(Picture of me rigging ‘m’ in his first suspension )
Most people who come to the rope scene are interested in one thing. Their first suspension. Its the holy grail to any new bunny, the problem is that when these bunnys come to the forum asking about how to go about it they are mostly quickly shot down with comments such as “that’s for your rigger to decide when your ready” Suspension isn’t for new bunnys, you have to train hard for it..” etc etc.
I doubt any new bunnys are going to listen to such responses (I wouldn’t) So lets actually take a moment to actually answer the question. I will also mention why these things can take time to learn.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU ARE SUSPENDED
Stands for Risk Aware Consensual Kink.
The risks are high in rope, it is what we call “edge play”. Injuries can occur, encompassing almost anything from having a dead thumb for 20 minutes, to a paralyzed arm or broken bones. These injuries can occur whether you’re a newbie or super experienced. For example, one of the USA’s top riggers once dropped her bunny causing her jaw to break. Know that this is a risky sport, comparable to mountain climbing or abseiling. Things can happen quickly, primarily you must take responsibility for yourself. If you are experiencing anything that doesn’t feel right, speak up.
You are your own responsibility
There are a few scenarios where the rigger is to blame for an injury that has occurred. A few noteworthy can be: if your rigger ignores you calling red, if they use inadequate materials/hard-point, if they ignore advice you’ve given them on a previous injury. These things we would like to think can be avoided, and some ways to mitigate that risk is if you ask potential riggers for references from the people that they have worked with, alternately you can also learn what to look for in good equipment, what weight loading that equipment can take and what a “safe” hardpoint looks like. Those are all things that do come with experience, but they are worth keeping an eye on. In addition if your rigger is telling you they’ve never had an incident or injury, the likelihood of this being true seems quite low. So be cautious – there are a lot of people out there who will not be honest about their failures.
Nerve/ Line placement
A rigger will love a bunny who knows their wrap placement!
I’m referring here to a tie we mostly commonly called a TK or box tie. The ropes wrap over your arms, and can often impact on a nerve. This manifests as tingles, and has to be addressed immediately as ignoring it will cause injury to the arm function.
New bunny’s are particularly susceptible to the dreaded nerve tingles. Whilst there is no research to back this up.. asking experienced or “old hand” bunnys they will say that they rarely get nerve tingles. This could either suggest that they have become a dab hand at knowing as soon as a wrap is placed in the wrong position, or perhaps these nerves have over a period of time shifted. In honesty it could also be both!
It does take some time for you know what a rope resting on a nerve area feels like, but until then if you do get tingles or funny sensations in your arms you will need to let you rigger know, they will then have to retie or move the ropes until they are not causing an issue.
There can also be a sensation similar to nerve tingles which is the circulation being restricted. Circulation tingles we don’t mind so much, they can mostly be just kept an eye on without needing to move the wraps or retying. However the sensations felt can often be very similar and so mistaken, and so as a rule unless you are 100% certain what you feel is circulation tingles – adjust or retie.
There are moments in rope where it can feel like you can’t breathe, really don’t panic. The rope and position is more often that not restricting your diaphragms natural movement, which can make it feel like you can’t breathe. However if you can calm yourself you’ll notice your able to take small breaths instead, like you might when you have a chesty cold. It can be rather disconcerting and only you can say if you’re able to withstand it until you’re moved into another position.
Tricks for breathing well…
Whatever position your in, moving your head into another position can really help. You’ll often find your head “slumps” into whatever gravity sees fit, but it’s good to be aware that how you hold your head can make a difference to how comfortably you can breathe.
- Trying to hold your head in its normal standing position as much as you comfortably can.
- Keep your chin away from your body.
- Lift your lower jaw forward, this can open the airway more which can help in some positions.
If your exploring Rope with your partner, do read as much as you can, take classes, or skype lessons from those who are well known practitioners (ask around on forums etc before taking classes with anyone, there are many unscrupulous characters who are not fit to teach how to tie shoelaces!)
What we now ask every bunny who asks to be tied is what experience they might want/expect. Everyone we ask seems to have a different idea of what they might expect, and that roughly is what they think they’ve seen in the pictures they are inspired by.
- Sir and I practice dynamic rope, for us the rope is an extension of a scene within a BDSM context. It can be sexual, or it can be non-sexual and just focusing on the power exchange. Its used to create dominance and surrender, and sometimes we get pretty pictures of our antics as you’ll often see on this webpage.
- Art rope: This is an approach to rope akin to Ariel silks or ballet. It is about creating either a beautiful performance or image and expressing yourself through the rope. Rigger and bunny often are creating the suspension together as a mutual experience, and the by product is pretty pictures.
- And the lesser known “sport rope”, where the objective may be more for endurance. They may be athletes, or circus performers.
It’s important to have some idea of your identity as a bunny, as each rigger will have their own style and you might otherwise end up getting more than you bargained for. For example. ..
- A submissive bunny being tied by the “sports/art” rigger can be the most dull and boring thing. They may be looking for a feeling of helplessness or to be told what to do and how to do it, and the collaborative aspect the sports/art rigger needs from them makes it near on impossible for them to enter that mind set.
HOW LONG SHOULD MY FIRST SUSPENSION LAST?
Ideally you want to do a single or static suspension for your first go. This means, you go up you stay put for a little while, then straight down and out.
This is usually more than enough for a newbie, and whilst those “frenzying” will want more and to go up straight again, please do refrain. Your body goes through a lot of stress during a suspension. It’s often more than can be handled, and your body alone will be in a state of shock with a boat load of endorphins flying around. The chance of drop is really high. Suspensions are to be worked up to, and unfortunately the likelihood of needing to come down ‘prematurely’ is very high on a first go. So please don’t be disappointed if you get tingles within seconds of being off the ground. Your body will learn, and you will learn more about how your body works in rope. It’s a lengthy learning process, but I assure you it’s worth it!
