Being a Carnival Ride

When I first began learning rope bondage, I got very amped about getting to play with others and show them my new skill. Having been strictly a rope bottom in my twenties, I got excited at the prospect of finally getting to ‘turn the tables’ and tie up hot men myself. And sure enough, that’s how it all started to unfold for me. I would go out to bars like the Faultline in LA – one of my favorites – and bring a bag of rope with me seeing what kind of trouble I could craft. Everyone would have a bit of a buzz going on from the beer, inhibitions would lower, and out I’d bring a length to carry out the deed.

“What’s that for..?” they would ask coyly, often with a grin. And a nice little bondage scene would take place right there in the corner as I lashed them up. Other guys would watch with intrigue and give me their contact numbers to play, and eventually I began to be invited to parties and to teach at events.

As the months progressed, more guys would approach me asking to be tied up right there in the bar or to schedule a playscene at some point during the event. Sometimes it would be more than one, and immediately my weak ego was being fed. I drew this inaccurate conclusion of being popular and ‘desired’, and in turn setting myself up for great disappointment. Eventually as I continued playing and playing and accommodating other people’s dance cards, I would go back home or to my hotel room, and I’d feel empty. I didn’t understand why I felt that way, but it would get to be almost draining. It suddenly dawned on me, that I didn’t feel like the people I was tying up actually connected with me,  they just wanted the rush of what I could do with the rope. I thought, “oh gosh these people are drawn to me – doesn’t that just make me feel special” but the reality was, they were drawn to my skillset. I was confusing these experiences of others wanting me to do things to them as wanting to connect with me. I felt used.

I can remember a few years back when I accompanied friends to various events that we were all presenting at, and they would ask me, “Dart can you do me a favor? Will you tie up my husband at some point? Can you give my girl a bondage experience? My other half has trust issues but trusts you – can you do a rope harness on them?” It is a very flattering and honorable thing to be considered trustworthy by others in this fashion, but it can also make you feel a bit like a public utility. The problem with my friend’s requests was that some of the individuals I had no chemistry or attraction to, and to me the tying of the rope was a very intimate thing. So I would politely decline the request, and when I would diplomatically explain why, they would get offended. I wanted to say, “Hey don’t I have rights in this?”

As you learn new skills whether it’s bondage or pup handling or throwing a singletail whip, always remember that these are all an extension of yourself. Rope and other toys mean nothing until you infuse it with your own unique character and spirit. And that being said, it’s also up to YOU to preserve your energy and not let yourself become a carnival ride. The empty feelings I spoke of earlier were not the fault of the people I played with. They were all simply responding to what I was offering, and that was play without any kind of autonomy or boundaries for myself. It was my own doing that left me feeling so empty time after time.

Now if you’ve volunteered as a top for a sampler or educational event where people can come up and feel what the play is, that’s different. In those cases you have made yourself available and freely give the experience to others for the sake of broadening their horizons. If you are a bottom participating, even in those cases you must remember that the top is still using a great deal of their personal energy to share what they know. Honor that they are human beings like everyone else and may need aftercare of their own.

Keep this in mind as well if you are wanting to be on the receiving end of someone’s ability. If all you’re doing is focusing on what they can do, you are taking away from who they are; and you’re robbing an opportunity for a connection. Cherish that this person has given this extension of themselves to you and vice versa. To do so makes a cathartic exchange possible, and best of all leaves a possibility for seconds!

We should all strive to be an E ticket with one another!  🙂