Get ready for an electrifying podcast episode as Nick delves into various subjects, from the thrill of rope bombing and outdoor tying to the intersection of rope and photography and the creativity within constraints.


Get ready for an electrifying podcast episode as Nick delves into various subjects, from the thrill of rope bombing and outdoor tying to the intersection of rope and photography and the creativity within constraints.

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Guest Bio

Nick (he/him) aka tie_rope_take_photo is a rigger and rope educator from Seattle. He has an eclectic rope style and is always developing new ties, body positions, and ways to get big reactions in rope. He’s been obsessed with rope since 2015 and is still delighted every time he learns something new.

Wicked Wren [00:00:18] Hello and welcome to the Shibari Study Podcast. I'm Wicked Wren and today I have on Nick. Nick goes by he/him pronouns, and you'll know Nick as @tie_rope_take_photo on Instagram. Nick is a rope top, rope instructor based in the Seattle area and also an award winner. Can you tell us a little bit about this very prestigious award that you won in 2019, I believe? Nick [00:00:45] 2019 Cutthroat Dungeon Co-Champion. So – Wicked Wren [00:00:53] This is a very big deal. Nick [00:00:53] It is a big deal. I was specifically told by the people who put it on that I needed to put it on my FL profile. So yeah, so there was this competition that happens apparently yearly. It's called Cutthroat Dungeon. And over several rounds, you're given various ground ties to perform. But each time your opponents have bought challenges for you. So we had to tie a TK but, but my bottom had floaties on her arm or I had to tie a hog tie in with ribbons instead of rope or I had to tie a predicament, but I had to have a spoon in my mouth with a plastic egg in it. And any time the egg fell out, I had to stop what I was doing to go replace the egg. Wicked Wren [00:01:49] I love it. You know, rope tops have had it too easy for too long. I feel like this is good for you. Nick [00:01:54] Oh, you know, yeah. Like everybody should suffer a little bit more and get to taste a little misery sometimes. And then the highlight of it was you had to explain why you'd done this ridiculous thing. Wicked Wren [00:02:04] Oh, I love it. There's another thing about you that I think is very unique. We've done maybe 20, 25 episodes, and you're the second ex-professional poker player that's been on the podcast outside of the wonderful Tom. Nick [00:02:19] Yeah, I mean, tomporarily and I have an unfortunate amount in common. People... People when they know one of us and meet the other one, they're like, Oh, I get it now. There are two of you. That's bad. Wicked Wren [00:02:30] It does seem like you're almost the same person in a lot of ways. Nick [00:02:35] There is a heavy amount of snark on both sides. Yeah, playfulness, humor. I have more hair, but yeah, other than that, it's pretty much the same. Wicked Wren [00:02:44] Yeah, well, congratulations. Whenever someone is nervous about being on the Shibari Study Podcast, I want to say – but I don't say – I want to say "Don't worry, Tom did it. You'll be fine." Nick [00:02:56] I just listened to the MoBights episode, and I really appreciated that it was talking about community management. You're like, Oh, when you get someone like Tom out there and he tried to be like nice about it, and you're like, No, some people just want to watch the world burn. Such a highlight. Wicked Wren [00:03:12] It's so funny because I did forget that I brought up Tom on that one and kind of, you know, maybe poked a little bit of fun at Tom. But, hey, it's hard. It's hard not to. Nick [00:03:22] Tom can take it. And listen, if tomporarily becomes a running theme through every episode of this podcast, I think everyone will be a little bit happier. Wicked Wren [00:03:29] Yeah, we're doing fine if that happens. Well, you talk a lot about motivations in rope and why we do the things that we do. And when I look through your Instagram profile, it's really specific and it feels really authentic to you. So I think I would just like to start this with asking about your motivations. Why do you think you do well? Nick [00:03:49] So like, the thing that I love about rope is that it can go in so many different directions. That rope can be this thing that we're doing to connect with a person. It can be about s**. It can be about getting a really hot photo or a really hot video. It can be about pushing yourself and your partner athletically. It can be about grounding yourself and your body and getting meditative and all these somatic things with all these different reasons and motivations in rope and... And that's what I love about it. And I find my motivations varying wildly from time to time. There was a time when my – the only thing I wanted in the world was like come up with new cool ties and positions and like get the hottest, coolest, weirdest photo. And I found myself recently just over the last few months tying much hornier rope. It's been – like not necessarily directly about s**, although sometimes, but also just about like having that like... s****, dirty... I don't like... I lack the words but like almost perverse motivations and vibes and feelings in the ties. But I think I tie for a lot of different motivations depending on who I'm tying with and and what the feeling is at the time. Wicked Wren [00:05:19] Why do you think you found s***** rope, dirtier rope, more quote-unquote perverted rope from being more just trying to do weird stuff and come up and make your own mark on rope if that makes sense. Nick [00:05:32] Yeah, well, so I look back at the photos I started taking when I was just starting rope. When I was just starting suspension and it's all, it's all s** stuff. It's like I'm having freaking people in suspension and receiving BJs from people and they're in the air and like tying v******* onto people and splayed body parts and everything. And then, you know, I'm very nerdy, analytical, I get excited about the technical aspects of it. And I think also... I would see the amazing things other rope tops were doing. I would see these like cool ties that I couldn't fathom or amazing photos or positions, and I was like, Oh, that is the thing. That's the exciting thing. And I think, you know, we all do rope because we're trying to feel a certain sort of way about ourselves or get that serotonin boost or whatever that neurochemical boost for one reason or another. And one of those is like what you get in the moment while you tie. And one of those is, you know, you post a photo on the internet and people are excited about it. And I think for a while, you know, it was a little more of a focus on the second one of like, Oh, I want... I want to make these cool things and I want to be like, like the riggers that I've followed and appreciated and looked up to. And I think that after you've done that for a while, not that it, not that it's a bad motivation by any means, but you know, sometimes you've got to come back to your horny roots and make it about butts a little bit more at the end of the day. Wicked Wren [00:07:13] Yeah, that can only last so long. It's also exhausting to try to post things only to gain followers and to gain likes and things like that on social media. Very hard. Nick [00:07:24] Yes. You find yourself, you find yourself thinking about things that really shouldn't matter to you and really do. Like, What time of day do I need to post this thing? When, when is my engagement the most? Okay, well, at the end of the day, it probably shouldn't be a motivation. Wicked Wren [00:07:38] Is that funny how most art does that where you start and all you want to do is make it and you are making some really perverted stuff and it was fun. And then you got technical with it. I feel like that's what everyone does whether it's photography or painting or whatever. And now you're going back to just kind of doing whatever you want to do. It's a neat arc. I feel like it's very common. Nick [00:08:00] Yeah, I mean, I don't – listen like I don't think I'm done with, with coming up with new ties or trying to take hot photos or even, you know, wanting attention on the internet. It just happens to be where the flow is with you right now. But, yeah, I think that, I think that everyone should get back to their roots, especially if the roots are particularly horny. Wicked Wren [00:08:23] You talked about making new ties and new shapes. Nick [00:08:26] Yeah. Wicked Wren [00:08:26] What did that look like? Nick [00:08:28] Again, like early on, I think I wanted to prove myself in rope. And I was like, If I can just come up with a tie that like becomes one of those canonical ties, like so-and-so is hip harness or this or that or whatever, if I can just do this, like, then I'll have made it." And I wish I would just come up with these ridiculous things. I came up with a fully spendable hip harness that like was also a str**-** harness. Like, you could like fit a d**** in it quite nicely. It was not a niche that anybody wanted. Nobody was like, Oh, we need to suspend the str**-**. Wicked Wren [00:09:13] Really serving a wide market. Nick [00:09:15] Yeah, exactly. So, so we do all these things and nobody ever gave a damn. But I mean, my friends would be like, Nick, you got to stop with this. But, you know, I was always innovating, coming up with stuff. And, and in the last couple of years, I actually have come up with things that people seem to like. I have – Wicked Wren [00:09:35] Before we get there, let me ask you something. Did your friends actually say, Hey, Nick. Stop doing this. Was that, is that a real thing? Nick [00:09:45] No, I don't think they told me specifically, Stop trying to invent ties. I think that every time they just told me, This particular tie sucks and nobody cares about it. But I don't think they were trying to discourage innovation. Wicked Wren [00:09:56] Yeah, I guess what I'm getting at is I feel most people want to do that in the beginning. When you start something. You immediately want to be like the person that has been doing it for ten-plus years, and you want to try to come up with something and people are like, Actually, that's already been fixed. And it was fixed 15 years ago with this thing. And I also think that that's hard within kink because there's not a way to really research what has happened 15 years ago. There's no journals on this kind of stuff. Nick [00:10:28] Yeah, I think, I think to some degree, like if you come up with a thing, you distribute it and then if it's good, it will get wider, wider, whatever exposure. And then people – eventually you'll get to a point to be like, Oh, actually so-and-so made that seven years ago, and you're like, Oh, well... And of the things I've made, you know, apparently one of the ties that I'm most excited about that I came up with is similar to something that I don't even know if it's a canonical tie. There's like 30-year-old diagrams or maybe 50-year-old diagrams of somebody doing a similar thing that's tied completely differently. Wicked Wren [00:11:07] What is it? Nick [00:11:08] So I have a tie called the Bimbo Tie, or sometimes the Thembo Tie or the Himbo Tie or the Presentation Tie, depending on your relationship to the bimbo. It is a non-suspendable for three to four rope ground tie because that's what everyone's been looking for. It's like a finicky four-rope tie that they can't get in the air. But it sort of ties – it brings the shoulders back, the elbows in, ties the wrists to the hips and then like forces a bend in the lower back. So it sort of forces your shoulders back, your chest out, and an arch in your back and makes you stick your butt out. Wicked Wren [00:11:48] I love that. Nick [00:11:49] Which... Yeah. As it turns out, was really all I've been looking for in this world. Wicked Wren [00:11:54] You're like, I found it. Nick [00:11:56] I found it. I'm the thing. Wicked Wren [00:11:56] Have you found the, the diagrams for that stuff? And that's got to be kind of cool. Nick [00:12:01] Yeah. Somebody showed me this thing and they were like, Oh, there's this – it looks like it's from the fifties or something. It's tied completely differently. And frankly, I think if you actually put it on someone. It might kill them. It seems like much more of a theoretical thing than something actually people did. But it does definitely have a similar effect. Wicked Wren [00:12:22] I don't think there's anything wrong with that because I do that with photos and things where I'll come up with an idea and then I realize, Oh, that's been done 80 times. But as long as that doesn't come from a place of ego saying, I want this to be my legacy, and you're actually making stuff that you like and is contributing to the world, I think it's great. Nick [00:12:40] Yeah. I mean, another thing that I've come up with recently and... As I distribute this, we'll find out whether there's a similar thing out there, is we were teaching people in one of the classes, the organization I teach. We're teaching people this v*******or harness to tie a v*******or onto someone. And it was so finicky. I got so annoyed with it that I went home with a partner and made them stand there for 90 minutes, getting intermittently vibrated while I figure it out. A good version or a better version of a v******* or harness. So now I feel like maybe I have come up with the canonical v*******or tie, but who knows, maybe it already exists somewhere. Wicked Wren [00:13:22] I love it. So it was like you were doing some labbing and then your partner had edging sessions. Nick [00:13:27] Yes, exactly that. Yeah. Yeah. Wicked Wren [00:13:29] It's great. Out of curiosity, do you connect rope or do you tie off everything usually? Nick [00:13:36] Yeah, I usually... I usually connect rope unless I'm, you know, there's certain schools of rope sort of more Naka-esque where you just tie on a new rope every time. If I'm trying to do something in that vein, I'll usually tie on a new rope but most of the time I connect rope. Wicked Wren [00:13:56] Has that always been the same or has that changed? Nick [00:13:59] It's always been the same. I... Not to get too into schools and dogma, but if – when I started seven or eight years ago in Seattle, there wasn't as much of like a focus on Naka-style rope and so I would always just like connect rope. And now it's become much more fashionable to do well, the Naka stuff. Wicked Wren [00:14:21] I am curious. What was it like when you started? What was the current trend of Seattle rope? Nick [00:14:27] Seattle was very interesting because it didn't have the exposure to outside instructors that a lot of other places have. So it was very much this tradition of Western rope bondage. People did not do TKs. Apparently TKs came to Seattle about 15 years ago and two people immediately got radial nerve damage. Like you do when you tie TKs and you don't know what you're doing and you suspend it. And so like the conference of the six actual competent Seattle rope tops happened and they got together and, We can't tie these things, they're awful. And that became.. That was just like the rule in Seattle is you don't – you didn't suspend TKs and nobody even really tied TKs. And so when I was coming into the scene, it was sort of this forbidden fruit, almost, where like TKs were treated like... This ultimate tie that you could do all this like cool suspension stuff in, but you weren't good enough to do it. And like, you know, that was for somebody else. So that was for people who are more advanced. And they weren't tied on the ground for scenes. Like nobody was just like scening with the TK. It wasn't clear to me early on like, Oh, this could be a hot thing. You just tie this on your partner, go be with them, and your body's against their body and there's a bondage involved and they like it, and then it comes off. It was just this like very suspension-oriented mindset. So that's something that I hope shifts both like in Seattle and other places as well, that that, you know, sometimes these ties, the point isn't about what you can do with it suspension-wise, but just what it's like going on and off. Wicked Wren [00:16:12] Yeah. I think that no matter what you tie, that's something that has to be learned, where it's not about the tie you're doing specifically, it's about how you're making each other feel. But I do have a question. How did you learn how to do a TK? When was the first time you did it? Nick [00:16:27] Somebody in an early rope jam I went to in Seattle taught it to me and I'm sure I tied a horrible, horrible, horrible TK. And then there was someone who was starting to teach rope classes in Seattle who'd done a lot of studying in Japan. And so I learned TKs from that person and then traveled more and more. Wicked Wren [00:16:53] You have a cool little FAQ on your Instagram. I really like it because you say, In-person instruction is the best, but if you can't find it, Shibari Study is the second best, which – shoutout to Shibari Study – but also for very free, there's YouTube stuff and in the rope world, we always kind of talk crap about YouTube and how bad it is, but you can learn stuff from there as long as you do it within context. If you're not trying to suspend someone and do all this kind of crazy things. Nick [00:17:21] 100% facts. I think people are very freaked out by safety stuff and they should be in some contexts. But like, if it's not going into the air, there's a minimum to how much damage you're going to do to someone. As long as you're not like tying rope that cinches around their neck or face or some other like incredibly risky part of the body. You know, any tie you get off of YouTube, if it's not going in the air, you're going to be fine. Wicked Wren [00:17:43] Yeah. Agreed. Nick [00:17:44] I think also people don't realize like, just like how much their communities can be a resource too. Like just show up at events. I know it's terrifying. I know that like, it's hard to go to a place where you feel like everybody else knows each other and you don't know anybody. You don't know how to behave or whatnot. But like, it really is a pretty welcoming community for the most part, in my experience. Wicked Wren [00:18:04] Same, in my experience, too. Speaking of rope safety, I know you have thoughts on this. Nick [00:18:09] I have so many thoughts about rope safety. I have definitely read every single post in the FL Rope Incident Reports group. I – every once in a while on Instagram, I'll just sort of like ask questions to learn more about people's experiences with various safety and incidents. I have... One of my hot takes about rope safety is that I feel like people are more freaked out about fainting than they need to be. And if someone who is more of a medical expert than me wants to come along, tell me I'm wrong. That's fine. But I've talked to people. I've talked to friends who are medical doctors who are also in the rope world. And other than like, you know, falling down and conking your head and dying, which obviously isn't great, if you are suspended and you're not going to drop and you faint. It's basically a nap as long as you're still breathing and as long as your body is still functioning. Like there's nothing horrific going on there. Naps are great. Everyone loves naps and like, as a rope top, I don't think – I think there's this focus often with rope safety is like cutting people out of rope. And if there's one thing I can talk people away from, it's trying to cut people out of suspension during emergencies. I think we need like more of a focus on physically supporting the person with your body, with furniture, call somebody else over, have them support them, lower them to the ground, try and be in a controlled way. What you don't want to create is an uncontrolled drop. Like the extra 20 seconds are saving them from cutting suspension lines is not worth dropping them out of suspension. And then, like, I think your main responsibility as a top when someone faints in your rope is creating a good environment for them to regain consciousness in. If you're freaking out, they're going to be freaking out. They're gonna be disoriented, they're going to come to you and be like, Oh, no, something horrible happened. And if you create this welcoming environment, you're like, Hey, you went out, but it's fine. Then like, it's fine. I think that's – sorry, I'm just starting to rant here. But I think that's this thing in kink in general is that... How we perceive events often is very colored by how those events were handled over like, what was the emotional tenor or in subsequent events. And I don't want to say that like, it's okay to go around hurting people physically or emotionally. But just as important as whether you do hurt someone physically or emotionally is how you handle it and how you repair the relationship afterwards. And I think that's the thing that people often don't get. Because it's very easy to get in this like defensive mind space of like, Oh, no, I have to protect myself and protect my reputation, or something along, I don't even want to think of myself as like someone who created this. But if you handle it gracefully like it doesn't have to be a big deal. Wicked Wren [00:21:00] Yeah, it's not, if you get hurt, it's when you get hurt. And the majority of the time, physical injuries are not that bad. But the emotional side is a completely different topic that is really, really difficult to deal with because we don't have structures in place for that in the kink scene. In the rope scene. Nick [00:21:22] Right. Yeah. And it's you know, it's very easy to give people the checklist of like, do this, do this, do this, do this. You won't injure someone in rope suspension. But you don't have that like... Like you say, you don't have that guide map of like, here's how to navigate these relationship, these relationship issues that come up so often. And, you know, sometimes people just like aren't good fits for each other. And that needs to be okay, too. And I think also we have in kink, it feels like we don't have ways to say that something was bad without framing it as consent incidents. And I don't like that because someone's just like, sometimes someone's a crappy partner or like a crappy person and you don't need to frame it in terms of consent. You just be like, This person sucked as a romantic partner and I wouldn't suggest anybody date them, but like, they're not going to go around like groping people. And we need sort of like a little bit more nuance in all of these things to be able to be like, Okay, well. They're not a monster, but also they're not great. Wicked Wren [00:22:27] Yeah. It's so difficult to do. Because really the only way we connect is through Instagram. FL. Things like that and it's just not possible to... If we have Google sheets that go around and things like that, but it's just very, very difficult for any kind of real accountability and learning like that. Nick [00:22:47] Yeah, I heard a phrase I really like, which is that, Call-outs only happen in one volume. That like once, once you say the thing like it's so hard to like, say like, Okay, they did bad, but they only did this bad because people, yow know, it gets blown up. And that's not to say that... I want to acknowledge that bottoms have had a really horrible time in rope historically. Like there's just been – if you go back five or ten years and look at all of the big rope tops who are headlining the concert, none of these people are around and all of it is because of crappy behavior for the most part. So I don't want to minimize what rope bottoms had to deal with by any means. Wicked Wren [00:23:26] Yeah. Even with how a call-out works, it doesn't really work because all it does is make that person leave and then they go and they offend again and they get new partners and those people don't know anything that's going on. It's just a bad cycle. Call-ins work better than call-outs, but the issue of the call-in is you have to have somebody that can mediate that and make it happen. And there's nobody that can really do that because it's a hobby for people. It's a scene for people. Nick [00:23:54] Yeah. And I know people who've been a part of accountability circles and try to do that, like mediation in between work and gotten just completely burned in the process. I think the thing that affects these things is in terms of like accountability and processes and call-outs and all of that, call-ins, is relationships and community. That like... If I'm really close to someone and I create harm with them, like obviously I'm going to be invested in making sure that they come out of it feeling better. And, you know, if I have a group of people who I'm really close to, then I'm going to be invested in, you know, I don't know, doing the things that those people are encouraging me to do to continue to be a part of that community. So the more the people are part of the community and the more that they have those connections, I think like, the better chance there is of having this thing. So the point is to like not just like exclude people when they mess up. But to be inclusive and to be a supportive environment and be like, Hey, I really like you. And like this thing needs to change. Wicked Wren [00:25:04] Yeah, there are obviously things that are exceptions to that rule like really extreme cases. But I imagine the majority of those cases aren't super extreme. But yeah, it definitely does start in your local environments. At the functions, bring them in that kind of stuff. Nick [00:25:21] Right. And listen, like I know some people who've had patterns of behavior where I'm like, I cannot even interact with this person anymore. Like, it's just – we're talking about dozens and dozens of things. But when someone, you know, people are inevitably going to mess up. Wicked Wren [00:25:35] Yes. Nick [00:25:36] That and... And it's how, it's how they proceed from that and whether they continue to make the same mistakes over and over or whether they change that like ultimately determines how worthwhile a person they are to be with. Wicked Wren [00:25:49] Yeah. Yeah. And how they react to that and stuff. I would love to talk to a little bit about rope bombing because you have a ton of that on your page. Nick [00:25:59] Yeah. Yeah. That was another thing where, you know, I would start in rope and I would see people do these crazy photos in crazy places and I was like, That. I love that. And especially during the early pandemic, you know, I lost my job one month into the pandemic. My primary partner is a teacher and... So she has summers off and we just hiked every day. We would just, you know, I would like look up places we could go, old abandoned structures or whatnot and. Yeah. And we would like tie off of these things and, and each thing – it was cool because each, each setting that you're in is a new thing and it inspires different shapes. Different ways of interacting with it. Wicked Wren [00:26:51] What is it? Is it the thrill of being outside and having to work quickly and efficiently? Like what is the thrill around it? Nick [00:27:00] I think the thrill is – it's a great question – I think the thrill is adapting to a new situation. And just, like if it gets so formulaic, I think for me, you know, you tie in your whatever, your rope room or your local dungeon and it's the same thing over and over again. And maybe you're doing slightly different things, but new constraints or new inputs end up with new outputs. And so, you know, if I'd be in a place like I maybe I'm underneath a railroad trestle and you've got like these wood beams crisscrossing and we try and tie something that was geometric and would mirror those lines, or you'd have something like a setting that's like, Oh, you're in this garden and it's very serene. And we try to do something that like looked more relaxed and elegant and droopy. Yeah, just trying to like respond to a thing. I think constraints lead to creativity. Wicked Wren [00:27:59] I agree fully. There has to be constraints of things. I hate having just a blank page. Nick [00:28:04] Blank pages are the worst. Yes. Wicked Wren [00:28:06] So stressful. Nick [00:28:07] And just as a top, like speaking to bottoms or anybody I might ever tie prospectively. Like, I always need that input. You know, you go and you're like, Tell me about yourself. Tell me what you like, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And when people tell you things, like that starts to shape these ideas, this creativity. I get excited when someone I'm going to tie with for the first time has like, Oh, I have shoulder issues here and I can't do this, I can't do that, and blah, blah, blah. Like awesome. Like, I get to like take on this challenge of finding a way to deal with this set of circumstances. And when someone's like, I don't know, surprise me. Like anything's good, then you're like, I don't know, like... Wicked Wren [00:28:46] Yeah, you're like, I don't know what like... I tell this story a lot. I love to cook and when people are coming over for dinner, when they say, I eat anything, it's awful. But they say I don't like X, Y, Z and I love fish. You're like, Freak yeah. Now I have constraints to work into. Or a lot of people think that vegetarians and vegans are annoying to cook for. I think it's fun as a, as a mediator, I think it's fun because now I'm going to think about stuff differently. Nick [00:29:13] Speaking of confluence of rope and cooking and vegetarianism, veganism, I go to Burning Man every year, most years and do rope stuff there. And I have – metamor is planning this event for this upcoming Burn. And this is – for those who haven't been to the Burning Man – this is sort of part for the course in terms of like a silly insanity. His idea was he wants to cook a bunch of fried chicken and then have us tie people up in sort of like chicken wing ties and then have people like s***** fed fried chicken while they're tied to a thing and just sort of like assembly line hundreds of people through this if we can. So that's part of what I'm trying to organize right now. And one of the issues I'm running into is that like a lot of the people who might be willing to volunteer as feeders or tyers are vegetarian or vegan, and they're like, That sounds like a great idea but also, it should revulse me. Wicked Wren [00:30:11] But also – that is pretty funny. Nothing sounds worse to me than being in the desert in like a 110 heat being fed chicken in a rope. But I'm sure there are some people out there that are really, really going to love it. It's gonna be really successful. Nick [00:30:31] You think you wouldn't want heavy food out there. But like, I find myself like craving that like greasy heavy food out there. Wicked Wren [00:30:40] I've never been. Nick [00:30:40] I mean... Don't go, like... I don't want to be – so it's funny, you know, a lot of the things that I really like are things that I made fun of for years. So, like, like 15 years ago, I remember people like trying to get me to go to Burning Man. I was like, Why would I? You know, why do I want to go to this thing? It's freaking 100,000 people in the desert all expressing their individuality with the same hat? Like that's so stupid. It's like, why would I ever do that? Or even, even rope bondage. Like, I got into rope bondage. I had this partner. She did more. I was just getting into the kink scene. She had more experience in the kink scene. She'd done a lot of rope that she'd liked and at the time I was really into like impact and rough body play. And she was like, Hey, what do you think about rope? And I was like, I don't know. It just seems sort of like dry and dull and boring and stale and slow. Like you're just going to stand there while I tie you up. What's the point of that? And she said, Well, people love rope, so figure it out. And I was like... Wicked Wren [00:31:37] (Inaudible). Nick [00:31:38] Fine. But I'm not going to become one of those like tiresome, shibari idiots who suspend people from the ceiling. Sort of like – I'm just going to use like quick utilitarian dirty ties. And now skip to years later, and I'm the most tiresome Shibari idiot possible. Wicked Wren [00:31:51] Yeah. You got a whole room for it probably. You got a tatami mats. Nick [00:31:55] I do not have a tatami mat. But I do have a room for it. Wicked Wren [00:31:57] Like we're gonna get you a tatami mat. Nick [00:31:59] Oh, excellent. Hey, you know what? I'll take it. Wicked Wren [00:32:02] I do have a question about your relationship to the camera because your username is tie_rope_take_photo. I think it's very funny. You do a lot of rope bombing which is primarily camera-focused because it's about capturing that moment. How does a camera play into rope bondage for you? Nick [00:32:22] Okay, Well, first thing I want to call out is that I need to acknowledge that I'm a horrible photographer. Wicked Wren [00:32:27] It's not true. Nick [00:32:28] Thank you. That's very kind. I think... I think that I have... very – I got ideas about framing the positions I want, like modeling how I want to thing to look and I can make that happen. And then like in terms of actually using the camera well, I'm just like the worst but I'm learning. Wicked Wren [00:32:50] Yeah, but that – I feel like I do want to say something about that and it's not... Shoot on auto. You know, it doesn't matter. Nick [00:32:57] I do. 100% I do. I shoot on auto. Wicked Wren [00:33:00] Use natural light. It just doesn't freaking matter because the subjects are cool. You talked a little bit earlier about having a bridge with lines and you're going to make lines and things like that. You can take that photo on a potato. This isn't to you, this is just like my general thoughts is that you could take it on a flip phone and that photo is going to be good because it's all about what you're taking a photo of. Nick [00:33:21] I mean, it was up until like a year... A year and change ago, I was just like everything was on my iPhone and I got a camera. And frankly like I don't know if you can tell the difference picture quality-wise. The camera is interesting. We talked about motivations, like it changes the motivations. It changes the way you interact with your partner. Like when I'm doing photo rope, it's much more, you know, in a scene, I want to be in charge. I want to be driving the bus. I want them to like just be reacting to what I'm doing. And it's all about like me imposing myself on them or can be. When doing photo rope, my expectations are once around communication and sort of the paradigm of the scene is different. It becomes much more collaborative. I've been lucky to work with incredible bottoms. My primary partner Alice, on Instagram, is an incredible bottom, and so relying on those people to, you know, communicate what they need in terms of comfort, sustainability, to help me come up with ideas in those spaces, it's just like an entirely different process than it is if you're tying for, for different motivation. Wicked Wren [00:34:42] Absolutely. Can you talk a little bit about the precautions, about the preparations and things like that you take when you photobomb things or ropebomb on things? Nick [00:34:54] The one thing that I'll say and... The world is not happy about a masc person tying up a femme person. You know... A lot of times and I live in a very progressive area like I live in Seattle. People here are pretty open-minded and there's still a lot of good nature checking in where people are like, Hey, is that consensual or is this a crime? Like what? How bad a thing is this? So 1), just like having your bottom – if it's a femme bottom and a masc top having like the bottom be like, I'm great, like everything's fine. Make them really like, don't push the suffering in a place where, where it might be interpreted as a nonconsensual act. And I would say like if you could have a third person along who is a spotter and they are femme or just like one other femme person along somewhere, so it just doesn't look like four guys in the woods murdering a small woman is like... That is the number one thing that I've learned. But yeah, think about lighting. Think about onlookers and onlooker management. Think about the safety of the thing that you're tying off of. Like evaluating – this is a thing that I've learned about sort of like evaluating materials and sort of hard points in nature. I have a friend who insists on me pointing out that they are not in architecture because apparently, like you get kicked out of architecture if you say you're an architect, but you're not. But they have some of the training that architects have. And so like I will send this person photos would be like, how safe or not safe is this thing? It turns out I was very close to destroying a historical bridge by trying to suspend somebody off of it. I'm glad that I checked in with them first. Wicked Wren [00:36:40] Yeah, me too. Nick [00:36:41] Yeah. Wicked Wren [00:36:42] The unsung hero of rope bombing. Nick [00:36:44] Right. And when I say I was close to destroying the historical bridge, I was also close to dropping part of a historical bridge on a rope partner. So maybe I should focus on that part. Wicked Wren [00:36:54] Yeah. You've been learning rope for about eight years and you're just starting to teach. What are some of the things that you're excited to teach? Nick [00:37:03] Oh, I'm excited to teach things – well, so, my first like pure real class that I'm teaching on my own is about dealing with emergencies in rope suspension. Just because that was something that I felt like my community could use. But I want to teach things... My favorite classes were about harness space. They were like, Here is a principle that you can apply in various situations. So like, rather than be like, Here is my TK, it was like, Here is this – actually, I'm just going to shoutout my favorite rope instructor of all time, is this person named Blizzard. She has apparently like completely disappeared from rope but she was in sort of like the Baltimore DMV area and I took maybe like half a dozen classes with her at cons and every time was just mind-blowingly good. And I could yammer about her forever. So I'll try and cut it short. But she would teach things that would be like, Here's like a cool chokey addition you can do on an upper body tie and here are the things that make it work. And now you can tie this as arms free harness. You can tie this as a TK. Here are the building blocks that you can add to the things that you already know and use. And that's the kind of stuff I would teach. So one of the classes that I have in sort of in the barrel in preparation is incorporating Naka panties. If people are familiar with the tie Naka panties in the vertical suspensions and how to like just make everything easier. Because I know a lot of people have a lot of issues with vertical suspension stuff. That's the number one thing that makes people faint, is sort of like a vertically loaded waist rope. And so people have this like hot, sweaty, fainty, naseous vagal reactions. And so, you know, for people who've tied – to give a little harness here – for people who tied the Butterfly Harness with the Naka panty addition. It sort of loads more into the thighs and under the butt. And the butt's a great place to take load with rope. But it doesn't have to just be the Butterfly Harness, you can tie other structures and still sort of flow into that. So it's more of a proof of concept of like, you can do this and make everything easier for vertical suspensions. At con, we were playing around with this and we suspended somebody from just like, from just under their butt and their hair and just like did that. And it was shockingly comfortable. Wicked Wren [00:39:35] It also sounds cool because you can take away the Naka panties and then have that waist rope and then maybe before that person gets to a point where they're going to faint or something, you can like put some tension on the Naka panties to just give some relief there. Like, it just sounds like it's just more options. Nick [00:39:51] Yeah, yeah, a lot of options and yeah, that's all I want people to have is more options and more troubleshooting for the things that they've found to be obstacles. I think a lot of people think like, Oh, I can't do TKs or I can't do vertical suspensions or I can't do this or I can't do that. And maybe it's like you can't do it in the one way that you've been trying it. And there's like other things, other things to come to. I'll say this also about teaching. This wasn't the question but I know that when I was first taking rope classes, I would go into classes, especially like early suspension classes and the top would tie this thing on their bottom and I would tie it as close as I could. And my bottom couldn't handle the thing. And I tried not to be crappy but like somebody would be like, Oh, like what's wrong with my partner? But the thing was that... The person teaching the tie wasn't calling out, I chose this tie to teach because it's a thing that works really well for my bottom or my partner, and acknowledging that that like people have different strengths or challenges in rope and rope suspension and that like... Just because you see people doing this insane thing, it doesn't mean that they're like super tough and everything. It means they're super strong in this thing and finding out what works for your body and what doesn't work for your body and wanting to adapt to it is – that's half the game. Wicked Wren [00:41:25] It's like you're trying to follow along with some pattern that you've seen once and then trying to just simply remember the pattern. And it's difficult to even give qualified feedback as a bottom because I can't really tell you if the tension is on or off because we're both trying to just keep up with – Nick [00:41:48] I've never been in this. I don't know what's supposed to feel like. Yeah, like yeah. Maybe this is supposed to be like dissecting my midsection and half, who could say. Wicked Wren [00:41:57] I was going to say on your other thought there with having someone teach a harness without saying kind of why they're doing it. I heard someone – I can't remember who it was – critique when teachers say things like, This is how it works for me, but it's going to be different on your body. And as a teacher, it's your job to know how it's supposed to work on someone else's body. That's why you're teaching, right? Nick [00:42:21] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I, you know, I've been doing rope, as you said, eight years. I'm just starting to teach now. And part of it was, I'm not happy teaching a class being like, Here is a tie that works well on my partner, when I show a tie or an idea or some things, I want to be able to adapt it to other people as well. So I want to know not just like the primary thing but all the questions that come out of it. Wicked Wren [00:42:46] Yeah, yeah. That's the concept of teaching. Understanding how it's going to work on multiple bodies and being able to see all those pitfalls because if not, you're just really demonstrating what – it's kind of a show and tell between you and your partner. Nick [00:43:02] Absolutely. Yeah. And, and I've heard people say like, you don't teach to 100%. You don't teach to the limit of what you know, what you can do. You teach to like 25%, 50% whatever. You have that in reserve so that like when people have questions or whatever like you know more you have that, you have that in reserve. Wicked Wren [00:43:19] Yeah. Even with that thought, whenever I see people I've been tying for ten years. The things that they will ask are so minute like... I was in a class at the Bank and my friend Lief asked about how someone was tying their single-column and how they were doing this one little specific thing with the bight and this and that. And it was like so small but it was awesome. Nick [00:43:49] The funny thing is, is that like when you start, you don't know anything. And so it's drinking from a fire hose. Like, you'll take a class, you'll be like, Oh my God, that's so much, and your brain is so full. I would go to like cons in my first year or two and just be like, Holy crap. Like there's no way, I'm going to retain all of this. And of course, I didn't. But if you get even like, if you remember even a quarter of it, you're doing great. And then, you know, the more you learn and the more you've done it, if you learn one new thing that you get to use, that's exciting. Like, you know, if I go to a 90-minute class and there's that one thing that they showed that I would incorporate into my tying, this was worth it. Wicked Wren [00:44:25] Yeah. Well, that only happens with a lot of time, a lot of repetitions and things. Nick [00:44:30] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Wicked Wren [00:44:33] What are your upcoming classes? Do you have anything like scheduled to teach? Nick [00:44:37] I do. Locally in Seattle. I've got a, I've got an emergency management class coming up in two weeks. Emergency management in rope suspension. I especially call it emergency management and not emergency descent because I feel like people are always trying to like... Get someone out of suspension as fast as possible and sometimes there's better ways to manage emergencies, so... Wicked Wren [00:44:59] Give me the bullet points. Give me like the quick three bullet points of the class. Nick [00:45:04] One) don't panic. Two) most times that a bottom is going through a rough time, they and you will be better off if you just physically support their body for a little while, while you think about how you're going to address the issue rather than like trying to bring it down immediately. Like you can lift them with your arms, you can get underneath them to squat them, you can put a chair underneath them, you can have, call someone else over and help carry them. Just like take a little bit of the load off. Give them a chance to breathe and give yourself a chance to think rather than just like, Oh, I got to go get them down. That's number two. Number three, I know we talked about this. But fainting is not – we talked about this thing. Fainting is not as bad as people think. It's going to happen and handle it gracefully. Actually, just handle, handle things gracefully when they happen, I guess is number three. Wicked Wren [00:46:00] Things are not as intense as they seem. Nick [00:46:03] Yeah, I think it's really easy to catastrophize. Like, Oh, no, I did this to my partner. Oh, I'm a bad bottom. Oh, I'm a bad person. Oh, you're irresponsible. But, you know, it's how you handle it. Wicked Wren [00:46:14] It is. I would, you just said, I'm a bad bottom. I'm this/that. I would like to hear a class about how we talk to each other in rope because I feel like a lot of the times, if someone has to call it and it's always a bottom saying like, I can't do this anymore, I need a break, I need to come down, that quantifies it as a failure. And that's really harmful in words. And yeah, it would be a really cool class to like talk about reworking conversation structure. Nick [00:46:42] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And when you need to call it like that's not bad. That's, You did a good job. Wicked Wren [00:46:50] That's the thing. Yes. Nick [00:46:52] It's, it's, if you let yourself get injured, that's the bad thing. If you like try and tough it out and, and break something like that's the bad thing. Taking care of yourself and advocating for yourself is the thing that we need. Because if you're, you know, as a top from tying with a bottom and they don't speak up for themselves that's when I'm terrified. Wicked Wren [00:47:12] Yeah I tie with KissMeDeadlyDoll a bunch and then we tied and I was spent and it was a very short tie. I was done and I was, I got done and I apologized to her so much I was like, I am so sorry. And she's like, Stop saying you're sorry. I'm happy because this is what I wanted to do to you. I wanted you to get to the edge and not be able to handle anymore. And I was like, Oh, now I feel good. Nick [00:47:35] Yeah, yeah. And I think, I think it's very easy to feel like, Oh, I ruined the fun. Or, Oh, I failed. Or, Oh, I wasn't tough enough. But like, that's not the point of it. Wicked Wren [00:47:44] Yeah. Well, in wrapping this up, I want to thank you for being on. This is an awesome conversation. I learned a lot. Very, very cool stuff. Where can people find you? You said you have some classes coming up. Is there anything else coming up you want to tell us about? Nick [00:48:00] So yeah. So I think that class emergency management class, I am teaching a rough body play class. I'll hopefully have links on my @tie.rope.teach.classes Instagram account. I try to keep my accounts separate because like, I realize that most people are going to my main accounts to like, look at hot pictures of rope and butts and like not necessarily be advertised to. So yeah, rough body play class then and then we'll have this class about Naka panties making everything easier in vertical suspension. That's going to be coming soon. I don't think we have a date set just yet. Wicked Wren [00:48:40] Well, I want to thank you for being on. This is awesome. Nick [00:48:43] Thank you so much for having me. I'm a big fan of the podcast, so it's a pleasure to be a par

In this episode, Dancehalldyke (she/they) aka Kit and slab_me_harder (she/her) aka Juliette draw parallels between the risks of backcountry skiing and rope play, emphasizing the crucial roles of negotiation and debriefing in managing these risks and building trust.


