🙂

Bottoms:

I talk about all of these things and much more throughout the tutorials below, but just a few quick words as a preview:

  1. You have things to learn too.  Suspension is not easy or comfortable without work on your part, too.  You will want to work on flexibility; that always helps. And so does strength so that if one part gets too uncomfortable, you can flex a bit to take off the pressure for awhile.
  2. You know your body, its needs and capabilities.  Work within those.  Be sure to let your top know of any medical issues you have, particularly those related to joint or muscle issues, heart or circulatory issues, or diabetes.
  3. Communicate:  Your top should be working to make sure the ropes are positioned correctly so that they do not pinch any nerves or blood vessels, but every body is different.  Your nerve path may be a little higher or lower than average, so it is vitally important that you immediately let your rigger know if you are feeling any numbness, tingling, or other unexpected sensations.  If your rigger places a rope and you immediately feel a limb “go dead”–meaning you cant move it/wiggle your fingers or toes–tell them right NOW.  They need to undo or move whatever it is they did right the fuck now.
  4. It is best to do your first suspensions with an experienced suspension rigger to help guide you through these things so you can learn.  Then you can work with less experienced riggers and pass on your experience too.  If you have concerns that the rigger is not experienced enough, ask that they partner with someone you trust to help for the first few times.
    “Sure, we can do that, but let’s include <rigger name>, too.  I’ve worked with her before and she knows how to really make me wriggle 🙂  It’ll be fun!”
  5. No matter how experienced you both may be, the first few times that you partner with a new rigger, do not allow yourself to be gagged.  Your body is yours and is different from everyone else’s.  You need to be able to verbally communicate until you know each other well enough to communicate non-verbally.  Then go ahead an pack that mouth as tight and wide as you like………ahem.

The Core Suspension Curriculum Tutorials ― Do these in order

Master Each before you go on to the next.

Suspension – Top or Bottom, Are you ready for suspension?

Scene Planning & Safety

Shinju

Suspension Shinju

Swiss Seat

Choosing Suspension Rope

Suspension – Evaluating a Hard Point

Suspension – The Emergency Munter Hitch

Suspension – Hangers

Frictions for Hard Points

Partial Suspension

Your First Suspension – Basic Seated Suspension

Futomomo for Suspension

Drum Harness

Curves Ahead Drum Harness

Curves Ahead TK

Building Core Strength

Hashira (Vertical Beam) Shibari

Hashira Anchor

Anchoring a Horizontal Pole to a Hard Point

Bamboo Suspension Friction

Gravity Boot

The Fisherman’s Harness v1

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9 Comments

  1. Ive been trying to do inverted futo self suspensions only doing partial at the moment till i solve this problem. But my futos have a habit of sliding down my leg which is up towards the knee upside down when really loaded and pulled that way. Am i missing a trick to stop them doing that.

    1. That can happen if the futo doesn’t have a good enough grip on the leg. If you are trying to do a full inversion and want to use *only* a futo, it/they need to be very tight. But another thing you can do is to anchor the futo. For example: you can create a waist harness or simple hip strap at the saddle point of the hips and then use tail to connect to the outside line of the futo from which you are doing the suspension. It will hold that line more surely in place, plus it will transfer some of the load to your hips, which most people find more comfortable… Keep experimenting (safely)!

  2. Hi there! Really getting some fantastic info from this site so thank you for all the clarity!

    One question – what kind of harness combinations would you recommend for face down suspensions?

    1. Thanks! Lots of options for face down. You can even use the Shinju and the Swiss Seat, but use Y and W hangers, respectively. Also support the legs with ankle cuffs or futomomo. The drum harness can be a good alternative for the hips. It is stable in almost any angle.

  3. any suspension harnesses that work well for someone that due to medical wounds cannot have rope across chest or hips? I’ve seen the one for the legs that looks similar to frog tie, but how would you support their upper body?

    1. The first thing I will say is that I personally would not suspend a person with medical limitations like this; not being able to support the chest or hips means that the major avenues for supporting a person’s frame are barred to you. That said, the Suspension Futomomo (https://www.theduchy.com/suspension-futomomo/) is what you likely mean. Depending on your own skill and the physical capabilities of your partner, you can do a suspension with just the Futo; but it is not for everyone–it is stressful and is usually something that is only tried once a person already has significant experience being suspended in other ways first. You can find pics online by searching for “futomomo suspension” to get the idea. Another idea to consider is to make a kind of net that cradles their back, but to make it loose so it is not constricting their body at all, but is simply supporting them. Think hammock, but made of rope. You would have to figure out how to make such a thing though, and it would be important to design it so that the strands cannot slip apart and dump the person on the floor…

  4. My wife and I have been enjoying this site and having some fun on the ground. We want to start trying some suspensions. She has breast implants and I was wondering if there is a particular harnesses that minimize pressures on the breasts. Thanks

    1. The answer to this depends very much on her particular build. You might consider face-up positions though so that the majority of the pressure is along the sides and back. Using a longer hanger to attach to the chest straps can also help this so that tension on them does not tend to draw the two straps more tightly together…

  5. Pingback: Suspension and the Munter Hitch – TheDuchy

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