Author Archives: mastermhatter

About mastermhatter

Rigger, Kinkster and writer. A man in a hat, a sapiosexual with a love for that perfect curve of thought. An occasional painter, sometime philosopher, a coffee drinking theologian who ties people up and writes books on BDSM. My brain betrays me – and my memories slowly seep away, faces fade and names don’t stay, so I cling on tight to right now and hope to make it through the night.

BOOKS ON ROPE

On a weekly basis I am asked what books I would recommend on rope.

I am not convinced that books are the best way to learn Shibari, and think that videos and personal tuition are the easiest way to learn, having said that below is a roundup of the books that I have on rope, and some notes on them for those looking to buy!

BOOKS ABOUT THE KINBAKU WORLD

Master K

The Beauty of Kinbaku by Master K

This book contains a wealth of information on who is who in the rope world, how different schools of tying have developed and what the differences between these styles are. While it does contain some “how to” this is really a book for those wanting to find out more about Kinbaku not a guide which will teach you to tie.

 

Bentley

The Pleasure of Rope by Bob Bentley

This book supports a Documentary exploration of Kinbaku in London and Tokyo, providing an outside perspective of the rope world. It’s a snapshot of a moment in time, and its rather lovely to look at now knowing where the various people featured have gone with the rope careers since but this is not a guide for those wishing to learn rope rather it gives a view of how the rope scene looked at a particular time.

Barkas

Archaeology of Personalities: a linguistic approach to erotic rope bondage

This short book draws on Barkas study in linguistics and is a broadly technical and philosophical discussion on how communication in rope occurs, proposing that the process of tying someone is similar to the process of interviewing someone. This is not a book aimed at beginners, and rather is one entering into a discussion about why we do rope in the way that we do, and how best to describe this.

 

Harrington

Rope, Bondage, and Power Ed. Lee Harrington

This book contains articles by a range of authors about their approach to rope work and is a worthwhile read for both insights and getting a sense of the breadth of different approaches. It’s a good book if you can find it at its “regular” price but its now hard to get hold of and is often being sold for inflated prices beyond its value.

BOOKS ON BEING TIED

Currently the only books on being tied are those by Evie Vane: http://www.ropebottoming.com

The Little Guide to Getting Tied Up: Tips and Tricks by Evie Vane

Better Bondage for Every Body by Evie Vane

These books are well worth a read along with Clover’s free rope bottom guide.

PHOTO ROPE BOOKS

Restraint: KINBAKU photo book by Yuku Sakurai and Bingo Shigonawa

This is a 26 page printed on poor quality paper showing photos of a single rig with one model tied by Bingo Shigonawa.  For those interested in Bingo san’s work a far better source for it is his freely available tumblr http://shigonawabingo.tumblr.com

 

INSTRUCTIONAL ROPE BOOKS

I have not included a full list of rope books out there but have instead just include those i personally own. I also have not included books which address rope in a single chapter – but rather am just looking at the books dealing exclusively with rope.

 

Nawakari

For me this and the Miumi-U book (see below) get my top pick slot for rope books for beginners. Its well written and photographed, easy to follow, and is written by someone with a wealth of knowledge to share.

Miumi-U

Miumi-U is a world class rigger and this book provides a superb introduction to rope, while also having things to teach more experienced riggers. Well worth owning!

 

Midori

 

This is the first book i owned on rope bondage, and it has a lot of good content, but having been first published in 17 years ago there are books which cover the material better, and are simpler to follow. This book was groundbreaking and it is one worth having in your collection, but it’s not the first one I would advise people to rush out and buy.

 

Kent

 

 

 

Douglas Kent has achieved something really rather excellent in his pictorial diagrams of how to tie rope, he has developed a wonderful system that is easy to follow.  However while his books allow users to easily follow his instructions their is some debate about whether what he is teaching is “best practice”. For a critique of these books see https://esinem.com/news/incomplete-understanding-of-the-box-tie

 

Two Knotty Boys

 

No mention of books on rope work would be complete without mention the Two Knotty Boy’s books. The first book showing you the ropes suffers a bit from its black and white photos compared to the more glossy feel of Back on the Ropes. These books focus on fusion style rigging as opposed to kinbaku, but they have introduced many people to rope work and are partially of interest to people who like decorative ties.