In this episode, Dancehalldyke (she/they) aka Kit and slab_me_harder (she/her) aka Juliette draw parallels between the risks of backcountry skiing and rope play, emphasizing the crucial roles of negotiation and debriefing in managing these risks and building trust.

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Guest Bio

Dancehalldyke (she/they) and slab_me_harder (she/her) are a lesbian rope couple from San Francisco who have been tying together for five years and married for four. Through rope they seek to explore each other’s emotions, capabilities, and vulnerabilities.


Wicked Wren [00:00:12] Hello everyone and welcome to the Shibari Study podcast. Today I have on Kit and Juliette. They're both a rope pair. Kit uses she/they pronouns, Juliette uses she/her pronouns. Kit is a rope switch and Juliette is a rope bottom and, quote, is "reluctantly learning how to tie". How are you two?

Juliette [00:00:37] Good. How are you?

Kit [00:00:40] Thank you for having us.

Wicked Wren [00:00:42] So I do have to ask. Juliette, why are you saying that you're reluctantly learning to tie?

Juliette [00:00:49] I mean, so I'm learning to tie because I love rope and I'm interested in like engaging in the hobby on a deeper level. And also, it will give me other things to do at jams and things when I'm not being tied. But also, I'm a little bit reluctant because I don't particularly feel a deep desire to be like the toppy top who's going to like dominate people or like... I'm struggling to find that motivation of like, you know, some people I think are drawn to the role of top. They want to tie people up. And I'm like I don't know if I really want to do that, but like, I like rope and this is half the part of the community. Maybe I should try to explore it, I guess.

Wicked Wren [00:01:28] Yeah. Do you feel like you'd like to do sadistic-y things or like pain things or do you want to make people feel good in rope? Do you have kind of a mission objective?

Juliette [00:01:38] No, I think that's why I'm reluctant. It's like I don't have that mission yet. My mission is to try to do what people want. But I feel I don't know what I want to do. I'm just learning to tie.

Wicked Wren [00:01:49] That makes sense. So, Kit, what is your style of rope topping?

Kit [00:01:54] Oh, goodness. I think I have gone through a lot of different rope styles as a top. I definitely have some sadistic moments with with the right person who is Juliette in particular but also others. And I think we've been pretty inspired by kind of the more Barkas-y interview-y style. So I do, I do love that. That's sadistic. I think – something I really enjoy in topping is leaning into really felt emotions, whatever they might be in the moment.

Wicked Wren [00:02:45] I love that. It sounds like you're very intuitive.

Kit [00:02:49] One hopes.

Wicked Wren [00:02:53] So you two have been together for about six years, and you learned rope together?

Juliette [00:02:58] Yes, we started learning rope together, I would say when some people we were dating together kind of started teaching us.

Kit [00:03:11]  We started when we were both in grad school in Wisconsin, and we went to Hitchin' B*tches Wisconsin in a very sort of more unemotional clinical learning environment, but one that felt still very, very safe I mean.

Juliette [00:03:33] I mean rope in Madison, Wisconsin is the rope capital of the world as the old school people know.

Kit [00:03:40] As they say.

Wicked Wren [00:03:41] I hear that shibari originated in Wisconsin.

Kit [00:03:45] Wow. Really? I didn't know that.

Wicked Wren [00:03:47] Yeah, well, look, stick around. You'll learn a thing or two.

Juliette [00:03:50] There was actually a surprisingly good community there, I would say, for how – I mean, it's a town of 200,000 people and there were like multiple rope events each month, multiple rope places. So like, it was surprisingly good, all things considered.

Wicked Wren [00:04:04] Yeah. And, Kit, you said that it was really clinical.

Kit [00:04:09] It's totally different from the kind of rope that I'm interested in now. It was still useful, but a lot of that was much more focused on decorative patterns and kind of just the pure act of tying rope and not so much focused on emotions and the like interpersonal relationships.

Wicked Wren [00:04:37] That make sense. How long were you two dating before you started doing rope, or was that kind of at the same time?

Kit [00:04:45] Maybe a year or a year and a half.

Juliette [00:04:48] Yeah, it was about a year, a year and a half, in that we started exploring rope together.

Wicked Wren [00:04:54] And how did that work together? So it's like pretty early in the relationship and you're adding this thing where you're learning something together. Were there any big struggles in the beginning or...?

Kit [00:05:09] Definitely. I think every couple who starts learning rope together goes through a massive struggle to do so. I think there's a big asymmetry in the learning process from top and bottom perspectives. And I think our story is not really an unusual one. Juliette, I think was interested in it first mainly, and then I was kind of topping along for the ride. But the learning curve, topping is, at least for me, it did not come naturally. It was not, it was not intuitive. And then I am also a teacher in my real life, and from an educator perspective, like not all of the education was as clear as I, as I would have liked. And so I think there was plenty of different things.

Juliette [00:06:15] I think from my side, right, I think there were probably plenty of times where like – we were, we'd be doing rope and I'd be like, I want this good rope feeling that I have had before or that like I'm imagining people are experiencing from the photos or seeing on Instagram or things. And, you know, it's not happening. And that can be frustrating. And while I like to hope that I was as graceful and compassionate and thoughtful as I could be at all those moments, I'm also sure that as a human being, I like at times let some of that frustration escape me in ways that was not particularly productive.

Wicked Wren [00:06:49] Absolutely.

Kit [00:06:50] And you also had other rope partners that you tied with who were much more experienced than me when we started. And of course, now that Juliette is reluctantly learning to tie. Her own words. Now, of course, I'm in that position of trying to bring my best, most gracious self and like totally failing.

Wicked Wren [00:07:15] I love that. Well it's a little bit of a payback, you know?

Kit [00:07:17] Oh, it definitely is.

Wicked Wren [00:07:20] Do you feel like when you tie Kit, you're, I don't know, maybe like a little more empathetic to her? Like I know exactly what you're going through while I'm trying to figure this stuff out.

Juliette [00:07:34] Yeah, I mean, I think, I think I always knew it was hard but I think like, there is somehow this – for me, I think, there's like this barrier that I think I never realized quite how difficult it is to get through. How like, you can know how to tie the pattern, maybe you could tie something, you know, in practice. But then like, the minute someone says and scene like...

Wicked Wren [00:07:58] All that's out the window.

Juliette [00:07:59] That idea of like, you're going, for me at least, that you're going to invade someone's personal space and maybe like make them uncomfortable and maybe like, having to navigate very complicated emotions and make decisions. It's like it's no longer like, how does this feel? Let me ask you every, check in every step of the way. It's just so totally different in form that I think – while I could maybe intellectually appreciate this fact when I just, you know, we were first learning together like, I think experiencing it is very different.

Wicked Wren [00:08:29] Yeah. You said something really interesting that when you start to get tired, you see pictures and you kind of inject what you think the person's going through and then you essentially try to make yourself go through those things. And then also you realize that those things probably weren't even happening, that you were prescribing to the pictures. That was something I really had to get over, at least.

Juliette [00:08:54] Yeah. I mean, I think now that we've done – I mean, we would do it with ropes a lot longer. We do a lot more things. We occasionally do ropes for photos. I totally recognize that photos aren't reality somehow. Like even rope photos which come across as very authentic somehow because like, there's so much emotion, so it's supposed to be such a personal moment. But, you know, like, it's not always what you see in photos. It's not always reality. And also, I think there was something – we were doing a tie recently and like... You were like, You're chewing too much. Like you're trying to scene out at your skill level, which is like not where you should like, you know. Don't do that. Just like, wrap. Just do wraps and do them like hard and with meaning and feeling and in time to like emotions. Like, don't worry like fiddling with things. I think, you know, that's what we were trying early to some extent early on. I think that's often a pitfall that I've certainly fallen into.

Kit [00:09:55] If I were currently taking another couple on the rope journey that we started out on, however many years ago, I would start them off in a pretty different place of more in that sort of, Here, try to do some simple kind of scenes just with... But try to build in that emotion so you both have something to be interested in and something that you can go for in more difficult patterns and ties.

Wicked Wren [00:10:33] Yeah. How long did it take you to get over that initial hump of getting into tying? Because you said the learning curve is super steep.

Kit [00:10:42] Oh, about seven or eight years.

Wicked Wren [00:10:44] Okay. Wow. Long time.

Kit [00:10:48] No, I'm making a joke. I'm sorry.

Wicked Wren [00:10:50]  It was really good. So is that a negative, too?

Kit [00:10:53] It's not.

Wicked Wren [00:10:55] So maybe you're still working at it.

Kit [00:10:58] Something that really helped me was actually when I started to tie with some other people and then tying some other people and tying a lot more gave me a different perspective so that when I now return to tie with Juliette, I have this sort of knowledge of like what other shapes and worlds are possible. And that's really helped me. And so I would say... Oh, gosh, it feels like really, though... Maybe like, four years that I was tying before I really felt like I understood. So maybe I've been tying, like, well, for maybe a year? Yeah. No, no, no, no, maybe not.

Wicked Wren [00:11:49] I think in, like, ten years, I have probably said the same thing. I've been tying well, for about a year.

Kit [00:11:54] I'm certain I will say exactly the same thing. Yes.

Juliette [00:11:58] I mean, I will say on my end though, like I do look back on many of those early ties, I can remember like plenty of times being frustrated or like us having like conflict is too strong, but, you know, us ending scenes, not like how we would like them to but they're also like a lot of really great memories and times that I at least remember from some of those early ties. And I think –

Kit [00:12:21] Which I'm really gratified to hear. That's very generous of you.

Wicked Wren [00:12:28] Earlier, you brought up the camera, and I'm curious what the camera plays in the scene. Like, what is social media mean? Those kinds of things.

Juliette [00:12:38] Oh, I hate social media. Like I, I guess, okay, I have a – I feel like the cliché answer that everyone gives probably is that I have a love-hate relationship with social media and that, like I enjoy at times its ability to connect me with friends and people that I'm slightly more distant from. But I think my experience with rope is that I'll often go through kind of negative, have a lot of negative feelings about social media and that especially things like Instagram, I feel like are often – feel very much like a clout game. Like, you know, posting. You have to – if you didn't post things from your ties recently, did it really happen? Like, like if you're not chasing the follower counts, like, you know, are you like a real person in this rope scene who is about you. And I think obviously, I think most people and myself certainly would say that like your Instagram presence doesn't define you as a rope person and doesn't define your value in the rope community. But I do think like, it opens doors or closed doors to some extent. Like when it comes to deciding who is going to teach you or if you want to go with like teacher cons or you want to go travel places. People are going to look and say like, Oh wow, you have X number of followers. You must know something. Or like, you know, or, or vice versa. And I also think this also ties to like identity of like what is Instagram's algorithm going to push to the top? Are they going to push like people of color, larger bodies, trans people, queer people to the top of their algorithm? Or is it going to be like, you know, kind of more of the cultural hegemony.

Kit [00:14:19] For me, Juliette has had Instagram a lot longer than I have. I've only had an Instagram since October (2022). So maybe – how long is that? Eight months or ten months or so. And so a lot of my time tying was just Instagramless. So it was sort of, it was sort of beautiful to not have that pressure. But I do – it's a lot of the community is there, and so it's a big part of connecting with the community, especially people like locals.

Wicked Wren [00:15:06] What was the push to get Instagram?

Kit [00:15:10] Well that connection definitely. So I think kind of after Folsom, after some other trips we did over the summer last year, and I was kind of missing people from other areas that I've met. And, but hearing about their exploits from Juliette and other partners on like through Instagram. And so I kind of felt like I was missing part of the community.

Wicked Wren [00:15:43] How do you feel now that you post Instagram? You can never go back.

Kit [00:15:48] I feel more comfortable there than I was expecting to. And I hadn't had social media really for... Okay, I had Facebook and I deleted it when I was 16. And I never went back. And now I'm almost 30 for context. And so I was – it gave me a lot of anxiety or it used to. And so I was worried that Instagram would give me that same anxiety back. And I think it does for many, many people. But luckily, I've been able to keep a lid on that.

Wicked Wren [00:16:25] Wow. I'm a little bit envious. I mean, it's very cool. Because I can't remember a time where I haven't had social media. Just been in the machine, scrolling in the machine. It's awful.

Kit [00:16:40] Can I recommend taking a 14 year break?

Wicked Wren [00:16:44] I'm going to get on that.

Kit [00:16:45] Okay. All right.

Wicked Wren [00:16:49] So throughout this whole time, you've both been talking about struggles and things like that. And I really want to tell everyone listening that you two are highly, highly educated. And I think that that's just something to point out is still having struggles with patterns and learning curves associated ropes really, really hard. It takes a lot of time. I feel like people don't realize the time resource that you have to have to learn rope to be able to do it proficiently and things like that.

Kit [00:17:23] My gosh. Yes.

Juliette [00:17:25] I think it takes a – I think it takes so, so long. I mean, I think as you were saying, we both have a lot of advanced education and our jobs are in some sense helping other people learn kind of. You know, STEM based fields and it's fascinating to think when like, we think about how long we give people to learn other things in the world. How like in comparison, how quickly we expect to pick up rope. And it just would never happen that way.

Wicked Wren [00:18:03] I was about to say, what a fascinating thought. I've never thought about it like that. People go to college for four years to learn something and become proficient at it or even start a job to become proficient at it.

Juliette [00:18:14] Yeah. I mean like, it's, it's like if you think about rope as maybe a language, which is a metaphor I'm sure many have used before, right? Like, just how long do you expect to take to become fluent in a language where like... And if you expect to do like a pick up play with rope, how long do you expect to be able to like, just be able to walk up to a random person in a foreign language and have a conversation which is almost what you're trying to accomplish I would be saying.

Kit [00:18:38] And well, like not everyone, but some of us are trying to accomplish is to have a conversation about like that person's childhood and their family trauma and their emotional state. It's a complicated conversation.

Juliette [00:18:54] You're trying to have a complicated conversation with a lot of emotions.

Wicked Wren [00:18:58] Yeah. And there's regional dialects and regional slang, and there's all these different things like that we're not even thinking about. It's wild.

Kit [00:19:08] Yeah. I think also – so as the maths teacher that I currently am, I, you know, I ask my students to do homework every day. They have to do their homework every day. And I think that's often not an expectation that a lot of us have when we do rope, is that we're going to practice every day. And so I think my rope got a lot better when I was starting to tie like three or four times a week, which is really, feels like a lot.

Wicked Wren [00:19:48] It is. It is a lot. Huge time commitment.

Kit [00:19:53] But as someone who has had to learn a lot of things and kind of think about how to learn things that super often... Practice has been really, it seems really key. Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:20:10] Yeah, I would agree. Outside of rope, you two do a bunch of outdoorsy things. And you're telling me about risk profiles and how it's related to things like skiing or doing outdoor stuff. Can you talk to me a little bit about that?

Juliette [00:20:28] Yeah, I mean, I guess so on one, the one hand I think it has kind of – so things like climbing or backcountry skiing, have really like simultaneously opened my risk profile a lot in the sense that like... It feels a little like hypocritical for me to be super worried about some things in rope when I'm like, Well, yesterday I was 20 feet off the ground without a rope and like, you know, that was just an acceptable part of the climbing risk. But now I'm very worried about something else. And of course these risks are different, but like, I think in that way it kind of puts certain risks in rope into perspective, in a particular perspective for me that I think might mean some of think you my risk profile is a little bit too liberal. And on the other hand, I think it also has given me very dedicated perspectives on how to kind of approach risk systematically. Like you should think through risk and how you approach risk as it kind of both individually and together in a way that allows you to think through things carefully.

Kit [00:21:37] I think something I've learned from backcountry skiing is we go through this whole process to manage avalanche risk and backcountry skiing of plan, carry out the plan and debrief. And I think a lot of us do this in rope as well as negotiate, tie, debrief. And I think that process is both really valuable for thinking about what risks are we planning to take on during this tie? And then in our debrief, what risks did we take on during this tie? And just in general, learning about each other and rope, having that debrief time like how did this go? Did we carry out our plan? What what would we want to repeat or what we would prefer to skip next time?

Juliette [00:22:33] And I think in a similar vein, a big part of like, the thing when you're trying not to die in an avalanche, they tell you, is to like, build your plan based on the level of uncertainty you have, right? So like, if you're really uncertain whether there was going to be an avalanche, maybe don't stand under where there might be one. And I think that approach, that thought has often influenced how I do rope. So, for example, with Kit who I'm, you know, married to and play with frequently like I'm very happy to go very risky places because I trust that we have the ability to repair things if things go wrong or if something really bad happens physically, emotionally, like socially. We'll have a foundation to fix those, whereas if I'm tying with someone for the first time, I might not be like, Hey, let's really try to play with this trauma or like, Hey, let's try to really suspend me off something high in a dangerous way that if I fall, I'm going to break a bone and you're going to have to, like, figure out how to get me to the hospital.

Wicked Wren [00:23:32] That makes a lot of sense. I've never thought about it like that. Negotiating based on how much uncertainty there is, I suppose. Really cool way of doing it. My experience has been the majority of risk isn't physical, it's mainly emotional, and it's usually from being very prescriptive, saying, This is what I want to feel in a scene, This is what I want to do with you versus having a fun time and treating it as a fun activity that two humans can do together.

Kit [00:24:11] Yeah, I, I definitely understand that. I think – I'm not certain whether I know if emotional risk is more likely than physical risk for me personally with the people that I tie. But I definitely think emotional risk is more of a serious... It feels more threatening. It feels more like it has the potential for really severe permanent damage. And so I think something I often offer is Here are some multiple choice emotions that we can work with in our tie today. Here is – and I always like to talk with people about where we are at that very day. Like, how has your week been? What are you feeling in this moment? What's going on for you in other parts of your life to the extent that you're comfortable sharing that? And then kind of create the emotional landscape of our time based on that.

Wicked Wren [00:25:20] You said multiple choice emotions. Very intriguing. Can you walk me through a little example of what that would be?

Kit [00:25:28] Yeah. So I think especially with a newer person, I often kind of offer Here some directions that I feel more confident tying you in today. Like, we could try to do something that was a little bit more like sweet and close and quiet, internal, and that dictates, you know, what I do after that. Or maybe this is someone that I have a more intimate relationship with already. And then I say, Oh, I'm going to do something more sexy or maybe we're just going for something more fun and acrobatic or something violent and aggressive. All of those are sort of like – that's what I mean when I say multiple choice.

Wicked Wren [00:26:20] Very cool. Very cool.

Juliette [00:26:24] Yeah, I think I have come to really think that there's a lot – the emotional risk in rope is really vast and that it's something that should probably be talked about a lot more and that it extends... It did in so many different ways. So I think like there were the obvious emotional risks of like, Oh, if you're doing a scene where you play with trauma, you might do something that hurts someone or like brings up some bad feelings. And I think maybe we also have some sense that like, if we're doing things in rope that might even unintentionally bring up negative feelings like, Oh, you tied me in a certain way. And that triggered how I'm feeling about my body or, Oh, you touched me in a place and I got weird feelings about it and I didn't expect those to come up. It brought up past kind of negative experiences. But I think like whenever you're bottoming, you're often in this really weird headspace where you're really vulnerable to kind of taking what the person you're tying with really, really seriously invaluable. And so like, if they make you feel valued or they give you this value, they give you, You're beautiful or ugly. Those like judg– not judgments, but those perceptions might stick with you a lot longer than you think. It's not like you're going to walk away from that scene necessarily and have those emotions immediately disappear. And I think beyond that, like the rope community as a whole, is dealing with a lot of emotions from the start to the end, whether it's like, it's really emotionally vulnerable to put yourself out there, to ask someone to tie. And if you're a bottom, you might have to put yourself out there a lot to be rejected a lot and that might affect how you're feeling when it comes to desirability or self-image. And if you're a top, you have the opposite potential problem. You're saying no to people or maybe you aren't saying no, you're feeling super popular or in like even in other ways, right? Like, I kind of, I've experienced it where like there is a miscommunication over like to what extent someone I was tying with wanted to continue tying and, you know, or what frequency they wanted to tie with, and it kind of... You know, this like poor communication on my side led to me feeling like really kind of bad because like, wow, this person I thought wanted to do something isn't doing it anymore. So I think there's like all of these emotional pitfalls from like literally the moment you walk in the door to you like asking people to tie or not tie to like forming tying relationships to in the tie. That was like an emotional minefield.

Wicked Wren [00:28:57] Yeah, it's hard because it's very, very connected. It's very intimate. And then we leave and go on and do our lives. And we don't really have the tools to close a lot of those gaps that are opened or holes that are opened. It's a very weird thing to navigate, like you said.

Kit [00:29:13] Which is part of why I love my debrief time so much. I feel like it really helps because that.

Wicked Wren [00:29:23] Can you walk me through a debrief time? Like, could you give a structure for somebody that wanted to put that into their own time?

Kit [00:29:31] Yeah. I ask pretty standardized questions during a debrief, and my questions are usually, What feedback do you have for me? What do you want more of or less of if we're going to tie again? And do you have any favorite moments or time? And so it highly depends on what kind of responses I get btween person to person and tie to tie. But also the way someone answers those questions tells me and gives me a lot.

Wicked Wren [00:30:11] How do you two debrief? In the same way?

Kit [00:30:18] Sometimes. And sometimes our debriefs were minimal. We did this rehearsal just yesterday where at the end of our tie we were both crying and pretty emotional. And I don't think we talked about it at all. I think we just went straight to work.

Wicked Wren [00:30:45] It makes sense.

Kit [00:30:48] We also have a lot more contexts and spend a lot more time with each other. So I kind of, kind of know why Juliette was crying and why I was crying.

Wicked Wren [00:30:58] You're doing life together.

Kit [00:30:59] Yeah, we're doing life together.

Juliette [00:31:00] Yes. And like one of our friends, I think, somewhat jokingly said, we have an open tie relationship. We're like, you know, and this happened because we were at a party and we were just hanging out and I was talking to a friend and Kit was talking to a different friend. And all of a sudden, Kit walked over and started tying some chest harness on me and I just continued the conversation and Kit was like skill sharing with this friend and eventually like, "Oh, so what are we, what are we doing today?" Like, you know, it was like... But I think we're able to do that because we live together and we've done a lot. And like we feel generally pretty comfortable bringing up when we do need those extra moments of actual care. And like we've had this journey of finding a lot of pitfalls and falling into them and crawling our way out of uncertainty.

Kit [00:31:49] Just to be clear, I wouldn't recommend that people do that, and I certainly would not start to seem that way. That is not – that was like going to be a labbing tie and I started saying like a hip harness.

Wicked Wren [00:32:01] Yes. And I think that I think everyone understands what you're saying. And the reason why you're pushing on this is because you two are married. You have lives outside of kink. And I think that's very common. And I don't think anybody really talks about the realities of those things because everyone's doing stuff like you just said. And that's honestly a beautiful thing where you can just walk up and start tying a chest harness as a skill share to someone else and that's very, very, very, very cool. And I feel not a lot of people talk about that stuff because it's kind of scary to bring up because it might be taken out of context and this and that.

Kit [00:32:41] Yeah, no, totally. And I do also want to plug for like having debrief time even with a close partner because I think by having some debrief time like what those questions that I just mentioned, I have learned a ton from Juliette also. What would you want more or less of? You know that kind of question tells me what I should and shouldn't be doing for next time.

Wicked Wren [00:33:09] That makes total sense. I have a strange question that I had a long time ago. Don't even ask. What is the difference between backcountry skiing and like normal skiing that I know?

Juliette [00:33:21] Oh, so that's a great question.

Wicked Wren [00:33:24] Thank you so much.

Juliette [00:33:25] So I think when most people think of normal, like downhill skiing, you imagine going to a resort and you put your skis on and you maybe shuffle over to a chairlift and you sit down on this chairlift or step into a gondola, it takes you to the top of the mountain. And then you ski down this like groomed slope that like ski patrollers have been maintaining to make sure it's safe.

Wicked Wren [00:33:48] Yeah. Big bet.

Juliette [00:33:48] And so backcountry skiing is the idea where, like, you put your skis in your car and you drive into the woods to the bottom of the mountain and then you like use your skis to get you to the top. And there's no avalanche mitigation. So like, it's just, you know, a mountain out in the woods somewhere and you ski down and you're – it's up to you to determine like, how do I get to the top? What are the risks? Am I about to ski off a cliff? Am I going to ski into, like a crevasse? Am I going to ski into an avalanche? Someone's backyard?

Wicked Wren [00:34:23] Why would you want to do that when there's a lodge with, like, hot cocoa in it at Mammoth's and Big Bear? You know, these exist people, you can just go there. It's very comfortable. There's a sandwich shop.

Kit [00:34:38] You know, I totally agree. And sometimes I don't want to do rope either. I just want to sit on the couch.

Wicked Wren [00:34:46] The equivalent of the lodge.

Kit [00:34:49] I mean, so we see a lot more places by country skiing. There fewer people. An you know... people. It's kind of like hiking. Like if you ever went hiking. And you kind of just enjoy, like, going on a walk and being out in the wilderness. It's kind of like that. But there's snow and then you can go downhill really fast.

Juliette [00:35:10] I mean, I think it's a really different-- it's very different, but it's also... Like it's the same sort of painful enjoy a different sort of painful enjoyment fun, right? Like I – as much as I love getting to the top view chairlift, like there's something really nice about like spending 3 hours painfully slowly skinning your way to the top of the hill.

Kit [00:35:32] Juliette's a masochist.

Juliette [00:35:33] Getting there, like getting out for this beautiful vista and seeing it and then like, the ski down is pretty great but like, it's the ski up that I think I most enjoy.

Wicked Wren [00:35:42] I agree fully. That's what I want in rope as well as I want to feel like I survived it. I think I don't like hiking, but I do enjoy the beer after I hiked. That's the only part of it I like. Skiing I'm a little rough at. I just hamburger hot dog or is it... No pizza, pizza hot dog down the hill? It's... I'm really bad at it. So Kit, I hear you're also a dancer.

Kit [00:36:09] I grew up doing ballet. I kind of squeaked by without having to do it professionally and went to college mercifully. And I think it's definitely informed my aesthetic choices in rope and both makes bottoming easier and harder.

Wicked Wren [00:36:37] Tell me about that.

Kit [00:36:41] I still have a lot of that flexibility. And that includes sort of shoulder flexibility which is kind of a blessing and a curse. I've dislocated both of my shoulders maybe five times each.

Juliette [00:36:58] Not in ropes.

Kit [00:36:59] Not in rope. True. Luckily. That would be horrible. But I only came to rope after I already had dislocated them many, many times. And also, I think, you know, ballet isn't really that great on your body generally speaking. Or on the mind or soul either. And so I also have some, some plenty of like stiffness and knee issues and hip issues and back issues and just all sort of all mixed things.

Wicked Wren [00:37:34] All I really know about ballet is from movies and media and things. And it looks brutal from what I can infer.

Kit [00:37:42] At some point, I heard that professional ballet is second hardest on your body only to professional football.

Wicked Wren [00:37:50] Wow.

Kit [00:37:52] And I definitely believe that when I, at the time when I quit, I was doing ballet 18 hours a week or so and I was pretty much half dead. And I think something that is talked about but not quite as much as it's not quite as obvious, maybe as the physical difficulty is also the emotional strain. It's not a good environment to be a queer woman. Gender is very... Gender on the femme side is very strictly enforced. And the... Just the body image issues and the pressure is unimaginable.

Wicked Wren [00:38:40] Do people's toenails really fall off?

Kit [00:38:43] Yes. Yes. Yes, very much.

Wicked Wren [00:38:47] That is insane.

Kit [00:38:48] I still have toenails, but they're super messed up.

Wicked Wren [00:38:55] How did you navigate being a queer woman in that space? Can you talk about that a little bit?

Kit [00:39:02] I... I didn't. I didn't. I was... I was closeted.

Wicked Wren [00:39:11] That makes sense.

Kit [00:39:12] In ballet, yeah. And only, like, four years after I quit did I really sort of come into a different understanding of my gender and my identity.

Wicked Wren [00:39:30] Yeah, I hear that. And it just sounds like one of the hardest things that you could have to do, have to like navigate and stuff like that.

Kit [00:39:40] If I had a daughter, I would not recommend ballet.

Wicked Wren [00:39:47] I spoke to Fuoco and saying her name is so hard for me in general.

Kit [00:39:52] Congratulations, you did it.

Wicked Wren [00:39:54] Thank you. She was talking about – she's an aerialist, super in tune with her body. And I asked about her core and she's like, "I still am figuring out about my core and how to use it" because I have the same assumption – everybody does, where if you're an athlete, if you're a ballerina or a dancer or an aerialist, you must be a really, quote unquote good rope bottom because you have all this core strength and things like that.

Kit [00:40:22] Yeah, I think I have a lot, as do a lot of other dancers and aerial people and other kinds of athletes. I have a lot of body awareness that often translates to rope, but certainly not always. So there are definitely times when I'm like in the backbend thinking, Okay, it's core time. And there are also times when my kind of own flexibility is, is a problem in in rope bottoming and that's really a thing.

Juliette [00:41:02] But I mean also and you can say if you disagree with this, I think a lot of kind of... Our notion of beauty or aestheticness inside of rope is shaped a lot by kind of our cultural aesthetic of beauty and grace, which, you know, is, is in fact, you know, viewed, you know, viewed often through dance. I think like a lot of the poses you might see in rope draw very similar things when we consider the aesthetically beautiful to kind of some of the poses you would see in say, in dance as opposed to maybe... I think if you saw someone in rope posed like a football player, that might not be considered as aesthetically.

Kit [00:41:46] I would love to see that.

Juliette [00:41:47] I mean, I agree. But I think like I guess I think there's also this weird gender thing, right? Where like the things, you know, that were often the most prominent image, I would say, of like beauty in rope is kind of a very feminine image that often draws from the classical canon.

Kit [00:42:04] It feeds into a lot of those things that ballet also does. You know, skinny, feminine and flexible.

Wicked Wren [00:42:14] Yeah. It's – we really prioritize white cis women in rope. The smaller you are, the more bendy you are, all those things. And that's difficult getting into rope because it's like I didn't see many of my bodies being tied. So I was like, I don't know if I can do this. Also, all the education is kind of made for that body type.

Juliette [00:42:37] I mean, as, as a queer trans person, like, I certainly – as a trans woman have seen very few, I mean, relatively few people kind of doing rope bottoming at kind of the same – at a like a frequent level. Like I certainly know there are amazing rope bottoms who are trans in rope, but like the representation is much less there. And I think the more in positions of power you look for it, whether it's like in education or performances, there fewer that are there and kind of how those bodies are valued or desired and rope is so vastly different than, you know, other things. I mean, this applies to other bodies too, you know, people of color, larger bodies, etc...

Wicked Wren [00:43:21] How do you feel about pointing your toes in rope? Because I... It looks beautiful. I understand that. And – but it also makes me angry because there's no time where I'm ever going to point my toes when I'm doing something and it hurts. I'm going to do the opposite, probably. So if someone takes out a camera, wants to take a picture now, like point your toes so you look cute. I almost don't want to do it because I'm like, "This is not real and authentic".

Kit [00:43:51] I... So when I'm topping, I would hate to have someone point their toes if that wasn't what felt authentic for them. And I would be horrified if I was holding a camera and told someone to point their toes or if, if I was being told to point my toes. This – you're not my, you're not my ballet teacher.

Wicked Wren [00:44:16] Well, also, as a bottom, I feel like I know that that looks cute because I've seen it. So I want to look cute. So I do those things automatically and I'm like, Why am I doing this, this is so dumb.

Kit [00:44:31] So I actually, I think very, very often do point my toes automatically because of this huge amount of training and upbringing, I actually was – our friend from Seattle was teaching us in rough body play techniques from jiu jitsu, I think. And one of them was you have to step backwards onto the ball of your foot. And I couldn't. I just, my foot went, my foot pointed and I tried it five or six times and I couldn't do it. It was unnerving.

Juliette [00:45:13] I think, like, it's really interesting because like, so we also do a lot of performances. And when I'm performing, I absolutely am thinking, Oh, I need to like try to do this. Like in this rehearsal we did yesterday, we got into this position. I was kind of hanging by a futo and I was like, This freaking sucks. And I like – Sorry, I don't know if I can swear here.

Wicked Wren [00:45:35] You can say all the curse words. Shibari Study loves curse words.

Juliette [00:45:39] Okay, good. Sorry. And so, like, you know, with the free leg, I started kind of thinking like, I need to move this to like make this, you know, just comfortable. And then I was like, Wait, no we're performing or practicing? So like let me, like, arch it backwards and try to point and make this, like, nice clean line with my leg. But like....

Kit [00:45:59] How will you be cute for the 'gram otherwise?

Juliette [00:46:01] But like, I really also love the scenes where it's, you know, maybe just us or something and it's like, I am so completely messed up that like that looking cute is, you know, I'm ugly crying. I am like...

