It was six years ago this week when I joined Second Life and just about a year ago that I shot the pictures featured in today’s post. When I joined SL I’d had no experience of BDSM and shibari. They were the stuff of fantasy and fascination. By the time I did this photoshoot with a bound, blonde Portia I’d discovered the pleasure of submission with a man I met inworld and dated online, but I hadn’t been tied. I went to my first munch early last July, entering the scene as a submissive but realizing relatively soon that it was going to take me a while to find a dominant. I have tended to describe rope as an alternative to the D/s relationship that I want but don’t expect to find, but it’s becoming more than that. Today I am pleasantly exhausted after being tied eleven times in eight days. How did I manage that? I attended Shibaricon in Chicago last weekend, which led to some follow-up skills sharing, a demo of a particularly boobalicious harness and a play date last night. Shibaricon featured excellent teachers/performers from all over the world, each one with her or his distinct theory and practice. By the time the four-day event was over I was just as interested in the history, the philosophies and the technical aspects of tying as I was in enjoying the physical and emotional pleasures of being tied. Now that I have two regular play partners, I am able to explore my masochistic side, enjoying the pain of tight rope and impact play. And I may have just met a woman with whom I can explore shame, which is the aspect of shibari that makes it sexually stimulating for me. Shibari originated as a means of restraining prisoners for the purpose of capturing, interrogating and parading them. The significance of this came home to me last weekend when I attended a class where I learned about a tie used to expose female prisoners’ underarms, a part of the body that is not meant to be revealed. Humiliation is key to the erotic and pornographic derivations of rope bondage. The shame of the bound woman is displayed not just physically by emphasizing the breasts and opening the legs, but also psychologically by showing the erotic pleasure the woman takes in being bound and in being thus humiliated.
Because I am single I bottomed for different tops, strangers all, in the classes I took at Shibaricon. I prearranged to do the first day of classes with someone whom I met through a FetLife discussion. His regular partners would not arrive until the next day so he needed a classmate. The talk of shame in the prisoner ties class we took together aroused me. This increased when my partner described the shame play he enjoyed when he switched roles with his spouse. When he bound my hands behind my back for the last time that class I asked him to take me down as one would a prisoner. He nudged the back of my leg and I fell to my knees, bending forward to plant my face on the floor. A minute later he stooped to untie me, pinning me with his right leg, making me feel more like a package to be unwrapped than a criminal. Usually a top takes off all the rope when an exercise or scene is done. But in this instance my top left one length of rope around my wrist. I stayed on my hands and knees as long as I could because I was enjoying a trippy shift of consciousness. The rope on my wrist felt like a leash and called up the submissive in me. Or the rope called up the submissive in me and she saw it as a leash. I knew that I could not get all subbie on a stranger in a classroom, so I rose up enough to sit back on my heels, only to find myself nestled into the crack between his legs. I expected him to move away but he didn’t. I wondered if we were having complementary experiences. It only took a slight stretch of my head to determine that he wasn’t hard. And a round of applause told me that class was over. I handed over the rope leash like any responsible player, or student, would do. And I shook off my desire to be his slave. A couple of hours later, after we’d taken another class together, I asked him to think about playing with me. After our last class together he said no. He had good reasons to say no—commitments to his regular partners—but he did so as part of a monologue on my inexperience. He said he’d enjoyed his time with me the way he enjoyed seeing Disneyland through his son’s eyes. I felt humiliated (in the bad way) and did not stop to talk with him for the next couple of days, during which I endured many crying jags of pain and frustration. Once the convention was coming to a close I was able to message him to tell him I’d felt belittled by his words and to share my experience of the submissive swoon. (I won’t relate his response. I feel the need to respect his privacy.) Because of my reaction to that piece of stray rope I now know for certain that shibari is not something I am doing instead of enjoying a D/s relationship. It may be the perfect gateway for me. But I also know from my admittedly limited range of rope experiences that transiting into a submissive state is rare. And there’s no telling what combination of elements set me off that day. Or rather there’s no repeating that scene. I know exactly what set me off. it’s just not going to be the same next time.
harness by Haste; shot at Opium
If you are interested in rope bondage but just beginning, please see my page Rope Bondage Responsibilities. It’s not that I don’t recommend you try this at home. I just want you to know the safety risks. As with any BDSM activity, ensure that your play is Safe, Sane and Consensual. Becoming part of your local community is always a good idea because you can find a mentor or simply share delicious, devious ideas.