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Polyam – by Master M Hatter

I have had multiple partners most of my life. There have been a few brief unsuccessful attempts at monogamy but I am at heart polyam. This week one of my partners expressed an interest in someone else. This is a relatively new experience for me, while i have partners who have existing partners, and have had play partners who have had a number of new partners, I haven’t been in an established relationship where someone new has come along.

Her big worry was that her liking someone else would make me like her less. That her liking someone else would make her disloyal and be read by me as an indication that she cares less about me. Having come from a mono background, she felt guilty for liking someone else, for getting those flutters in her stomach.

For me, I have no fear of her liking someone else, no fear of her being with someone else, instead the fear is always that someone will like us less – that by her liking someone else she will in someway like me less. This is not how it has ever worked for me though. When i like someone new, i dont stop liking, loving, lusting after my existing partners.

Having more than one partner does not reduce feelings. We don’t run out of love or care. Likewise when a relationships comes to an end, the blow is not softened by being in other relationships. The heartbreak of break ups remains just a deep, and is based on your feelings for the person that a relationship ended with. While you may have someone to comfort you when a break up happens – being in multiple relationships does not spare you from feeling pain or loss.

I think it’s interesting where we put our focus. When I talk to people about polyam there first assumption is that they will struggle with jealousy – I would never want my partner to kiss someone else, or go out for a meal with someone else, or whatever it happens to be. When you did deeper the real fear is that their partner will no longer want to kiss the, go out for a meal with them. What we fear most is that we will become less interesting, less desirable, that we will become boring – or have already become so.

This doesn’t have to be the case. There is a fine line to be walked between sharing information about your new relationship – and co-opting it. I asked my partner to share with me things that make her happy, things that excite her about her new interest, and I also offered to be talked to about things that worry her, times where she is feeling insecure. It’s important to note that this is an offer to share – not an obligation to do so. I am not asking her to share her bedroom secrets, or the things that are whispered in her ear, but i am inviting her to go “WOW ! Look at the flowers that he brought me!! They are amazing! I am so happy!” In sharing those things instead of keeping them a dirty secret, where we feel guilty about sharing our lives with our partner, we are able to find a new topic of conversation, we can celebrate and commiserate with our partner, and we grow closer not more distant.

Our fear is always based on the idea that we will lose something, that we will become less, but there is no reason for this to be true. We don’t respond to this in the same way with friends, or with children, or any other area of our life. We don’t say ahhh because i have a new child i don’t care about my old one anymore, this one will replace that one. When we form a new friendship we dont look around to see which existing friend we can get rid of. Instead the new person in our life enriches us – and that is something which hopefully everyone we know will indirectly benefit from.

When we take the time to celebrate our partners desires, to take pleasure in the things – and more importantly people who interest them our lives and our relationships are enriched.

Rope in a Vacuum

 

Many years ago – good grief i am thinking of how many years ago now, some 25 years ago I went to art collage. One of the things which was notable was the similarity of everyone’s work. This wasn’t deliberate copying it was just a case of everyone being influenced by what was going on around them. I still go and see the end of year shows and walk around and look for the one person who has managed to do something different.   Those people who do succeed in producing something different aren’t the people who have not be influenced at all – but are the people who are influenced by a wider range of artist.

There is a danger in  being in big art houses we all end up creating work that just blends. The solution to this is not to cut ourselves off from other influences but to widen the influences we have. Instead of just seeing the art of the person next to us, we immerse ourselves in art from as many sources as possible. We widen our sensory inputs, we take on the art of russia, of spain, of indonesia, we take and adjust and combine sources from all other the world in as many styles as possible.

The same happens with the rope world – a  photo of a tie will go up and within a few days you will see six more photos looking similar, and the spread will continue, as though a new theme has been determined by the rope gods and everyone is silently getting in line.

I find the same is true of my own tying. I browse through instagram loving pictures, in the afternoon I do a rig and then i go back to instagram and realise that i was influenced without it ever being conscious. Of course there are times when it is deliberate, when i see an image and think okay that’s an idea i want to play with, but mostly it’s just the subconscious background impact other people’s work has.

This process works both ways, I often see photos where i can see that someone is playing with an idea and often vastly improving on it from a rig that i have done.