Kit [00:46:13] And that's often my goal for a scene. Like, I started out with, like, working with real emotions, not with... I think having the bottom thinking about what they look like is totally anathema to me as a top.

Wicked Wren [00:46:31] And I think about that too, where when, when I'm performing, I'm like, what am I looking like? But I will also say recently I've been performing with someone and I've gone to places where I forget all those things because I'm in so much pain. And I'm sure you have too.

Juliette [00:46:45] Absolutely. We recently did... Can I say the story?

Kit [00:46:49] I don't know what the story is, so go for it.

Juliette [00:46:52] I recently did kind of a performance. And like we had like planned out  this routine. We had the music set and like, we're having a rough day. And we stepped out there and immediately the energy went from like, Oh, this is a performance that was rehearsed" to like, Oh, this is a freaking scene. We're like...

Kit [00:47:13] We went from like, Oh, this is a fun tie. So speaking of this negotiation and debriefing, we went, Oh, this is a fun tie to talking about like actual relationship stuff during –

Juliette [00:47:27] In front of 100 people like, you know, me sobbing mid-air, ugly crying fully as we like... We are dealing with some – we're dealing with some bad feelings I'd rather--

Kit [00:47:37] I'd rather be there and then, you know, Oh point your toes.

Wicked Wren [00:47:41] Yeah, exactly. I mean, I'm just gonna throw this out there, okay? Shoot me down if I'm wrong, but maybe Kit, you need to do a scene as a bottom. And someone needs to be like, Point your toes. And I feel like that could pull on some fun strings, maybe. I don't know.

Kit [00:47:59] I think the main situation – so I have very sensitive shins, and so then for like futos, I often will not be pointing my toes. So that would be like a definitely sadistic, Point those toes, and it's like... Futo, I'll be like cussing out my top at that point.

Juliette [00:48:20] Or maybe use a good toe rope.

Kit [00:48:23]  I always love a good toe rope.

Wicked Wren [00:48:25] We love it here.

Kit [00:48:26] I have been called toe rope sized queen.

Wicked Wren [00:48:28] Oh, my God. What does that even mean?

Kit [00:48:34] Ballet will mess you up.

Wicked Wren [00:48:35] Oh! A large toe, I understand! I thought you meant like a large rope around the toe or something. I'm up to speed now. Well everyone, on that note on the large toe rope note, I think we're gonna wrap this up. Thank you both for being on the podcast. Wonderfully insightful stuff. Where can people find you? Do you have anything coming up that you want to tell people about?

Juliette [00:48:55] Yeah. So you can find me on Instagram under the handle @slab_me_harder. That's slab like the rock. Not the other words, I guess. You can also find me on FL and Twitter under the same name.

Kit [00:49:13] Yeah, I'm on Instagram as discussed, and FL as @dancehalldike and what are some things coming up? We have a rope share skill share this Thursday. That's maybe a little too soon for your podcast listeners.

Wicked Wren [00:49:34] It's pretty soon. But you know what.

Juliette [00:49:35] But it happens each month so you know...

Wicked Wren [00:49:39] It was really great when it happened. Everyone loved it and everyone learned a lot of skills.

Kit [00:49:44] Thanks. And we have some shows coming up where –

Juliette [00:49:52] Yeah, the biggest being Folsom, Twisted Windows Folsom, this time we'll be performing constantly for 72 hours straight, it seems like.

Wicked Wren [00:50:00] Yeah, that's how it goes. Well, I'll see you both at Folsom and thank you so much for talking to me.

Juliette [00:50:09] Thank you so much for calling us.

Wicked Wren [00:50:10] You're welcome.


In this episode, Émile, also known as Ecchimoz, a rope enthusiast and self-proclaimed "monster," opens up about his journey in the world of shibari. He discusses his personal evolution, the mind games he plays with his partners, and the profound impact of trust and vulnerability in his ties, offering a glimpse into a world where ropes and emotions entwine.


In this episode, Émile, also known as Ecchimoz, a rope enthusiast and self-proclaimed "monster," opens up about his journey in the world of shibari. He discusses his personal evolution, the mind games he plays with his partners, and the profound impact of trust and vulnerability in his ties, offering a glimpse into a world where ropes and emotions entwine.

0:00 / 0:00
Guest Bio

Émile, also known as Ecchimoz, is a 27-year old non-binary rope rope switch based in Montreal. He has a Bachelor's degree in literature and a Master's in organizational communication. He offers private sessions as a rope top for the curious ones of all genders and also teaches free beginner rope lessons for queer people.


Wicked Wren [00:00:24] Hello everyone and welcome to the Shibari Study podcast today. I have on Émile. Émile uses he/him pronouns. He's in Montreal, he's a rope switch and you are a self-proclaimed big nerd.

Émile [00:00:40] Just a tiny bit.

Wicked Wren [00:00:42] Just a tiny bit?

Émile [00:00:42] All of my free time goes into studying. So much that I'm kind of doing this thing we call a Cheminements Honor, which is you are doing a bachelor's at the same time as a master's. Yeah, I'm kind of doing that because I couldn't have enough of studying.

Wicked Wren [00:01:02] So it's like you got the bachelor's degree and then went on to do the master's, but then threw on another bachelor's in there.

Émile [00:01:10] A bit more... Yeah, exactly. I did the first bachelor's in literature. I didn't know what to do, and I was like, I like this. I did it. It didn't lead me nowhere and no money or anything. So I was like, okay. And I turned myself to human communication and organizational communication. And during the program, it wasn't going fast enough and my GPA was high. So I asked if I could do the master's at the same time, and I got accepted.

Wicked Wren [00:01:42] Wow. I didn't even know that was an option.

Émile [00:01:44] Yeah, me neither.

Wicked Wren [00:01:46] So with literature, did you have fun with that degree at least?

Émile [00:01:50] It helped me understand the rules and expectations of university. That's pretty much it.

Wicked Wren [00:01:56] That makes sense.

Émile [00:01:57] And it made me learn about myself a lot.

Wicked Wren [00:02:01] I have a lot of questions about your master's, but when did you get into the rope scene, or how did you get into it?

Émile [00:02:10] It was in 2016. I was in a Japanese class outside of university and I met this girl and she's named Sami and she was the owner of Tension. And she introduced me and a bunch of very complicated stuff happened and I started rope again two years later. I was basically in a monogamous relationship, cheated. It's not a time I'm very proud of. Let's say.

Wicked Wren [00:02:47] Definitely. And you're a rope switch, right?

Émile [00:02:51] Yeah. When I started again, it was more as a bottom because I didn't have money, really, to pursue class and the way I learn is mostly from watching and watching and watching. And from getting tied. I know like, what good tension is and what's not good tension. And yeah, I learned a lot from just being like – it's part of my language. I don't know how to explain it but... It's the way I think. It's the way I move through the world. It's like it's... To me, it's all connected.

Wicked Wren [00:03:28] Being a rope bottom and knowing what tension feels good and things like that makes you a good rope top. I feel like it's really, really necessary.

Émile [00:03:35] It really, like, set the table for when I started learning rope I was like, "Oh okay, it just makes sense now".

Wicked Wren [00:03:41] You have a really unique style. You just posted this picture tying in overalls. I love that picture.

Émile [00:03:49] Thank you. I felt like I needed to be gay.

Wicked Wren [00:03:54] And what better way to do that but overalls?

Émile [00:03:58] Right? It was so warum, but I was like, maaan... let's do it anyways.

Wicked Wren [00:04:03] Yeah. So when you were learning rope, did you do – you said that you learn how to do it from watching other people doing, kind of dissecting it. Did you take classes and things as well, or was it only through watching?

Émile [00:04:16] So I met my girlfriend 2016. We did ropes. I fell in love, but I was monogamous. I quit rope, came back to my monogamous relationship and for two years rope and my girlfriend, it wouldn't -- it would just not leave my mind. So two years after I was like, okay, I'm ready. I'm ready to be trans. I'm ready to like be non-monogamous in a healthy way and a consensual way. And I'm ready to start rope again. So it's 2018 and she's the owner of Tension, and it's complicated because I was so young and she was an owner, you know, she was in a power position and she was like, "I want to tie you, but I, I can't really because of my position" and I was like, "I met you outside of the community. I don't give a damn. I don't give a damn." And she was still careful and everything. And it was also because she had multiple breaches of consent that happened before. So when I came back, she was like, "I know I need to change and I need to do things differently. So we're going to take time." And I didn't have a lot of time to get to be close to her because there was callouts, public callouts. And at that time, I left everything behind me, everything that I've known to be in this community and in this new world. And I couldn't just accept. I was like, "I'm a feminist. If I don't side with the victims, then, you know, I'm not a real feminist." It was like three months after I came back in the rope community. So I was like, "Oh my God, I left everything behind for like, my mentor is kind of like gone. My girlfriend too. My friend too." And I... I stopped gradually doing rope because of the cancellation. Because it was such a weird position to be in to take sides and I wished we handled it in a different way. I really wished. And I was too hurt to be in that community. And during COVID I had a lot of time to be alone and think about the whole thing, and I was wondering "What can we do so that it never happens again?" like, what can I do so that it never happens again? And I decided to join my new bachelor's. That's how I got into the field of organizational communication. Because I needed answers.

Wicked Wren [00:07:41] My next question is, obviously, have you learned anything from that? Do you think that there is a way? I have a ton of thoughts about accountability and the [00:07:52]word community, [0.8s] and I think [00:07:54]the word community [0.2s] kind of gaslights us a little bit. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Émile [00:08:01] I have so much thoughts. Like so much thoughts. I think it's why I'm doing – I think it's why I have such a high GPA. It's because I can relate it to the cancellation and how it's been handled and how I just relate everything to that.

Wicked Wren [00:08:21] Yeah.

Émile [00:08:22] So I'm like kind of grateful that it happened because I would have never reflected on those subjects, like, ever.

Wicked Wren [00:08:30] Yeah, it's a petri dish of just like...

Émile [00:08:34] So I'm like, "Oh, it sucks, but thank you, I guess." And... Where to start. I'm going to talk about the first thing I realized of like, "How can I change this" and the first answer was, and it still is, through me. In terms of like, I cannot change others, but if I change the way I react in this culture, the things I accept and the things that I don't, if I... If I have like a conduct code? Kind of? I can be more accountable to myself and others. And I think that it will help.

Wicked Wren [00:09:25] Yeah.

Émile [00:09:27] So I came back to my girlfriend Sami in 20.... 21? Its been two years. Yeah. And I was like, "I want to heal. Let's heal together." And she was like, "Erm... Okay, fine." And then that's it.

Wicked Wren [00:09:50] What did that look like? What did healing look like?

Émile [00:09:57] Being honest about what I want, what I don't want, and to actually talk about the things that hurt.

Wicked Wren [00:10:05] It's hard because cancellations don't work. People... Once they're canceled, they're not just going to leave. It's hard because there's no structures in place. That's why I hate the [00:10:15]word community, [0.1s] because the community implies that there's a social contract and that there's rules and that there's things that we do and we don't do. And everyone has their own moral compass. And it's impossible to govern that as a whole.

Émile [00:10:30] It is.

Wicked Wren [00:10:30] I really like what you said about it starts with you. So going back to the beginning, it sounds like you got out of a monogamous relationship, transitioned, and got into the kink world at the same time. That's a lot to do at the same time. And I think a lot of trans people do that.

Émile [00:10:47] Hmm hm. Well, it's kind of like all connected.

Wicked Wren [00:10:52] Yeah. Agreed.

Émile [00:10:53] It was like, all or nothing. If I'm changing, I'm changing everything.

Wicked Wren [00:10:57] Yeah, well, it is funny because it's nonconventional relationship formats. You're going against the gender binary and all of those people kind of gravitate towards kink in a way.

Émile [00:11:11] Maybe it's a hot take, but it's like once you get it -- it's like bingo, you get it once and... I don't know, you have a full card! I don't know!

Wicked Wren [00:11:22] There's a bunch of free squares on the card.

Émile [00:11:24] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:11:24] There's a bunch of jokes here, to be made. But there's a bunch of free squares, they just kind of come along with it. What are some other things from your studies that have impacted your view of the kink world or the rope world?

Émile [00:11:39] It's really made me think about power dynamics, um, from like individually top, bottom but also like how the community... Sami at the beginning was very rigid about the way she taught me things. Um, I remember at some point she was teaching me how to do an Agura, and I said, could you add a [00:12:03]crutchy [0.0s] in the agura? And she was like, No. And I said, Why? Yeah, why, why? What is this? Is this just power? Just because you can? And I was very like, I don't know how to say that, but not bratty. It's not bratty. It's just...

Wicked Wren [00:12:21] Yeah, it's just trying to push against the power structures in place to, like, see what the walls are. That make sense.

Émile [00:12:31] Just like --

Wicked Wren [00:12:31] What happened?

Émile [00:12:35] She started doing an agura with the [00:12:37]crutchy [0.0s] and the whole time she was like proving me that it wouldn't work.

Wicked Wren [00:12:43] Yeah.

Émile [00:12:46] So we were kind of like fighting for power in that moment, but it did work. And it changed at that moment. It changed completely our relationship.

Wicked Wren [00:12:57] Yeah.

Émile [00:12:58] Now, for real, it's so more equal just from that being like, "No. I can add my part too", and it's like "You're going to let me see for myself what is working and not." And it also showed her that she is wrong sometimes and that maybe it's fun to do a [00:13:21]crutchy [0.0s] in an agura, and maybe there's so much more that you never explored.

Wicked Wren [00:13:24] Yeah. How is it being in a relationship with someone that you're also in a rope dynamic with?

Émile [00:13:30] We don't tie much, for real. We live together, so we don't really tie anymore. We could. I mean, we have the place here, but. I don't know. I feel like this... It's supposed... When I started rope, it was like the forbidden thing to do. That's why I liked it. It was that "I'm not supposed to do this." But now that I can, and with someone I love, it was like getting out of the routine.

Wicked Wren [00:14:06] What are you like in rope as a top?

Émile [00:14:09] I'm still discovering myself a lot, but recently I tied someone and... I describe myself as... I objectify people a lot. I don't know why I do that. It's just. I don't know. They look good in my ropes. It's just... I can't stop looking at them. So much that they become objects kind of.

Wicked Wren [00:14:40] I love that.

Émile [00:14:41] Objects of my desire, you know?

Wicked Wren [00:14:42] Yeah.

Émile [00:14:43] And. So objectifying and intrusive. I'm a very intrusive person. I like to get into people's bubble. Like yes, you are an object, but you're mine. So being intrusive is like kind of like playing with my doll.

Wicked Wren [00:15:11] What are some ways that that happens?

Émile [00:15:14] I have this way of... I have the person that I'm tying here. I'm a very visual person. Sorry for people who are listening. I have someone in the middle --.

Wicked Wren [00:15:25] He's making a circle with his hands.

Émile [00:15:27] Okay, so – That's the person. The rope is here. And then I'm trying to like, I could grab the rope, pass, like – I could go grab the rope, walk, walk there, like crouch there. But I can also just go through with the person and, like, just put a hand on their crotch while I'm grabbing the rope and "Oops, it's just... You just happened to be there. Like, sorry, I need to do this thing and you're here and I'm going to make you feel like you are here."

Wicked Wren [00:16:01] Have you always been like that as a top, or was that a progression?

Émile [00:16:07] I used to avoid being a top because I was scared that I'm like five foot tall. So I was very scared of not being... impress – top-py enough. Like not being able to make people feel some type of way. It was just stupid. When I think about it, I'm like, "Oh, I don't need to be tall or strong or... Like I can play mind games."

Wicked Wren [00:16:39] Yeah.

Émile [00:16:41] And that's –

Wicked Wren [00:16:42] Way worse.

Émile [00:16:42] That's more power. For real. Yeah, like I can use my brain.

Wicked Wren [00:16:47] Was there a progression? I'm sure many people feel this, is why I'm asking. Was there a progression? Was there something specific that you thought about and started doing? Was there something that got you out of your comfort zone and pushed you there?

Émile [00:17:04] Me.

Wicked Wren [00:17:04] I love it. Love it.

Émile [00:17:06] I was like, I am like this. I don't like this. I need to change. So I'm going to do the thing that makes me feel super uncomfortable. I'm going to keep doing it until it feels right. That's amazing.

Wicked Wren [00:17:17] That's amazing.

Émile [00:17:19] Like there is no other way than to just do it.

Wicked Wren [00:17:23] Do you have – go on, sorry. You were saying, you just have to do it. And that's very true. He's got to freaking do it.

Émile [00:17:32] Mm-hmm. And I had good friends to push me to, to not give up. Very good friends.

Wicked Wren [00:17:37] That's huge. This is really really big. You said mind games. And it has piqued my curiosity. I have to ask, do you have any favorite mind games that you like to do in rope?

Émile [00:17:51] I think so. I feel like inside of me there's like, a monster and I want to, like, let it out. And I want people to feel that I'm letting it out and that it feels dangerous. And my mind game is like you trying to figure out if it's safe or not. When I was saying intrusive, it's that I like when there is no barrier and, or frontier between me and the bottom. And there were kind of like just one.

Wicked Wren [00:18:28] Yeah.

Émile [00:18:29] And that scary part is the mind game is... Yes, figuring out if I'm going to lose control or not, but I'm kind of like figuring out at the same time as them. It's their reaction that makes me lash out or not? Or like explore this side, or it's my bottom that gives me the permission to go there.

Wicked Wren [00:18:58] It sounds like you're very intuitive and you're very big on listening to what the bottom's doing.

Émile [00:19:04] Mm-hmm.

Wicked Wren [00:19:05] And reading what the bottom is doing.

Émile [00:19:08] I'm kind of like almost a spirit when I tie and I'm like completely... Even though I'm – I objectify and the bottom is clearly at the center of my attention. It's. And my desire. It's ah... I'm not there. I'm kind of like, I'm not here. I don't... I don't exist in that moment. And it's, it's so weird, I guess just for them.

Wicked Wren [00:19:51] It's amazing. I feel like that's why you're able to have these connections where it sounds like you're putting ego to the side and you're just doing what is there in fun. So I do have a question. And the photos you take are awesome. I love them. It sounds like you were also very intentional and connected in your sessions, so I want to know how the camera comes out in a session and what role the camera has and what role social media has.

Émile [00:20:23] Mm-hmm. I'm not posting often so... And I'm not tying often these days. The camera doesn't play crap. For me, the camera kind of ruins my presence. And I take pictures because I just like it and I love to edit. And I know that people love to be seen. So. I'm still in service to my... Maybe I'm just a service top, but.

Wicked Wren [00:20:54] I don't think you're a service dog. There's a whole bit about a monster inside. I don't think you're a service tog.

Émile [00:21:01] I can't. I can't. See? I'm still learning who I am.

Wicked Wren [00:21:03] Yeah. Earlier, you said something about there's a monster inside and you feel like you need to get that out, and I love that. Have you always felt that way before you found rope and all those things?

Émile [00:21:18] I always felt like there was something wrong with me. I'm laughing but it's not funny. I knew I was different. And maybe it's just. It might be deep, not deep and vulnerable to say this.

Wicked Wren [00:21:38] Mm-hmm.

Émile [00:21:38] Yeah. I feel like there's a monster inside of me. And if I show it to people, they will leave. Like I have this belief. And when I do rope, I'm playing with that. And that's why I don't play often with people. Because it's so... I need trust.

Wicked Wren [00:21:59] I think that the style of rope that you do where it's very objectifying, it's super scary because you're putting people in positions that you want to see, things that you think are hot. And that's terrifying. It's easy when you just search that stuff online and you can look at it in a dark room and then you close it. That's easy. But when you're doing it and then also posting on social media, you're essentially telling the world like, "Hey, I like this thing", and that's super freaking scary.

Émile [00:22:31] There was this one time I tied Sami and I would, like, take my ropes and hit her with it, just like floggers. And she got so, so, so, so scared of me. Like, I was in a space where, I don't know, it was, I can't describe. It's like the world collapsed for a few... I can't remember. A few minutes? Seconds? I don't know. But the way she looked at me. Truly felt like she saw me. I was like, "Oh, my God, I... I'm not... I did not invent this. I'm truly a monster. I see it through her eyes and it feels good. It feels really good."

Wicked Wren [00:23:18] That's terrifying.

Émile [00:23:20] It's very confronting.

Wicked Wren [00:23:22] It's terrifying to hear as a bottom. I mean, you're like, Oh, wow.

Émile [00:23:31] It's like, I wish every tie was like this. It's so not but, this is what I want. I think it's ideal.

Wicked Wren [00:23:41] Yeah, it's hard to make every tie like that. Earlier, I was going to ask you, what are some things that you do to try to set the space up to do those things? But I didn't ask it because it's so difficult to even personify what goes into making that emotional space, physical space, etc., etc., etc..

Émile [00:24:03] I feel it's a lot of "As you go". I start to tie, I have no expectation. I have no positions in mind. I have nothing in mind. Literally nothing. And I start with a single-column somewhere. And I hope that the rope will lead me. It's true. It's the rope. It's not me.

Wicked Wren [00:24:30] That's amazing.

Émile [00:24:31] And it depends of how, where the bottom is leading me. It never comes from me. It's when I see that they are opening up to me that I can push more and more and more. I never impose it. And that's, that's how it's set. It's not me. It's, it's never me.

Wicked Wren [00:24:58] Have you always been like this from the beginning? When you knew nothing, when you didn't know a TK, couldn't do patterns quote-unquote. Had you always just kind of been like, "I want to have fun, I'm going to put some rope on you, I'm going to tie you up, and it's not going to be quote-unquote, shibari or whatever." Or was there a progression to unlearn things? Like patterns and sequences.

Émile [00:25:27] I feel like the progression was – it did not happen in rope, but outside of rope where I talk about what I'm going through with my friends and that they give me the permission to be.

Wicked Wren [00:25:42] Yeah.

Émile [00:25:43] And that's why I – I'm a very social person, even though I'm introverted. But I learned a lot from my friends and how they are and the conversations we have and what they tell me. And when they gave me permission, when they were like, "It's okay if you feel that." I'm like, Oh okay, I can keep going and the trust we built. That's the progression. It's me accepting that I'm kinky, I'm a monster, and that it's okay.

Wicked Wren [00:26:19] Yes, it is okay.

Émile [00:26:20] That's it.

Wicked Wren [00:26:20] And it's encouraged, and we need it. And we want it.

Émile [00:26:26] Yeah, seeing my bottom being like, "I liked this session. I hope we can keep on doing exactly this and push it."

Wicked Wren [00:26:35] Yeah.

Émile [00:26:36] Mm-hmm.

Wicked Wren [00:26:38] So, what is coming up for you? You have anything fun coming up that you want to tell us about? Or maybe where people can connect with you and follow your work and stuff like that?

Émile [00:26:49] Hmm. I told one of my good friends that I might want to connect again with people on the broader Montreal community. And maybe do a project where I go take photos of people's dynamic and I kind of like – not interview them, but I do something that's called "Emile reçoit". "Emile reçoit" is "Emile hosting". It's a very bad name, but when my friends are playing, I do this thing where I listen to the scene and I observe what people might be going through. And after the scene I reflect like, "Is this how you felt? I saw this and it made me feel this way." And we explore like what really happened during the tie. And I want to do that with people that I wish I had the opportunity to do before the cancellation, you know, before we... We stopped trusting each other?

Wicked Wren [00:27:58] Yeah.

Émile [00:27:59] So I want to connect again. Even if it's uncomfortable. I love being uncomfortable.

Wicked Wren [00:28:05] Being uncomfortable is so important. It's the most important thing. That's like my M.O. is I try to be uncomfortable all the time. I try to do stuff that I'm not good at.

Émile [00:28:16] But it's, it feels good after. Like, I feel, I do uncomfortable stuff when I'm like "It's what I needed to do in order to be me."

Wicked Wren [00:28:28] Yeah and grow. That's how you keep doing stuff and growing. So Émile, I want to thank you so much for being on the podcast. You're amazing. So many great nuggets. Do you want to tell people where they can find you?

Émile [00:28:40] Um, they can find me on Instagram under Ecchimoz, but it's written. Like " ecchi moz " ? It's... They'll find me there.

Wicked Wren [00:28:53] I've always been curious about how that's said. I'll be honest.

Émile [00:28:58] It's from the word Ecchymose, which is bruise in French. And then I just change it to the word ecchi in Japanese, it means pervert. And then Moz to... It's just... It's prettier to, to read.

Wicked Wren [00:29:14] That's amazing. I'm happy that I got that. If anything, we all learned the origin of the name. Well, thank you so much. And I'll talk to you soon.

Émile [00:29:24] Thank you.


In this episode, Mr. Goat and Madalimne discuss their journey into rope bondage and their exploration of pain and sadism within it. Mr. Goat transitioned from impact play to rope bondage and tells how he's learned to trust Madalimne's reactions and sounds as authentic expressions of her experience. They share their love for the hashira and enjoy capturing rope scenes with polaroids.


In this episode, Mr. Goat and Madalimne discuss their journey into rope bondage and their exploration of pain and sadism within it. Mr. Goat transitioned from impact play to rope bondage and tells how he's learned to trust Madalimne's reactions and sounds as authentic expressions of her experience. They share their love for the hashira and enjoy capturing rope scenes with polaroids.

0:00 / 0:00
Guest Bio

Mr. Goat and Maladimne have been together and exploring rope bondage for nearly 6 years. Ambitious, sensual, and sadistic, their shared rope is deeply personal as an intimate and creative practice. Their pursuit of rope education has taken them across the US, and recently to Europe. Together, they run Goat Manor; a rope studio in Portland, Oregon. They host rope jams, traveling teachers, and performances.


Wicked Wren [00:00:12] Hello everyone, and welcome to the Shibari Study podcast. I'm your host Wicked Wren and today I have on Mr. Goat and Madelimne. Goat uses he/him pronouns and Madelimne uses she/her pronouns. They're both based in the Pacific Northwest. They have an ambitious, sensual and sadistic rope practice that they share together. Their pursuit of rope education has taken them across the US and they recently went to Europe.

Mr. Goat [00:00:37] Yay.

Wicked Wren [00:00:38] I'm excited talking to you.

Madalimne [00:00:39] Thank you.

Wicked Wren [00:00:40] Earlier, we were talking and you said that you have a 60s French pop playlist that you do rope to.

Madalimne [00:00:47] Yes, it is one that we definitely have on repeat with some of the greats like Serge Gainsbourg and what's this guy's name?

Mr. Goat [00:00:58] Jacque Dutronc.

Wicked Wren [00:00:59] Oh, my God.

Madalimne [00:01:00] Jacque Dutronc, yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:01:01] I would have never been able to say it. What is 60s Pop? How do you even find 60s French pop? I don't even even know that existed as a thing.

Mr. Goat [00:01:12] I think I was just looking for creepy things to play while we were doing rope one day. And I remembered the Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot, Bonnie and Clyde song, and I played it and it was a big hit. So we just started compiling 60s French pop music to tie to them.

Wicked Wren [00:01:34] I love it.

Mr. Goat [00:01:35] Really became a theme around the, around the studio for a long time. Still is on occasion.

Wicked Wren [00:01:39] Yeah, well, I think that it's better than like 2000s industrial metal, but generally –

Madalimne [00:01:48] Rammstein, what is this Rammstein slander?

Wicked Wren [00:01:51] Not slander, I'm just saying that maybe some variation in dungeons would be nice. I don't need to hear Drowning Pool for the eighth time.

Mr. Goat [00:01:59] So why not just go with the Twin Peaks, the Twin Peaks soundtrack?

Madalimne [00:02:04] Oh my God.

Mr. Goat [00:02:04] It's premade awesome rope music.

Wicked Wren [00:02:07] I mean, I feel like if I did that, I would have a nervous breakdown.

Madalimne [00:02:11] Oh.

Mr. Goat [00:02:13] I see. Raw emotion.

Wicked Wren [00:02:16] So you two have been playing together for about six years, right?

Madalimne [00:02:20] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:02:20] How did you meet?

Mr. Goat [00:02:23] Well, a little known website named Tinder.

Madalimne [00:02:25] Tinder.

Wicked Wren [00:02:26] I've heard about it.

Madalimne [00:02:28] Yes.

Mr. Goat [00:02:29] In the hallows of the evening.

Madalimne [00:02:31] Yes, it was a dark and horny night. And I don't know. You sent me a message about my rug tattoo and said it really pulled the arm together and –

Wicked Wren [00:02:46] That is brilliant.

Madalimne [00:02:47] And it worked.

Wicked Wren [00:02:49] Everyone take note. That's so good.

Mr. Goat [00:02:52] No, it is actually, yeah. I mean, The Big Lebowski sort of came through for us. And we just actually had a dinner at a Big Lebowski themed restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland, which was –

Madalimne [00:03:04] It was really cute. A little full circle moment.

Wicked Wren [00:03:07] When were you in Iceland?

Madalimne [00:03:10] A couple of weeks ago. On our way back from Europe. We spent a month in France and nearby locales doing rope stuff.

Madalimne [00:03:18] We're going to talk about all this. But I'm just curious what you do on the first date.

Madalimne [00:03:25] So we met at like this kind of like local Cuban restaurant. And I think we got through like, I think he finished an espresso and we forgot to order a lunch and just left.

Madalimne [00:03:42] Espresso.

Mr. Goat [00:03:44] No lunch was had.

Madalimne [00:03:45] No lunch was had.

Wicked Wren [00:03:48] I love it.

Madalimne [00:03:48] And then we spent the next six years getting to know each other really well.

Wicked Wren [00:03:52] Did you ever have lunch together? Did that ever happen again or...

Mr. Goat [00:03:55] No, we still don't. At least we had lunch together today actually.

Madalimne [00:03:59] No, actually, it was, yeah, it was very instantaneous connection. Like, I really like when I, he was really cute about it. He, like, set himself at the very back of the restaurant with, like, his back facing the door. So I couldn't, like, see him, you know, like his face. And so I had to, like, go around him and I sat down and like, he just has these, like, piercing blue eyes. Yeah, it was pretty over immedietaly.

Wicked Wren [00:04:25] You're like, I'm done, I'm done actually.

Madalimne [00:04:27] I was like, This is good. This is fine. Let's go.

Wicked Wren [00:04:32] Did you two both do rope, like, independently, or did you find rope together?

Mr. Goat [00:04:39] I've been doing it for a couple of years beforehand, but the sort of bedroom stuff. I've taken a couple of rope classes with a local guy named Noble, who was a wonderful teacher, but I wasn't really that into it. It took too long to tie and it didn't really make any sense why people would do it to me. So it wasn't a big thing. And then when I met Madalimne, we started playing around with it together. But I think both of us had our horny ideas about what rope was from Tumblr. And yeah, so we started taking classes together and it all started to click for us.

Wicked Wren [00:05:19] We mentioned Tinder, Tumblr, I mean, I feel like there's only a couple more things in there we can mention, you know, like we win like a bingo card or something for like the rope starter pack.

Madalimne [00:05:29] Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:05:31] So you said that it took too long to tie. What did you mean?

Mr. Goat [00:05:36] Yeah, but I mean. So if you come from the world of using, like, leather restraints.

Wicked Wren [00:05:43] Got it.

Mr. Goat [00:05:44] You know, you buckle them on and put something on a bed and you're good to go. Get down to business. Whereas with rope, it sort of... You don't know how to tie knots. You don't know how to properly do things. It takes forever. And the rope is always way too long when you're first starting out. You know, like 30 feet of rope is way too much.

Wicked Wren [00:06:03] That is a funny thing. I haven't thought about that. Most people's rope is way too long in the beginning.

Mr. Goat [00:06:09] Way too long, yeah. I think my first piece of rope was hemp rope from Twisted Monk, and it was like 36 feet long or something ridiculous like that.

Wicked Wren [00:06:18] Yeah, I wonder if that's because people are afraid or running out of rope.

Mr. Goat [00:06:23] Yeah, well, you just, you figure you need a lot. You don't. And then you don't know you're doubling it up. And then when you figure that out, you're like, I need twice as much.

Wicked Wren [00:06:32] Yeah.

Madalimne [00:06:33] I didn't know anything about rope when I met a Goat, actually. Like, it wasn't... Like it wasn't even in my like BDSM view of things. So it was, like, totally brand new.

Wicked Wren [00:06:47] Mh-hm.

Madalimne [00:06:48] So I feel like I was, I mean, I was primarily introduced to like the BDSM scene from him. Like, I was familiar with it, like, conceptually, but not necessarily like the whole underworld of BDSM actually is.

Mr. Goat [00:07:05] You were a private actor.

Madalimne [00:07:06] Yes, I was a private actor, but yeah. So I got introduced to it through him and we started taking classes with no ball here in town and it was just yeah, another one of the like love at first sight, kind of feeling. Like it was brand new and different and like even from the beginning, even though patience was also an issue for me too, it still is like it's a striking like experience to have with someone so.

Wicked Wren [00:07:38] What do you mean with patience was an issue for you in the beginning?

Madalimne [00:07:42] Like almost kind of just like the sitting still waiting for something to happen feeling. I feel like it has taken, I don't know, like the reason why you're sitting there doing a thing. Kind of like, it's something I've had to like, learn over and over again. And at first it was like, I'm doing this because he likes me and I like him and this is really cute and sexy. And then you kind of are like, okay, we're sitting here for 20 minutes tying this thing over and over again. Like, when does the sexy part start?

Wicked Wren [00:08:17] Yeah.

Madalimne [00:08:19] And then over time, I feel like I kind of like, you find the practice together and then that's like the intimacy part. So just at first, like kind of getting into the groove, like, what is robe bondage? Why am I doing this? Like... And yeah, I'm just like, that's kind of how it started.

Wicked Wren [00:08:41] Do you feel like you found the why at this point?

Madalimne [00:08:43] Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, totally. And like, found it multiple like times over. And it's always been like, something like, that's kind of like a my big question. Even when, like, I'm tied up sometimes, like, suspended, like, in pain, I'm doing the suffering. I'm like why am I doing this?

Wicked Wren [00:09:02] Yes, I feel like, I feel that every time I'm about to tie, I'm like, why am I doing this? This is this going to hurt? Can you tell me? Go on. Sorry.

Madalimne [00:09:13] Oh, no. What were going to say?

Wicked Wren [00:09:15] Can you tell me about the couple of why's that you had? Like, how has it changed over time?

Madalimne [00:09:20] I think that, like. It's a really good question. So it definitely started as like flirtatious curiosity, right. Because like, here's like this new domly man who wants to tie me up. And then like, but then we like, are learning it together, right. So it's like not just the experience of doing it that's like bonding or whatever, but also learning it together started becoming like a factor in it.

Mr. Goat [00:09:54] Yeah.

Madalimne [00:09:54] And like finding. Oh my gosh, how do I even say this? Like confronting that why in suspension, like every single time and over and over, just getting to like deeper levels of truth. Like who I am when I'm in pain? How am I going to behave under these conditions? Like, am I going to, like, reach out with love or shut into myself? And like, it just becomes this whole world of, like, self-exploration. So yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:10:26] If you feel comfortable answering when you're in pain, do you go inside or do you reach out with like love or anger or like?

Madalimne [00:10:36] It definitely changes. Like, I think that one of the things I have learned about rope is that it's never what I think it's going to be or like what I think a rope scene should feel like is not ever in the reality of what I'm confronted with. And so like each time, it's just like an opportunity to observe whatever my reactions are kind of in the moment. So like, sometimes if I'm like, really troubled or have a lot on my mind, I can like get a little internal. But generally I feel like I'm very expressive, which is honestly, it's on a whole other tangent. Like being a very expressive rope bottom in pain is kind of like a, I don't know, I feel like there's stuff around that, but.

Wicked Wren [00:11:27] Yeah. Agreed. I like what you said about observing the feelings and saying like, Wow, that exists there. Instead of prescribing it a bunch of things.

Madalimne [00:11:38] Mm-hmm. Yeah. It's like, I don't know, I feel like things get so much harder in an active, like, suspension if I'm trying to edit or curtail or modify my reactions to fit an idea rather than just like seeing the feelings happening. And one of the cool things about rope, I think, is that you can kind of play with reactivity is like, Am I going to allow myself, allow myself to start being reactive or am I going to try to like, I don't know, mental my way out, like through this? So.

