Basics of RopeToday we cover the various types of rope, what kinds there are, how it impacts you and how to stay safe during play.
Playing with rope for the first time can be extremely exciting! It’s pretty, the designs are amazing , for the tops it’s a zen like experience, and for the bottoms it can be like the best hug on earth! So why wouldn’t everyone want to do this?? The important thing to remember is to do it safely and with the proper equipment! So lets talk about what kind of ropes you can use, what kind of ropes you should stay away from and what other equipment you should have on hand.
There are quite a few different types of rope that you can use and you’ll use different types of rope depending on what you are trying to achieve with your rope bottom. The toothiness of the rope refers to how well it grips itself as you tie and also how it feels against the skin of your bottom. The toothier the rope, the more grip it will have and the more potential pain you can cause to your bottom. So lets jump in.
Types of Rope:
Jute – Jute is a natural fiber rope made from Bast Fiber. Jute is a softer fiber and is used to make things like burlap sacks and gardening twine. It doesn’t stretch and has enough tooth to grip really well. Making this one of the easier ropes for Tops to start with because it will hold onto itself as you tie. And it provides enough friction to provide that lovely skin sensation for bottoms. Be very careful and mindful of how you pull the rope through, as you can cause rope burns with Jute rope.
Hemp – Hemp is another natural fiber rope made from the Cannabis plant. No there is no THC or anything in these ropes. Another great rope for beginners. It’s a bit toothier then Jute but like Jute, it won’t stretch and will hold onto itself quite well. Very strong and but like Jute, be mindful of your pulls.
Coconut – Coconut rope is very toothy and extremely course. It is designed to keep a constant level of pain on the threshold at all times. Obviously it’s another natural fiber rope and it is also very strong. I would recommend getting more experienced and understanding how different ties impact and affect your bottom prior to using coconut rope.
Cotton – Cotton rope is obviously also a natural rope. And in all honesty, this is the rope that most people start with. You find them everywhere and they get sold in kink kits everywhere. Cotton isn’t the strongest due to the fiber structures and is the softest of the natural fiber ropes. It still has a little bit of tooth, enough to grip on itself but not enough to cause any discomfort to the bottom. In fact, for the bottom, this is the softest and best feeling rope in the group.
Nylon – Nylon rope is a synthetic rope, which means it’s man made. Nylon rope has very little to no tooth. Which means it can be a little harder for tops to work with. You have to work harder to keep the rope in place as you do your ties. For the bottom, this will feel almost silky against the skin. Since this is a synthetic rope, it’s easy to keep clean, just toss it into the wash and you’re usually good to go. Usually pulling the rope through won’t causing burns but do be mindful.
The big thing with rope is be mindful of the width of the rope. When doing a tie, it is recommended you don’t go below a width of ¼” anything smaller and you have the high potential to cut into the skin, cut off circulation and cause lasting damage. Also NEVER EVER buy rope with a core in it. It’s tempting to use laundry rope or paracord that you find at the stores but they have cores built into them. What that means is, it has a strand in the middle of the rope and the other strands are wrapped around that core. The core strands can dig into your bottom and cause a lot of damage. The core strand can act as a single thin strand and dig deep into your bottom. Stick to ropes that are solid only. Normally they are labeled as Solid Braid ropes.
If you’re new to rope take a class, or learn from someone more experienced. And practice your ties. Do them on yourself so you know what tightness feels good and what the rope feels like against your skin. Understand the difference between the various fibers. Practice your knots and practice undoing the knots.
Of course we have to talk about SAFETY!!! As in all things, Safe, Sane and Consensual is a MUST.
Safety – Make sure you have Medical Safety shears near by! Do not be afraid to cut your bottom out of the rope! I know, you spent a lot of money on the rope. Or a lot of time on the tie. I get it, but it’s not worth it if your bottom gets dead arm or leg, or loses a limb because of it. Have a good set of shears and be ready to cut them out if necessary.
Sane – Make sure both of you are in the right mindset! No drugs or alcohol prior to the tie. Drugs and alcohol impairs the human brain from processing pain properly. So your bottom won’t be able to accurately tell you if something is going wrong. If you are impaired as the top, you won’t be able to accurately test the tightness of your ropes. Both can be dangerous!
Consensual – Obviously you should get permission prior to randomly tying someone up. Unless it’s part of your Consensual Non- Consensual (CNC) play BUT it’s not only about that. Make sure you discuss what tie you’re about to do. And make sure that your bottom is capable of and willing to do the tie. Discuss the limitations or fears your bottom may have. You might have a vision of the tie in your head but you’re going to have to adjust because of what your bottom tells you.
As always, have fun and stay Safe!