Learning the Ropes

by Johnny Jackhammer

More and more, I am into the “B” that fits into BDSM.

Recently, my eye has been caught by some amazing rope work.  You can see some incredibly intricate designs at fetish events, internet sites, and local gatherings.  They are masterful and can take hours to perform, especially if they involve suspensions.

INTERLUDE:  Before you grab some clothesline to wrap up your lover, be sure to put some thought to safety.  You want to get kinky and have fun, not end up in the emergency room or jail. 

A good rule of thumb is to make sure you can put that thumb under any of your bindings.  If you can’t slip two fingers under the rope work, then it’s too tight for safety.  Be particularly careful around pressure points and major arteries.  Watch the tightness around wrists, necks, ankles, and thighs.  Trust me, your bindings do not have to be pulled tight to be inescapable.  And keep safety scissors close by.

Public domain image

What attracts me to rope play?  Three things:  the performance art, the power exchange, and the challenge.

The Performance Art

Rope masters are true artists.  They include multiple ropes of exotic colors.  They often incorporate suspensions and danger in their work.  And they produce amazing photographs of their results.

Shibari is perhaps the highest rope art being practiced.  Shabari translates as “to tie” from the Japanese, and it invokes a Japanese sensibility in rope bondage.  For a treat, browse the galleries of David Lawrence’s Shibari Art Photography website.

The very best rope art creates patterns and utilizes the natural curves and features of the human subject being tied.


Power Exchange

It is hot to have somebody give herself or himself over to be tied up by you.  Be sure to discuss limits and obtain full consent.  Don’t betray their trust.  There’s trust involved in giving oneself over.  And, if you have the right partner, they allow you to take advantage of their vulnerability.  They surrender the power to you.

Don’t ever ignore the established “safe word” – everybody has the right to stop play at any time for any reason.

Do things they cannot see.  Elevate things.  Create wrist cuffs and secure them to furniture.  Take the power.

Take the power by making them harder to access.  If you will fuck them, bind their thighs together to create a struggle for entry.  My lady particularly likes that tight restraint, followed by my weight to pin her down.

Once fully tied, be sure to check in frequently.  Whisper in their ear, tease them.  But make sure that you also check in to make sure they are still enjoying themselves.

My lady, GoodWitchNorth, enjoying the afterglow of a rope scene.

My lady, GoodWitchNorth, enjoying the afterglow of a rope scene.

The Challenge

Anyone can do a quick cuff, but how do you make it appealing as well as functional?  Can you create a corset or decorative tie that restricts and binds your partner so that they can’t escape?  Rope as a craft is a challenge.  But its beauty can be found in its simplicity.  Keep ties simple when you are starting out, and you’ll be very happy.

I have a book recommendation:  Two Knotty Boys Showing You The Ropes.  It’s a nice primer of what rope to start with, how to do basic ties and knots, and ways to play safe.

One helpful point from the book is not to worry about the type of rope.  Your local hardware store has nice nylon or jute rope that is inexpensive and effective.  If you do want to add an extra special element, I recommend a nice bamboo silk rope from deGiotto Rope.  You’ll pay a premium, but the colors are vibrant and the rope is soft, yet strong.

Have fun, and take photos if you can!  We would love to see them.

Rendering Her Powerless…Female Rebuttal to a Male Writer That Just Doesn’t Get It

by Kristie LeVangie


Hello, my readers.  I’ve decided to write this blog after reviewing one of the most asinine lists I’ve found to date out there on the interweb.  Since I deal a lot with the communication issues between men and women in my blogs, I found it only fitting to take on this week’s list and address some of those issues.

Today’s list comes to us from www.askmen.com.  The site boasts over 5 million readers a month and personally I am very scared right now.  While the writing is quippy and delightfully comical, the content and ideology explain a lot about why men and women have so much trouble in relationships.  Let’s discuss the list that inspired this blog; shall we?


Top 10: Ways to Render Her Powerless by Ryan Murphy (I tried to link to it but the link wants to keep taking us to the new postings page on the site, so you may have to do some quick research to find the actual link.)

Wonder Woman


The #10 way to render her powerless is to purchase Us Weekly or People Magazine and keep it on the coffee table.  Women love to gossip and knowing “Beyonce enjoys riding the subway” is apparently a surefire way to capture her attention.


Are you freaking kidding me?  If I was dating someone and saw Us Weekly sitting proudly displayed in their living room, I’m not going to lie.  I think I might assume you are gay.  The gay and fabulous show interest in runway and celebs– not the typical man.

In fact, I would probably walk out at that minute, discouraged by the fact that you would pay almost $5 on a piece of crap.  You want to impress a girl, have a copy of Forbes, National Geographic or Psychology Today thrown on the table.  Wrinkle the pages and make me think you actually have a brain.  Us Weekly, really?


On to the #9 way to render her powerless:

Ryan goes on to suggest that no woman can resist the movie Dirty Dancing.  And if that doesn’t suit your fancy, you can choose another “melodramatic movie that contains excessive dialogue and soundtracks” like The Notebook, Beaches, or Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Okay, I can’t argue that The Notebook doesn’t get me every time.  It’s a great movie, but I’m sure as hell not intentionally watching it with a guy I’m dating.  These are the movies that girls watch together or alone.  We don’t share that whimpering vulnerability with men, unless we’ve been with you a while…or it’s some kind of wickedly intentioned test we are submitting you to.