Wicked Wren [00:12:17] Yeah, I find that I do that as well when I'm in rope. And I find that if I can keep the reactions inside, I can last longer in a scene because once they start coming out, then my meter starts to kind of chip down I feel like.

Madalimne [00:12:32] Because like once the reactivity starts going, it's like the, like the animal brain is like, okay, like, here we go expressing. And then your energy gets used really fast.

Wicked Wren [00:12:42] Do you have a mantra that you tell yourself when something is really bad? Like, how do you get through it?

Madalimne [00:12:48] I guess it depends on the kind of pain. It really depends.

Wicked Wren [00:12:54] How do you define pain?

Madalimne [00:12:56] Oh, my gosh. You know, just little, the little things. Just little questions and... Oh, my God. There's like, so many different kinds of pain and rope and it takes a really long time, I think, to kind of categorize those things.

Wicked Wren [00:13:16] Yeah.

Madalimne [00:13:18] There's like bone pain, which to me is like an absolute no go. Like if I'm feeling like, well, I'm getting a little better at it. But usually if I feel something that feels really bony, that's like an agony. Like can't handle. Yeah, but like a meaty sort of pain, I think that's something that's like easier to kind of process.

Mr. Goat [00:13:43] Pinchy.

Madalimne [00:13:43] Oh, pinchy pain. That stuff is really annoying.

Wicked Wren [00:13:46] I hate pinchy.

Madalimne [00:13:47] I know that's just... But also I get a little bit of pride when like, I can see that he's doing something, obviously, pinchy and I'm kind of holding my arms like this because the Tenshis are the ones that are the most pinchiest. But when I can kind of be like (visual motion of avoiding it)

Wicked Wren [00:14:03] Yes.

Madalimne [00:14:03] I'm not going to let it win.

Wicked Wren [00:14:06] Yes.

Madalimne [00:14:08] But as far as big mantras go. Oh. No. I guess it just happens in the moment. You know, sometimes, like I talk to me or like to tell me what he's doing or, like thinking about because it kind of helps reground and like, give purpose to it.

Wicked Wren [00:14:28] Amazing.

Mr. Goat [00:14:31] Dad  jokes don't help.

Wicked Wren [00:14:31] No, dad jokes don't really help.

Wicked Wren [00:14:33] I find that that would make me upset. I got to be honest. Like.

Madalimne [00:14:38] Like this is no laughing matter.

Mr. Goat [00:14:40] I hope they are appropriate at any moment.

Wicked Wren [00:14:42] Yeah. Then Madalimne is like upside down in a futo. She's like, Maybe not the funniest, you know? So Mr. Goat, you're pretty sadistic or like, how does that work?

Mr. Goat [00:14:53] I think we started off with Noble, who I believe teaches like something inspired by Yukimura caressing style. It's very about each moment and putting her up on the body and expressing control. And so that's where we started off and then shortly after getting through his curriculum, we ended up tying in an intensive with a person named Sven, who – you were there, as a matter of fact. And their style is amazing. They studied a lot under Tifereth who teaches, whose rope style is amazing and performative and very dramatic and dynamic. And that kind of really appeals to us. It's been part of our journey ever since running in this thing. And then Fuoco after that. And then somewhere along the way, we started picking up some more sadistic style, like some semenawa-based stuff with, you know, based on what Naka Akira does. And so our rope journey has been pursuing both sides of that thing and then trying to pull them together in as much as we can to find new expression and stuff there.

Madalimne [00:16:22] Mm-hmm.

Wicked Wren [00:16:23] Have you two always like to confront pain or has rope been maybe, like, shown you that you could confront pain or have that always existed in both of your lives or something like that? Does that make sense?

Madalimne [00:16:39] Yeah. Yeah, I guess.

Mr. Goat [00:16:43] One of the coolest, one of the coolest things that I learned and it was actually from Sven that first weekend was how to tie the Guatemalan shin torture. And that really got to me for the reason I love rope, which is, it's really mean. It can be very sadistic.

Wicked Wren [00:17:05] Yeah.

Mr. Goat [00:17:06] I'm, I'm a sadist in my other BDSM play and so that sort of ability to bring pain into a rope scene and to maintain it and to sort of gently blow on it like a little fire or something like that. The work in rope has been something that we've been looking to explore more deeply with our rope all along and also then remove out of our rope those incidental pains that you don't really intend.

Wicked Wren [00:17:37] That's a good point.

Mr. Goat [00:17:38] That's been the quest to get to get rid of the bad pain and bring in the good pain.

Madalimne [00:17:43] Yeah, because, you know, I would say that, like pain is probably one of the primary pursuits for, like in rope is like the exploration of pain. And that's like the thing that I, like really drew me or I guess almost kind of drew my attention away from like stuff like impact and more towards rope. Because the exploration of pain just seems like there's more to it. Like there's more to do and it's not as abrupt. So you really have the time to like feel, like actually feel the whole thing.

Mr. Goat [00:18:21] Settle into it.

Madalimne [00:18:21]  Settle into it and like, fight it out. Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:18:24] Can you talk about how you structure play, how you structure a scene? Because if you go from 0 to 100 really quick, it's not good. So like, do you think about that thing or is this something that just happens?

Madalimne [00:18:37] Oh, I feel like the way that we come at our rope scenes is like a really big part of it, actually. Because there's like, like we were talking a little bit about the education and practice part of rope, and that's a whole wing of it. And then the other one is play. And so just trying to figure out how to come into it like –.

Mr. Goat [00:19:06] What we're going to do with a particular scene, is it going to be a labbing scene? Or is it going to be we want to play and connect. And usually, you know, anything that starts off labbing definitely ends up connecting somewhere through it because, you know, labbing –.

Madalimne [00:19:23] We're kissy.

Mr. Goat [00:19:26] It's very kissy but also labbing is still very tough, right. And so that kind of suffering and giving it all for like the practice of a thing is also a big turn on.

Madalimne [00:19:38] Mm hmm.

Wicked Wren [00:19:38] Yeah. Yeah.

Mr. Goat [00:19:40] In terms of how we start our play, that's changed a lot over the past year. A year ago or so, we went and spent an intensive weekend with Boshai.

Madalimne [00:19:53] Boshai!

Mr. Goat [00:19:53] Who is so wonderful. She was in Montana at the time, and she introduced us to a lot of different concepts. She gave us our first formal introduction to hashira. We had been tying hashira before that on our own, trying to figure it out. And then Boshai showed us sort of the traditional approach to it. And we're hashira fanatics.

Madalimne [00:20:15] We're pretty much addicted to hashira though.

Wicked Wren [00:20:18] Yeah. I feel like you're always in one whenever I see Instagram.

Madalimne [00:20:23] You're like, That again?.

Mr. Goat [00:20:24] But she also introduced us to Nicola or Nicolas. I think now Nicolas Yoroï. His enzos which are sort of Ichinawa one rope connection exercises. They involve like stretching and body manipulation and sort of like putting rope on in such a way as to get that first big hit of endorphins. And it's very smoochy. And so most of our placings will start off doing these sort of these things called the enzos or this one rope play just to build connection and touch and it allows me to to feel the rope in my hand and to remember to, you know, lay it down with tension and evenly and all that stuff. And then for Madalimne, it allows me to pull her in and take control and show her that I'm going to be there and I can be trusted and followed. They're really great. It's a really great way to start a scene.

Madalimne [00:21:35] I guess maybe I would say that like when we lab, it is very actively collaborative and then when we play, I feel like the collaboration is still there, but it's more in the power exchange roles. I think that that would be the big difference.

Wicked Wren [00:21:54] It's so funny. I just had a podcast. We talked about collaboration in a power exchange and how people think that the bottom doesn't have any say, but it's not. It's a collaboration.

Madalimne [00:22:03] Yeah, exactly.

Mr. Goat [00:22:04] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:22:04] You know.

Madalimne [00:22:05] Yeah.

Mr. Goat [00:22:06] Acknowledging the roles because there is definitely a person doing and a person sort of receiving. Not that the bottom isn't also doing, but it is receiving the wider general roles. Like it really lends itself to that power dynamic, I think.

Madalimne [00:22:22] Yeah. And I feel like for me, I really learned to love and enjoy a rope more when I just accepted it. And like to me that really goes along with that kind of like receiving or like submissive headspace. Those ideals all kind of come together in like, I'm not trying to be in charge of every little feeling that I'm going to experience. Like, whatever it is that is happening, I'm just going to, like, deal with it and trust it and accept it and like, just move through it because that's what he's doing and I trust him, you know. And like, yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:23:01] Was there some kind of journey where you had to, like, learn to turn that off in your brain? Because I struggle with that because all day I'm doing stuff and then to like get into rope and just give in to it is very difficult for me sometimes.

Madalimne [00:23:15] It is. Yeah. And I yeah, I feel like it is kind of challenging because especially like the first one, I think recently we've kind of discovered that our rope sessions go much better if we do multiple suspensions in it. Instead of doing one because in the first one, I can be like a little rusty, you know, and gotta warm up a little bit. Especially to that kind of feeling of like accepting the sensations that are usually like anywhere from, like, mild discomfort to extreme agony. And accepting that full range of sensation does take a little bit of time to acclimate to. And also to receive like the, like the sounds of discomfort and agony. Like for Goat, I feel like that sometimes that like we both need a warm up and it's like him hearing me in pain and me feeling pain. Like it's not always easy to accept the first go around.

Mr. Goat [00:24:18] It's like encourage. You have to burn the first card off the top and then deal from underneath it.

Wicked Wren [00:24:23] Is that how it works on cards? I've never played cards, I don't know.

Mr. Goat [00:24:27] I think so. Okay, maybe I'm doing it wrong.

Madalimne [00:24:29] I think that's an old man reference.

Wicked Wren [00:24:33] Is this another one of those kind of dad style jokes that I heard about earlier. Well, I was gonna ask Goat, is it hard to hear someone that you love be in so much pain in the beginning when you're kind of getting your brain into that, like, sadistic place, if that makes sense.

Mr. Goat [00:24:51] Yeah, it really is. I came to rope from impact and impact is sort of a very intense, sort of immediate thing. And you do a thing and then it has a reaction and you're expecting the reaction from that thing. You can anticipate it. But then when you move to rope, what you get is different each time depending on what mood Madalimne is in or like what our days look like or where we are in our headspace. And so it's, it's a little more unpredictable what's going to come out the other side. And it's also, it's, it feels more real in those moments.  and what, it takes and it's, it's something we've been working on for a years, really. It takes a measure of trust to let her sort of make real authentic sounds and have real, authentic reactions, which can include like fighting and sobbing and crying in a very real way and be like, That's her space. She'll let me know if something needs changed or if, if this is not right. But I'm not going to step in there and stop the rope or whatever unless she tells me to. And so I've had to learn how to trust those reactions as what she wants out of this rope scene.

Madalimne [00:26:21] And trust me, we were just talking about this kind of recently, but it's like you trusting your own rope application as much as you are trusting me in it. And like, yeah, being like, if there is something wrong, we will figure it out and like.

Wicked Wren [00:26:38] Yeah.

Madalimne [00:26:39] Not like, not flinch at the first sign of like, yeah, discomfort.

Wicked Wren [00:26:44] Yeah. And you'll say when something's wrong too.

Madalimne [00:26:47] Yeah, exactly. And we use like very plain language when we're in rope. Like there's not really a lot of, like, role play or, I don't know, magic words. It's pretty much just like, okay, this sucks. Like, you want something else or, you know. Please, it's killing me, you know.

Wicked Wren [00:27:08] I can't feel my foot anymore.

Mr. Goat [00:27:13] Yeah. It's a big trust thing to to get there. And every time it occurs, then I have to, I have to work up to it. And so that's usually why we're burning in that top card of whatever we do on the first time we do, we do rope. Sort of like get me to a place where like I'm remembering how to trust and follow Madalimne where she's going.

Wicked Wren [00:27:35] What a – You said so many great things. I'm gonna steal burn the top card in life. That's now a part of my vernacular. I'll credit you two. But I'm saying it for the rest of my life now. Also, it's really cool to hear a top say that you need to get to the place where you can trust Madalimne, to where – not trust Madeleine, but trust, I guess, yourself. Like recalibrate yourself to where this is okay. And where you just need to warm up to go through it. That's really, really cool to hear.

Mr. Goat [00:28:06] Yeah, you know, I talk to people around – like every time you go to an intensive where you're sharing space with other people, like a workshop, you just see like so many different reactions to rope. And it's really easy to put yourself in a place for like, Oh, my rope doesn't look exactly like that rope or like my bottom's reaction doesn't look like other people's reactions and like, get really self-conscious and you really have to, like, be – you have to trust yourself and you have to trust the partnership you have and the communication. And I feel like once we found our way there, we started getting a lot more out of workshops, out of private lessons, and not being so comparative with the people around us.

Wicked Wren [00:28:55] It's hard. That's really hard. You two were just in Europe.

Mr. Goat [00:29:02] Yeah.

Madalimne [00:29:02] Yes,  we were.

Wicked Wren [00:29:04] How was that? Was it your first time in Europe?

Madalimne [00:29:09] It was mine, yeah. And I think it was his second time, but it was a long time ago.

Wicked Wren [00:29:15] That's amazing.

Mr. Goat [00:29:16] It was my first time in 20 years and it was Madalimne's first time. We got a, we saw RopuNawa and Freya Hellesdîm. They had done a hashira intensive at Corneum in Belgium like –

Wicked Wren [00:29:32] On brand.

Mr. Goat [00:29:34] It sold out instantly. We were like, Man, that looks so cool. RopuNawa and Freya are our hashiroes.

Madalimne [00:29:40] Hashira heros.

Wicked Wren [00:29:47] God, I love that phrase. I'm getting so many phrases from this podcast.

Mr. Goat [00:29:52] Awesome. Yeah. So their creativity and everything they do with, with hashira just tying general seemed really awesome to see from afar. RopuNawa shares the sort of interest in Tif's rope. Their, you know, the minimalism of Nikola Yoroï. There's a lot in common and so yeah we just happened to see that we got a message from well, we happened to see that Corrine was going to redo the hashira intensive and in June and I was like, Well, fuck it, I'm going to buy the tickets and we'll try to figure it out.

Wicked Wren [00:30:33] Amazing.

Mr. Goat [00:30:34] So we got tickets to that intensive. It sold out really fast as well. And then I just planned our trip.

Wicked Wren [00:30:42] So cool.

Madalimne [00:30:43] Yeah.

Mr. Goat [00:30:43] And while we were there, a space happened to open up in RopuNawa's our studio in Basel, Switzerland. They were doing a floating hashira intensive. And at the last minute we were already in, in France and a space opened up so we got in touch with RopuNawa and I was like, Can we come? And he let us come. And so yeah, so we were able to do that.

Madalimne [00:31:10] Yeah, it was really cool. We got to like stay in the studio overnight, really close to the stair. It was so cool, like meeting all of the the Swiss people. Everyone was like really, really fun. The workshop was like, it's just such a blast. It was really, really cool.

Mr. Goat [00:31:29] They have a great rope community there.

Wicked Wren [00:31:30] How different is the Swiss community from the American community? Like, are there any notable differences?

Mr. Goat [00:31:38] I don't, I don't think it was as like we did rope jam there on Friday night before the intensive, which was cool because we just got to share space with everybody and tie and rope jam. And I guess the one thing we always see in rope spaces here in the US is once it's time to tie, things tend to get kind of loud. I think Madalimne and I are both kind of like noise sensitive. If, it's one of the bad things about going to the workshops as the instruction finishes, then everybody's talking and like it gets so loud, it escalates so quickly. And Madalimne started wearing her like, her AirPods, like noise canceling, just sort of like. And so I think that was one thing we noticed in during our time in Europe is it didn't tend to get so loud there. They tended to be sort of like staying within your tying experience and not getting overly loud, which was really nice.

Wicked Wren [00:32:35] Yeah. Well.

Madalimne [00:32:37] I am – how I say... I don't really know. I don't know if I spent enough time with everybody until like to see considerable differences, but it was really cool. The fact that they have like a floating hashira workshop at all is really cool. Like there's not really a whole lot of instruction like that mirror to where we are. So that was just, I don't know, it was just such a...

Wicked Wren [00:33:05] Really cool idea. So it was a piece of bamboo hanging and then tying to that bamboo, essentially. Wow.

Mr. Goat [00:33:11] Yeah. Yeah. So the concepts of tying to a hashira sort of magnetizing the bottom to the column. But sort of floating piece, you know, non-secured piece. But yeah, it was really cool. It was our second time and seeing like being taught those concepts and then the third time was at the next week intensive from my brain like saying things three times is really what I need. So yeah, it's really helpful.

Wicked Wren [00:33:43] Have you two been doing the floating hashira or the like stationary hashira more? Like which one's your your favorite?

Madalimne [00:33:50] I think –.

Mr. Goat [00:33:53] There's not enough time in the day. We have –

Madalimne [00:33:56] More, more, more to do. Really though. But I would say, I really... The floating this year is fun and sexy and to me, it's like maybe a little more performance type stuff leaning. Like it's interesting to see it, you know, and it's like dramatic. So I think that that to me is something that it would be fun for like public rope and that kind of thing. Whereas like stationary hashira at least in what we've done so far, has felt a little bit more serious. Like it's not as like fun and smoochy. It's just, it's like very serious, contemplative.

Mr. Goat [00:34:44] But want to end with a floating hashira like as far as a performance, it turns so you can see what's going on around the back.

Wicked Wren [00:34:52] That makes sense.

Mr. Goat [00:34:53] With a hashira, you're just like locked to a column that doesn't move. And it is very serious. And the object has to take away every last bit of motion out of your body, your partner, and make them into a column, which is awesome.

Wicked Wren [00:35:08] It is.

Mr. Goat [00:35:09] But with the floating part, like you can, you can see the different pieces. And I think that's really cool.

Wicked Wren [00:35:14] Yeah. And like regular hashira, it feels so intense emotionally to me being like tied to a pole. It's just like, it's so, so intense.

Mr. Goat [00:35:26] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:35:28] Madalimne, I'd love to talk about art with you because you've been posting a ton of stuff, you've been doing commissions. I can see some of it. Like you're a painter, right?

Madalimne [00:35:39] Yeah. So I primarily work with acrylics right now, and this coming fall, I'm actually going to be starting a four year program in Seattle, which I'm really excited about. Yeah, so hopefully I'm about to get a lot better. But yeah, I've been doing commissions since like December of 2021.

Wicked Wren [00:36:03] When I look at your paintings, unlike – these are great. These are done. Like you figure it out, you've done it. So what are you, like what are, what do you want from a four year art program? Like what? Like how do you grow?

Madalimne [00:36:17] Oh, my gosh. That is – I appreciate that. And you could not be more wrong. My stuff is not that... I feel like I –

Wicked Wren [00:36:29] What areas do you want to grow in?

Madalimne [00:36:32] Oh, all of it. I feel like I have a lot of expression available to me but that my technical skills are majorly lacking. So, like, I mean, even just going down to like how to represent a human figure accurately. I think that like with my art, one of the thing that continuously frustrates me is that I feel like I'm drawing cartoons. Because like my grasp of the thing is not... Like there's not enough knowledge of it. So the program that I'm doing is modeled after like the Renaissance workshop type learning. So it's called the classical atelier. And basically the whole first year is just drawing primarily from live models and doing like three week long portraits, you know, just for a whole year. And then it goes onto a monochromatic painting and then full scale painting.

Wicked Wren [00:37:35] So what things do you like to paint? Like what things do you like to make?

Madalimne [00:37:43] Well, not to be on the nose, but I do really like painting bondage. I, I feel like my art has always been really heavily figurative. And I also like to paint with the naked ladies.

Wicked Wren [00:38:01] You're a pervert.

Madalimne [00:38:04] I know. I really know. It's so true.

Mr. Goat [00:38:06] Very true.

Madalimne [00:38:08] Yeah. So I think I'm really interested in – I just I really love old, like, rope illustrations. And, like, rope art is so beautiful and bizarre and cool, like, so I'm really inspired by that a lot, honestly.

Mr. Goat [00:38:28] One of my favorite paintings she does is this godly woman sitting on top of a volcano.

Madalimne [00:38:35] Oh, the mountain lady?

Mr. Goat [00:38:36] Yeah, I took it to my office. It's on my wall at work. I love it so much.

Wicked Wren [00:38:42] So cute.

Madalimne [00:38:44] So nice.

Wicked Wren [00:38:45] It's really adorable.

Mr. Goat [00:38:48] One of the things that really, I've really come to sort of recognize and see. I read something by Red Sabbath who's a wonderful bottom. She's partners with Ricardo Wildties and she has a blog. I think it's on Kinbaku Today. But she wrote something about the three, the three parts of any, any rope scene, which is the person tying and the person being tied and the observer. And so I think, you know, that observer position is like really what a lot of the old Japanese bondage art is about. The stuff on that Madalimne was just talking about on our PDA. Those images are really like from the observer's point of view. And I think recently for a while, we stopped taking pictures of our rope because we just wanted to be in the rope scene and connected to each other and not care about what other people thought about our rope. And in those moments, we started to sort of maybe drift a little bit apart from like doing rope well and and caring so much about the way the rope was on the body. And for me, it led to making some mistakes because I was sort of more focused on the, on the rope scene that we were doing. And I recently stepped back and started caring and taking pictures again. But inhabiting that observer role has really made our rope move forward and like caring about like the crispness of the lines because that translates directly to the experience that Madalimne is having. And so I think that's a huge part of where our rope is going recently and today. And the coolest part is we shoot most of our pictures now on Polaroids. And so if you want to see a lot of our rope pictures, you have to come to our house and look at our book.

Madalimne [00:40:58] You have to be our friends. We have to hang out.

Mr. Goat [00:41:02] And you have to, you have to look at our book of Polaroid pictures.

Madalimne [00:41:05] Yes.

Wicked Wren [00:41:05] Wow. Are you ever going to put any of those on Instagram or anything?

Mr. Goat [00:41:10] No, no, no. And anybody who comes over for a jam or whatever, we ask if we can take pictures and the bargain is that they'll never leave our house and anybody if people come into the house, they can look at the book, but that's the only place it goes.

Madalimne [00:41:24] But we were inspired by Boshai.

Mr. Goat [00:41:26] Boshai has a similar book. And you're like, That's a really great idea, but there's nothing sexier than the sound of Polaroid Max.

Wicked Wren [00:41:34] Yeah.

Mr. Goat [00:41:35] And it feels so like, I don't know, old man's sort of like creepy. You find a shoebox in somebody's closet filled with polaroids and be like, Oh, my God.

Madalimne [00:41:48] What is wrong with these people.

Mr. Goat [00:41:48] These people are freaks.

Wicked Wren [00:41:49] There is something special about that. That's one of the coolest ways to describe the camera and rope. Because the topic of the camera and social media comes up all the time. I love thinking about it as the observer, because you're right. The observer is such a big part.

Mr. Goat [00:42:07] Yeah.

Madalimne [00:42:07] Yeah. I'm like, being observed, you know? And to what degree? Like, I think the feeling of, like, Goat watching me is viscerally different than Goat watching me through a camera lens, which is completely different than like, you know, my close friends watching me, which is completely different than, like, tying in public or like, doing a performance. Like all those levels of observation are like, really different in the experience, you know.

Mr. Goat [00:42:35] And my, my deepest kink is, is definitely voyeurism and like being the observer, even if I don't have a camera, but like stepping back to just watch and like, look for ways that I can make the scene more pervy to appeal to like my visual sense of what I think is sexy. Like remembering that has really brought our rope forward.

Madalimne [00:42:59] Mm-hmm.

Wicked Wren [00:43:00] You've done a great job via Instagram, you know. So you've done a real good job doing the Lord's work. You do shoot outside, like, and rope bomb things, right?

Mr. Goat [00:43:14] Yeah. We have a hard point in our backyard on her back porch that we that we shoot on, and then we go out and rope bomb as well. We also found some really good locations. There's a lot of good locations here in Portland. We have a place called the UFO. It's at a, it's at a nude beach. But like, you see a lot of people shooting there because it's a very cool – it looks like a UFO, but it's really an old crashed experimental boat.

Wicked Wren [00:43:42] Wow. That's so cool. Well, what do you have coming up? Pretty excited about anything on the horizon.

Mr. Goat [00:43:53] When we, when we were in Europe earlier, we studied with a guy named Eric Shore. Eric Shore is such a awesome person. He teaches under a Kinbaku Luxuria and he's just a awesome guy. So we're going back to we're going to Italy in September and we're going to spend a weekend in private instruction with Andrea Kirigami and his partner Shiawase. We're really looking forward to that time and hopefully at some point we can also find a way to get in touch with Tifereth and get private instructions from Tifereth. It's on our wish list.

Madalimne [00:44:35] Yes, for sure.

Wicked Wren [00:44:36] I feel like that's on those wish lists.

Mr. Goat [00:44:39] Yeah.

Madalimne [00:44:40] And I think that we are trying to get an official Goat Manor website launched in the near future. So that's something to look out for.

Wicked Wren [00:44:54] Well, right now, where can people find you?

Mr. Goat [00:44:57] On Instagram, we have our goat_manor account. Goat underscore Manor. We also have a goat manor on FL and our individual accounts are both linked to the sort of public facing ones.

Wicked Wren [00:45:12] Amazing. And you know everyone DM Goat Manor to see those Polaroids.

Mr. Goat [00:45:19] You got to come, you got to come to the house. We do, we've been doing rope jams on Sundays. We're going to add a Saturday rope jam. And so that would be an opportunity to come and see some Polaroids.

Wicked Wren [00:45:32] Well, I want to thank you both for being on. Running into you two soon.

Madalimne [00:45:36] Yeah. Thank you so much.


In this episode, Ashley Ray delves into the world of rope bondage, emphasizing its connection to human psychology and vulnerability. They demystify the concept of subspace and highlight the importance of accountability within the kink community. They also discuss their upcoming project for Las Vegas Pride, using their body to promote positive messages and inclusivity during the Pride parade.


In this episode, Ashley Ray delves into the world of rope bondage, emphasizing its connection to human psychology and vulnerability. They demystify the concept of subspace and highlight the importance of accountability within the kink community. They also discuss their upcoming project for Las Vegas Pride, using their body to promote positive messages and inclusivity during the Pride parade.

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Guest Bio

Ashley Ray (she/they) is a licensed clinical professional counselor and mental health educator/speaker. As a body positive model and creator of a humanistic paradigm shift, they demonstrate the intrinsic understanding that as humans we exist upon a spectrum of being. Ashley also practices rope as an educator, performer and constant student. She believes that kink provides a direct approach for a confrontation of our humanity, sex and death, an exploration of our primal natures, along with the interplay of these concepts and the environment. Connect with Ashley on IG/FL: @Rayz_of_Ash or


Wicked Wren [00:00:14] Hello everyone, and welcome to the Shibari Study podcast. I'm Wicked Wren and today I'm speaking to Ashley. She uses she/they pronouns and you'll know her as Rayz of Ash online. She's a professional therapist, a body positive model, a writer and artist, wears many, many very cute hats. How for you?

Rayz of Ash [00:00:37] I'm amazing. Thank you. And yourself?

Wicked Wren [00:00:40] I'm doing so, so, so well. You're in Vegas right now, and I think it's like 150 degrees outside, right.

Rayz of Ash [00:00:47] At least.

Wicked Wren [00:00:48] God. You said you moved there during the pandemic time, right?

Rayz of Ash [00:00:52] Yeah. March 1st, 2020. So beautiful timing to start a new path in life, right? Right two weeks before after the shutdown. It is an interesting time to come here and experience Vegas in a very different way.

Wicked Wren [00:01:09] Yeah, I never thought about that juxtaposition because Vegas is so bustling and so crazy and then you move there and there's nothing happening at all.

Rayz of Ash [00:01:18] Yeah, There was times that you could actually just walk down the strip with nobody there, like on the street, right. Because there's no cars.

Wicked Wren [00:01:27] It's kind of wild. Isn't that nice, though? Like no cars in the street and you can actually walk around and not worry about being run over by a big car. And it's kind of nice.

Rayz of Ash [00:01:38] It is nice but, you know, that's part of what I love about Vegas is I love the energy and all the people and the diversity. And there's constantly something here.

Wicked Wren [00:01:47] Absolutely. So before you moved to Vegas, what were you up to? What was going on in life?

Rayz of Ash [00:01:54] A lot of the same things just in a very different part of the country. I've been a therapist for a really long time, and when I was in Oklahoma, where I came from between Oklahoma and Texas, those are my old stomping grounds.

Wicked Wren [00:02:08] I love it.

Rayz of Ash [00:02:12] I've worked with children and families, historically, worked at the university teaching psychology, and I also began modeling while I was there and rope. So I began everything there. Coming to Vegas was a way to move out of being a big fish in a little pond and to feel more challenged.

Wicked Wren [00:02:32] How are like the communities and the LGBT worlds in Oklahoma and Texas versus Vegas, how different is it?

Rayz of Ash [00:02:42] Puh. So this is what's very interesting. In Oklahoma or Tulsa, where I was primarily living before I came here, has three active dungeons and did at the time. And those dungeons actually work. Yeah, I see your face. So those dungeons work really well together. They support each other and I've had some of the best rope and kink education that I've had access to in those areas. Now, LGBTQ very different story, right? Like you're going to find your pockets of support of that. But there's a reason why. So the dungeons are very underground there as well, right? Whereas here you're going to see people walking in the streets in harnesses and, you know, just stop doing whatever. But there's no active dungeons.

Wicked Wren [00:03:34] Do you feel like since in somewhere like Tulsa, where you can't walk around on the street in a harness, it makes more, quote unquote, community?

Rayz of Ash [00:03:44] That's an interesting thing to think of. I think so because you feel this sense of you kind of need to band together and support each other in that way because, you know, there is that fear. I think a lot of us experience in a lot of communities when we feel like we're not part of that community in full acceptance of who we are.

Wicked Wren [00:04:06] Isn't it strange that Vegas doesn't have a lot of like fun dungeon time? Like you can just go and, like, hang out and stuff like that. I feel like everything is very monetized.

Rayz of Ash [00:04:20] It absolutely is. And that's, that is it, right? So, you know, kink doesn't really make money. It's that, it really supports your passion.

Wicked Wren [00:04:28] Yes.

Rayz of Ash [00:04:30] So yeah, everything in Vegas is about the hustle and you don't also don't want to compete with the big hustle right on the strip. So it is weird. There are parties here and there, but yeah, I mean, I miss the, I just said this to somebody this morning, like, I miss the play parties. I miss knowing that like the dungeon party this weekend and I'm going to go see some wild shit and participate in it as well.

Wicked Wren [00:04:56] It's so funny you said that kink doesn't make money and other things support kink. One of the, I guess, myths that I really believed in the beginning was that kink was for very poor people. It was underground, was all these kinds of things. In actuality, kink is very expensive to do, and most people do not do this for a living outside of pro sex workers, outside of pro dom/mes, etc., etc.. And obviously there are people that do rope as their primary occupations. Very, very, very small percentage of people.

Rayz of Ash [00:05:29] Yeah, and I've done it. So I used to handmake rope. So I know what that looks like to have even a product that you're selling and trying to at all places as well as teaching rope so you can, you can see in different communities how much access there is through that. And you're right, it's extremely expensive to be able to carry out, right. Just like anything that you really want to learn to a higher level. You have to invest in one way or another.

Wicked Wren [00:06:03] Even the time cost is quite high.

Rayz of Ash [00:06:06] Absolutely.

Wicked Wren [00:06:07] It's very hard to learn. You said that you're a body positive model. What does that mean to you?

Rayz of Ash [00:06:15] To me, that means when I model, I am just being me. I'm not altered. As for photographers, you can please like make this your, your art. I want you to do the color and editing in those ways that make sense for you and make this feel like you. But please don't change my body in a way that affects what I actually look like. And to me, that's about inspiration. Originally when I began body positive modeling, it was a journey for myself. I have always been fairly confident in who I am, and that last part of acceptance and love for my body was not there. I, most of us grew up in a very fat shaming culture and especially some of the families that I grew up in. It was very much part of that culture that your weight was tied to your worth. And I haven't always been a bigger person. I've been all over the place. So I've had different experiences of, you know, feeling and looking thin and how people responded to me then and what the comments even made about my health. And then on the other end as well, right. Being a fat person and how people make assumptions and comments about my health. It allowed me to start exploring. The appreciation for what my body is doing, is allowing me to live. Like my, my body allows me to live and to do things. And once I started being able to push through that for myself, through just baby steps of exploration, of doing the modeling and reading the body positive community, because we all need support to get anywhere. I saw how inspiring it was to others. Messages from people, all types of humans saying, you know, just seeing your photos, I can see your confidence or your body looks like mine and you look so fucking sexy like, so that makes me feel like I can be too. And that's now why I do, that's part of why I do it. I want to, I want to punch people in their gut and make them really feel and think of as they see my modeling and art. Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:08:31] Was there a time where you didn't have the body positive part before model? Was there a time where you maybe were changing yourself for other people and then you decided, Fuck this, I don't want to do it or no?

Rayz of Ash [00:08:44] So I, modeling about body positivity went hand in hand for me, and that's how I started to even explore it. This was back in the days of the beginning of Instagram, and I started as Nefarious00 because, you know, I'm a therapist and I was a professor at a university and I didn't want anybody to see any of these photos. So, you know, this was my underground me. So that's how I started to look at it was through the modeling and how I was able to explore. I was also living a life where I wasn't very happy in the way that I was living, and the modeling allowed me to kind of have an excuse to go out and do new things, dress up in different ways and, you know, meet different people and have different experiences, because before that, I had really had the impression that a fat person didn't have worth. That's what I've been conditioned, right? Like, I'm fat and frumpy and I should just stay at home and wear baggy clothes and nobody has to be disgusted by me. And, you know, Oh, well, to wear like... You've seen my Instagram today. We're lucky to get clothes on me. We're lucky I'm wearing clothes right now, to be very honest with you.

Wicked Wren [00:10:03] And when did you find kink in this journey? I imagine it was modeling first and then finding kink and rope.

Rayz of Ash [00:10:11] So there were some things that I did that were kinky when I was younger and play, but they weren't anything that I realized. Like, you know, I did water sports on my prom night but didn't really, you know, like I was doing a thing for fun, you know? And then I was married for a really long time in a very sexually repressed marriage. So there wasn't any exploring. Whenever I started teaching at the university, one of my favorite classes was like psych of human sexuality and, you know, sex and death. I stare have my soapbox tissues and I can go on about that forever. But so I love exploring that topic for various reasons. But there's a lot about kink in psychic human sexuality, right? It's very interesting. And I started being more curious then and then through the modeling, kind of like I think a lot of people do, especially these days with, with Instagram and FL. I saw a picture of a rope shoot that a photographer I had worked with previously had done, and I was like, I want to do that. And they were like, Well, you need to contact the rope person and if they want to do that with you. And they did. So, yeah, so that I kind of say, I literally fell for rope one night and here we are today.

Wicked Wren [00:11:36] Now we're talking. Going back a little bit, you said your (inaudible) is sex and death. What does that mean?

Rayz of Ash [00:11:45] And that will also lead me into like my passion for teeth actually. I'm happy to link those together. It makes me very excited to do so. So for as long as I've been in the therapy world and the psychology world working to understand humans, one thing I really noticed is sex and death link us as humans, no matter what type of human you are. Sex and death are showing up in your life, throughout your whole life, and every single relationship you're going to have. And in our culture specifically, we do almost everything we can to avoid anything about those things. We don't look at it. We don't talk to each other about it. We don't understand that it's part of our health. We just don't deal with it. And so I feel very strongly that for us to really be able to be the most of ourselves that we can be, we have to be able to confront sex and death. And that leads me to my passion for kink, because I think kink and then, you know, really rope bondage, where always I'm going to go. But any type of kink offers us a platform and a forum to explore those things. A confrontation of our humanity. You know, we're pushed to the edge of facing death like things and sexy things, and then hopefully having a space of acceptance and beauty while we're doing that, while we're sitting in that suffering, which is what life is a lot of.

