A Night Of Physical And Cerebral Rope Bondage At Sex-Positive Store Please (NSFW)

rope bondage waist sample
Waist harness demonstration. (Photo by Donny Levit / South Slope News)

It all started out a few days before bondage class.

I wanted to make sure I had a context for the some of the basic two-pole tie techniques that would be used in Rope Bondage 102, which was held at the neighborhood’s sex-positive store Please (557 5th Avenue at 15th Street) last Thursday.

Owner Sid Azmi invited me to stop in a few days before class so she could give me a quick lesson. I had not been in attendance for Rope Bondage 101, which was held in early November — an introductory, hands-on workshop for novices who are interested in learning the basic ties of rope bondage.

While shoppers were making their selections, we practiced tying each other’s wrists. We only got into some trouble when the awkward novice that I am made a knot around Azmi’s wrists that was difficult for both of us to undo. Luckily, the customers waited patiently at the front counter as we released the snarl that was my poor attempt at the wrist knot.

Rope bondage uses rope to restrict body movement as well as wrap, suspend, decorate, or restrain a person — which can serve as a part of BDSM activities.

BDSM explained
Photo via Wikimedia

Like any craft, rope bondage begins with learning techniques. And for those interested in getting an introduction to a world that may initially seem uncomfortable to some, Azmi’s curation and event selections are both refreshing and informative.

Yin Q
Yin Q, once an international dominatrix, now a writer and mother. (Photo courtesy of Yin Q)

Yin Q, Instructor for Rope Bondage 101 and 102.

Yin Q was the instructor of both rope bondage classes and comes with a wide range of experiences that makes her an expert for this type of event. “I enjoyed an international career as a professional dominatrix and leather community educator for over a decade, but have receded, in recent years, from the business to focus on a writing career and motherhood,” explained Q, in a discussion prior to class.

Q brings a lot of experience to bondage pedagogy, blending both theory and practice for the students. In an article where Q discusses her own BDSM business, she articulates both rules and ritual of the process:

“Once I’ve extracted enough information from a client and earned his trust, I bring him to “The Pit,” a small room that is painted entirely black with only one floor light illuminating the hooks and bondage rack that line the walls. I tell clients to ready themselves by placing their clothes neatly in the closet and to wait on their knees until I come to fetch them. The next two hours (minimum) of session, they are mine.

My sessions range from strict disciplinarian training and heavy bondage to shamanistic ritual work. I have a solid rep in the industry of being a severe sadist and skilled Shibari (rope bondage) expert. I want to write that I am laid-back and easy-going, but I’m not casual about my career. I love the protocol, the pain, the taboo.”

When we asked Q how she began teaching at Please, she spoke about her first time passing by the store in the neighborhood:

“…I was drawn in by the design — open glass walls and books. It wasn’t until I was far inside that I realized that it was more than a card and candle shop.

“The owner, Sid, said hello and her warm smile drew me into conversation. I felt the store, sprouting in a neighborhood known for its high population of children, offered a brightly lit space for the enhancement and education of sexuality, especially for those who had produced those said children.

“BDSM stores and events can seem intimidating if one is a novice or for those who tend toward discretion. Please is gentle space to learn naughty tricks.”

The Students

Note: To respect the privacy of participants, faces have not been shown in the photos.

The class was made up of a mix of couples and single attendees. All brought a sense of professionalism and focus to the class. While time was never wasted, there were certainly welcomed pockets of humor that cleared the air of anything that would be considered tense or uncomfortable.

ankle tie-off
Ankle tie sample. The reporter wishes he had worn more aesthetically-pleasing socks. (Photo by Donny Levit / South Slope News)

The single participants that worked together brought a gravitas to the process. One student — the only one besides myself who had not been in attendance at the 101 class — tied off rope extremely well. When pressed he a bit, he offered that he had once lived on a house boat, where rope tying techniques were common and necessary.

A returning couple was asked about their practice of rope bondage since the last class. They spoke about their progression as well as their cat, who seemed to get a bit wild around them when they were trying to concentrate on binding each other in their apartment.

The Process

Q started out by stressing the importance of safety. She recommended the use of moisturizers as well as ace bandages and scarves that help prevent friction. We were provided a handout and discussed the importance of partners sharing risks, including injuries, previous surgeries, bone and joint issues, as well as mental and emotional triggers.

In addition, we were told about the importance of setting up a “safe word” (something used as a code to stop bondage for concerns, danger, or injury). In addition, she said that a “safe sound” can be used (e.g., three grunts) in case one of the participants is wearing a gag.

Q spoke of the art of shibari (this is a link that some may consider NSFW) — a Japanese technique of bondage. The word translate loose as “to tie.”

Q emphasized the danger of trying suspensions of a partner too early in the process — a practice that should come after rope bondage techniques were perfected. (For samples of bondage suspension, you may view this Wikipedia post, which some may consider NSFW.)

The Classroom

As far as a supply kit, the following were made available: one length of 40′ nylon rope, one length of 30′ rope, two lengths of 10′ rope, and one pair of curved-tip safety scissors.

The diamond/”tortoise shell” bondage technique involves the tying of the entire body – with the results of an elegant array of diagonal and diamond binds. And from this participant’s point of view – it’s a technique that takes a tremendous amount of practice.

diamond/”tortoise shell” harness
Front view of diamond/”tortoise shell” harness (Photo by Donny Levit/ South Slope News)

The couple who had taken the 101 class were more advanced. “I see the two of you have been practicing,” remarked Q.

In addition to the technique, one of the most common words used in the class was “play.” Q continued to remind us that – once the technique was mastered – the playfulness really begins.

“It’s like jazz,” says Q. “Once you have the basics down, the real play and fun comes by improvising.”

rear view of diamond/”tortoise shell” harness
Rear view of diamond/”tortoise shell” harness (Photo by Donny Levit/ South Slope News)

The Reporter Is Bound

And then it was my turn to get bound. In many ways, I was relieved – I no longer had to embarrass myself with my suspect binding skills. As my class partner began to bind me, I was at first uncomfortable with having to give up control. However, as my entire body was completely bound, something surprising happened.

As my diaphragm expanded with each breath, the ropes would tighten against me. And as I released my breath, the ropes would loosen. I felt strangely in control.

And somewhat regal, actually. The ropes are a costume of sorts that strengthened my posture. There was a feeling of elegance that came with being bound. It was both perplexing and invigorating.

The Class Wraps Up

When the class finished up, we carefully wrapped up our ropes. The advanced couple compared notes. Another student quietly changed out of his comfortable pants. One woman spoke with Q about suggestions for ways she could practice.

Q recommend FetLife (some may consider this site NSFW) an online resource and community for those interested in bondage, BDSM, and a variety of other fetishes. The site describes itself as “similar to Facebook and MySpace, but run by kinksters like you and me. We think it is more fun that way. Don’t you?”

In addition, Q recommends looking for bondage playgroups in the community — which do exist.

The Rope Bondage 102 class provided some invaluable lessons — and also serves a reminder that “trust” and “agreement” play a role in just about any craft.

With joy, excitement, pleasure, and rope comes tremendous responsibility — for yourself and for your partner.

In early 2016, Please will be offering classes for parents that will focus on ways in which to discuss sex with their children. You can view their events page — which is meticulously updated — for all upcoming classes.

Based on the class, I think it would be best to get to know what is happening at Please. Let’s not solely keep it a best-kept secret.

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Comments

  1. Totally agree. The knots can be very intricate and beautiful. Definitely a nice way to spice things up. So many possibilities!! I wanna learn Shibari and eventually suspension techniques.

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