This may seem obvious but sensual rope is about engaging the senses and what may surprise you is there are more than 5. We all know about sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, all first order senses what is often missed are not strictly speaking senses but I’m going to take some poetic license.
Sense of timing, sense of trust, sense of state, sense of intensity, sense of space and sense of flow.
Very often I think people wanting to get into sensual rope do one of two things, they either smother the person they are tying or they try to use the first order senses as a series of buttons to be pushed to get an effect.
Each of these have elements that can be used and may look similar to a more connected rope scene but the thing that makes the difference is extended senses if I can call them that.
The way I like to think of it is like an old school story teller taking an audience on a journey, feeding off their reactions and changing the story as they go for maximum impact with a few twists for those that have heard the story before. That subtle understanding of the human condition, the reading of expressions and the sounds the audience makes, sometimes calm then building up to a crescendo, a pause then the revelation.
So I think of myself as a storyteller, a purveyor of sensual journeys, and to tell those stories I have to use the language of human experience.
Kurt Vonnegut did a great lecture on this exact point called “The shape of stories” where he discusses the concept of flow, intensity and timing as it relates to the way people experience a story.
Rope is the same, we experience it though the difference between moments and states. If things happen very fast and intensely then it builds up until we either break out or burn out. If we experience thing at a low intensity and a slow measured pace it’s either calming or boring depending on the context. Whether it’s a good piece of music, a play, a movie or a conversation the most interesting experiences generally have build ups, pauses, intense periods followed by calm and then the build again. A spike of intensity after a pregnant pause and so on.
The other thing about experience is the idea of “right moments”, the best example for me is a kiss, if you go in for a kiss a bit early it’s awkward and the same if it’s a bit late, there is an indefinable “right moment” to kiss someone and the only way to work it out is through intuition.
Intuition was once described to me as the queues our subconscious mind gives to our conscious mind after processing far more information than our conscious mind ever could, and the way it informs us of it’s conclusion is with “those feelings”, the pressure or the feeling that it’s not the right time. The hard part is learning to listen. We all have days when our brain is full for whatever reason and our ability to listen to our intuition or our partners in just not very good, maybe we are tired or maybe we had bad news or any number of other things. On days like that I don’t do rope, I find a way to relax that doesn’t require me to be very capable.
So if I listen to my intuition and the feedback I get from my partner, then use my skills at both rope and story telling the end result is a unique journey, a conversation tailored to the people involved and our momentary state of being, and that is the best connective rope for me.