Wicked Wren [00:13:08]  Why is important to talk about sex and death. Why is that such a big thing?

Rayz of Ash [00:13:14] Again, because that's who we are, right. Like it is who we are, part of who we're going to be. If we're not able to talk about it, we're not able to be our most authentic nor most healthy selfs.

Wicked Wren [00:13:26] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:13:26] Right, what I find for a lot of people, for most humans that I work with or just encounter, those are the two major things that are affecting them the most, having the most difficulty. So how that acceptance and love in that way.

Wicked Wren [00:13:40] We really suffer in silence of those things. And if we would just talk about it, we can find community and then find out people are doing the same things and then, you know, find out new ways to kind of deal with stuff, I suppose.

Rayz of Ash [00:13:53] Absolutely. You know, and again, we suffer alone in those things, right. And that's where we're harmed sometimes the most. Humans are meant to be together. It's on our hard get needs and they've just passed, you know, basic food, water and shelter, safety. We are meant to feel connection and acceptance. And it's not often that we actually find that in our cultures. And that's why I, again, love to have that in kink, because if I need to drool and, you know, scrape up your face, we're going to accept each other and be really turned on and love it, hopefully as we're doing that. And, you know, I might not be able to do that or I won't be able to do that in almost any other setting in my life.

Wicked Wren [00:14:35] Yeah, it doesn't really work out when you're like playing tennis. Doesn't give you the same. Trust me, I've tried.

Rayz of Ash [00:14:42] Yeah. Oh, I would love to see that, too. Gives you some winning advantage, but in your face.

Wicked Wren [00:14:49] So you're also a writer. You've written a ton of articles. They're all awesome. There's one specifically that I would like to talk about, and it is titled There Is No Rope for Fat Bottoms. And I would love for you to give us a little primer on that, the ethos of it. What is it about?

Rayz of Ash [00:15:09] Yeah. So, you know, I was inspired to write this article because, again, body positivity is where I do a lot of advocacy. And what I notice in body positivity is the attitude is always turned towards, again, fat people. But again, in working with humans, every person I encounter struggles with being in their body in one way or another. And you know, our mind and bodies are not disconnected. So the more that we can find, again, that ability to be one with ourselves in every way, the healthier and happier we usually are. So I noticed that there seemed to be a trend. And people that I think are working to be inclusive and thoughtful, however it ends up creating an exclusive segregation in a way of people who are fat. And those classes and writings toward specific harnesses and specific ways to tie bigger bodies.

Wicked Wren [00:16:20] Yes.

Rayz of Ash [00:16:21] Yeah. And so I just felt like that's not where the subject is best served. The subject is best served that in the end, we do rope to interact with ourselves and each other to interact. The rope is a tool. It's a medium for us to be able to have that expression and whatever that expression in interaction means. So in the end, to me, it's about just being able to tie a person. Whatever type of person that person may be and whatever it is that they're bringing to the table and you're bringing to the table. And if we approach it in the way of someone needs to have special skills or special knowledge to tie a person because of the person they are, it ends up making that person feel like it's not accessible to them and that they're not going to be able to do that. And that's part of why I do the things I like to do and put myself out there in rope. And I want people to see me and go, Holy shit, look at what she's doing. I could do that too.

Wicked Wren [00:17:23] Yeah, I was really excited to read the article because there's so much discourse around rope being for everybody, but I haven't really been able to take anything from that. It hasn't been, it's usually like what you said. It's use this one harness for this one kind of body. And that feels so, so, so bad. You started this article. I fucking loved how you did it. You essentially say that making new space for people rather than working them into the spaces that already exist is bad and the solution is not adding more rope or it's not making a brand new harness. And that's actually very, very othering any marginalized group. We do that where we want to make a brand new little subsection for this group to sit into. And I love that you started the article identifying that.

Rayz of Ash [00:18:12] Thank you for saying that. I think what I also noticed is that when you start to create this subset for people now, we have to decide if that person qualifies into that group.

Wicked Wren [00:18:21] Yes.

Rayz of Ash [00:18:21] So now I have to start to break down. Are you, are you fat enough to be body positive? Are you transitioned enough to be trans? Are you gay enough to be gay? Are you black enough to be black? Like –.

Wicked Wren [00:18:34] Yes.

Rayz of Ash [00:18:35] And we start to create these things where... It then causes us to question ourselves and each other and put ourselves into these little labels and boxes. I'm a ton of fucking things. Just as you are and each of us are, right. And to me, I want you to address all the things about me as an individual, not a checked box that you see on a page. And it does a disservice to people who aren't fat in rope too. Because what I start to notice as well is like so even though I'm fat, I'm really healthy essentially. I'm really healthy and I have a really healthy lifestyle. And I can do a lot of things with my body. Again, that's where body posivity took me to realize I can do a lot of badass things in rope that people would never expect and things that sometimes I see people half my size in stature are able to do the same things. And so that almost, again does them a disservice because now you're coming away from understanding that you need to attend to that individual and their abilities, their limits and difficulties and address that person.

Wicked Wren [00:19:52] Yeah. Yes, I think that even goes further with how we talk about bottoms. We say you're a power bottom, you're a tank, you're this. And that really takes away the ability for them to say, Hey, I have a problem because I don't want to seem like they have a problem. And I liked what you said in that article so much because you're essentially saying the conversation about rope just needs to change on a systemic level.

Rayz of Ash [00:20:16] I do. I do. The typical stereotype that you would picture of someone in rope and what you see in most of those pictures of.

Wicked Wren [00:20:22] Yeah.

Rayz of Ash [00:20:23] It takes away everybody's voice I feel like when we don't just address each other as humans and have that understanding.

Wicked Wren [00:20:30] So another thing you say in the article is you take a ton of rope classes, you're very educated in rope, but you do not tie. So I would be curious how you partake in rope education as a bottom. What does that look like?

Rayz of Ash [00:20:45] Yeah. So there's a lot there. When you say, when you said a moment ago that I want to change the rope conversation systemically. I do. On lots of different levels.

Wicked Wren [00:20:57] Okay.

Rayz of Ash [00:20:58] So I also teach rope and have been for a long time. And that's part of why I take so many classes. I had the great advantage of my very first major rope education that wasn't like, this is what we do every other week to skillshare at the local dungeon was with Kyoko, and I was able to just be so empowered immediately from the beginning. And I feel very privileged. Like I said in having that because I saw that... I'm not just here to be tied. This is up to me to have a voice, too, and to be equally invested in this thing that we're doing in rope. So I have never stopped taking classes. I'm even involved right now in the Devil Math society with my current partner jessicas_dark. I think you guys have met one of those as well. Yeah so she and I do that monthly, right? And like you were talking about that time and dedication that is required from that. I've taken every class that any top I've ever tied with has taken. And then some. I usually actually take more classes than them. I believe it's just as important for me to understand what's happening with the rope in my body as it is for them to understand what's happening. Also, how can I keep myself safe if I don't know what's supposed to be happening, right. So I use that because only until only recently has there been really bottom-focused education. When I came into rope, Fuoco was probably the only one that was even like saying anything like that and everything was top led. This is how you do this tie. So by going to those classes, I get bottom information as well. The more I can understand about the ties, often they do have bottoms who are speaking and then giving their thoughts and impressions, and I'm able to take that away. So when I teach, I tell people that I feel like I trick you. So I trick you in two ways. Coming to my rope class, the surprise is that it's taught by the bottom and my top is the model.

Wicked Wren [00:23:07] Love it. Tell me about that. How does that?

Rayz of Ash [00:23:10] So I'm teaching the class. I'm teaching everything that's going on because that's the other thing where you're also getting tricked. Psychology in humans and culture is my passion. And so when I'm teaching about rope, like I said, the rope is just the tool. You're actually here to interact with somebody else. So for me, the greatest gift I can teach you is what it means to interact with another person in a very vulnerable way. And then to be thoughtful and intentioned about what that looks like and then to use the rope as a tool for that. And so then the top is there to show you the technicalities of the ties that go along with that.

Wicked Wren [00:23:50] I would love to dig into this more. Could you walk me through maybe like one of the classes that you do teach and maybe one of the sequences that you go through?

Rayz of Ash [00:24:01] Absolutely. So one of my favorite classes right now is what I call Primal Rope, which, you know, I'm going to be spoiler alert. I think all kink is primal. That's the same as sex and death, right? Like, we're coming to relate to ourselves in a animalistic way. I call it Darwin Disconnect that we go through the rest of our lives with this propriety and the civility in these manners, you know, clothing and saying the right words and all of those things. You know, really, we want to fuck and fight.

Wicked Wren [00:24:30] Yeah.

Rayz of Ash [00:24:30] Right? So that's, that's what I think that, that we're getting out of rope is that ability to do those things. So primal rope. In that class, I am essentially leading you through understanding what that means and understanding the psychology of what's happening. You know, also, whenever I entered rope and people would be like talking about subspace and I'd be like, Well, what? What are you talking about? Like what subspace? And it was always just a well described as this, like, mystical thing. Like, we can't really describe it. It just happens to you. Well, no, that's not how things work. Something's going on here, right. So that really started to bleed is what inspired me to start researching, I guess, more about what's going on here and this rope thing that we're doing. What are these responses? Why do we react this way? Why do we love it, you know? And then how can we use that knowledge to enhance it? So I think the more that you know about that, like, the hotter you can make your scene.

Wicked Wren [00:25:38] Tell me of the knowledge that you learned. Give me the secrets. What did you learn about that?

Rayz of Ash [00:25:43] Well, when it comes to subspace, right. Like it's actually going to be an unfortunate, fortunate thing that what I believe is happening there is rope bondage is activating your sympathetic nervous system, right? You're what's commonly referred to as fight or flight, where we also knows rest or digest, fight or flight, freeze or fawn. And then we have those reactions and I'm going to put out there that I think there's probably a lot of different reactions that we have too that we haven't just put in little boxes. And that's what I think is happening when we have subspace. And any time that we're going into rope and so we have varied reactions and perceptions that go along with that. And if you have that understanding, you can understand what's happening and how your body's being activated. Your mind and body is being activated and then what that may present like. So that's what I found about the space, right.

Wicked Wren [00:26:35] Yeah. Fascinating.

Rayz of Ash [00:26:37] And yeah. And then the other part is we're all searching for what we truly, truly, truly want in this world, which is to be vulnerable, right. We crave to be vulnerable, really. Right? That's what we all really want, is to be able to just be our raw selves and somebody still loves and accepts us at the end of that, right? And in rope bondage, what else are you but vulnerable?

Wicked Wren [00:27:02] Absolutely. I have a question based on that. Maybe you have an answer. Maybe you don't. Maybe it's an impossible question to answer. But rope bondage does just feel the best when you are vulnerable. But being super vulnerable and being super open, it can lead to some sort of manipulation. It can lead to a lot of things. And I feel like that is very common in the rope world. And I was curious if you have any thoughts about that.

Rayz of Ash [00:27:28] I absolutely do. So thank you for asking that. I do think the difficulty that we experience in kink is the way that we look at this culture. There's a lot of ways that we want this culture to be. Like I said, it's beautiful and I'm passionate about it, and I've already explained all the reasons why for that. But it's also dangerous because the reality is, if the bell curve isn't the same as average culture, right? The people who are indifferent or altruistic are the outliers, and the average are people who want to hurt or be hurt and are not indifferent or altruistic. They desire those things right on a level that can be very dangerous. And then we have to understand that I'm walking into the lion's den.

Wicked Wren [00:28:16] Yeah.

Rayz of Ash [00:28:17] And if I don't have that knowledge, I'm more likely to be hurt. And I think we go into kink searching for something, right? We go, like I said, searching for that vulnerability, searching for that acceptance. Most people who I see in kink, I kind of say are the leftover Dungeons and Dragons nerds from high school, right. And they're coming to the play real life dungeon. And so that typically means that they, you know, unfortunately, haven't always been socially accepted.

Wicked Wren [00:28:42] Yes.

Rayz of Ash [00:28:42] So, again, looking for that acceptance and you find that often in kink and that search to want to be accepted so readily does allow us to not be so clear and make the safest decisions about who we're engaging with, right.

Wicked Wren [00:28:58] You wrote another article called Five Ways to Reduce Harm in Kink. Can you give me a little outline of that? You label five big things that are important. I'm sure there's a lot more than five. But you hit on five.

Rayz of Ash [00:29:14] Yeah, absolutely. So again, I feel like the more that we're able to talk about difficult things and have those conversations, the more that we can be aware of them and do something about it. And so I know that I'm able to talk a lot and I love attention. So I'm happy to be that that mouthpiece and that bastion for most communities that I roll around in.

Wicked Wren [00:29:39] Love it.

Rayz of Ash [00:29:43] So we are entering into something again, like we just talked about, where there's going to be harm and injury, right.

Wicked Wren [00:29:52] Yes.

Rayz of Ash [00:29:52] Like pretending that there's not, is harmful.

Wicked Wren [00:29:57] Yeah.

Rayz of Ash [00:29:57] Right and that's where I get kind of on my high horse about rope. Yeah, it looks really pretty and great but you can also end somebody's life with it. And you can harm them really fucking bad with it. Not only physically, but spiritually, emotionally. Reputationally, all kinds of ways, right. You can, you can use that tool like any tool, right?

Wicked Wren [00:30:18] Yeah.

Rayz of Ash [00:30:18] The tool can be can be used to unite or to destroy.

Wicked Wren [00:30:21] Yes.

Rayz of Ash [00:30:23] So through my own home and evaluating my own home, especially with a very recent incident, which for me what was very different about this incident and I just actually went back in this morning and edited that because I realized that I hadn't made the point that I've been injured in rope plenty before because it's a harmful activity.

Wicked Wren [00:30:46] Yes.

Rayz of Ash [00:30:46] It's going to happen, right.

Wicked Wren [00:30:47] You will get hurt.

Rayz of Ash [00:30:48] Yeah, absolutely. What was different for me in the situation was the lack of care of how it was handled and me needing to evaluate you, you talked about that vulnerability, right. Whenever you were going there. And that vulnerability takes a level of trust, right. That desire to trust another, to care for you. That's what you're doing in rope. And when I let somebody put me in rope. I am not only trusting, but expecting you to care for me. Right now, I do not have the agency to do so. If you are, you want to put me in rope, right? And the way this person handled the situation, I started saying the phrase that, Yes, they took accountability, but they didn't take care. And there's a great difference in that.

Wicked Wren [00:31:36] Tell me about that. What does that mean?

Rayz of Ash [00:31:39] It means that you can say you're sorry, but if you don't do anything to really take on what that apology means for correction and to restore the person back or yourself in a situation like that's... To me, that's a reason for making amends.

Wicked Wren [00:31:58] Yes.

Rayz of Ash [00:31:58] Is to work towards the restoration. And then if I say I'm sorry, but then I don't offer any energy or accommodations towards that restoration, then that doesn't show that care.

Wicked Wren [00:32:09] That makes sense. Do you have any rope shoots or art photography stuff up and coming?

Rayz of Ash [00:32:15] Absolutely. Thank you for asking. One of my projects I'm working on right now, I am so passionate about. This has been a year in the making. So the thing that I'm looking most forward to is going to happen 10/06 during the Las Vegas Pride parade. So Pride celebrations in Vegas are in October because, you know, it's 115 degrees.

Wicked Wren [00:32:43] That makes sense.

Rayz of Ash [00:32:45] Right so last year, a photographer reached out to me and asked to do a pride shoot in front of some rainbow stairs on the strip. And I was like, sure, But, you know, I'm not the type of model to just stand there and look pretty for the sake of shooting pictures. I need this to have meaning. And I started researching myself like, What do I want to do? What I want to bring to this? So when I approached this photographer, they... About the idea, they were like, I can't do that. I'm afraid it's going to offend too many people and I don't want to touch it, but thank you. I was like, okay, well, I'm going to move on and I'm going to find somebody who wants to do this with me.

Wicked Wren [00:33:25] We got to hear the idea.

Rayz of Ash [00:33:28] And so I found a photographer and essentially through just trying to like ask to not be bothered while I'm doing this thing, they're just going down to business and saying, Hey, I'm going to be here outside of your thing. Can you just make sure people leave me alone? It got me connected to Las Vegas Pride and they have been so supportive in that to the point that they did an interview to support this. And last month, they helped highlight that for me during one of their pool parties. So what I'm going to do is, it's now come to me being on Fremont Street, which is where the parade will end. And if you've come to Vegas, Fremont is the old Vegas. And to me, it's the part of Vegas that I love as far as the entertainment goes. And that way... Because the strip is walking down the casinos, right. But Fremont is where the creatives are as far as those buskers. You're going to see all kinds of weird shit just right there on the street, whether it's an amazing soul singer to some guy sitting there asking to be kicked in the nuts, right? Like, so I'll be down there, I will have some clothing, but my body will be mostly exposed. And I'm going to have in big, bold black letters written on my body nine different words, Some of them like fat, growth, slut, queer. And I'm going to be wearing all those words with pride.

Wicked Wren [00:34:54] Yeah. I love it.

Rayz of Ash [00:34:55] Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Like I'm proud of who I am. And, you know, like words are in my opinion, words are words. And it's the intention. You can say all kinds of pretty things and mean to be hurting me, right. And so I look at the measure of intention behind things, and I want people to consider that I'm going to have a sign that says, let me wear your words with pride. And so markers for people to write on my body and whatever, whatever they feel inspired to write based on what they're seeing and feeling right then. My hope and that's anything like right, whatever. Cause Pride actually offered me a spot within the festival. But I said that I felt like I was too fat and insulated. Like I want to get the people who are not on my side and make them think and look me in my eye. Like if you want to write, you know, that I should burn in hell. Look me in the eye while you write that on my body, right. And then hopefully, maybe we can even open up a dialog. Because what I know is, once you can realize I'm a human, like you're a human, the conversation changes completely.

Wicked Wren [00:36:00] Totally.

Rayz of Ash [00:36:02] So I hope that with those black letters, it will be a bunch of colorful, beautiful, mostly positive message intertwined with it all.

Wicked Wren [00:36:08] I think it's going to be all positive messages. I couldn't imagine someone putting a bad message on there. So I have a question. Initially, you went up to businesses and said, hey, I'm going to be doing this outside. How did that conversation go? Because that's very brave.

Rayz of Ash [00:36:25] It was like that. Basically, just like....

Wicked Wren [00:36:28] And they were all cool?

Rayz of Ash [00:36:30] I'm doing this – Well, it was more like, you need to talk to this person. You need to talk to this person kind of thing, right? Because essentially the place where I ended up deciding to go was in a downtown area. And whenever I started going to the businesses, they're like, well, we're great with that, but I'm not really the person you can ask about that. Can you go ask this person? So I ended up, the timing was first Friday, which downtown area is basically an art festival for local artists. The streets are blocked off. They have booths and they open up some art galleries for you to wander through. So it ended up being that where I wanted to do this was during first Friday. And so they were like, We are going to talk to that person. And that person eventually got me connected to somebody who got me connected to Pride.

Wicked Wren [00:37:18] Gotcha. Wow. I'm very excited to see those photos. Are you going to publish them anywhere? Like a magazine or something?

Rayz of Ash [00:37:27] Pride is definitely going to publish them. And then it'll be part of works that I do later on whenever I'm publishing things for myself.

Wicked Wren [00:37:34] That's amazing.

Rayz of Ash [00:37:36] Thanks. I'm excited.

Wicked Wren [00:37:37] Yeah, I am, too. I guess I'm wrapping this up. Is there anything else that you would like to add in here and anything else you'd like to tell us about?

Rayz of Ash [00:37:45] Yeah, that I'm available to talk for anybody. Like, if you want to have me to explain these rope things further or even explain humanity further, I love to travel, and that's what I'm going to be doing fully next year. Traveling, offering workshops, lectures and classes to help understand different ways to approach our health and our humanity.

Wicked Wren [00:38:10] I love that. And you are @rayz_of_ash on Instagram?

Rayz of Ash [00:38:14] Rayz with a Z.

Wicked Wren [00:38:15] Rayz with a Z.

Rayz of Ash [00:38:17] Yeah, unfortunately.

Wicked Wren [00:38:18] Unfortunately.

Rayz of Ash [00:38:21] Somebody took the S already.

Wicked Wren [00:38:23] You know, we're going to contact them and we'll see if you can have it. Thank you so much for being on. This is amazing. I personally learned a ton. Beautiful words. Thank you so much.

Rayz of Ash [00:38:34] Thank you. I really love the time with you. It's been great. I appreciate it.


To feed or not to feed the machine? In this captivating podcast episode, Miss Marilyn and Wicked Wren engage in a candid conversation that spans various aspects of their lives, beyond the realm of sex work and social media. As they share their experiences, listeners are treated to a glimpse of their personal journeys and evolving interests.


To feed or not to feed the machine? In this captivating podcast episode, Miss Marilyn and Wicked Wren engage in a candid conversation that spans various aspects of their lives, beyond the realm of sex work and social media. As they share their experiences, listeners are treated to a glimpse of their personal journeys and evolving interests.

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Guest Bio

Miss Marilyn is a kink veteran and beloved character amongst the UK community online. For over a decade she has worked as a Dominatrix, sessioning in various parts of the world and loving every minute of it. A champion of sex education and communication, Miss Marilyn is a passionate vegan, writer and artist (as well as a seasoned pervert). After hearing how few service providers are able to offer women a safe, positive experience within the kink community, she now only works with femme-identifying individuals. A prolific social media user, Marilyn uses her platform to share information and give advice to fellow perverts in distress!


Wicked Wren [00:00:19] Hello and welcome to the Shibari Study podcast. Today, I have on my friend Star. You'll know as Miss Marilyn. She's an artist, a domme, and a personal muse of mine. So welcome to the podcast. First thing, I'd like to say is congratulations on the Barbie movie. I know it's probably a big deal to you.

Miss Marilyn [00:00:40] Thank you so much. And thank you for finding the time to have me. Sorry, I forgot. I'm Australian. Thank you so much for having me. I was only – obviously, we weren't really English there. I can't remember what an Australian sounds like. I was only available for a short time between the premiers and you managed to accommodate me. So thank you so much and I really hope that you enjoy the film when you see it.

Wicked Wren [00:01:09] Wow. Shockingly good to me. I mean, how many accents can you do? Can you do a lot? Do American. Do it. Do how I sound.

Miss Marilyn [00:01:19] What? This is how you sound. You kind of sound like, you're not really bothered about what people think. And like, you know, Where are you from in America?

Wicked Wren [00:01:31] I'm from New Orleans originally, but I have purposely lost the accent because I didn't want the twang. I put the G's on the ends of words instead so being like goin', fixin', you know, things like.

Miss Marilyn [00:01:45] Okay.

Wicked Wren [00:01:46] So I put the G's on the ends of my words. I kind of and also I was a big mumbler. I was a big kind of teetering off in statements person. So it was like, I'd be like, So how are you gonna (inaudible)?

Miss Marilyn [00:01:58] Yeah. That's f***** annoying.

Wicked Wren [00:01:59] It is. It is, is difficult. And it is not good for communicating. So I'll put those on there because I wanted people to think that I was –

Miss Marilyn [00:02:08] Well, I would never have been able to guess that you were from New Orleans.

Wicked Wren [00:02:12] New Orleans. Well, it's so funny because I feel like a New Orleans accent, it's kind of like you have, like, marbles in your mouth and it's just kind of like (inaudible)

Miss Marilyn [00:02:26] Okay, like (inaudible).

Wicked Wren [00:02:29] Well, it makes sense that you got accents. You probably studied it in your acting training.

Miss Marilyn [00:02:33] I did.

Wicked Wren [00:02:34] Okay, I'm gonna let this joke go now. For people who don't know, Star looks a lot like Margot Robbie, who is just in the movie. Anyway –

Miss Marilyn [00:02:46] Not so much anymore. Not so much anymore. Because she has lost loads of weight to be Barbie.

Wicked Wren [00:02:52] Mhm.

Miss Marilyn [00:02:53] So her face is kind of like – I think I don't personally see it, but I see it more before Barbie than now because I'm seeing her now and she's very, very svelte but obviously she's been Barbie and Barbie is that.

Wicked Wren [00:03:07] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:03:08] So I understand but...

Wicked Wren [00:03:11] Do you think that she would be a good domme?

Miss Marilyn [00:03:15] I think, I think she'd be good at anything that she put her hand to.

Wicked Wren [00:03:19] What a great (inaudible).

Miss Marilyn [00:03:19] We've got mutual friends. That's why I'm really hoping to meet her at some point.

Wicked Wren [00:03:24] We're going to start a petition or something like that.

Miss Marilyn [00:03:28] Absolutely. Well, the thing is, I said to our mutual friend because he said he saw the reel that I posted yesterday about the fact that I'm not Margot Robbie, but we have both shown our c*** to Leonardo DiCaprio. And he messaged me saying like, Oh, I'm going to show her this tomorrow because obviously she's in London now. And I said, Let her know that she's got first dibs for playing me when they eventual make movie about my life.

Wicked Wren [00:03:53] The star biopic, love it. How did you become a domme? Like what was that like?

Miss Marilyn [00:04:01] So everyone's heard the story, but it was actually my dad. He told me to do it.

Wicked Wren [00:04:06] What?

Miss Marilyn [00:04:07] Not in like a, not in like, sorta...

Wicked Wren [00:04:11] Weird way?

Miss Marilyn [00:04:11] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So basically, I wanted to be an actress. So after I left school, I studied acting at school, and then I went to study acting kind of full time. And after that, we've got these places over here called, like the London Dungeon and the Edinburgh Dungeon. And basically it's like a tour, but all along the tour are unique, kind of like historical figures. So I worked there for a while as a cannibal from Scottish History called... Basically it was Sawney Bean, he's a really famous Scottish cannibal legends, and I was one of those kids, as like incestuous kids, which obviously suits me.

Wicked Wren [00:04:56] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:04:57] Cos I'm so mad at i*****. But not real i*****. The rhetorical. So yeah, basically, I kind of just, I didn't really know what I was doing with myself. I had loads of interests, but they were all kind of things that were really hard to get into. And the thing is, by the time I was 18, I had loads of tattoos and I don't know if you know this, but it's really hard to get into acting if you've got tattoos because obviously you're not a blank slate.

Wicked Wren [00:05:23] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:05:23] Except for Angelina Jolie, because she's Angelina Jolie and they're happy to cover it up, but I'm nobody. So I was a bit f*****. Anyway, my dad kind of said, Have you ever thought about becoming a domme? And I was like, No. This is actually when I was 16 and I didn't, I didn't really know what a domme was apart from kind of like in my head, it was just like catwoman.

Wicked Wren [00:05:47] Yeah. Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:05:48] I mean, that's all I knew. And so I googled it, and I googled Edinburgh domme, and there was only, like, two people came up. Neither of them are really like, what I had in mind. I got in touch with them, and one of them never got back to me. One of them told me get lost, basically. But I was 16 years old and so fair enough. And then it kind of just stayed in the back of my head until one day, just by chance, a new erotic boutique was opening in town. And I went along and kind of had to off with it with the owner of the shop, and it turned out to be Mistress Inka. And she basically said, Hey, do you want to be a domme? And I was like, Yeah? And then the next thing I know, I got a text being like, Hi. Be at my flat for 12. We've got a strap-on booking. And I had nothing. Like I had no clothes, no clue. Like, I didn't even know really what strap-on was at the time. So I was like, I was 19 at this point. So I had to go into town like 2 hours before 12 to buy clothes. I thought like a domme would wear. And I took my friend Cara, and we were like, What shoes do we buy? What's my look? Like what, I hadn't even, like, had a name or anything yet. And then I literally, I went that day and I worked every day after that for like six months.

Wicked Wren [00:07:15] Holy cow. That's incredible. I have so many questions. I mean, I think my first one is that most people's relationship with their parents is not cool and they don't like that they're sex workers. It's incredible that your dad, like, encouraged you to do that.

Miss Marilyn [00:07:32] Well, here's the thing, right? My dad didn't really know what it entailed.

Wicked Wren [00:07:38] Okay. Okay.

Miss Marilyn [00:07:40] So obviously, he knew it was sex work. But throughout my journey doing sex work, he's going to hear about the stuff that I do at work. And he's like, Oh, my God. I think he very much thought it was just like spank and guys and that's it.

Wicked Wren [00:07:52] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:07:54] He actually, he told me to do it because he's a builder and he's always wanted to make sex furniture. So that's why he kind of said, Look, why don't you be a domme? And if you open a dungeon, I'll make your furniture. So that was kind of where he was coming from. Not like, Be a domme because you're really sexy. I mean maybe he thought as well, but that's not what he said.

Wicked Wren [00:08:14] Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:08:17] So yeah, that's that. That's the origin. That's just, it was, it was all down to my dad. That's how it put in my head. I think if he hadn't said it to me when I was 16, it's not something that I would ever have thought about. Because it's just not... It's... Especially back then, obviously, sex work is kind of more prevalent in society now, but back then, like 11 years ago, it was really, really underground, like there wasn't... Like although Twitter existed, there was no kind of Instagram. There's nothing like that. So I just, it's not something that I would have come across naturally at that point in my life. Unless, you know, my dad had said it. So I don't think it would have ever happened if it hadn't been for my dad saying it.

Wicked Wren [00:09:00] It's so cool. It's so humanizing, hearing him say that. Because he just said it like any other profession, like you should be a doctor. You should be a domme.

Miss Marilyn [00:09:08] Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And like, there was never... I'm so privileged in that I actually grew up really Catholic. And you said, you know, people's relationship with their parents, like their parents aren't cool with them being sex workers. And it was actually a weird conversation because we never chatted about sex in my house at all. And I remember telling my mom like, Ih, I've lost my virginity. And she, like, reacted so badly I had to pretend it was a joke. I was like, Aha, I got you. And then all of a sudden my dad was like, You should be a domme. But when he said, You should be a domme, for the next few years, I also thought it was very much just like you spank guys and that's it. I didn't know about, like animal plays, strap-on, like cross-dress, like dog. And I didn't know any of that. So I like, I didn't have a realistic idea of it at all until I actually started doing it. And I actually, there's a story. She'll probably kill me for telling you but the very first session that we had and she had water sports at the end and I had like no clue what water sports was. I was 19 years old. Obviously, I've had a lot of sex at that point but nothing like, nothing mad. So anyway, she p*** on the guy at the end in her shower tray. And I'm, I'm staring at his c****, right? And I'm staring at his c***. And then like, weirdly, like b**** starts to come out of his c***. And I'm like, Oh, my God, what is going on? What the f*** is happening? But I'm like, Try to stay cool because obviously, like, I'm at my f****** job, so I don't really say anything. And then this guy starts like panicking and like sitting in the shower tray and then Inka just like, gets off him and she says, Oh, I'm so sorry. I was so sure I put a tampon in and I was like...

Wicked Wren [00:11:05] Wow.

Miss Marilyn [00:11:05] I was just, I was just like, F****** h***. Like this is mad. And she asked me, she asked me to p** on him after.

Wicked Wren [00:11:13] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:11:15] He really wanted, this guy really wanted me to piss on him and I couldn't go. Like in my head it was just that like...

Wicked Wren [00:11:22] Totally.

Miss Marilyn [00:11:23] Oh, you do not, you do not like p** in public in front of like someone. Not like I wasn't, I didn't have any shame or, like, negativity about it. It was just like my body was like, No.

Wicked Wren [00:11:34] Yeah, totally. Your body just shut off.

Miss Marilyn [00:11:35] You don't p** on someone, we cannot p** right now.

Miss Marilyn [00:11:40] So did she know that you were, like, really out of your element and, like, didn't know any of the stuff? Or were you trying to hide those things from her?

Miss Marilyn [00:11:48] So weirdly enough like... She's a wee bit older than me and she had been like really kinky in our relationships and stuff. But it was funny when I first started working as a domme, we would spend like hours and hours just sitting on p*** sites like watching loads of videos of stuff that we didn't know about. And I remember like sitting next to her having a glass of wine and we were watching videos of like p****** s*******. And the first one we watched was a guy who actually split his whole c*** in half doing it. And we were like... What the f*** is this? And there was actually a guy, there was a video, do you know that like one man, one jar video?

Wicked Wren [00:12:30] Oh, yeah,.

Miss Marilyn [00:12:31] Yeah, yeah. Of course. There was also another video and it was called like kid in the sandbox. And it was just a guy like f***** his urethra with, like, the handle end of a screwdriver.

Wicked Wren [00:12:43] Really, really classic move there.

Miss Marilyn [00:12:45] Yeah. And it was like one of the first things I seen is sounding and I had no idea what sounding was. And again, like this was 11 years ago. So, like, even the Internet in general, like, although the information was there, it was like, really, boiled down.

Wicked Wren [00:13:00] Yes, totally.

Miss Marilyn [00:13:01] So like all these terms and stuff, like. Oh, it was an education.

Wicked Wren [00:13:06] How did you feel when you saw that? I mean, you saw like soundings type of stuff at first. Like what did you think?

Miss Marilyn [00:13:11] I was so shocked. I was, I was, I was so shocked.

Wicked Wren [00:13:14] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:13:14] Not disgusted or anything. I was just like, what the heck is going on? Like the handle of a screw driver. Like it wasn't a small screwdriver. It wasn't like a little travel screwdriver. It was like a proper f***** screwdriver.

Wicked Wren [00:13:28] There were no like babies for a screwdriver here. Like we're doing serious work with this.

Miss Marilyn [00:13:31] Oh, heck, yeah. I mean, like, I can just remember just sitting at the computer screen, just kind of like, Oh, my God. Oh my god, no, no. And then seeing obviously that guys split c***. Cos he got so much that he split on top of it. And then he got off on like the body modification side of it. And honestly, my mind was blown. Like the amount of stuff that I just, I kind of just immersed myself for the first two years that I was doing it. I read everything I could. I watched everything I could. And I was I just like, spent my days, like, with my mind absolutely blown. Yeah, because like, you know, at 19, you think you know everything, right? You say, you know everything about sex.

Wicked Wren [00:14:11] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:14:13] And I just had my butt handed to me. Like from day one. I was like, I know nothing about this stuff. And neither do you, Dad.

Wicked Wren [00:14:21] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:14:22] At least, I hope not. You bloody pervert.

Wicked Wren [00:14:26] Do you and you dad like joke about this now? Like, is it...?

Wicked Wren [00:14:30] Yeah, we do actually. We didn't in the first few years, I think he was like, Oh, my God, what have I done? Like my litte girl, my little girl is like, penetrating men in their butt every day. Like, what was I thinking? And now, yeah, we joke about it loads. Loads and loads.

Wicked Wren [00:14:48] All right, my other question is to go back a little bit was you said you went out and you're like, you went with your friend. You're like, What does a domme wear? I need to get something. I'm just curious what you got? Like, what was like the thing in your head where you're like, This will work.

Miss Marilyn [00:15:06] Oh, right. So basically, I don't know if you know it, but we've got this, like, really tacky, like, like franchise of sex shops over here that are called like Ann Summers.

Wicked Wren [00:15:15] Okay, I do not know.

Miss Marilyn [00:15:18] So basically, like, I don't know the American equivalent, but basically I went into Ann Summers and obviously 50 Shades of Gray was like... This was years before 50 Shades of gray. So none of these had like none of the PVC, none of the like the ties, none of the handcuffs, nothing. So there was like, I was like, Oh damn, I'm just going to need to buy something black and shiny. And I couldn't really find anything. And I ended up, I ended up finding this like black PVC minidress and they're at the like bargain bin at the back. But it was, it was like, honestly, like five sizes too big for me. So I needed to, like, wrap it around myself and then like safety-pin at the back. And I also, like, bought a pair of like really horrible black patent, like Mary Jane shoes.

Wicked Wren [00:16:06] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:16:06] And then I went to, like, this very, like, basic old woman shop. And I bought like, this, like a black velvet dress. I had no clue. I had no clue.

Wicked Wren [00:16:19] I love it. So how long did it take you to kind of find your style? Because you're like, a really funny person. Like, I like, I feel like humor probably influences a lot of your sessions and things like that.