Besides, most girls I know would enjoy an action, blow-‘em-up movie just the same.   I think we all crave “gratuitous nudity and explosions” once in a while.


Okay, on to #8:

Apparently, another media item that will sap the power from females is “These Boots Are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra.  Other suggestions include Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis.”

Who even listens to these songs anymore?  And I don’t know about you, but none of the songs listed are really good to dance too.  Unless you are drunk, in which case who needs the music?  (Um, why didn’t alcohol make the list?  I wonder.)


#7 – Drum roll please….

According to Ryan, the next step to rendering a girl powerless is to tan.  That’s right.  Tanning.  Apparently all women “need the sun” and so should men to meet them.

I can’t escape the fact that when I think “tan,” I think George Hamilton–  who, while still white, was a very attractive older man.

George Hamilton now

Now? There’s nothing sexy about wrinkled leather.  I can’t recall ever—and I do mean EVER—looking at man and thinking, “Check out that tan!”

And no matter how much color you have, it will never supply you with substance.  Brains over brawn.  Which brings us to #6…


We all know that no relationship is going anywhere unless we can talk to one another.  Communication is key.  Although our quippy little author Ray would have you believe that women are quite the Chatty Cathy’s.  Apparently we talk constantly and by doing so as well, you can overpower us and cause a tidal wave of swooning.

NOT!  If you don’t have anything interesting to say, shut the fuck up!  That’s right.  Women live in a society where communication primarily falls on them.  We are required to make appointments, attend parent-teacher conferences, hobnob at corporate parties, and listen to ranting hairdressers.  Keep the conversation interesting. Inspire us with a new point of view.  But do not talk just to talk.  I get that enough from the women around me.    Of the men I know that talk about every detail of everything that goes on in their days, I would much rather turn on the tube and watch CNN or poke my eye out with a toothpick than listen to how a carburetor had to go back to AutoZone three times.


But you know Conversation isn’t enough, according to #5, we should be trash-talking one another.  According to www.askmen.com, women enjoy verbally battering everyone from “their mouth-breathing boss to the best friend they secretly hate.”

You know that that’s what’s missing.  I love those dates where you end up bashing former lovers, relatives, co-workers and friends just for the entertainment of others.  I’m not even dignifying this petty one with wit.


# 4 states that women LOVE relationship analysis.  We love Dr. Phil because that is what he does.  And while the boyfriend is deciding on his fantasy football picks, we are researching his commitment phobia.


Give me a break!  How many of us have time for this shit?  I actually have a very full life.  How would I even have time to worry why he didn’t hug me before I left this morning?  Who cares?

If we have problems, be a man and tell me.  Otherwise, get your shit done for the day (just like I am) so when the sun falls, you can meet me in the bedroom free to focus on one thing.


And if all else fails, go for #3: The Bachelor.

Apparently (news to me) all women love to watch The Bachelor.  Ryan goes on to mention, “Where else can they experience a world where everyone lives in mansions, first dates involve transatlantic flights to Paris and women get rejected with a single red rose?”


Hello!!!  Soap operas? Barbie?  Disney fairytales?  At our age, not only do we realize that fantasy is fantasy, we are so inundated with this crap that we are completely appreciative to see the toilet seat down, you in clean underwear, or your suggestion that tonight “it’s Wendy’s.”

At the very least, most women watch this shit to make fun of it.  Probably much in the same reason we look at Us Weekly!


Number 2 on their list is Bath Baskets.

Okay, women.  Take note.  Diamonds are out and bath baskets are in!  Try wearing that to show your friends.  According to the AskMen writer, women “adore manicures, pedicures, and dainty little bath baskets” which men “have no need for.”

bath basket

What women REALLY enjoy is pampering.  And please spare me.  If you are going to shove a bath basket at me and expect me to entertain myself, you are sorrowfully mistaken.

If you aren’t willing to expend the energy or take the opportunity to suds me up, forget about touching me later.  Better yet, just hand over the money you would have used on the purchase, and I’ll entertain myself for a while.


And finally, the #1 way to render a woman powerless is…okay, don’t laugh…

Photo albums.  That’s right.  Apparently photo albums are the aphrodisiacs of all aphrodisiacs.

Photo albums


Forget the oysters, the mushrooms, the cologne.  Throw together a photo montage of anything you want, and you are golden.  Better yet, ask to see her “exhaustive collections,” and you can skip the entire courtship.

I find this one particularly hilarious as ALL the women I know are so disorganized when it comes to photos.  I myself have a bin of photos collected over the years that sits in my closet collecting dust.  I pull them out once in a while when the kids have art projects that require photos of them as babies, but my photos never see the light of day otherwise.

I’m done with this ridiculousness.  Render me powerless in the bedroom and leave the games there too.  I have no use for them on the other side of the door.


Check back to see what ridiculous list I take on next, but for now…I’m out.  Gotta go organize those photos.