HOW DO I KNOW IF THE PERSON IS SUITABLE TO TIE ME?
- Good communication
- Can talk well on matters of safety, what they can offer, seem honest in their approach, and can give you references from people they’ve rigged with.
- Have learnt from other expernced riggers.
- People who know ther eown limiations.
HOW DO I KNOW IF THE GEAR IS SAFE?
Please note – Natural rope cannot be accurately break tested, so we cannot get a weight rating on most ropes used for bondage.
The rope should be made from either jute, hemp, linen, bamboo, silk or twisted cotton (not braided.) This is not rope you can find in b&q. Unless your lucky and know exactly what to look for, you are unlikely to find suitable rope in your local sailing merchants. Rope should be made for bondage, meaning its fit for its purpose. Ropes made for boats for example will be coated in various chemicals that aren’t skin friendly, they may also have a core which will mean frictions do not lock, also on the contrary a hallow core will allow the rope to tighten under tension, and a braided rope will stretch meaning it will distort, loosen or tighten.
Rings, Straps, carabiners.
Should have a weight rating and a general rule of thumb is the bunnys weight x 10 for dynamic loading. We use as a rule of thumb 21kn, but generally any carabiner that has been weight rated should be suitable for holding a bunnys weight. There are many carabiners that are not weight rated, and can be picked up for 3 quid and are fine for attaching keys to your waist belt but not for persons weight.
WHAT IS IT LIKE.
Every bunnys experience is different, however here is a beautifully written account from a new bunny I suspended at an event recently.
Nuendo’s first suspension at Carnival of Carnage December 2016
Nothing short of unforgettable. To distill this intense experience down to a single sentence, that would be it.
My first suspension was something that, until a couple of weeks ago, would never have crossed my mind as being as powerful an experience as it was for me. After being introduced to the rigging expertise of MasterMHatter and CheshireCat_MMH however, this perspective has been turned entirely on its head.
The feeling of rope is something I enjoy immensely. Once my eyes are closed, the tightness and restriction of the rope feels as though my physical body has been removed and my mind is allowed to wander and float away. I become aware of everything inside me and around me. My breathing heightened and deeper, my body relaxed and loose. I have surrendered.
The suspension however, took this to a whole other level.
Now, a brief back story before I get too involved in reliving this moment. I have always had an issue with being emotionally open and honest with myself and others. I was never one to let anyone in or get too close, and to this day this is something I struggle with and continue to work on.
So after a short dialogue with CheshireCat_MMH about the procedure, the first turns of rope are placed around my hands. I am already under her spell. My eyes close and I begin to relax, feeling my feet, listening to my heart beat and my chest as I breath slowly and deeply. Her arms hold me tightly as the rope is passed around my chest. As the rope tightens and envelops more of my torso, I drift deeper into myself and, seemingly without a fight, I begin to really let go.
As she takes up my weight on the chest harness, I fight for a brief moment as my balance waivers. Then I remember that I don’t have to fight. My weight is held, there is nothing to worry about. She has complete control. I am safe. It’s just me and her and nothing else matters.
With a caring, gentle touch, the first leg is tied and she moves me into position. My heart is pounding but everything inside me says it’s ok. There is no fear. My own breathing is all I can hear. Everything outside my body has merged into one, seamless soundscape of voices and music.
My second leg is lifted into place and that’s it! I’m flying! The rope is tight but I am perfectly balanced. I feel safe, secure, as though I’m in the arms of my rigger. She checks in and asks if everything is ok. I can barely speak, but I tell her everything is fine. Not just fine. Incredible. Overwhelmingly wonderful.
She manipulates me in the rope. Rotating me, lifting me, lowering me. I’m totally lost in the moment, absorbing every movement, feeling utterly weightless and beautiful, flying above myself, almost out of body.
She takes hold of my hair with a force that further cements my submission. My head is pulled back and a kiss is placed on my forehead as I am sent for a spin. The room loses all sense of dimension. I feel like I belong here.
After a moment, she starts to bring me down. I’m totally limp. A rag doll. She embraces me as the rope comes off, firmly holding me in place by the throat with the rope and her arm. I’m entirely hers and that’s just the way I want to be.
Finally, she releases the final turn of rope and signals my freedom with a stroke on my arm. She kneels in front of me as I open my eyes. The room is bright and saturated. I have trouble focusing. My whole body is alive and hypersensitive.
I shakily rise to my feet and she holds me. A tsunami of emotion washes over me and I realise what I have just achieved. All this time I have had the ability within me to let go and to let someone in, allowing them to get close. I CAN allow myself to be vulnerable and give myself completely to another person, trusting them to take responsibility for my wellbeing. It showed me that there is no shame in being vulnerable. The opposite in fact. It can be a thing of beauty.
This really was an eye opening experience for me (even though my eyes were closed for most of it). I discovered something deep within myself that I didn’t think I had and I am truly grateful to CheshireCat_MMH for helping me to realise this.
The feeling stayed with me for a long time. I was physically shaking and walking an emotional tightrope for a while, finding it difficult to tell people what just happened without welling up. It took me a good hour or so to feel vaguely normal again, but I have been buzzing ever since, feeling far more confident in myself, physically and emotionally.
It was a supremely powerful experience and I can’t wait to explore it again. I can’t thank CheshireCat_MMH and MasterMHatter enough for giving this experience to me.