For the last few years, Ms.Pomegranate and I have taught rope bondage classes at the local and national level. Inevitably, at either a class or demo event, someone will approach us, speaking with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation. Quite often, it’s a person who has an interest in being tied or suspended who has a concern that their body type or physical size may prevent them from enjoying rope in some way. Unfortunately, this trepidation is often the result of some encounter where the person was told that rope bondage wouldn’t work for them.
"Every case is different, but a lot of people are actively discouraged from participating in rope bondage as a part of their kinky, sex positive lifestyle."
My heart breaks a little when I recount the stories that I’ve heard. Some people have been told outright that they are too big to suspend, with all of the fat phobic language you can imagine. Or that larger bodies will break rigging gear. Perhaps someone has convinced them that rope bondage only looks good for certain body types,or genders, or that rope is something best left to the young. Or maybe a person was persuaded that rope is standardized to the degree that it can’t adapt to physical or emotional disabilities. Every case is different, but a lot of people are actively discouraged from participating in rope bondage as a part of their kinky, sex positive lifestyle. This simply needs to stop.
The international rope community has to take some responsibility for excluding people. A cursory look at a good deal of the prevalent rope bondage images often shows older, cisgender males tying petite, highly flexible, female presenting bodies posed in seemingly impossible ways. When people see these images, they often don’t see themselves reflected, which compounds the thought that rope is only for certain people. All of this misinformation is co-signed by a lot of rope tops that present their prejudice as fact.
So, where do we begin when it comes to making rope more inclusive and body positive? Well, it means centering the conversation on the relationship between rope and bodies. In the last few years, it’s become an axiom that “rope is for everybody”, which is a good start, but that conversation needs to be expanded.
“rope is for everybody”, which is a good start, but that conversation needs to be expanded.
One of the things that Ms. Pomegranate and I teach is that “not everyone can do everything, but everybody can do something”. Every individual and every bondage experience is unique, with its own set of challenges and circumstances. As a community, we have to think about rope bondage in a holistic manner, one that fully embraces how adaptable, creative and connective rope can be. It’s ok to admit some things in bondage may not work for your body. However, it’s an amazing process to find the things that are satisfactory.
In reframing the conversation on rope bondage, perhaps we should change the conversation to how rope can truly be inclusive, affirming and body positive. Rope bondage can be enjoyed in a pleasurable, risk aware manner by a much wider range of people, but communicating that message requires a change in tone.
Yes, you can enjoy bondage, whether your body is large, small or anywhere in between. No, your physical size alone doesn’t determine what ties your body can accept or how well you’ll tolerate a suspension. Health, as related to rope bondage, is a matter related to risk awareness and safer engagements, it should never be an unsubstantiated assessment of fitness and ability. Conversely, rope bondage shouldn’t be ablelist, but instead it should intentionally include participants with emotional and physical disabilities. Rope is genderfluid, and accepts every expression. Rope is for every orientation and race. Rope is challenging, cathartic, and emotional. Rope is sensual and intimate. Rope is playful and silly. Rope is hot and intentionally sexy.
Essentially, rope bondage is a way to hold space for yourself or for someone else. Your body and your unique rope journey is valid and important. Rope is for bodies that are like your own and for bodies that are vastly different. Rope bondage is a celebration of every body, every heart, every dynamic. Rope bondage is for everyone. Rope is for you, too.
© Tantus, Inc. 2018. All Rights Reserved.
The Black Pomegranate are collectively Mr.BLK and Ms.Pomegranate, two Baltimore based sex and kink educators. As bloggers, their website theblackpomegranate.com is consistently recognized as one of the top sex blogs in the country. As sex educators, The Black Pomegranate are known as national level presenters on the topics of kink, BDSM, Leather communities, inclusiveness, diversity and consent culture. As rope educators and performers, Mr.BLK and Ms.Pomegranate are known for fun, kinetic performances and a body positive approach to rope bondage. The Black Pomegranate have presented at Dark Odyssey, The EPIC Lifestyle Conference, A Touch Of Flavor, The Morpheous Bondage Extravaganza and Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit.
Mr.BLK is a lifestyle dominant, rope top, kinky event planner and writer who works with sex positive non profits. In addition, Mr.BLK is a kink centric crafter and maker.
Ms. Pomegranate is Mid Atlantic Leather Woman 2018, a lifestyle Domme and writer. With a decade of professional social media experience, Ms. Pomegranate works to make leather and kink communities more diverse and accessible.