This can be a really positive thing, we take in other ideas and develop them.  Because i do very little planning with my rigs I like to feel that i go with the moment, that i start from a blank canvas but i don’t. The way I tie, the shapes that are formed, they are influenced by the rope community, its a community i am proud to be a part of.

So this is just a thank you, a thank you to the riggers and rope bunnies, rope models, rope bottoms from around the world who post their work to instagram, to fetlife, to tumblr. You work inspires me and makes me a better rigger.

Do We Build Our Friends Up, Or Tear Them Down?

Floss#ProudToBeKinky

When we spoke to Page from Poly.Land a few weeks back, she discussed how since being polyamorous and developing her ability to enjoy compersive feelings, this had not only occurred with romantic relationships but also with friends. That conversation has been rattling around my brain lately, as I pondered the question; Do we build our friends up or do we tear them down?

I think everyone’s instant reaction would be ‘of course I don’t tear my friends down’, probably with a certain level of outrage for it even being suggested. Which I get, I don’t want to think I ever do that either. However, do we always support people as fully as we can, especially if their endeavours may outshine our own?

IMG_3443At the weekend myself and Bakji went to our local peer rope group. So many of our friends were doing awesome rope, suspending partners, suspending friends and…

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It is okay unless it’s not

 

Chesh wanted to write something on poly and my alarm bells went off like a claxon. We have had poly relationships which have gone wrong, and my worry is that the second that she writes something on poly, people we are involved will be hurt, or people we used to be involed in will go “really? Really, you think you are an authority?”

The idea of a relationship guru or an expert on relationships is crazy. Is it someone who has had a successful relationship for forty years, or someone who has had lots of unsuccessful relationships and learnt from them? And what is learnt in one relationship isn’t necessarily transferable to the next relationship – or a different one.

Having given those caveats, if none of us share our experiences then none of us have a chance to learn from each other’s mistakes. So having been around the block a few times and made more mistakes than I care to mention, I wanted to say something about what is okay. It seems unsurprising to say anything – everything is okay as long as everyone is up for it. If you want a one night stand; if you want a three-some, four-some, more-some; if you want to know the people you play with or don’t; if you are a couple who are just using an extra body for sex and want to kick them out as soon as the last person has finished cumming; or if you want to be in a live-in relationship with your poly family… It is all okay as long as that is what everyone wants and what everyone agrees too. Until it isn’t.

That “until it isn’t” bit is tough. First of all I think most of us are very bad at actually knowing what we want – what will work for us, and how long it will work for us. Just on a basic level many of us can imagine something and find in reality it’s different. But it goes further than that – we change. What is okay for us isn’t going to stay the same, and as our needs change our desires change and how we feel about the people in our life evolve. Saying “well, I just agreed to X Y Z” doesn’t cut much water – it fails to recognize that with all the best of intentions, we are not always able to predict what will make us happy or what will make us sad.

I struggle with that a lot – if I say to someone “right, I can see you once every six weeks” and they say “that’s great, I am after the same”, I am shocked six months down the line when it’s not enough. I want to say – “well, we agreed!” When I sit back and am rational I realize that my own feelings have evolved, that actually I want more myself – but my starting point is to want to go “but we agreed!” We both said what we wanted.

With poly, it’s even harder when you have three plus people all with evolving desires and requirements, all with changing goal posts on what makes them happy or sad, what is a turn on and what is a turn off. When one person is upset it throws everything else off and the more people involved the harder that becomes. I don’t want to be all doom and gloom here – one person who is feeling really happy can lift everything. A smile, a skip in the step and huge hug and the world can feel so much better. I also don’t want to suggest that change is a bad thing – it’s not – change can involve moving from a narrow view of what you thought you wanted to something that is far more fulfilling. It can involve moving forward to a far better, healthier, more whole relationship. BUT it requires an ability to not draw a line in the sand and say that was what we agreed – and what we have has to look like what we had, or what we said we wanted. It has to be founded on the fundamental acceptance that our needs, and how those needs get met evolves over time.

So as someone who gets it wrong more than I get it right – my number one piece of poly advice: Everything is okay until it’s not, and when it’s not, be prepared to change.

 

Daughtes and Sons

I have two daughters and a son. I love them more than words, and have their backs. So it made me pause and think when I received a message from someone’s Dad this week, who messaged me to let me know that if I tied up his daughter again I wouldn’t be able to tie my own shoe laces.