Miss Marilyn [00:16:32] Yeah, well, it didn't, I didn't used to. I used to, I don't know if you know this, but for I think about six years, I used the fake accent for work, but like, I mean, double down. I mean everything. Like if I was at an event, if I did a podcast, if I met anyone in the industry, I did this like 24/7 accent and I did it in every session. And then all of a sudden I got asked to like, compare an event over here in Manchester and I was up, I was up on the thing being like, And next, we're going to have the sub games. And but then, I like drank too much and I kept going from like the accent to my real accent and people were starting to get really confused.

Wicked Wren [00:17:18] I love it.

Miss Marilyn [00:17:20] And then I was like, Damn, I've ruined it. Like, I've just absolutely ruined it.

Wicked Wren [00:17:24] How many years did you do this?

Miss Marilyn [00:17:27] So I did the accent solidly for six years.

Wicked Wren [00:17:31] Amazing.

Miss Marilyn [00:17:33] There was a, there was a point in time, I was in the dungeon with a client who'd been like my client for like four years. And he had only ever heard me speak like this, you pathetic little b***. And then, there was a girl. Like this mad girl who also used the dungeon. And she like kicked the door in during the session. And I went from talking like this to being like, Get the heck outta here. Why you do it? And she left. And he was like, What happened to your voice? And I didn't know that my voice had changed. And I was like, Oh, my God. What do you mean what happened to my voice?

Wicked Wren [00:18:19] So like, Why did you do that accent in the beginning? Like, what kind of brought that on? I guess is the question.

Miss Marilyn [00:18:29] So I, like I've done a few, I think I've done like two or three sessions in my normal accent at the very beginning. And then I'd done some full line work and one of like my phone lines was like, h****, private schoolgirl.

Wicked Wren [00:18:44] Oh, my God.

Miss Marilyn [00:18:45] And every time I did the phone line, I would put on the accent and it had such a massive like... Just everyone I spoke to loved it so much. They thought it was so sexy. So I was like, Right. Screw it. That will be my whole thing then. I'll just be like, h****, like posh private English schoolgirl. And that's what I went with for years until I got too drunk and everyone thought I was Scottish.

Wicked Wren [00:19:08] And then you were like screw it. Were you kind of happy that people found out that like, and you didn't have to do it? Like, was there any of that kind of like...?

Miss Marilyn [00:19:14] I enjoyed it.

Wicked Wren [00:19:15] Okay.

Miss Marilyn [00:19:15] It was actually, you know, it was actually a lot easier to do my job because it was like putting on a character.

Wicked Wren [00:19:22] Yeah, yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:19:24] And I also never used to use humor a lot in my sessions at all. It was very strict. Like business.

Wicked Wren [00:19:30] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:19:31] Business dom. Like bad b*****. And then all of a sudden, I had my own voice and I was like, Oh damn, it's me doing these sessions and I'm not this, this girl.

Wicked Wren [00:19:44] Yeah, totally. I feel like that is something weird because, like, nobody in kink is, like, themselves, really. Like, there's personas. And I feel like the more stuff you start to do, like, the more like it gets confused with, like, this, like kind of fake person and a real person. But you do...

Miss Marilyn [00:20:02] But oh my god, it's so much easier.

Wicked Wren [00:20:03] Yeah, I bet. I mean, were you doing art as well? Like painting and things like that?

Miss Marilyn [00:20:08] No, nothing like that at all. I worked. I didn't do anything else at all. I dormed full time for about like seven, eight years. And then I started to do kind of other bits on the side here and there. And so it was just, Iwas just canked 24/7. But yeah, I think as well because of the acting background like I...It was just like a client was common. So like, when the door would knock, the act would start. Do you know what I mean? Like...

Wicked Wren [00:20:40] Oh, yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:20:41] It was just like, Right. This is the scene. Whereas when my own voice came out, I was like, really nervous because I was like, Oh damn, it's me now. Like, this isn't an act. This is actually me. Like, this is who they're getting. Oh, no.

Wicked Wren [00:20:54] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:20:54] I don't know if I am able to do this. Like Marilyn is a different person.

Wicked Wren [00:20:59] Yeah. Wow. I mean, it's like, it's like, it's pretty hard to like, I don't know, separate the two.

Miss Marilyn [00:21:07] It was really it was really interesting.

Wicked Wren [00:21:08] I do have a question kind of moving forward in the timeline. I feel like this podcast is all for me because I'm just curious about like...

Miss Marilyn [00:21:17] Listen, that's totally fine.

Wicked Wren [00:21:20] Shibari Study pays for this podcast so I feel like we should talk about rope bondage for a moment.

Miss Marilyn [00:21:24] Yes.

Wicked Wren [00:21:25] Have you used it? Do you like it?

Miss Marilyn [00:21:28] I love it. I love it so much. I don't know anywhere near as much as I used to. I used to use it all the time. I did a lot of like, what's the word... Predicament bondage with it.

Wicked Wren [00:21:40] Mm, yes.

Miss Marilyn [00:21:41] Absolute favorite. Absolutely favorite.

Wicked Wren [00:21:43] Me too.

Miss Marilyn [00:21:44] And I learned shibari quite heavily for the first few years of domming and then kind of moved away from it and kind of forgot it. And there's been a few times I've kind of like went back into it quite seriously and started learning again. But I think especially where I live, there's really not a very good rope scene.

Wicked Wren [00:22:04] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:22:05] So it's so difficult. But with Shibari Study, I've actually, I've been subscribed to Shibari Study quite a few times and had great fun like doing the tutorials and stuff. But again it's just, it's just very complicated when you get to a certain level.

Wicked Wren [00:22:23] It's a lot of work.

Miss Marilyn [00:22:23] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Wicked Wren [00:22:25] Did you have in the beginning, like, did you have clients asking for rope bondage or..?

Miss Marilyn [00:22:32] Yeah, I did. And there was one guy who used to like drive for like 4 hours for like a 5 hour session and it was just like really heavy rope bondage.

Wicked Wren [00:22:42] Gotcha.

Miss Marilyn [00:22:43] And it was kind of down to him that I learned a lot of that for, to be honest. But yeah, absolutely. I think as well there's like a, there's kind of like a new found reason for bondage, though. Because it's just like, it's almost like therapy for a lot of people. Like, people just get that, you know, that sub high and, you know, when they're feeling really stressed or their life is not going so great. They want to be tied because that's kind of like their absolute chills on. That's where they feel at peace and I totally understand that.

Wicked Wren [00:23:18] If you're doing like a 4 to 5 hour session with somebody and you have the accent on and you're doing, you're doing the character, how are you structuring that time? Like, obviously there's got to be some a little break, a little downtime in the middle, something like that. Are you just kind of leaving in like or are you just on the entire time? Like, how are you?

Miss Marilyn [00:23:39] So I, so I wasn't on the entire time because – so basically I would like put him into a position and then leave him there for a bit. And then I would like go through, make a cup of tea. I'd come back through and say like, How you holding up? And then give them like a poke or whatever or a little swing, you know, and then maybe change something. Or I'd say to him, you know, How are your wrists feeling? How are your hands? Could you move them? Blah, blah, blah, all that kind of stuff. So safety wise, just check and then maybe leave him. You know, depends on what position it was, but yeah, not on all the time, but most of the time, and especially because he enjoyed being gagged. So there was absolutely no interaction. So sometimes it depends on who it was with. That guy was okay. But there was definitely some people who came for like three or 4 hours and they enjoyed being gagged the whole time and they wouldn't speak. So by the end of it, I would feel so exhausted because it was like a four hour monologue.

Wicked Wren [00:24:41] Yes, yes. With like, no input, no like...

Miss Marilyn [00:24:44] No interaction at all. And I am... Like, I can do that, but I like back and forth, you know. Like I think the hottest thing of a session is being able to ask them questions and then telling you stuff like, if I'm just, if I've just got nothing. I think everyone – well I don't know about everyone, but like most of the people I've spoke to, the ultimate nightmare client is just like the closed book. Like no sound. If you ask them, if you ask them a question, they'll just be like, Yes, mistress. But like, apart from that, like just dead silent and absolutely expressionless, like the amount of times I've probably went too far on a client just because I'm like see. Damn I'm so annoyed.

Wicked Wren [00:25:29] Yeah. Do you think that people are nervous or do you think that they just, like, that's just their thing? Like, what do you. What do you think that is?

Miss Marilyn [00:25:37] I think some of that, some of them have to be nervous. But like other people is definitely just their thing. Because I had a client and for two hours once and a few years ago and I left the session feeling so bad because I was like, he hated me. Like he answered the questions, but like, never a grunt of pleasure or struggle. Nothing. Like, I mean, not a peep. And I left the session and I just felt so bad. My confidence was so knocked. I was like, that went really badly. That session went really badly. I feel terrible. And he came back to me for years and not once did I ever hear a grunt. And every single time he visited me, I hated it. Because I was just like, Oh, here we go again. Just pure silence. And even at the end I would try and speak to him because usually, like, I'd give them a glass of water and I'd say, you know, how is that for you? How you feeling? You want to travel home, all that kind of stuff. And he would just be like, Yeah, it was fine. Okay.

Wicked Wren [00:26:39] C'mon guy. I need more than that.

Miss Marilyn [00:26:41] Nightmare.

Wicked Wren [00:26:42] Yeah, that kind of sucks. You know, it's like, I don't know. Say something. Give me something to make fun of, right? I don't know. So getting into, like, covid times. How has that changed dom work for you? Has that, you know, has it impacted stuff? I guess.

Miss Marilyn [00:27:06] Ugh. I'd say about a year, a year and a bit before covid, I kind of started to focus online. And that was purely because I lived somewhere that didn't really have access to a dungeon. And it was like loads of travel time to get to a dungeon. So I kind of had to still make money doing sex work. But I moved online. I was also seeing a lot of people make a ton of money online, so I was like, Hey, I want to slice it up.

Wicked Wren [00:27:37] I could do it.

Miss Marilyn [00:27:39] Not that I ever got it. But so, yeah, the pandemic rolled around. I don't know about over there, but over here, there's like, business is booming for online content. I think because nobody could work. Everyone was just sitting at home having a good time. So I'd honestly say the first three months of lockdown over here were my best earning months online, at least.

Wicked Wren [00:28:03] Wow. Wow.

Miss Marilyn [00:28:05] So, yeah, not bad. But like I started, I think that's when I started to really hate sex work was during the pandemic. Because it was all online. But not only that, because business was booming and because so many people found themselves going to sex work because they couldn't make money at their normal job, because they weren't allowed to work. The amount of content that you needed to churn out to keep up with everyone else was insane. Like, and this was this was like, sustained. This wasn't like, you could do it for a month and then take a break. Because you needed to just keep up and keep it up and someone else would be doing more for cheaper. And it was just never ending. It was awful.

Wicked Wren [00:28:50] Yeah. Yeah. It's like, it's a, you have to keep feeding the machine.

Miss Marilyn [00:28:55] And it has remained terrible.

Wicked Wren [00:28:58] Yeah. It really sucks. And I'm kind of at this point where I fed the machine for a while and now I hate –.

Miss Marilyn [00:29:05] I hate the machine. Damn the machine.

Wicked Wren [00:29:07] I don't like the machine. I don't. But...

Miss Marilyn [00:29:10] Nobody likes the machine but we're all slaves to the machine.

Wicked Wren [00:29:13] I was about to say, –.

Miss Marilyn [00:29:14] Have you seen the Four Chambers film?

Wicked Wren [00:29:16] No, I should.

Miss Marilyn [00:29:18] No, the... I've got a monologue and the Four Chambers film and it's 'I am the Machine'. So I'm like, Damn the machine. But I'm like, Oh, damn. I am also the machine.

Wicked Wren [00:29:27] Yeah, you are.

Miss Marilyn [00:29:28] But yeah, I've...

Wicked Wren [00:29:30] Everyone is in a D/s thing with the machine.

Miss Marilyn [00:29:32] Yeah, but it's a shame because I kind of fell in love with sex work, but it was just because I think I started doing it in such, like, a good time to start doing it.

Wicked Wren [00:29:44] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:29:44] Because all OF didn't exist. Like there was no subscription platforms at all when I started sex work and it was all in person and it was all really intimate. And very, very cool. And just yeah, I just, I know. I'm like, Damn. So I need to be a domme and an OF girl? Like cool.

Wicked Wren [00:30:07] And the thing about being like an OF girl is like, it's not just an OF girl. That's 10% of it. Everything else is like getting people in. Like, your entire existence becomes monetized. It turns into a funnel, like –

Miss Marilyn [00:30:24] Oh, it's horrendous. It's horrendous.

Wicked Wren [00:30:27] Yeah, it's, like I feel like it has like really big impact on stuff and it sucks. It's made social media not fun. It's made, like it's made me like second guess all these other endeavors I want to do because, you know, like post on social and things like that. Bomb. When it's not just standing there in front of a mirror, you know.

Miss Marilyn [00:30:49] Well, that's the thing. Like I, even what we're saying about the pandemic. Because of the pandemic, I had no choice but to be on OF constantly and social media. By the time that we were allowed to work in person again, I lost all my confidence to work in person again because it had been so long since had actually done someone in person. And as for like the social media aspect of it, I think. Especially when you've done sex work online. You have it so ingrained in your head that no matter what you go on to do, whether it's like a new business doing anything at all, whether you do like nails, art or even like landscaping. You need to be successful on social media. And that's not true. And the disgusting thing is right, see if I post something and it gets like 137 likes. I delete it because I'm like, Oh my God, it's flopped. My post has flopped.

Wicked Wren [00:31:44] Yeah. Yeah. I mean...

Miss Marilyn [00:31:47] I worried about being cool. How uncool is that? I'm the uncoolest guys in the world. But it's like, Oh my God, my selfies only got 500 likes and my last one got 1000. Damn it.

Wicked Wren [00:31:57] I know. It's not good for our brains. It's just like –

Miss Marilyn [00:32:02] No, no. God's sake. Jeez.

Wicked Wren [00:32:04] I've been calling like Instagram and all these things like softcore p*** machines because that's all they are. It's like the most like sexed up thing in the world, but there's like no sex allowed on it and it sucks. It's like, so when you're scrolling, it's constantly just softcore p*** being like, shoved at you or it's like an ad for a mattress. And that is not good for the brain.

Miss Marilyn [00:32:30] No.

Wicked Wren [00:32:30] Okay, you said something. You said that it's, your, how uncool is it ever to be worried about likes, whatever, whatever. Okay. You posted a reel and it hit me so hard.

Miss Marilyn [00:32:45] Many of us.

Wicked Wren [00:32:45] I know it did. It was about Ralph. And your painting. And Ralph is... Remind me the creature that Ralph is, I forget. A mouse? A Rabbit? I think it was...

Miss Marilyn [00:32:55] No, it was lamb, Wren. I'm glad it made such a great impression on you.

Wicked Wren [00:33:01] Everyone. I'm so sorry. I apologize. Ralph is a lamb. You were painting, and you had those monologue behind it where you said that you're scared to say that you're not a domme. Because it's not a cool. Because it's cool to say that you're a domme, and everyone's like, Oh, my God, you're a domme. What's your crazy story? You know, and it is like, and I feel that, too. So, so much. With just like general things. It's like, I want to maintain –

Miss Marilyn [00:33:30] Oh, it's crushing me. It's honestly, it's crushing me.

Wicked Wren [00:33:35] And it's so funny because you're one of the coolest people I've ever seen. I'm like you're –

Miss Marilyn [00:33:40] Yeah, am I not, am I not cool because I'm like, you know, domme for 11 years and I've got all the latex and I feel the parties.

Wicked Wren [00:33:49] I don't know. I mean, I guess. I guess I think you're cool because you're just like a funny person that, like, posts whatever you want to post. And I'm like, Oh, that's neat. But I do see what you're what you're saying because I feel the same thing, right? It's like, if I didn't do all, like, you know, post latex and things like that, people wouldn't want to follow me or whatever. But it also sucks because at this other podcast I do and my co-host, my friend Cam and I, we did a podcast in latex.

Miss Marilyn [00:34:18] Love Cam. Love Cam.

Wicked Wren [00:34:19] Yeah, he's great. And we did a podcast and we are in full body latex and that podcast crushed, but the other ones when we're just talking about how he hates –.

Miss Marilyn [00:34:29] Beans. Yeah, yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:34:30] Beans, whatever, has like a hundred likes. But then, you know, latex all podcast destroys and it's like –

Miss Marilyn [00:34:37]  I know.

Wicked Wren [00:34:38] It's like...

Miss Marilyn [00:34:39] I know. And that's the thing. Because I actually had a, I had a conversation with my friend the other day and she was kind of complaining about someone else we know because someone else we know has like, her following has went through the roof and because of this. She's getting loads of brand deals and stuff and it's really amazing for her. So good. She obviously works really hard. But the thing is like and my friend said to me, like, but I know what I need to do to get followers. I just need to post me in latex constantly. And it's true. It's true. It gets you followers.

Wicked Wren [00:35:13] It is true.

Miss Marilyn [00:35:13] But that's not who I am.

Wicked Wren [00:35:15] I know. I know that. That's kind of how I feel. Like I know what's going to crush. I know it's going to do well, but I just don't give a damn. And I'm kind of at a point now where it makes me angry, so I don't want to do it. So I'm doing the opposite.

Miss Marilyn [00:35:29] Yeah, yeah. I'm the same. I'm the same. I've got a dilemma right now, right. I've got an event on the same day that Barbie comes out.

Wicked Wren [00:35:39] It's a big day for you.

Miss Marilyn [00:35:41] It's a huge day for me, okay.

Wicked Wren [00:35:43] I understand.

Miss Marilyn [00:35:44] And it's a cool, it's a cool, private, kinky event, okay? And I'm, I've been invited because of who I am. And I'm like, I have plans to go see Barbie with my best friend, and it's on the same day. And I was like, Oh, do I go? I said I was going, but then I was like, But I really want to go see Barbie with my best friend.

Wicked Wren [00:36:06] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:36:07] And then my head immediately went, Oh, but the party will look great on social media.

Wicked Wren [00:36:12] Yeah. Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:36:15] Done.

Wicked Wren [00:36:15] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:36:15] Die.

Wicked Wren [00:36:16] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:36:16] Spotless.

Wicked Wren [00:36:17] Shut up. Shut up.

Miss Marilyn [00:36:21] I mean, it's poisonous. It is poisonous.

Wicked Wren [00:36:26] It is bad. It is bad. Do you have any, like. Okay, so you're posting more of your art now. And it's awesome. And it's inspiring to me.

Miss Marilyn [00:36:37] It's just my, just my little animal.

Wicked Wren [00:36:39] It's from Ralph. Little lamb. How are you, like, did you –.

Miss Marilyn [00:36:43] Or mouse?

Wicked Wren [00:36:44] Hm?

Miss Marilyn [00:36:44] Or mouse? Or rabbit? According to you.

Wicked Wren [00:36:47] Everyone, not a rabbit but a lamb, okay. Do you have any, like, I don't know, like, new rules or like a, like a little mantra? Like what was, like, it seems like you made a decision. Am I wrong? I might be kind of putting this out there, but it seems like you're, like, screw it. I'm gonna do what I want to do. That's what it feels like.

Miss Marilyn [00:37:07] So I don't know if you, so I started painting a few years ago and I actually I don't know if you've seen them, but I did quite a lot of paintings of Cam in full latex.

Wicked Wren [00:37:19] Neat, I didn't. I should.

Miss Marilyn [00:37:20] Oh, You've not seen them yet. So basically I did loads of latex paintings and I'm very rarely very confident of anything. But these paintings are freaking hot, right? I have never seen anyone paint anything like this. So I put them out there and they got thousands and thousands of likes. Loads of people wanted to like, buy them, get prints, blah, blah, blah. And then I was like damn it. Because it's just another part of my life.

Wicked Wren [00:37:46] Yes.

Miss Marilyn [00:37:46] That's about the exact same damn thing.

Wicked Wren [00:37:50] Yes.

Miss Marilyn [00:37:51] And I need and what? I just need to keep painting latex every time I paint so I stay relevant like, screw this. And so I was like, I'm not going to paint latex anymore.

Wicked Wren [00:38:03] Yeah. Good.

Miss Marilyn [00:38:04] I'm going to paint a cat. Because I really like cats, and I don't care if nobody likes it.

Wicked Wren [00:38:10] Yeah, they're great.

Miss Marilyn [00:38:12] But the thing is I do care if people like it. That's it.

Wicked Wren [00:38:14] Yeah. We have to – everyone listening. If you like it, please go ahead and drop it a like, okay. Please comment.

Miss Marilyn [00:38:19] And then, I thought, I even thought, you know, Oh, God, how can I combine the two? Maybe I should start painting cats in latex. And then I was like, No, no, no. Because I get heat for that. Because it's sexualizing an animal. People will think I'm a furry. And unfortunately, furries are very stigmatized. There's also negative terms, you know, just that would also hurt the brand.

Wicked Wren [00:38:40] There's a lot going on here, you know.

Miss Marilyn [00:38:42] There is. There are a lot of things at play. And so, you know, but the thing is, I enjoy painting latex, but then I immediately felt pressure to paint more. Yeah. And that's just what turned me right off it. And the thing is, I buy new latex because I love latex and I put it on and I look good. But then I don't want to post a photo because I don't want to feed the damn machine.

Wicked Wren [00:39:09] That's how I feel. And like, screw the machine. I don't want to do this. Screw you, machine. But then I, but then I don't know if –

Miss Marilyn [00:39:15] But it also affects your income.

Wicked Wren [00:39:16] It does. But see, the weird thing about me is I'll put on an outfit, I'll look super cute. I'll go out and do something. I say to myself –

Miss Marilyn [00:39:24] You look super cute in every outfit.

Wicked Wren [00:39:25] Thank you so much.

Miss Marilyn [00:39:26] You're so welcome.

Wicked Wren [00:39:28] So I go out and I live my life. I order the coffee, I have fun in the world. Then I come home and I say to myself, Before I take off this outfit, wash my face, I should post a picture of my story. I should, I should document this. But then I say to myself, You know what? Screw you, I'm not going to do it. But then the weird thing is I feel like crap because I'm like, I missed this opportunity. And I think about all my friends that post constantly and I'm like, I want to be just like her. And it's just very difficult.

Miss Marilyn [00:39:59] There's so many things that go through your head. And I don't think people who – I've never been like a content creator in any facet, in any way whatsoever would understand what we're talking about. But I'm the same. I get to the end of the day and I'm like, I've not posted on my story at all today. I feel really good. And then I see someone else I know and they've posted loads of stuff and they've got loads of likes and they've got a cool new reel and oh my God, it's got 200 comments and I've posted nothing?

Wicked Wren [00:40:28] I know, I know, I know, I know it's bad, but I don't know. I do feel like I have, I think I'm at a place now where I don't care and I'm only posting things that I like and want to do.

Miss Marilyn [00:40:43] That's good. I'm so happy for you.

Wicked Wren [00:40:44] Thank you so much. It's been a journey for me. It's been very therapeutic but I've also been like, I don't know, I just want to make stuff. So I'm going to start making things or doing photography and so doing all these other items. You know what?

Miss Marilyn [00:40:56] Yes.

Wicked Wren [00:40:57] Screw it, I'm going to do it.

Miss Marilyn [00:40:59] Yes, you should. What else are you going to do apart from photography?

Wicked Wren [00:41:01] I don't know. Oh, I don't know. I can't draw. I can't. It's just –.

Miss Marilyn [00:41:07] Everyone can draw. Everyone can.

Wicked Wren [00:41:08] Okay, stop. I knew you're going to say that. And this is what everyone in my life said to me. But I don't, I don't understand how to do it. It doesn't make sense. Like perspective? I can't see it. If something like that, like a profile, like the side... It just doesn't make like, I don't –.

Miss Marilyn [00:41:26] Oh, I can't.

Wicked Wren [00:41:28] I think you can.

Miss Marilyn [00:41:29] No, I can't. I can't. I'm telling you.

Wicked Wren [00:41:33] How do you paint then?

Miss Marilyn [00:41:34] I can paint. I can paint really well, but I can't draw.

Wicked Wren [00:41:38] I don't get the difference. I think that that might be the issue. I mean, I... They're still shapes, you have to color them in.

Miss Marilyn [00:41:47] Right. Okay. Yeah. Fair. I can't explain. I don't know what's going on.

Miss Marilyn [00:41:56] But yeah, no, I love that, though. Like, you want to do stuff and you want to make stuff, so that's what you're going to do. And I think that's very much what I'm about now as well, because I'm like, I no longer want to feed the machine. I'm sick of going online and seeing all the other stuff that people have made and feeling really bad about it. And also, I have a few really close friends who have just started sex work in like the last few years. But it's a very different world now, starting sex work. So like I said, it's mostly, well, it's not mostly. They do work in person, but obviously they also need to be really cool on social media. So they're posting, like amazing photos of them in latex with, like, gimps and subs and they're posting photos of them at parties in London. And I'm like, I want that to be me. I'm so freaking jealous of these people.

Wicked Wren [00:42:52] Yeah, yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:42:53] I'm sick. But then I try and focus on the fact that I think my journey was better because –

Wicked Wren [00:43:02] I was going to say that.

Miss Marilyn [00:43:03] For years, there was not a thought in my head about how cool I was. When I was working in person, although I was posting on Twitter about availability and stuff, I just wasn't concerned with – obviously, I wanted to look nice for my clients, but I wasn't concerned with like curating an online presence or brand or anything like that.

Wicked Wren [00:43:26] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:43:27] And I just think, I just think my journey at the beginning must have been so much more enjoyable and not, not authentic, but, like just easier in a way. So I try and focus on that when I get really jealous of my friends that have kind of just started and are down, you know, having an absolute blast at the coolest parties with all the coolest people. I'm just like, It's okay. It's okay.

Wicked Wren [00:43:56] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:43:56] It's okay, right?

Wicked Wren [00:43:59] Right? Right? It's fine. Yeah, no, I agree with you fully. I think like because I came in during the social media time and it feels daunting. It feels brutal. Like it feels, like every day I am, like spinning plates and like, okay, there's Threads and there's Instagram, there's Twitter and there's TikTok, and it's like everything is going on and so I am envious of you, and I'm sure that your friends are also envious of your time coming in.

Miss Marilyn [00:44:30] Me? You're envious of me? Why?

Wicked Wren [00:44:31] Because you got to do it when it doesn't – you didn't have to worry about this little softcore p*** brick, you know, in our pockets. And that's cool, you know? But, yeah. Hey, the grass is always greener. Ralph knows that.

Miss Marilyn [00:44:43]  That is true. And this is what I've been trying, I've been trying to explain to myself multiple times. Because, you know, I'm seeing all these amazing, amazing sex workers posting their content literally 24/7. Like they are constantly, all I see on my phone is them.

Wicked Wren [00:45:01] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:45:01] And I'm like, Wow. One, how are they doing it? Two, why can I not function like that? Like, what is wrong with my brain that I'm unable to, like, work that efficiently?

Wicked Wren [00:45:13] And I think it's more than one human. I think it's a lot of people.

Miss Marilyn [00:45:20] You started mumbling again.

Wicked Wren [00:45:22] Going back to my roots. You know, I think it's, I think, I think it's like people having teams, you know, maybe not everyone. Not everyone. Not everyone. Not everyone. But that's the thing that's kind of annoying to me. It's like...

Miss Marilyn [00:45:36] But some people that do post 24/7 don't have teams. It's just them.

Wicked Wren [00:45:41] I couldn't. I couldn't. I don't know. Maybe it's like, maybe it's like coming into it and being like, prepare for it. Like, this is what it is. Like this is the ecosystem that I'm entering. So it's like if you enter it, you're like, This is all I know. No, I don't know.

Miss Marilyn [00:45:58] I think, I think there was a, there have been a few girls in the last five years and they have came out and said, like, they made a conscious decision to commit to online sex work for like three years. And I'm talking like all day, every day. They did nothing else and they've made bank and then they're out and they're back to life. But that's, that's like 24/7 everyday. And I've actually spoken to a girl who's done this and she like worked her butt off for three years. And don't get me wrong, it paid off, but for me. That's a lot of laughter with my friends that I've missed out on, a lot of good meals and coffees and dogs that I haven't met. Do you know if I've just, if I've just been in the house – for me personally that I couldn't do it. That my brain would just explode. Like I would be so depressed?

Wicked Wren [00:46:57] Yeah, I kind of feel the same way. It's like and if your, if everything you do is about content creation, once that's not there, you're kind of like, Okay, now what do I do? And I'm not saying that that's what's happening with this person, but for me it was like, like if I was doing that for three years, it's like, then how do you get going out and surfing or going out and like doing stuff back into your rotation because you've optimized all these aspects of your life. It's like, you know, it's why, like people after they retire usually take jobs. You know, it's like because they're just kind of bored. But you're very right.

Miss Marilyn [00:47:34] I think another thing worth worth mentioning especially about, well, not actually about online sex work or just sex work in general. Because of the way that we live now and the way that we advertise ourselves, you all know, as well as I do, like, the more you're online, the more money you make. So you have no cap to how much you earn. So if you, if you take any time off, you're so hard on yourself because it's like, it is up to me. Like the the earning potential for sex work is insane.

Wicked Wren [00:48:08] Yes.

Miss Marilyn [00:48:09] Like, even though the market is really saturated, there are still ways to make loads and loads of money. But you need to be constant.

Wicked Wren [00:48:17] Yes.

Miss Marilyn [00:48:17] And the punishment, the like hatred you have for yourself when you take any time off, because there's no hourly wage, there's no sick pay. The only person that's responsible for how much you're making and how well your life is going financially is you.

Wicked Wren [00:48:34] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:48:35] And that just, I ended up hating myself because I was like, I want to make this amount of money. But then when I made that, that wasn't enough. I wanted to make more and more and more. When would it be enough? I don't think it would have ever been enough.

Wicked Wren [00:48:49] Yeah. Yeah. I think like having an out point or something like that or having like some kind of goals is so, so important with it, because if not, you'll go crazy. You know? Because I do that too.

Miss Marilyn [00:49:04] Oh, god. Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:49:04] You know, it's like, I can't sit there online all day long. Like some days of the week, I'll sit online. For 15 hours a day and it's cool. But then I'll go in a week and I can't do anything. So it's like, I can't feel bad about that, you know, because –

Miss Marilyn [00:49:19] Especially, when you, especially, when you don't have a team. Like I've never had a team. I had a personal assistant for a bit, but I've never had a team. And I think when you are doing it, it's just all about finding the middle ground of like – because not only is it like the more you are online, the more money you make, but you need to be consistent.

Wicked Wren [00:49:37] Consistency is the number one thing.

Miss Marilyn [00:49:39] And I'm consistent with nothing. And no matter, no matter how – like even though I know, that consistency is key and that would be better for me financially than being online 24/7 for a week and then nothing for three days. I still could not manage it.

Wicked Wren [00:50:00] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:50:00] Like I could never get the balance right.

Wicked Wren [00:50:03] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:50:03] I just, I worried and was so horrible to myself because I was just like, Why is your brain not like everybody else's? Why can't I make, why can't I do it? I'm watching other people do it. Why can't I?

Wicked Wren [00:50:17] Yeah, but you're just a different person. You know?

Miss Marilyn [00:50:22] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:50:22] You're just different.

Miss Marilyn [00:50:24] Yeah, well, I, you know, I never made OF bank. I'm not like a p*** superstar. And that's okay. Like I said in the video. Like I said in the video, you know, like, that's okay. Like –

Wicked Wren [00:50:38] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:50:39] Alright. Okay. I'm not cool. That's okay. Like my friends still like me. That's fine.

Wicked Wren [00:50:44] Well, on that note. They like you, promise. And you are also one of the coolest people in the world. What do you have coming up? What are you excited about? What are you doing? Maybe what are you doing for dinner tonight? Or maybe what are you doing this week? Or maybe bigger? Anything coming up?

Miss Marilyn [00:51:06] Do you know what? I'm going to talk about something really simple. I am, I've been enjoying baking a lot.

Wicked Wren [00:51:13] I love that.

Miss Marilyn [00:51:14] And it's just so simple. And you know what, right? I I've been enjoying baking and I've also been enjoying gardening.

Wicked Wren [00:51:24] Oh my god, I love it.

Miss Marilyn [00:51:25] And I hate myself for it. I don't, I don't want to be that guy. I did the garden, and I could not believe how much I enjoyed it. It's the most I've enjoyed anything for years.

Wicked Wren [00:51:34] I think it's a human thing. We want to do it and we want to get dirty.

Miss Marilyn [00:51:37] I want to punch myself in the face for it.

Wicked Wren [00:51:39] Don't, don't, don't.

Miss Marilyn [00:51:42] Because I'm like, these things you're enjoying. They're not cool. They're not cool. If you post a video of you gardening, nobody's going to like it.

Wicked Wren [00:51:51] No.

Miss Marilyn [00:51:52] Nobody's going to pay you for it. You're not sexy doing the garden. Out with your trowel.

Wicked Wren [00:51:57] Here's my question. Have you thought about gardening in latex? Because maybe that will...

Miss Marilyn [00:52:02] Oh my god.

Wicked Wren [00:52:05] Maybe, maybe that'll get it in the mainstream. You know what I mean?

Miss Marilyn [00:52:08] So, yeah, I am, I am just living the slow life at the moment.

Wicked Wren [00:52:14] I love it.

Miss Marilyn [00:52:16] I signed up to do a degree of forensic psychology. And which I will be starting in October, because I was very daunted to start studying again and very much kind of towards not the end. I've obviously still, I'm still doing sex work to a degree, but like in the last kind of year or so, I was like, how am I, am I ever going to get out of sex work? Like, I've been doing this for 11 years and it's the only thing I've done. My CV is looking very suspicious.

Wicked Wren [00:52:51] Explain this 12 year gap in your resume, please.

Miss Marilyn [00:52:55] Yes. I was sucking d*** on the internet and yeah. I'm just, I'm just living, so I'm waiting for my degree to go. I wanted to do it kind of like working with animals, but I didn't have the qualifications to get into any of the courses. And then I kind of thought, What else am I passionate about? So I'll be studying forensic psychology. I'm working with a few animal rescues and paintings and stuff. I've got a lot of paintings planned and yeah, I've just uhm, I will do some fetish paintings again soon to make myself some money. And obviously I've got, I've got two books coming up as well.

Wicked Wren [00:53:37] What are your books?

Miss Marilyn [00:53:38] So I've got the second installment of Rotten Apple. So obviously the first one was out in 2021. Second is going to be hopefully at the end of this year. And even writing wise, still kinky, still loads of incest. Still loads of horrible fetishy stuff. I've written a collection of kind of really weird, dark fairy tales.

Wicked Wren [00:54:03] Hmm.

Miss Marilyn [00:54:05] So releasing them as well. It's just like yourself what you said. Like, there's things I want to do and there's things I want to make, and I'm just desperately trying to break free from the chains of the content machine.

Wicked Wren [00:54:18] Well, these are chains that I believe in you. I know you're going to break them.

Miss Marilyn [00:54:22] Thank you. Thank you. I hope so.

Wicked Wren [00:54:24] Where can people find these books and paintings and things?

Miss Marilyn [00:54:27] Oh, well, I just, I'm mostly on Instagram, to be honest. I don't really use much else. I feel like I'm getting old, though.

Miss Marilyn [00:54:34] I don't want to use social media anymore. Do you know what I mean like? I would really (inaudible).

Wicked Wren [00:54:38] You're going to be on Facebook soon.

Miss Marilyn [00:54:42] Don't. I had to join Facebook the other day.

Wicked Wren [00:54:44] Of course, you did.

Miss Marilyn [00:54:47] It's just because the, there's a rescue and they were like, Oh, we have a chat on Facebook. And I was like, Oh, I'm not on Facebook. And they were like, Oh, well, could you join? And I was like ugh.

Wicked Wren [00:54:55] That's how it starts now. Now you've got Facebook Messenger.

Miss Marilyn [00:54:56] Yeah, I know.

Wicked Wren [00:54:58] They're going to be like, Oh, you need this Hotmail account too.

Miss Marilyn [00:55:01] Oh, my God.

