Just a few pointers and suggestions for being a well educated, safe, and successful rope bottom from someone who has been tied up her fair share. This is some of the stuff I wish someone would have told me when I was first starting out, as well as things I've heard Tops complain about over the years regarding inconsiderate bottoms. Don't be that kind of rope bunny!
UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who has given this writing love over the years! I now have an entire memoir on the topic of being an empowered rope slut called "Diary of a Rope Fiend." Check out my crowdfunding to get it into print and contribute if you can.
Regarding Rope Tops
Don't wait for rope to happen. If you see a rope person you're interested in, ask them if they're interested too. Even riggers like to be asked to dance every once in a while. At the same time, understand there is only so much rope one person can do at each event, don't take it personally if they ask for a rain check.
Know that Tops are just as nervous as you are. That doesn't mean they aren't safe to play with just that its nice to make them feel comforted and wanted too. Cut them some slack and give them some encouragement. Be patient, rope tends to take a while.
Unless you've negotiated otherwise, stay present in the scene, don't go falling off into happy land where you can't communicate as soon as a rigger touches you. It might be “just rope” but there are still negotiations to be done. It is no fun tying a rag doll. Feedback and your reactions--pleasure, pain, uncontrollable giggling--is how the top knows what's working and what isn't.
Have some ideas. What do you want to try? What do you want out of the scene? Why are you interested in this person? Don't always make the top do all the work, have something to add in case he asks.
Rope tops aren't carnival rides, they are humans with feelings and needs just like you. Give some energy back to the scene! Pick a Top you have a connection of some sort with not the one who you think is the biggest deal.
Have some manners, Tops need aftercare too. Thank the Top when you're done, hug, offer to put things away or chat with them while they coil their rope. You were in this together don't just run off as soon as the rope isn't on your body.
Rope is a treasure to a rigger, so treat it as such. The natural fiber stuff isn't cheap. So spit out your gum, skip the body lotion and keep your filthy shoes off the rope. Riggers put a lot of care into their rope, they don't want that stuff on it and neither will the next person that might end up in that rope.
Riggers are not rope and art vending machines. Would you ask someone to fix your car or take out your gallbladder for free? Then don't ask a rigger to tie you up so your partner can fuck you at a play party or to put pretty rope on you for some event and then run off still wearing it. If you like rope, buy your own and get to know someone that will use it with you.
Preparing for Rope
Stretch, do yoga, get flexible. Tight muscles don't want to be tied and they will complain. PoisonBeatrice has wonderful videos of exercises to loosen up before going into rope.
Learn about physiology so you understand how to be safely tied. Take responsibility for your own health and safety by knowing where it is and isn't good to put rope pressure on nerves or veins.
Understand the risks of doing any sort of bondage. Nerve damage, compression issues--none of this is risk free, that's part of what makes it fun. Make sure the Top always has safety shears or some way to free you from the rope in case something goes wrong!
Know yourself and learn from past experience. If face down suspensions always hurt or strappado makes your hands go numb instantly, tell the rigger that before you start. Whatever doesn't work for you is okay, there are still plenty of other ways to get tied up.
Know your weaknesses that day. Sprain your ankle? Have a new tattoo? These are things the rigger should know before you're in their rope.
Have triggers like not liking your feet touched or crying after hearing the word kumquat? This would be nice to know ahead of time too.
Make sure you're well hydrated and fed before getting tied up. If your body is happy and running on proper blood sugar you will be far less likely to pass out or have drop afterwards.
If you have a nervous bladder, for the love of everything good in the world, pee before you start getting tied up!
During and After a Scene
It's tempting, but unless you like getting hit in the face with rope, resist the urge to watch the rope going on.
Rope isn't particularly comfortable, that's part of the point. Know the difference between good and bad pain in rope. Don't freak out or wince at every tug or tiny pinch of the rope.
If you feel bad pain, something go numb, or cold tell the person tying you right away! They aren't mind readers. Don't freak out, just mention there is an issue and allow the person tying you to try to resolve the problem. It might be possible to carry on the scene after a minor adjustment or you might have to be untied and start all over again.
When you start to get fatigued, give the rigger a warning. Such as, “My arm is starting to ache, I probably need to be untied in about 5 minutes.” If you've been bound frequently you should know the signs that your body needs to be untied, listen to it and communicate discomfort as it happens not when its an emergency.
Never let a rope that has been in someone else's genitals or mouth go in your genitals or mouth. The best way to keep this from happening is to invest in a few pieces of your own synthetic rope to have used on you for these specific sorts of ties.
Riggers all have their preferences, some want your hands to your side or above your head as you are getting tied. Ask or read their body language and figure it out. You might think you're being helpful by moving around or adjusting the rope but you're not. Hold still unless told otherwise and enjoy the experience.
Don't lock your knees and remember to breathe while you're getting tied and during the scene.
Suspensions are not the holy grail of rope bondage they are something to work up to. You have to know your body, your rigger and his skills very well before attempting them. There is nothing wrong with floor work. Don't let just anyone try to suspend you!
Know what you need after a scene and don't be afraid to ask for it. Whether its a hug, blanket or glass of water. I personally need a sip of water, some physical contact and if possible to stay in whatever state of undress I was in during the scene until I come back down to earth.
Most importantly, have fun! It's called play for a reason.