I gave my reply some thought. Should I let him know that I wear slip on shoes? Should I send him a whole bunch of photos of girls in compromising positions and ask him which one is his daughter? My first instinct when threatened is to poke the hornet’s nest, to go “really? You want to bring it on?” I am not a fan of being threatened. After taking a few deep breaths, I pointed out that I would not hesitate to go to the police if I heard from him again. I suggested that he talk to his daughter instead of me. When I asked around, based on his initials, I discovered that it was someone who is estranged from their daughter (who is over 25). I am really not the person he needs to be talking to – and, more importantly, listening to.

There is a sense among some people that it is impossible to consent – who would let someone tie them up and hit them unless they had been brain washed? Surely no one in their right mind can find bruises pretty? This is tough stuff to understand from outside the kink community and even harder to understand when you see photos of someone you care about apparently hurt. It is understandable that this creates a feeling of rage and a desire to get revenge. That doesn’t mean threatening people over the internet is a good way forward but it does means we need to take pause and consider how it feels to think that someone you love and care about is being hurt and mistreated. How can we explain to friends and family that it is what we want? If you have someone who will listen and take the time to understand then it’s possible, but if someone doesn’t want to hear, it is just not going to be possible.

I often hear people say some people at work, someone in the supermarket, someone in the pub, was going on about BDSM and I just kept quiet. PLEASE DON’T. While we may never be able to help someone understand who has just seen pictures of their kid with bruises, we can spread proper information one person at a time, one conversation at a time. We can improve the general understanding of BDSM. It might just be that the person you hear complaining about BDSM in the pub is the dad or mum of someone I tied up – and while they won’t listen to me or her, maybe, just maybe, they will listen to you.aaa

We Vibe Wish Personal Massager

WE7000B

This toy needs two reviews not one – the first one looking at what its like as an actual vibrator, the second looking at it as a toy that connects to your phone

LOOK AND FEEL

The WISH is described as having a plush exterior and it does feel really good in the hand, it’s a pleasant shaped tactile toy which looks and feels “gentle”. It falls firmly into the catagory of toys designed to look lovingly luxurious.

RUMBLES

This is an external rumbly vibrator for your clit, and that is a crowded market place. People who like all out power on the clit are going to own a wand – and for those who are true clit consouirs the satisfier type toys have become the golden chalice so a standard clit toy becomes a bit meh, it becomes difficult to know what we should be compairing this to. Bullets go for pure often high power vibration but don’t offer much in the way of rumble, so this is a step up but it’s a big leap in price and so you expect great things. It has got a good deep rumble to it but and it’s a big but as vibration “load” is spread over the large area of the toy it means that the clit receives less of the intensity.  So whilst the toy does have a high power vibration it’s difficult to feel all it’s strength.  This might however work for some people! For us and our play partners, It just fails to deliver a strong enough punch on the areas that we count.  Now you may be someone who enjoys a more “all around” feeling on their intimate areas, as the toy will cover the labia and vagina…in which case this toy is perfect for you.

WIFI AND TECH

Alongside being able to control the WISH from the actual toy you can also connect it via blue tooth to your smart phone. This makes it far easier to control and see what you are doing than playing with the buttons on the toy. Connection worked seamlessly – and you are able to switch between types of pulse – and strength as well as create your own patterns. Now there may be a huge number of people out there who enjoy the variations modes that are becoming almost standard with toys now – but with the people I play with I tend to find that only one of the multiple modes is really enjoyed and its always the same one so I am not sure how much is gained by the multiple patterns that are on offer.

If you are using this vibrator at home and have connected it to your phone you can then send an invite to a ..special friend… to take control of the vibe, and this invite can go via Facebook messenger, whatsapp, email however you want. This then puts them in charge of your vibrator.  In theory this sounds super hot and awesome for long distance lovers – as a Dom it’s important to try this toy out in person with your lover first, or when hone alone it might take some time to set up and it might not be a toy your partner will be able to come from as for those with sensitive clits it absolutely does the job, but its just not spectacular, it feels like it goes from 1-6 as opposed to 1-10,  and the controls of its power seems to go 1…4,5,6 with not enough space between them. With a different toy this technology could be a lot of fun but with this toy..in honesty it’s a bit lack luster and not worth the price tag.