Wicked Wren [00:55:02] Yeah. This is how it works. You're going to start calling people instead of texting them.

Miss Marilyn [00:55:08] Jeez. No, never. Never. Never. The dread that fills me when my phone rings.

Wicked Wren [00:55:13] I know, I know.

Miss Marilyn [00:55:16] So. Yeah, I'm just, um. I'm just allowing myself to be I think.

Wicked Wren [00:55:22] The slow life.

Miss Marilyn [00:55:24] And, yeah, I'm really, I'm really poor now, you know.

Wicked Wren [00:55:28] Right.

Miss Marilyn [00:55:29] But again, it's just, it's just another thing that's okay. Do you know like –

Wicked Wren [00:55:35] It is okay.

Miss Marilyn [00:55:35] I chased, I chased the dream. I chased the money for a long time and it just never came. And I was so angry about that for so long. And I saw people, you know, doing less that were making more money. And it just got to the point where I just had so much anger that I was just like, This isn't right. Like, I cannot live like this. You just need to let go.

Wicked Wren [00:55:58] Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:56:00] So I'm going to plant some rose bushes.

Wicked Wren [00:56:02] I love that.

Miss Marilyn [00:56:03] And bake more. Bake some more banana bread for my elderly neighbor and pet some cats that need some homes.

Wicked Wren [00:56:10] Honestly, it sounds like you're living the dream. It's incredible.

Miss Marilyn [00:56:15] I just, I very much – especially due to social media, I think the world's not very great.

Wicked Wren [00:56:25] Yeah. Yeah.

Miss Marilyn [00:56:26] The state of it. Especially, you know, there's a lot of hatred at the moment. And it seems to just be getting worse and worse. It's almost like time's gone backwards and it's honestly terrifying. And although, you know, sex work for me has been a wonderful, wonderful job, I still feel very strongly about it. I will always advocate for sex workers and stuff. And I just, I just really want to work hard on putting whatever kindness and softness into the world that I can, because I there's just really not enough going around right now.

Wicked Wren [00:57:08] Yeah. I agree with you. Well, on that note, I want to thank you for chatting with me. You're amazing.

Miss Marilyn [00:57:16] Thank you so much for having me. It's been so nice to actually chat to you finally.

Wicked Wren [00:57:20] I know. So cool. I learned a lot.

Miss Marilyn [00:57:24] Girl, you're so cool. We are so cool. Look at us.

Wicked Wren [00:57:29] Look at us. Well, look. Good luck on your gardening adventures and your banana bread. I can't wait to see pictures of it or not.


DK Blackfish shares how they embraced their identity inspired by the documentary "Blackfish" and discusses their rope journey. Their bottom-up approach includes models reaching out to them and a trauma-informed negotiation process.


DK Blackfish shares how they embraced their identity inspired by the documentary "Blackfish" and discusses their rope journey. Their bottom-up approach includes models reaching out to them and a trauma-informed negotiation process.

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Guest Bio

DK Blackfish, a.k.a., Blackfish Rope Works, is a non-binary, non-professional practitioner of the Japanese form of rope bondage since 2016, who has been personally instructed and influenced by various rope artists in the U.S. and in Japan. DK Blackfish has privately practiced rope bondage with dedicated partners to grow in the art form and experience the emotional bliss of tying up humans through private, lifestyle-sessions, and also through 'not-for-profit,' rope photography/videography, performance, and instruction. DK Blackfish, under the alias of Delilah Knotty, previously modeled in the western form of rope bondage photography since the early 2000's, depicting the traditional motif of the 'damsel in distress' in on-line websites and once printed magazines like Harmony Concepts. It has always been their dream through rope bondage expression, practice, and out-reach for over 20 years, to see the rope bondage community grow to what it is today.


Wicked Wren [00:00:08] Welcome to the Shibari Study podcast. I'm a good read, and today I'm speaking to my friend Delilah. They are a group artist with an everlasting enthusiasm to expand ropes influence in the world. Hello, Delilah. How are you?

DK Blackfish [00:00:23] Irene I'm very well. Pleasure to be here. Good.

Wicked Wren [00:00:27] So you've been involved in rope for a while?

DK Blackfish [00:00:30] Yes, for for a long time.

Wicked Wren [00:00:32] How did you find rope? What appealed to you about it?

DK Blackfish [00:00:36] Well, I am a rope is, you know, is a beautiful heart in itself. And I love to see people tied up. I mean, it's very erotic. And I got into it because I used to buy magazines back in the late nineties, and the Western style rope was like kind of a very interesting take on tying people because it really just emphasized like a damsel in distress scenario. And that was just very beautiful to me.

Wicked Wren [00:01:02] Do you still have those magazines?

DK Blackfish [00:01:04] I have a couple. I have kept a couple.

Wicked Wren [00:01:07] That's so cool.

DK Blackfish [00:01:08] Yeah. Yeah. They're they're old school and kind of hard to find nowadays.

Wicked Wren [00:01:12] Yeah, you should maybe, like, get them framed or something. That'll be really cool to see.

DK Blackfish [00:01:16] Yeah, I've thought of doing that for a couple. You know, one day I might do that.

Wicked Wren [00:01:20] Yeah. You do the damsel in distress motif often?

DK Blackfish [00:01:26] I Yes, I used to do that a lot more, and I kind of got back into it recently, just for fun, just to show something different on social media. Because what we see most of the time now is like the Japanese style of rope, but like, yeah, I brought it back. And then one of this show a little bit more like this kind of rope with cotton. With white cotton rope. Yeah, Yeah. And that's how it was in the in the early 2000s when I started in rope.

Wicked Wren [00:01:50] Wow. And why did you take a break from that? You know, why did you kind of get away from it for a bit?

DK Blackfish [00:01:58] Well, in the early 2000, I was doing a lot of bondage modeling and I was shooting photography with a friend. And it was it was great. You know, I just love doing it. It's so exciting just to be tied up. And also the tie someone. I did take a break because of personal reasons in the late 18th and early 2000, say actually I had children and so I stopped and then I kind of got back into it because, you know, us in rope, we just can't stop tying.

Wicked Wren [00:02:24] Yeah.

DK Blackfish [00:02:25] And I got into it again, like the 2011 through 2015, and I was starting to do more Western style rope.

Wicked Wren [00:02:34] Gotcha. Yeah, we don't have to talk about this part, but I think it would be cool to talk about you having kids and being kinky. Would you want to talk about that at all?

DK Blackfish [00:02:44] Yeah, I can talk about that. Yeah. My, you know, having family, just like many of us, we have families and, you know, kink is part of our lifestyle. And you just integrate kink within the family matrix, really, and you just learn how to kind of balance out without, like, necessarily exposing them to it, you know? And until they get older.

Wicked Wren [00:03:06] Do your kids know that you're kinky now?

DK Blackfish [00:03:09] Yes, they do. They do. They definitely know. They they've seen my rig at home. They've never really they've never seen me tie anybody. But they definitely follow me on Instagram. Yeah. Because they I gave them a sticker from my friend Katy calls you and they were like, Oh, and they found Katie. And then they found me on Instagram. Really?

Wicked Wren [00:03:30] Like, this person looks familiar. Yeah.

DK Blackfish [00:03:32] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:03:33] Were you nervous to come out to your kids and tell them that you were kinky?

DK Blackfish [00:03:37] You know, they actually approached me, and it was right around here at the beach. They were like, Hey, we want to talk to you about what you do. And we kind of know. I told them, I said, you know, I tie up people and they were like, okay, that's good. That's that's enough. But they, you know, now they kind of think it's kind of cool.

Wicked Wren [00:03:55] I bet that a lot of people are nervous to tell their kids that they're kinky and things like that.

DK Blackfish [00:04:00] Oh, most definitely. You know, I think mainly they're just worried about their friends, their kids, their kids friends and their families finding out. So, yeah, that's where I try to keep it kind of a closed door on that situation.

Wicked Wren [00:04:13] Yeah.

DK Blackfish [00:04:14] But I think they tell everybody, you know, kids, they talk.

Wicked Wren [00:04:18] They do. And also the acceptance with bondage and things has really come a long way.

DK Blackfish [00:04:24] It has I believe it has at least. You know, I'm a little bit jaded because I do this and our community is all centered about rope. It's my lifestyle. But, you know, you see it on Instagram, you see it on social media, you see rope and in videos. And it's becoming a sexy new thing. And people really enjoy it. It's I mean, pundit has always been a part of our life. It's been in movies, you know, it's always been kind of like an underlying theme. But yeah, social media really changed the game on this, I think.

Wicked Wren [00:04:58] Agreed. I literally just did a podcast and I talked about how latex is coming into fashion now, like in high fashion. It's people wearing latex to the Grammys and things like that. And that really wasn't a thing as like it is now.

DK Blackfish [00:05:12] No, I know. And they're wearing like strappy kind of like underwear or strappy bras. And just all of that has a very strong undertone of fetish and kink.

Wicked Wren [00:05:22] Yeah, there's a brand. I forget the name of the. Brand, but they make lingerie and they had some lingerie where they sewed in some dollar bills. And then a couple stripper friends of mine reposted that and was like, They want to be so bad, but they hate us in a way. And I think that it's this bad part right now where everyone wants to be a sex worker, everyone wants to be kinky, everyone wants to put themselves out there. They don't realize, like the repercussions of actually doing these things, right?

DK Blackfish [00:05:54] Yeah. Socially, it may seem like it's being more accepted. It is on social media, but we still need to make be active in this and sharing this and making it normal.

Wicked Wren [00:06:03] And yes, I remember when I saw you the like Thriller series on Netflix and the character Joe got tied up anyway. He was in like a hog tie, and I immediately was like, Who did that? Because it was actually like, not bad rope. And I was like, Yeah.

DK Blackfish [00:06:21] Yeah, I love seeing stuff like that because you are so curious and you know, really secretly get off and I, I troll for things like that.

Wicked Wren [00:06:28] Yeah. I mean, so you two, so you recently did a project and I've only seen this on your social I don't know much about it. It was called Opera Unbound, right.

DK Blackfish [00:06:38] Yeah, it was unbound. It was a kinky immersive opera in Palm Springs. Okay. And it was all gay male, you know, opera singers that were centered around actually about centered around Jabari. So I had to teach these these singers how to do like a very, very basic suspension in such a phenomenal short time. The run up was like less than a month.

Wicked Wren [00:07:05] Wow.

DK Blackfish [00:07:06] It was intense, but it was a really good experience.

Wicked Wren [00:07:08] And for people that don't know, Palm Springs is a historically very gay area of California.

DK Blackfish [00:07:15] It's very gay and it's really just dominated by, you know, Yeah. Like, you know, older, in fact, older gay community there. And it was interesting why they brought that there because. KING You know, it is a part of the gay community, but not Jabari and Rob art itself. So the producer brought this King opera there to try to like kind of expand the whole thing about Jabari in that community.

Wicked Wren [00:07:42] So you said that you had to bring people up to proficiency very quickly.

DK Blackfish [00:07:46] Yes. Yes.

Wicked Wren [00:07:47] How did you approach that?

DK Blackfish [00:07:49] That was you know, I had a lot of ambivalence on that at first. And so I, I with some hesitation and thought, I said, okay, I'm going to do this. And I just told them immediately right off the bat, like, there are serious risks to this. I almost like scared them off, you know, And they were like, We still want to do this, you know? So like, okay, So I taught them over a series of weekends. Maybe we spent about 20 hours learning like just basic tying and then a suspension.

Wicked Wren [00:08:19] Wow.

DK Blackfish [00:08:20] And I did this by like, module. So we did five. Like the first day was like a basic tie. Yeah. And this second day was like, okay, now we're going to start tying the chests, you know? And they started learning that and they were building the rig inside the director's house at the same time. So day three, we actually did a suspension and, you know, they were really surprised at how difficult it was.

Wicked Wren [00:08:47] Yeah. How many different elements of kink were in this opera?

DK Blackfish [00:08:51] You know, there were a couple of people. And that's a really good question because I got really serious when I started teaching them. I started teaching them how to play, how to get into somebody's head and like how to really make this opera like not just like a singing thing, but I wanted that seemed to be authentic because they were new to role, but some of them were into kink, and so they kind of understood. So there's a difference in acting. One is a call, you know, like I think method acting, and then one is kind of like a natural acting, right? And we had an experience and I'm not going to say who was, but one of them really. They all started doing the method acting and actually got into the headspace of one of them. But one of the actors was like, they actually broke down. They actually had a whole pause. It was like a drama scene. And to their credit, they they said, Hey, this is not really what I bought into this part. This is like, this is an opera. This is a theatrical experience. It's not real. So it became such an interesting learning experience because I had no idea that while I was actually going to teach people like how to actually play and do something that was authentic, that it would actually trigger somebody on an emotional level. Yeah, it was intense.

Wicked Wren [00:10:07] Do you feel like the people that were in the opera took these things into their own kink play after? Do you think of this kind of informed their other kink disciplines?

DK Blackfish [00:10:18] I think for a few, for first, for sure, yeah. There's definitely a few in there that really enjoyed it and like to learn what I was. Teaching them. I think the producer, they really loved that, you know, they were really into it.

Wicked Wren [00:10:32] Was this one of the first times you've done something this quickly, bringing people from zero to like 100? So.

DK Blackfish [00:10:39] Yeah, I've never done anything like that. And I think most people in the community would be like, You can't do that, right? There's so many people. So you can do suspensions for like six months or nine months. They were doing it in a month, you know, But I thought it could be done. I mean, the thing is, actors learn so quickly. They learn the lines and they learn how to sing and do their do their thing. I thought they could be adaptive and they did pick up on it quite quickly.

Wicked Wren [00:11:02] Yeah, well, that was my next question, was that a lot of people would say that's too quick. You know, a lot of them. Yeah.

DK Blackfish [00:11:09] But, but they're, they're adaptive. They can kind of learn quickly and they were kind of already in the kink scene. It was like it. And we spent a lot of time learning this, you know, five hour blocks and yeah, yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:11:22] You kind of got the perfect setup of person to learn this. Like an actor that was fluent in kink knows about, you know, risk knows about different things like that. Right. And then also in the situation where you're there 100% of the time that they're actually in rope. So you can help mitigate. Right.

DK Blackfish [00:11:43] Like I was there, I was watching and, you know, I taught them all the safety measures, you know, use shears and if you need to and and all the other issues, particularly with the arms and risks for tying people. Yeah, they they did very good. And in the end the show was very successful. I mean they ran through and people really enjoyed it.

Wicked Wren [00:12:04] Do you have any big takeaways that you've learned from that? I mean, you did something super unique. I don't know if anyone else has done something like that. Like.

DK Blackfish [00:12:13] Well, I mean, I learned so much about Palm Springs in the gay community, right, and LGBTQ community, how those don't exactly mesh completely. And then also about like how to teach people that are learning and how to like, really recognize that, you know, there are different ways to teach people. And the takeaway was like, I can have a serious impact on somebody's mental ability or capability while you're teaching them. And it was just it was kind of like a mine. I hit a mine on that. It was beautiful in one sense, but very, very dangerous. And then yeah, yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:12:47] Do you think that that informs your play coming back home?

DK Blackfish [00:12:52] It did. It did. Especially if for me to be teaching because I do want to get more into teaching and personally and just small classes if I can. And it definitely gives me perspective. It gave me a perspective, yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:13:06] How do you approach sessions? Because I see online you do things that are obviously photo rope, but their artistic. The goal seems to be amazing pictures.

DK Blackfish [00:13:19] Right? Yes.

Wicked Wren [00:13:20] And it also feels like you have things that are play based and where you maybe you're just grabbing a quick picture or something like that. How do you approach those two things?

DK Blackfish [00:13:28] Right. Right. Yeah, they're totally different. Right? Like in in like I'll start with the play sessions, right? How do I approach that? So the play session is, you know, those are very unique and, and they're connective type of rope that people say and it's intimate, you know, it's not in terms of sexual, but it's like between two people when you tie, there is intimacy there. I approach it in a way in a very safe manner and I try to practice what they're looking for. And I tie and we tie together and in a way that's very communicative and embodied and cathartic, if you will. And it's a very beautiful thing. And when I take a picture of those moments, you know, of course, with their permission, it's like you've got to break away from the scene to take it, you know? But, you know, I know how to take a photo for Instagram, right? You know, like, I've done this so long, it's like, hey, I need this for the ground. And they want it to. Yeah, yeah, and yeah, yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:14:25] Well, so much of the community is on Instagram, you know, so much of like, so much of everybody's is represented through Instagram.

DK Blackfish [00:14:34] It is a.

Wicked Wren [00:14:34] Better way of saying.

DK Blackfish [00:14:35] Yeah, Instagram is, is the social medium for I think grow.

Wicked Wren [00:14:40] It seems like your play sessions are you're kind of capturing a moment in time with that and then with photography and like art. How are you approaching that?

DK Blackfish [00:14:48] Yeah, for photography and art is it that is like just a lot of fun. I love to do that. It's a great thing to do. I've always done it, you know, for years. I approach it in a collaborative effort. Usually I don't get paid for anything that I do. In fact, I try not to get paid because it allows me the ability to be very creative. Yes. So I collaborate with models and photographers and then we'll get a studio or shoot outside and we'll just create something together, sometimes very much on the fly, but very, very, very esthetically pleasing type of tie so that it can be shown on Instagram. And now I get taken down, but also, you know, spread the word how beautiful bondage can be. And, you know, people really resonate with that kind of thing. It's such a powerful. Actually conveyance of rope bondage through social media. And, you know, I've gotten comments from all kinds of people on this, not even in row, but they just like to see it.

Wicked Wren [00:15:49] Was there a time where you felt scared or nervous to share your art?

DK Blackfish [00:15:57] Oh, that is such a big question. Yes, have. It was interesting. In 2016 or so, I finally got comfortable with myself in rope and actually tying. For years. I've always was worried about what were the social implications of showing myself tied up or tying people because, you know, it's socially accepted in some realms, but generally not in our homes. Yeah, yeah. It's there is a growth and curve on that. And to, to this day now I'm fine. You know, there's not a second that I think about whether if I get outed or something or someone says something that I would feel shame about it because this is my lifestyle and I'm a strong advocate for it and I just want it to be accepted and less marginalized. But yeah, there was definitely a time and I'm sure there is there are others out there.

Wicked Wren [00:16:48] How did you get over that fear? Like, was there an inciting incident that kind of pushed you something? You heard something like that?

DK Blackfish [00:16:56] You know, I don't think there was. I think it was just that one day I just became very comfortable with that. I was just like, hey, you know, I this is who I am. I'm Delilah. Delilah Naughty or D.K. Blackfish, you know. And I got really comfortable with that.

Wicked Wren [00:17:11] Where did Blackfish come from?

DK Blackfish [00:17:14] That's a great question. I love that. You know, thank you for asking. So Blackfish and I deliberately took this name. You know, so the movie Blackfish, right? You were saying that about the killer whales, right? I saw that movie and I resonated with that movie. I was like, Oh my God, you know, here are these killer whales. They're apex animals, and they're being captured and and being made to do these tricks. And they're. And I thought, oh, that I kind of felt like that, like as a bondage model that I was like being captured and being shown to do things, you know, basically take photos and show it online. And also, they're very apex. I mean, the top of the food chain, right? And I kind of look at myself like that, especially when it comes to tying as a top. And so I thought it'd just all work together. So I was like, Blackfish is going to be my new performance name. And I took it up around 2015. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. You know, the thing is, is that with something like that, you really got to look long term because I knew I've been, you know, I've been in this scene for so many years, and you the one thing you do knows is that you get recognition with Google after about five or ten years. Right? So I knew if I took it up in 2015, maybe five or six years later, it would become more of like my pseudonym. And it happened.

Wicked Wren [00:18:34] Wow. Yeah, I've always been curious about that. That's such a cool story, you know?

DK Blackfish [00:18:38] And it's like, you know, sometimes people identify with like, an animal, an animal persona, you know, like, you know, some people say they're a bird or some people they're a fox. Yeah. You know, I say I'm like a killer whale because I am a top. Yeah, I'm a RoboCop, you know?

Wicked Wren [00:18:55] Do you have any killer whale like art or like a stuffy or anything like that?

DK Blackfish [00:19:00] I have a killer whale onesie that was given to me by my real partner, and it's really cute.

Wicked Wren [00:19:05] I love that.

DK Blackfish [00:19:06] You know, my kids got a big kick out of it.

Wicked Wren [00:19:09] Do you tie in it?

DK Blackfish [00:19:11] I haven't yet. I don't know. You get really hot.

Wicked Wren [00:19:13] And I was about to say something. I noticed that you do when you tie that I think is very cool, is that you'll put little piles of rope around places and also carabiners around different places. And I've never seen someone do that.

DK Blackfish [00:19:26] Right? Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:19:27] Yeah. So you don't have to, like, search for it or whatever.

DK Blackfish [00:19:29] I do that in I can I don't know where I'm going to be once I start tying. Sometimes I start on the edge of my, you know, my area or right in the center. It's nice to be able to grab those things without losing your partner. You know, like I try to stay close to them. So if I have to, like, move away from them to grab some rope or a carabiner, I'm kind of losing the connection.

Wicked Wren [00:19:50] Yeah.

DK Blackfish [00:19:51] So that's why I. It's strategic. I put them around so I can grab it.

Wicked Wren [00:19:55] It's such a simple fix for that, you know?

DK Blackfish [00:19:58] Yeah. Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:19:59] Can you talk to me a little bit about your negotiation process or your intake process or tying with maybe new people and people you've consistently tied with?

DK Blackfish [00:20:09] Yeah, I yeah, I'm happy to talk about that. My, my approach has always been that for the 95% of the time models or, or partners, they approach me. Yeah. And that's kind of been my that's been in my approach to rope is to have a. Model approach me. And it usually either in person, if they've seen me perform with somebody or online. And that's part of the whole intake process because I feel safe, safer, if you will. I don't want to say it's completely safe, but if someone is approaching me, I don't appear to be are looking as if I am like looking for a model or, you know, hunting for a model because I don't I don't like that that the way that looks and it and it definitely can be portrayed incorrectly like you're a predator trying to tie people.

Wicked Wren [00:21:01] It also does flip the power dynamic. Right Right. And makes the model in a place of having to negotiate kind of up versus like someone coming to you and having full autonomy over that decision. But you on equal playing field, Right? That's a really wise thing. Yeah.

DK Blackfish [00:21:20] It is a bottom up kind of procedure, if you will. Like they come to me and then I'll open up the engagement and we usually talk and you know, we all talk either through text and I do zoom meetings beforehand frequently. I've met for coffee before we tie. It's very rare that I've actually just brought somebody into my house after like they and that's why, you know, that doesn't that doesn't happen. You know, it's not safe in any way, I think.

Wicked Wren [00:21:46] And when you do a Zoom meeting, are you just kind of hanging out and just like seeing if you do vibe or do you have specific things that you want to ask?

DK Blackfish [00:21:53] Right. Yeah. It's it's really is a vibe like they're going with you. When you look at each other, you kind of see you can read each other like, Hey, I may like to be with the time with that person. I do. They look safe. And then, yeah, we talk about anything that they're comfortable with and what I'm comfortable with, just how we're feeling. And then we go into the real things about what we're looking for and role.

Wicked Wren [00:22:12] Yeah. And how does the conversation around what you're looking for go?

DK Blackfish [00:22:16] Usually I usually ask, you know, why did you approach me? What was it that you really liked that made you want to try with me? And that will lead them into something? Either they want to look pretty or they like to be bound, or it looks very connective. And you know, I want a cool experience of some type and those and that can go into very different, different avenues of like discussion.

Wicked Wren [00:22:44] And then on your tying sessions, are you doing another round of maybe a say, Right.

DK Blackfish [00:22:51] Yeah. So like there's always an early pre negotiation I call it and then on the day of I always negotiate and I've learned this from a group here in negotiations is like you know you're not going to be perfect at it. You ask a lot of key questions and ask questions about how they're feeling, what's going on with their day, do they have any injuries or, you know, they're aware of the risk to this. Also, other things that I really started to bring in are like trauma informed kind of consent issues. And it's it's a really interesting because we all carry trauma and we get into rope to this in some ways to actually kind of healer selves. They're kind of or maybe numb it, but as a rigor, as a top, you know, you may actually accidentally step into that as you tie them. So I'm not asking them to tell me about their trauma. I'm just saying, hey, you know, I know we carry trauma around. If, for instance, I actually trigger something, I ask that we actually be able to to to work through that together because I it's not my intent to, like, bring out trauma. I want this to be a great, fun loving experience or sadistic, you know?

Wicked Wren [00:23:59] But like you said, the avenue for bringing up past trauma is there. I think that the real issue comes in when people, you know, especially top say, I can heal that trauma, which is I feel is very common, unfortunately. Right.

DK Blackfish [00:24:13] Yeah, I would be very wary of anybody. You can say that. I'd be wary of a lot of key things like that, especially if they say make it a safe environment or that's like not possible.

Wicked Wren [00:24:22] Miss True Blue said something that was cool. She has that box is a safer.

DK Blackfish [00:24:29] Safer.

Wicked Wren [00:24:30] Place. And I was like, That's a very cool thing because it'll never be safe, right?

DK Blackfish [00:24:35] Yeah, And that's true. And I totally I totally agree with it is you can make it a safer space. You could put in rules and designate certain persons to watch the environment. But, you know, you can't guarantee everything. You don't know what's going to happen. And, you know, even for people that are playing together for a long time, there's errors and mistakes.

Wicked Wren [00:24:57] Absolutely. You know, yeah, I find that even people that do have a long history should be talked about, maybe sometimes more than people that are that are new. You go in, you're like, Oh, this person's been doing this for a really long time. This person's got to be safe because they know what they're doing right? And like, that should not be a key. Like, Oh, it's fine, you know, I'm going to be safe because this person's all over the Internet and this and that kind of things.

DK Blackfish [00:25:22] Yeah, You know, that's a oh, my God. There's so much to talk about. That in particular is a very important thing that I think about frequently, because years of experience, people tend to kind of to look at as being like a proficiency or an expertise. And that doesn't mean anything. It just means that, yeah, maybe they are better at typing, but that doesn't mean they are safer for you. They may not have they may be perpetuating like bad types of rope for years and keep doing that just because they have a high follower count or years of practice or, you know, have beautiful studios. You know, you really have to be educated on this.

Wicked Wren [00:26:00] Yeah, yeah, yeah. There's so much turnover in what we do that it's difficult to have a track record like no one carries a resumé with them. You know, they can.

DK Blackfish [00:26:10] You can delete your screen.

Wicked Wren [00:26:12] Name and make a new one.

DK Blackfish [00:26:13] Make a new one. You can change your Oh my God, you can change your handle so easily. And yeah, like people can find you but in the community is, is it's so dispersed among in the country. You know, we have small little enclaves in big, major metropolises like, you know, San Diego or Los Angeles, San Francisco. But then it's all interspersed and across hundreds of miles. And how does a community like that self-regulate? You know, it's it's very, very difficult.

Wicked Wren [00:26:39] Yeah. Yeah. I don't know.

DK Blackfish [00:26:40] Yeah. Yeah. There's no real solution to it. Yeah. It's a lot of people have used social media to call out. Right. And that has backfired on some of them. And sometimes it has worked. In the cases, it's just become like noise, white noise. And, you know, it's a very difficult way to try to self-regulate. But we could all just kind of like, spread the word out quietly about something and protect each other as we try.

Wicked Wren [00:27:07] To call out things hard because, ah, the canceling thing because rope I feel like is unique in kink where it is people's lives.

DK Blackfish [00:27:17] Oh yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:27:18] So if someone gets canceled or whatever, they're not stopping rope. So instead it's like you've banished them and then they're going to make a new persona and then continue to harm versus calling someone in and saying like, Hey, this was nice, whatever or whatever. But then that leads into the issue of like, who is qualified to do that? Yeah, you know, who that person. And it's not one person.

DK Blackfish [00:27:46] It isn't. It's a community.

Wicked Wren [00:27:47] Exactly.

DK Blackfish [00:27:48] And like, what is that community? You know, transformative justice is what you're kind of touching on. To try to heal that person, they have to be receptive to it. Yeah. And, you know, they're not always ready to go through that. And they just want to they'd rather just disappear or just kind of move to a new area and keep doing the same thing.

Wicked Wren [00:28:07] Yeah.

DK Blackfish [00:28:08] And you know, and what you're saying particularly about like who wants to do that or who has the qualifications for overseeing that, It's that's a real gray area.

Wicked Wren [00:28:18] Yeah. So what are you looking forward to? What do you what's exciting.

DK Blackfish [00:28:23] Um, I really am looking forward to I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Post-Pandemic. Although I really took off in remote photography at that time and I enjoy photography. I'm going to continue with that. I've realized that I suspended it for a little bit, but I want to go back to it. It it is very creative for me and it keeps me very active. But I want to get into everything now. Like I'm going to get into a little bit of teaching, some small performances if I can, and just kind of keep keep the ball rolling in all aspects of road.

Wicked Wren [00:28:58] One is you suspend the road photography.

DK Blackfish [00:29:02] Um, I got, you know, it was interesting. I had like road photography. It really grew my Instagram account substantially, right? It really gave me a lot of credit. But road photography is not like necessarily a real aspect of rope and how we tie and connect with people. Like, I wanted to show something that was more organic and real and stuff about play and show people that, Hey, this is what I do is not just like I'm not just a rope photographer, a content creator, which I love to do, but I'm also like a rope, you know, I practice this as a lifestyle, you know, And so I wanted to get into that and I started showing it more and more and, you know, it kind of took off again with making reels. But I kind of when I do a photo shoot with models and I'm at a studio and you're collaborating, it's so exciting.

Wicked Wren [00:29:53] Well, where can people find you?

DK Blackfish [00:29:57] Where they can find me? Yeah, you can find me on Instagram. You can find me on the Internet. My Instagram handle is @dk_blackfish. I'm also known as Delilah naughty. That was kind of like my bondage modeling persona back in the day. And by the way, that Delilah Naughty that dk that's how I got the abbreviation decay.

Wicked Wren [00:30:20] That's great. Amazing. Well, I want to thank you for being on. This is really amazing. I learned a lot.

DK Blackfish [00:30:26] Thank you. It's been a pleasure.

Wicked Wren [00:30:28] You're welcome.


In this lively episode, Wren chats with Anoxia Rope, who shares their hilarious adventure of using spaghetti in rope play with friends. Get ready for laughs and heartwarming insights into Anoxia Rope's passion for rope bondage. The conversation also delves into the vulnerability of being a top and bottom in rope play and how it influenced Anoxia Rope's approach to tying.


In this lively episode, Wren chats with Anoxia Rope, who shares their hilarious adventure of using spaghetti in rope play with friends. Get ready for laughs and heartwarming insights into Anoxia Rope's passion for rope bondage. The conversation also delves into the vulnerability of being a top and bottom in rope play and how it influenced Anoxia Rope's approach to tying.

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Guest Bio

Anoxia Rope (they/them) is a Chicago-based rope artist, performer, and educator. Nox loves to deconstruct and synthesize knowledge from an abundance of sources, striving always for a more complete understanding of the interactions of rope, anatomy, psychology, and aesthetics.

After many years of study, they present classes which go beyond patterns and rote memorization to teach underlying principles relevant to students at any point in their rope journey. In play, their rope is often intense, creative, dynamic, and charged with emotional sadism.

They teach privates in their home studio, have presented in small community spaces around the US, and at cons like Tethered Together, Kinkfest, and Desert Bound. Nox also currently serves on the steering committee for NARIX (North American Rope Innovation eXchange).


Wicked Wren [00:00:10] Hello everyone and welcome to the Shibari Study podcast. I'm your host Wren and today I have on my friend Anoxia Rope. Nox uses they/them pronouns and they're from the Chicago area, has been involved in rope for a very long time. Hello Nox, how are you?

Anoxia Rope [00:00:28] Hi, I'm great.

Wicked Wren [00:00:29] Amazing. So on this podcast, I really like intersections. They're really fascinating because there are so many different intersections we have in the rope world. And your page has something unique I've never seen before. And, you know, on Instagram and not only one, you have two rows that have spaghetti in them.

Anoxia Rope [00:00:54] Yes.

Anoxia Rope [00:00:55] Okay. Yeah, absolutely.

Wicked Wren [00:00:57] I feel like you might be the only one.

Anoxia Rope [00:01:00] I'm really curious where this is going.

Wicked Wren [00:01:01] I mean, if you think about spaghetti is kind of like little ropes, right?

Anoxia Rope [00:01:05] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:01:06] So, I mean, I guess I'll just have to ask. Like, you know, what's the inspiration for the spaghetti content?

Anoxia Rope [00:01:11] I had a big dream to tie somebody in an absurd amount of spaghetti, and it was something that I've wanted to do since before I knew I was kinky, which is kind of weird. But yeah, for my birthday, like 30 people who love me dearly all pitched in to make 900 pounds of spaghetti. And we did just, I think, horrible things in the spaghetti. But I think it really stemmed from a desire to play with something that felt absurd and kind of disgusting. And I loved it. But I will say that really, in the room, every other face was pretty full of disgust. That was perfect. That was exactly what I wanted.

Wicked Wren [00:02:14] We don't really interact with spaghetti in that way.

Anoxia Rope [00:02:17] No, we don't. It is pretty hard to get spaghetti inside of somebody, not through their mouth.

Wicked Wren [00:02:29] I can imagine that. That's one of the hardest noodles to do that with. I do have a logistical question. I mean, how does one cook 900 pounds of spaghetti?

Anoxia Rope [00:02:41] Crowd-sourcing.

Wicked Wren [00:02:43] Got it. Got it.

Anoxia Rope [00:02:44] But also, I will say, and this was probably the worst part, is some of that spaghetti was not cooked. It was reconstituted in water and pasta that has just soaked in water without actually cooking, the glutens don't develop. And so you end up with something that is more like dough than pasta, which added a whole different, honestly like element of disgust. That was really, really fun and very yeasty.

Wicked Wren [00:03:15] Oh, my God. Has this changed how you enjoy spaghetti going forward?

Anoxia Rope [00:03:23] Well, I can say that there are quite a few people who do not eat spaghetti anymore. I am not one of them.

Wicked Wren [00:03:30] That can really change you.

Anoxia Rope [00:03:32] Yeah. I think spaghetti is still a go-to homie food for me. I maybe look on it a little more fondly now.

Wicked Wren [00:03:45] I love it.

Anoxia Rope [00:03:47] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:03:47] So I'm sure that the spaghetti wasn't the beginning of your rope journey. Bring us back to the beginning. How did you find rope? What appealed to you about it? Kind of how did you get involved with things like that?

Anoxia Rope [00:04:02] This story's a little embarrassing, especially in the context of talking to you, because I got into rope when one of your co-host humans started posting rope photos on Tumblr ten years ago.

Wicked Wren [00:04:24] I love it.

Anoxia Rope [00:04:26] And honestly, I found Cam's tumblr in 2013 and was like, That's hot stuff.

Wicked Wren [00:04:36] You're like, There's something here.

Anoxia Rope [00:04:38] Yeah. And it took me another two years before I ever did anything besides follow people on tumblr who posted rope photos. But then one day someone in my close circle who knew that I liked pictures of, I think especially like I was really caught by what felt almost like the romanticization of the damsel in distress trope and that beautiful, vulnerable person tied up. And so I had friends who knew that I really liked that and were like, Hey, do you want to come to a rope class? Wow. And from there it was kind of the rest is history. I was very quickly tying 30 or 40 hours a week, and while I quit my job and moved back in with my parents and spent like two years of income on taking rope classes and just made all rope all the time in my life. And now I get to tie people up and it's really damn hot. It's been my dream.

Wicked Wren [00:05:52] It is. I think it's – I do want to comment. I think it's funny that you started that story saying it was like an embarrassing thing after talking about the 900 pounds of spaghetti situation. And it's just one we're in a world where being like, yeah, spaghetti easy, but then, you know, talking about other things hard.

