OK folks, it’s time for Monk to rant.
The phrase “rope bunny” sets my teeth on edge.
A quick note- I’m not talking about self-identification here. If you want to identify as a “rope bunny”? Or if animal play is your thing and you want to be a “puppy”, “kitty” or “llama” then play on!
“Rope Bunny” is a term used to describe someone who enjoys being tied up. At first glance it seems pretty innocuous, but it reflects something more sinister about how some think of rope bottoming.
Let’s break this down: Firstly, I’ve never met anyone who identifies as male and enjoys being tied up who calls themselves a “rope bunny.” The term seems exclusive to female-identified bottoms, or, worse, bestowed by male-identified tops upon those they tie up.
Secondly, what do you think of when I say the word “bunny”? Cute? Passive? Harmless? Easily attainable and replaceable due to their large numbers?
In short, passive Playboy-esque eye candy who are ultimately replaceable because hey, they breed like rabbits, right?
It’s a dangerous idea, that diminishes the importance and agency of the rope bottom. No, I say, no! The role of the bottom is not merely to look pretty and to be interchangeable!
Rope bondage is not a spectator sport. It’s more like a dance where both partners are equals, each one bringing an individual skill and intent to create something together that is hot, sexy, reciprocal and, most importantly, safe. Assuming the bottom is a passive role, a “bunny”, is dangerous. It reduces what is meant to be an erotic exchange between (usually) two people into a one-sided show of technical proficiency using rope.
The rope bottom is the equal of the top, with a skill-driven and active role. They are the ones who, if something goes wrong, will suffer the physical consequences. They must understand the limitations of their bodies in order to do and maintain a tie. They must know when to tap out or push on. In short, without the rope bottom, those of us who identify as rope tops would be, as I often refer to myself, “just some ass-hat with a bag of expensive rope.”
Rope bottoms, reclaim your role. Assert your active involvement in this dance. The horror stories are prolific. Nerve damage due to someone using a “injury proof box tie” they learned on a pay site, or a narrowly avoided disaster due to the use of an inferior fiber rope. Educate yourselves. Take classes, even if you never intend to throw rope as a top. Don’t be a passive recipient. Pick up that rope and practice your knots so when you are being bound you can say, “hey, that ain’t going to hold” or “no, that rope you are using is too old/thin/cheap for suspension. I do not consent to that level of risk.”
Rope tops, honor and respect what your bottom brings to the scene. You have the responsibility of how to safely tie Do not fall into the trap of thinking that all bottoms are interchangeable pieces of meat, and that if your technique is right then they should be safe and happy. Every dance, regardless of how many times you have done it, is unique. Your job is to listen to your partner, take cues from them and lead. Don't become so caught up in recreating a particular tie you saw online, or worse yet, trying to impress the other rope tops in the room that you don’t listen and respond to your partner.
If “rope bunny” is what resonates for you, let’s all work together to ensure the concept of that bunny has the cunning of Bugs Bunny, the ferocity of Monty Python’s were-rabbit, and the intrigue of Jessica Rabbit, shall we?
Photo Credit: M. Walling, Aaron Nanto, and Rachel Robinson, respectively.
This past month marked ten years since The Great Fire At The Abbey. Despite this passage of time, the scorch marks are still visible and the memory all too vivid. Ten years ago we watched our art and livelihood burn to the ground.
As we prepare a special commemorative Color Of The Month for July, we revisit Monk's blog post from that fateful day...
Young(er) Monk, encouraged by the response of folks interested in the rope he was making for his own personal use, decides to try his hand at selling his jewel-toned hand-dyed rope to the public. This, in a time when the term “rope vendor” was practically unheard of. When available options for bondage rope were Home Depot, a handful of sites selling nylon, or if you were lucky, a friend-of-a-friend could be commissioned to process a batch of hemp for you.Through good fortune, or perhaps divine intervention, the folks at Seattle’s Center for Sex-Positive Culture didn’t bat an eye when I applied to sell rope at their upcoming winter Vendor Fair.