Anoxia Rope [00:06:12] I think the thing actually it's easy to say, Oh yeah, we do these cool things. It's hard to express our interest, affection, admiration for each other. Like that part is hard. And so saying I have this admiration or there's a human who brought me into this that feels more vulnerable than saying, I like to stick spaghetti inside of people.

Wicked Wren [00:06:38] It really is, honestly. Do you find that you are this like, I don't know if obsessive is the right word, but you go into things this heavily in your life?

Anoxia Rope [00:06:50] No, I think that was actually kind of the thing about rope that was so special is I think I always had kind of – like I would try something and if I wasn't good at it, I didn't stick to it. And I had wandering focus and like change my major in college maybe 12 times. SoI really struggled to find something that I liked. And when I found rope, I think one of the things for me is I found discipline. I found something that captured my attention so fully in a way that nothing else ever had and still nothing else really has. And so for me, rope is like I'm all in on rope. I joke that I'm a little bit like a golden retriever with a ball. Like rope is life. Ball is life. Have you heard about our lord and savior rope?

Wicked Wren [00:07:45] It's pretty wild how rope does that because, you know, there's a lot of stuff in the kink world, obviously, but I just haven't seen anyone feel, you know, towards other things like they do towards rope. It's really all-consuming.

Anoxia Rope [00:08:01] Yeah, absolutely. But I don't regret it at all. And I think it's one of the things that I like about other rope people is we have this shared like, Oh, yeah, this is the good stuff.

Wicked Wren [00:08:14] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. During covid, it really – I feel like it helped me kind of get through it and add structure and stuff like that because, you know, during covid I was with my rope partner for a lot of it at the time and we would tie and it added a lot of really cool, I don't know, structure to a time that had none.

Anoxia Rope [00:08:37] Hmm. It's interesting because before the pandemic, I was tying 40 hours a week and the pandemic happened and I stopped tying kind of all of a sudden completely for two years. And I – rope for me right before the pandemic took me to a place where I had such incredible connections and partnerships. And what I found with the pandemic was that kind of like heartbroken. This thing is gone now, but it was also a good reminder of just how good it had been. And I got really into macrame during the pandemic. That was like the way that I coped with not being able to tie people.

Wicked Wren [00:09:34] It's like rope light.

Anoxia Rope [00:09:35] Yes.

Wicked Wren [00:09:37] Do you still do macrame?

Anoxia Rope [00:09:39] I do. Yeah. The other thing I got really into was plants during the pandemic. And so I like, I tie people and I tie plants.

Wicked Wren [00:09:47] I love it. I'm so bad at plants. I can't keep any plants alive.

Anoxia Rope [00:09:52] I thought I was, too. And then it turns out when you're stuck in your house staring at them, it's hard to be bad at plants.

Wicked Wren [00:09:58] That's a really good point. And I've tried to, like, reverse my thinking on this why I am so quick to say I'm bad at things, but in actuality, I just don't know stuff about it. When you were finding rope, so you said that rope is the first thing that really kept your attention. What were some of the big, I guess, hurdles with that? Did you have any times where you kind of had a low or something like that and or any big hurdles you had to overcome in the beginning?

Anoxia Rope [00:10:26] When you're first learning, there's this focus on harnesses and learning all the different patterns and learning how everything works and maybe learning like the different styles of rope. And then as you get further in your journey, the things that you're learning are less measurable and concrete. And so I found that I had less of the, like instant gratification of like I learned a new harness check. And I think the other thing for me is, so I'm a sadist and I like that discomfort of spaghetti because I love when people are uncomfortable. I love when people are in pain. And rope was kind of the place that I learned that there are people that like to be on the receiving end of all of that. But for me, at the beginning, I think the other thing I had to learn was like one that it's okay for me to want to hurt people, but two what does that look like and how to slow down and not let the frenzy take over? Like excitement of getting permission to do this thing.

Wicked Wren [00:11:36] Can you talk a little bit about the collaboration that is present in a D/s relationship and those kinds of things?

Anoxia Rope [00:11:43] Yeah, I have a couple of partners with whom we play pretty heavy and do sort of a does focus on group. And I think for me it's interesting because what I like in that power dynamic is I like the control, I like the romanticization of suffering. Like tying somebody on trains, tying somebody up turns me on. But I think especially I like when somebody else is suffering for me and I like when they're doing like I think that people like to be in a state of stasis or comfort. And so to me, it says so much about their intention and care when they're willing to go outside of that stasis or outside of their comfort or my sake. I love that. And I think that the partners that I have that play with me that way. They recognize that that's like an act of adoration. And then them being willing to do that gives me the opportunity to give adoration back.

Wicked Wren [00:13:04] That's beautiful the way you said that. I have of a lot of things on like my don't really love list, but aren't reds by any means. It's just like, I don't really love them, but I hesitate to kind of bring those things up because I do like to do them if like a top likes them, because that adds new context to it and it's like an act of service. And if someone else is really enjoying it, then I'm gonna really enjoy it. Like anybody's excited to talk about something that is, that's a fun thing to be a part of.

Anoxia Rope [00:13:44] I think that I even found like early on when somebody really liked pain and when they really enjoyed it, that was actually less fun for me. Like I didn't want to be giving somebody an experience that they already wanted and would do with anybody. I wanted to get the thing that they didn't really want to do but were going to do for me because it spoke more to the relationship that we were building than me just facilitating a thing that they would have ordered from anybody.

Wicked Wren [00:14:13] That's like, that's also really, really it. And I get the same things when I'm topping someone and someone's really into it and they're like, Destroy me. It's like I kind of lose interest in a way, you know? I'm like, I don't know. It's just like, I was like, All right, well.

Anoxia Rope [00:14:30] It's not about us anymore. It's about you wanting that thing.

Wicked Wren [00:14:35] Yeah, and very selfish.

Anoxia Rope [00:14:38] Yes. Yes. I think that might be a known flaw that I really appreciate that my partners validate in me is that I'm selfish. I want this to be about what I want.

Wicked Wren [00:14:50] It is pretty wild because there's this line of like when someone is topping, especially in rope as a bottom, I don't want to really say I want this position and this and this and this. Like, I don't want to say those things. Like, I have things that I like, obviously, but I want that person to make decisions based on what I'm doing and reacting to in rope versus like, you know, collaborating on this scene I guess. Like I don't know, it's a very fine line, obviously.

Anoxia Rope [00:15:20] Absolutely is a fine line. And it's interesting when I talk so, I am at the point in my life where I'm comfortable saying these are the things that I like. These are the things that I want from you, and this is how you can show this interest in me. But it's so hard as a top to find that balance of saying something that you want to do in a way that doesn't feel coercive in a way that doesn't lead somebody to agree to something that they actually really wouldn't do.

Wicked Wren [00:15:55] Yes, the implied power dynamics in these situations are so, so hard. And it's like we really take these things for granted, you know, like someone jas a lot of followers. Someone's really cool. You've known them for a long time. You want to be strong. It's like, that was a lot of the beginning of my time in rope was everyone, like we use the phrase you're a power bottom. You're so strong in rope as this badge of honor and as a bottom, you want that input. So it's like, I'm not saying I did things I didn't want to do, but also it wasn't really about me. It was about like my ego.

Anoxia Rope [00:16:33] Yeah. I think it's also – like it's scary to say, I want you to do this as a top and have like, try to guess. Is this person saying yes because of the power that I have? Are they saying yes because they care about me? I think it's a lot easier when you have a relationship with somebody, whether that's a friendship or a play partnership or something that's romantic. I think the other thing that's hard about it is besides the fear of coercion or the fear of how real is the answer that I'm getting back, it's just hard to express what you want. Like it's hard for me to say to a room of people, I really want to shove somebody full of spaghetti because there's an amount of vulnerability to saying, Hey, that's the thing that I find sexy. Please don't judge me for it.

Wicked Wren [00:17:24] Yeah, totally.

Anoxia Rope [00:17:26] I think that coming to terms with being able to articulate what I want was also really scary. And I think it's interesting, like as a femme presenting rigger, often times bottoms will come tie with me and they'll say, you know, I want to tie with you because I don't think you're going to sexualize me. I'm like, Oh, buddy, Yeah, I actually do sexualize rope and tying people up, and I don't want my desires to be dismissed. I want the opportunity to talk about them and find where those are going to feel good together.

Wicked Wren [00:18:00] Yeah, that's funny. It's like some of the femme presenting or women that tie are some of the most sadistic people, you know, that I've been tied for.

Anoxia Rope [00:18:12] And sexy people who are not – I think that the ability to separate sadism and sexuality is really interesting. Like, Oh, you're just going to hurt me. You're not going to hurt me in a way that's about the sex. And I'm like, No, I'm going to hurt you in a way that is sex.

Wicked Wren [00:18:28] Yeah, exactly. You're like, This is why we're here. This is what we're doing.

Anoxia Rope [00:18:32] Mm-hmm.

Wicked Wren [00:18:33] How long did it take to kind of, like, uncover that suffer? Did you know that stuff in the beginning?

Anoxia Rope [00:18:39] No, rope helped me uncover that stuff. I think that, that's I mean, that's part of why rope is life is that rope is a tool that allows me to connect and find the language or find the intimacy with somebody that allows me to have those conversations. And I think for me, talking to other tops really helped. Like I am such a proponent of make friends with people that you're not going to tie with that you don't want to tie with. Because having their perspectives, sharing information, having a network of people who have totally different approaches and understanding how those approaches don't or do resonate gives you information about yourself.

Wicked Wren [00:19:29] You talked about like building community and things like that. What is your relationship with the word community?

Anoxia Rope [00:19:38] I run this, I've been running this discussion group that meets once a month for the last three years. And we have had the discussion what is a community probably like 15 times. Like at this point, there's dirty players when the word community comes into the room. I think your community is your friends and I think that like community is people that care about each other, that are invested in each other, that have desire to build a type of world together. Like I think of rope as prefigurative. It's creating the kind of world that I want to be in. And my community isn't everybody that does rope. My community is the people that I care about, and some of those people do rope.

Wicked Wren [00:20:27] I love that. You need that outside influence. Rope does take over so many people's lives. And for me, I felt like if I look at when I was healthy versus when it wasn't healthy, the part I wasn't really healthy was when I only had rope people in as input, you know. And I didn't really have other stuff going on. Like some people could give me other ideas and other thoughts and stuff like that, you know.

Anoxia Rope [00:20:53] I think, unfortunately, my other friends have to deal with the fact that everything about me is about rope. So I am, I think probably most of my friends are rope people, but the ones that aren't are like Dungeons and Dragons friends or they're dance friends or foodie friends.

Wicked Wren [00:21:12] I think the Venn diagram for rope people and Dungeons and Dragons people, you know, it's like it's a circle. It's almost a circle. Do you play Dungeons and Dragons?

Anoxia Rope [00:21:24] All the time, yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:21:26] I just did my first campaign.

Anoxia Rope [00:21:28] Oh. How are you liking it? What's your character? Describe your character.

Wicked Wren [00:21:36] I'm a human fighter and her name is Selina Gamble, and she has, she's the heir to the Procter and Gamble fortune, but she doesn't want to have anything to do with that previous life. She wants to start her own path. So that's her story.

Anoxia Rope [00:21:54] Fight her way to a new life.

Wicked Wren [00:21:56] Yes, exactly. So she doesn't use any of her parent's help and her billion-dollar fortune. And then she has a fight her way into a new life. And then there's like (inaudible) as a character. There's another one. It's like, yes, I would just say it's kind of a fun game, if you will.

Anoxia Rope [00:22:16] Yeah, I love that. I play in a game where I'm a level 20 wizard and I'm trying to play through all of the D&D modules myself in kind of this like solo campaign. It's really, really fun. But I have a propensity for ridiculousness, so.

Wicked Wren [00:22:38] I can tell.

Anoxia Rope [00:22:39] Yeah. What was it that gave me away? The spaghetti?

Wicked Wren [00:22:43] Yeah. You know, it gave me a give me an idea, you know, gave me a little bit of a clue.

Anoxia Rope [00:22:50] If it wasn't the spaghetti, I think the next one would have been the harmonica gag I love. I have this harmonica gag I play with, and it is so ridiculous. And like, I think the shame of the person wearing the harmonica gag when they realize that all of those, like sad sobs of pain are just like squeaky gritty noises.

Wicked Wren [00:23:12] So okay. So I'm like, I'm in a partial, you know, there's some rope that's up in my ribs and I'm barely breathing, and you put a harmonica gag on me, and then I'm, what are, are you laughing at me out loud? What is, what are you doing?

Anoxia Rope [00:23:28] Oh, I'm – especially the harmonica gag comes out when it's like a quiet night. And I've talked to people in advance, and I know I'm not going to, like, mess anything up for anybody else. But, like, the vibe was that the vibe was supposed to be soft and sexy, and there's maybe 15 people around and you're suffering and you think you're beautiful. And then the harmonica gag goes in and you're just wheezing and people start laughing immediately because how do they not laugh? And we're like, awful. It's not a cute noise. It's like, because there's also snot and tears and you're trying to breathe around the harmonica gag.

Wicked Wren [00:24:08] Yeah.

Anoxia Rope [00:24:09] No, I'm and I think for me, what I'm doing is like, pointing out to you. Didn't you think you were going to be beautiful? Didn't you think that this was going to be a dream? What do you think all these people think of you?

Wicked Wren [00:24:24] Yeah.

Anoxia Rope [00:24:26] You're ridiculous.

Wicked Wren [00:24:27] You can't play it cool with a harmonica gag.

Anoxia Rope [00:24:30] No, can't.

Wicked Wren [00:24:32] So you were in an intensive that I was in, and it was fun to watch you tie and you get this, like, face of just, it's just, it's like it's scary. It's intense and it's scary. And I just really loved it.

Anoxia Rope [00:24:49] I think I've been told that my tying face. So I've been told that I'm pretty expressive. And when I'm tying, I know oftentimes I'm like, smiling so wide because I'm just like, giggly, happy at watching somebody suffer. I found in work, my colleagues are pinning me to their screens during big meetings so that they can watch my expressive face react to things. And that's my nightmare. So I'm, I think I'm sure I'm really interesting to watch, but I have no idea what my face is doing. I can't control it.

Wicked Wren [00:25:29] So why is that your nightmare that they would pin that?

Anoxia Rope [00:25:35] Oh, man, I don't really want to be the focal point. Like, for me, I'm the facilitator. I'm the like, I think of the person I'm tying as the focal point, the center of attention, the like I'm putting them on display. I don't want to be on display. That's, I do bottom sometimes and I think, like for me, the hardest part about being a bottom is being seen and having one person's attention so entirely on you. And I think even when I'm tying, I don't feel that way because I feel like their attention is also on the rope. But when I'm bottoming, I know that I am the thing that their attention is on. And that is the scariest thing in the world.

Wicked Wren [00:26:25] It really is, isn't it? Yeah. The care that the other person puts into you, like when you're bottoming, is really intoxicating.

Anoxia Rope [00:26:38] There's not a lot of other like when we do activities with each other, when we have sex with each other, when we are watching movies or playing D and D, like everybody's having also their own experience and focused on their own joy. And I know I said that, like, when I tie, I want to do what I want to do. But the other thing is that, like, all of my attention is on them. They are the experience that's happening. It's been really hard as a top to navigate that the world falls away and this person's existence is the only thing that is happening.

Wicked Wren [00:27:19] Even as a top, if you're doing what you want to do, you're still getting input from the human that you're doing it to. They're still shaping the experience, even if you're doing, you know, all the different things in your toolbox that you've gathered over years and years and years and years. You're choosing that.

Anoxia Rope [00:27:38] That's the thing that was interesting about starting to bottom too. Because I'm a top-leaning switch. I started rope topping, only really found bottoming maybe in the last couple of years. When I bottomed, I discovered that even when my top wasn't doing something, I was still in rope. I was still having an experience and my top didn't need to like, take action and move and do things actively for my experience to persist. And it gave me permission as a top to slow down and to watch and to know that, like, I don't need to be hyperactive to make my partner experience something. They are experiencing something, they exist, they are there. How do I notice that and create space for them to feel that and then shape that experience, but like carefully and in a way that allows the space for them to feel it and not just like be overwhelmed by the barrage of actions that I'm taking in their direction.

Wicked Wren [00:28:42] Yeah, that slowing down and letting there be space and stuff is so difficult and everything. I mean it's hard to do in music. It's hard to do in kink. Do you feel like bottoming informed your topping?

Anoxia Rope [00:28:57] I think it did. For sure, absolutely. I think it would have been crazy if it hadn't. I'm a mas or I'm a sadist, but I'm not a masochist. And so I think the first reaction that I had was Jesus Christ, I do this to people, what the heck but like I holy crap, this is awful.

Wicked Wren [00:29:16] Yeah.

Anoxia Rope [00:29:17] I wasn't expecting it to be quite that bad.

Wicked Wren [00:29:22] Yeah, futos aren't fun.

Anoxia Rope [00:29:25] No. No. God damn. Rope on your ribs. Like, who does that? I don't know why pain hurts so much, but.

Wicked Wren [00:29:35] That's so funny.

Anoxia Rope [00:29:36] I think it gave me, I think that's part of what made me slow down, is I realized like, Oh yeah, no, it hurts when you're not doing anything. Like, let that be the experience.

Wicked Wren [00:29:48] Yeah. Do you feel like It's made you, I don't want to say second guess the amount of pain that you're putting in, because this is, this is – go on. Sorry.

Anoxia Rope [00:29:59] No, I'm just thinking through that question.

Wicked Wren [00:30:05] It's a hard thing to, like, communicate, because when you don't know, you don't know. And you just, you just do. You know, you're like, the rope goes on the ribs. This is what we're doing. And as a bottom, that actually feels really good because you're like, I'm here and there's no, you know, getting out of this and you kind of accept the fact that you're in that place. But once, you know, does that knowledge help or does it inform or do you think that it does kind of the opposite?

Wicked Wren [00:30:34] I think my approach to rope, my thought, like if I had to sum it up into one thing is do the thing that you're trying to do reliably on purpose every time. Like whatever it is that you're trying to do, make sure that you're good enough to do it and make sure that you're consistent enough to do it regularly. And I think that when I didn't know what rope felt like, I think I was less successful at regularly creating the experiences that I was trying to create. And I think that knowing what rope feels like has helped me to be, I think, more precise about exactly what it is that I'm trying to create as an experience. And in some ways I think I am probably worse. I'm probably far more calculating and specific in the pain that I cause.

Wicked Wren [00:31:32] Was literally about to say that. Because one of the people I tie with is also switch and gets tied often. And it is the most brutal and scary because they know and they can just like make a little adjustment. And then there's another part of your body that can get hurt and there's none of that like, I don't know, it's like knowing it, It's terrifying.

Anoxia Rope [00:31:55] When you find out how much it hurts to just have bands redressed and how much it is like that there's all this pain associated with that rope that you weren't paying attention to got caught between my toes, and now you're yanking it through. And I like, I found that when I was bottoming, all of those things were distracting and they weren't like, they didn't feel like my top was doing them on purpose. So the power of only causing the pain that you exactly mean to cause and not having all of this peripheral pain that feels like your...

Wicked Wren [00:32:27] It's annoying.

Anoxia Rope [00:32:28] Well, and I think that it really helps with D/s and with control and with power exchange is when your partner believes that the experience that they're having is crafted and intentional and that every ounce of suffering is there because that's exactly what you want them to experience. It makes them trust but also, like, have to endure that. That is what they're there for.

Wicked Wren [00:32:57] That is a very wise thing. Yeah. Cam and I, we joke a lot about someone who keeps running a TK line eight times. You're like, you're like, I'm good. Like...

Anoxia Rope [00:33:10] I'm actually done, you know?

Wicked Wren [00:33:13] Like, we can just stop. We stop. But I'm good, actually. But that, that makes, like, me as a bottom feel so much more afraid of every little thing. Cause I'm like, okay, do we understand how much this seemingly easy thing is or whatever? I don't know. That, it's the very wise words you said.

Anoxia Rope [00:33:35] Yeah. If you don't feel like your top knows what you're experiencing, I think you feel more responsible, maybe hyper-vigilant. Like you need to advocate for yourself because maybe they won't. But I think as a top, if you can be skilled and precise and if you can cut through all of the noise of the things that you're bad at and find the things that you're good at and be really careful with them, that's also how you build trust with your partners. It's how you show that you care. It's how you get to a place where you can do the hard stuff because you both know that it's happening on purpose.

Wicked Wren [00:34:22] Yeah. So it begs the question, like someone who is super skilled in rope like you are. Like, I look at you and I'm like, you can do anything. You can do everything. What are some things that you don't like doing or you think that you're bad at or something?

Anoxia Rope [00:34:39] Oh, I usually when I find something that I'm not good at in rope, I drill it to death. And so I, like if there's a thing that's hard for me, that's the thing that I'm going to work on.

Wicked Wren [00:34:51] What were some of those things?

Anoxia Rope [00:34:53] I think touch was one where I thought that I was touching my partner and I thought that I was being connective with my touch. And it took like my bottom telling me every time I was touching them to realize that most of the time I'm not. I think pausing and taking rests. I would take what felt like a full breath for me and then realize that actually I'm moving so fast that that full breath was not enough time. So that's slowing down. I think right now it's interesting. I think I'm focused on body mechanics and actually not my partner's body mechanics. I feel pretty okay about like how to move a person through space. I think I'm focused on like my physicality and how do I protect myself and like tie in a way that's going to give me the ability to tie for longer because I love rope and injuries over time in your fingers and I've had back injuries from tying and I've had I think like I'm recognizing that I need to be careful with myself and with my own body to keep doing this thing. And age is a never ending movement of time, but I'm going to have to figure out how to navigate. So I think like how to move. I think also one thing that I've been really enjoying is looking at just incredible performances and also performances outside of rope and like performances and circus. And I really, I think I want to take like physical comedy classes and work on like, how do I move my body to express things.

Wicked Wren [00:36:40] If you're okay with it, I would love to talk about touch and your journey with that.

Wicked Wren [00:36:45] I think when I first started in rope, I was touching the rope and the rope was touching the person. And I was using rope to touch somebody. And I heard a wonderful human, say recently rope is an extension of your touch. Rope is, it takes your touch and it allows you to bring that further around your person. And so I think I, I maybe was doing that in the like rope is the only form of touch. Like I'm using rope to interact with this body because I don't feel comfortable with putting my skin against the skin. And I think that finding that rope is touch, but skin is touch and they are different. And how do you play with them and how do you alternate them and how do you allow rope to be hard touch and skin to be soft touch or vice versa. I think gives me more tools to play with.

Wicked Wren [00:37:46] I always found that when I have like skin on skin touch, it allows me to have more rope on my skin.

Anoxia Rope [00:37:54] I think it's like co-regulating. Like in the same way that when things are really emotional and you get a hug from somebody and it helps you calm down. I mean, I think that's one of my goals, is to never let go of a hug too early. And so thinking about how do you offer touch as a like calming and I think that's also like when I'm tying somebody and they can't breathe and they're struggling and they're gasping and crying. But the impact of stopping the rope and just putting a hand on their body and saying, this hand is showing you where my attention is. This hand is showing you that it's not about the rope, it's about you.

Wicked Wren [00:38:39] Yeah. And that's what we really love about rope, is that attention, you know, whether you're a top or bottom. Rope is one of those things that really sets up an area for communication and for talk around these things. And I always said that I wish that more people could experience that because you have to be radically honest. And I just, I wish that more people were able to have that kind of like space for communication.

Anoxia Rope [00:39:05] Yeah, I think it's hard to say what your desires are. It's hard to admit that these are the things that turn me on. It's also hard to say these are my needs and I would love to have you meet them. And it's hard to say, These are my boundaries and these are the things that and hold those boundaries. And I think for me, rope is that like container that creates the opportunity. But it's also for me, rope helps build the world that I want to be in, and that rope makes me be vulnerable. It makes me think about how I'm showing up in the world. It makes me think about the impact that I'm having on other people. It makes me practice empathy. I find that again, being friends with people that you don't tie with, you find that in the discussion groups or talking with other tops. We're not necessarily talking about what is the cool new harness that you learned? We're talking about what do you do when you've hurt somebody? And how do you navigate that and how do you like show real care and a desire to continue to be in community? In like real community with people? And for me, that's the thing that's amazing is like, I don't know that I would have ever had those conversations if I hadn't gotten into rope.

Wicked Wren [00:40:29] Yeah, I agree. It does facilitate those things.

Anoxia Rope [00:40:32] Yeah, I think, I really appreciate the discussion group that I run. I appreciate my friends who are willing to have those conversations with me. There's also like, so I will pitch, I'm on the NARIX committee and NARIX is this rope unconference and that whole model is everybody is here to contribute. Everyone is here to participate and share what their perspectives are, what the things that they do in rope are. But there's so much room in that conference model for people to connect and like get into the meaty things about how we exist in the world. And so I love that, like bringing people together and using rope as a place where we talk about what our values are.

Wicked Wren [00:41:18] Can you tell us a little bit more about NARIX? When is it? Where is it?

Anoxia Rope [00:41:23] Yes, absolutely. I would love to. You know, NARIX is short for North American Rope Innovation Exchange. It's been going since 2014. And it's a unconference model, which means you don't have, like traditional presenters. Everybody is considered a contributor. And there's an application process. There's sort of a, it's not a great first conference for folks. It's a really good conference for folks with a lot of experience looking to like, take things to the next level. We usually get a lot of organizers and people that are really invested in those questions of like what is community that apply. And then it's three or four days together doing sessions and collaborations and discussions. And this one, the next one is actually coming up here. We've already sent out all of the acceptance letters and it will happen right in the beginning of May in Philadelphia. The last one was last summer in Montreal, and I think we'll have another one coming up in the fall here soon. So people should keep an eye. There's a NARIX host on Instagram where we post news about when applications open up. So those that'll happen in the next month or two.

Wicked Wren [00:42:46] That's amazing. Yeah. Thanks for saying that. Is there anything else going on with you that you want to tell us about? Like on Instagram? Stuff like that?

Anoxia Rope [00:42:56] Yeah, I'm on Instagram as @anoxiarope. I'm on F*tLife as anoxia. I'm presenting at rope craft here in Chicago at the end of May. I'm teaching in Madison, Wisconsin, in August. I love traveling, love teaching, love seeing people learn how to use rope to connect. So I'm hoping to do more of that, too.

Wicked Wren [00:43:21] Amazing. Well, thank you so much for being on. This is awesome.

Anoxia Rope [00:43:25] Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I love this.

Wicked Wren [00:43:28] You're so welcome. We'll see each other at NARIX.

Anoxia Rope [00:43:30] Sounds great. I can't wait.


Principle over pattern! This is Mo's mantra as he sits down with Wren and reflects on his 13 years of doing rope, exploring the significance of the journey over specific end goals and the importance of building a strong, supportive community on the Shibari Study Discord.


Principle over pattern! This is Mo's mantra as he sits down with Wren and reflects on his 13 years of doing rope, exploring the significance of the journey over specific end goals and the importance of building a strong, supportive community on the Shibari Study Discord.

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Guest Bio

MoBights is a Rope Nerd based in Manchester UK, tying for around 8 years with his wife PixieSeraphina and Community Manager for the Shibari Study Discord. Mo enjoys all aspects of rope, researching its rich and diverse history, constantly learning, occasionally teaching, and somewhat obsessively talking about rope on the Shibari Study Discord.


Wicked Wren [00:00:12] Welcome to the Shibari Study podcast, I'm your host Wicked Wren. And today, we have on an amazing guest. You will know him from the Shibari Study Discord. Today, we have on MoBights. Mo is a rope top in the UK. He's the moderator and community manager of the Shibari Study Discord. Mo, hello.

MoBights [00:00:32] Hey, Wren. How are you?

Wicked Wren [00:00:34] I am so great. You've been involved in rope for a really long time. It's like over ten years, right?

MoBights [00:00:42] Yeah. I mean. Oh, Lord, when you say it like that, I've been, I keep saying to people, have been saying six years for five years. So yeah. It's definitely getting to that point. I think really probably, I would say 13 years, the first three or four of those years shamefully so. My rope was terrible.

Wicked Wren [00:01:02] Everyone's is.

MoBights [00:01:04] Yeah. And it was bedroom bondage stuff, you know. I definitely credit my wife who introduced me into that kind of world. She was like, I want to be tied up, But I'm like, Cool, okay, right. And then we had really terrible rope and I was just really, really bad. And then at some point, I think back in the sort of early days of Tumblr, I discovered some really interesting looking rope that was like, Wow. And it totally blew my mind. And then from then, I kind of... That's when I consider I started doing rope. I realized actually when I look back on it, I've always kind of done it a little bit in different ways. But yeah, definitely ten plus years, let's say somewhere in that range.

Wicked Wren [00:01:46] When your wife came to you and she was like, Tie me up. Was that the first time you did anything kinky or?

MoBights [00:01:52] It was the first time I felt free to do something like that. She's a very liberating person and I think allowed me to definitely explore and delve into those things. I've always kind of been a bit of a pervert, I guess, but, you know, someone giving you that freedom to really explore that is a whole different world. And, you know, she very much brought me out of my shell where those kind of things are concerned. And and, you know, the idea of being in kind of top, I probably wouldn't have considered myself particularly toppy or dominant beforehand. But she definitely curated an experience where I got to enjoy that side of myself a little bit more. So yeah, so it's been an interesting ride, but it was, I say, more of a more of a blossoming than a discovery I would probably say.

Wicked Wren [00:02:42] It sounds like she set up a space for you to kind of grow and explore. That's pretty incredible.

MoBights [00:02:47] Yeah, definitely. An incredible person, I'll be honest. We've been together for a long time, so it's really nice to have grown alongside someone during kind of my rope experience. And as I've kind of got into kind of more complex rope and more connective rope, that's not just restraint that could be cuffs or handcuffs or chains or steel or anything. Something about rope was kind of special. And I think in the early days it was very much just this is functional. Now it's completely different. And the way we interact with rope is totally different than how we may have done like say, sort of ten plus years ago. And the experience has been very different for us to to grow together during that time. So that's been really cool.

Wicked Wren [00:03:32] It says a lot that you're still doing stuff together, you know, after that much time.

MoBights [00:03:37] Yeah, totally. I think we find lots of different ways to explore and connect to each other. And life throws its ups and downs at you. But I think after 13 years, we've very much kind of grown accustomed to each other. We like to keep things interesting for each other. We like to not take each other for granted as well and give ourselves both the space and freedom to do things that we want to do as individuals, but also kind of making sure we retain that kind of sense of connection and rope is one of the ways in which we do that. There's many of us, but it's one that kind of really has been different in how we interact I guess.

Wicked Wren [00:04:21] You said that was different than if it was steel or cuffs or chains or whatever. What is different about ropes specifically? Like what made that stand out?

MoBights [00:04:34] I think, it naturally is. Particularly for me, there's a warmth to it and a tenderness to rope that, you know, if you're doing things with a say kind of leather or steel, I mean, leather maybe. Maybe it's a bit more worn, but steel particularly feels kind of cold to me and isn't something that if I'm kind of working in terms of restraint, doesn't feel like an extension of myself. Whereas rope and natural materials tend to feel more like that. Like for me, the way I approach rope is like, I don't have enough hands, right? I only have two hands and I can only hook you in so many ways. Whereas rope feels like an extension of that, it's a prolonged hook. I placed it there. And then it's still there and it can still be there 30 minutes later. And it's that, I guess, kind of tactile warmth and sort of natural feel to it where compared to things like, say, like handcuffs or other forms of restraint, I don't feel that same inspiration from. I guess it doesn't feel so natural and organic to me. So that's, I think, something that really stood out about rope that made it different. And it's remarkably flexible as well, like handcuffs off kind of one job, right? Whereas rope can have many jobs and I've used it in many, many different ways over the years. It's an impromptu flag or a whip if you want it to be. It's a way of restraining people. It's an experience. It's an extension to communicate with each other. So I guess that flexibility of rope as well also is something that I find really appealing. And it's definitely been something that's kept me coming back to it. I mean, we've tried many of the different kinky things and some of them stick and some of them don't. Ropes been one that's kind of hung around and I like that.

Wicked Wren [00:06:21] It is funny how the people that like heavy bondage and cuffs and things like that, they're usually, they're not so into rope the way that quote unquote rope people are.

MoBights [00:06:33] Yeah, definitely. I think there's a different mentality. So it's function over form. I guess if you're into the kind of heavy stuff, it is very much function for another purpose, whereas I think rope people kind of are more about the journey to the end point. Sometimes, it's not just I want to tie you up because I don't want you to move while I do something else. It's more we're enjoying the process of getting from here to there. And even if there is undefined, even if we don't get to like a pre determined end point, like you can just enjoy the journey. Whereas I think when you compare that to kind of other, I say sort of heavy bondage, it's very much for its purpose and often it's secondary to something else. Whereas if I was with a lot of rope people, the rope isn't necessarily secondary to something else. It's its own primary thing. So that tends to be something I kind of perceive as a difference in approach, and that's not universal. But it is something that jumps out to me, particularly with, I guess, the people that I spend time with kind of doing rope or the people I interact with on the Internet, which seems to be a growing number of people these days. But yeah, it's, you know, we enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

Wicked Wren [00:07:50] What a very cool way of pointing that out. I never thought about it like that. Rope is more about the journey versus other forms of bondage are there so you can do something else to the person. That's really, really nice.

MoBights [00:08:02] Yeah, often times yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:08:03] Do you find that in your scenes, do you think about an end point?

MoBights [00:08:08] I definitely used to. A lot of the sort of initial attraction to rope was quite aesthetic for me. So we used to take a lot of photographs that used to be very much a kind of like we wanted to create a certain form or a certain look. And that very much drove that experience to be I'd say the gratification was reaching that goal. And then I think as I learned more, research more, spend time with more people, that's dramatically changed. Whereas now I'm less concerned with the end point. I mean, the last kind of year, I don't take many photographs anymore. It's not something that's in my mindset to kind of be like, Oh, grab a picture. I'm more in the moment and enjoying it. So that's changed a lot. But I do think there's times when I have a kind of idea of where I want to go. But I guess I'm no longer disappointed in myself if I don't get there. And that's probably something that's happened a lot in the kind of last year where I've done kind of different workshops and classes that led in towards the ideology. I'm very much, I say, kind of enjoying the journey and looking at some different cultural approaches to rope. It's definitely expanding my mindset in that sense. It's not to say having a, you know, preconceived idea of where you want to go is a bad thing or taking photographs is a bad thing. These are wonderful things to do, but it's just where I'm at right now. And I think it's nice to kind of acknowledge the where I'm at right now is where I've always been and where I've always been and will always be constantly changing and kind of fluid in that sense.

Wicked Wren [00:09:50] Was there a time where you were disappointed with not getting to an end goal? Does that make sense?

MoBights [00:09:57] Yeah, totally. Yeah. And I think is what the end goal might be is, you know, it might be a sense of feeling, it might be a particular shape or, you know, a certain position or something like that, or a particular suspension pattern or sequence. But yeah, there's totally been times when I've kind of got frustrated that I haven't reached that goal. A lot of the time it's been where we tried to kind of have a quote unquote scene and it's just sort of turned into labbing and it's not, the connection isn't there, the emotive side's not there, it's just following the steps and going through the process and it's just a recipe of rope and that probably the most frustrating times. Whereas I think the times when we've not set out to have a scene and we've just been able to go and do some rope have been the best scenes ever because there's never preconceptions, right? There's no boundaries and it just goes wherever it goes. And it's enjoyable for the sake of it being what it is, not where it's going. And now I think for me, when I first learned suspension, I was more goal orientated. It was like, Oh, we want to do this particular suspension. And if we didn't get there for whatever reason, it was frustrating. Whereas now I care a lot less about that. It's probably now I've got over the technical hurdle of learning suspension techniques and now I do less of them. I do more flow work, more partials, and they're the more enjoyable things for me than necessarily kind of, Oh, we'll get up in the air and we'll fly around and be floating and stuff and it's great and then we'll come back down and finish. So yeah, it's definitely been lots of ups and downs of disappointments and rewards and progress. It's been pragmatic, I think really about all of those things that has got me through because there's probably times when I would have gone, you know, this isn't working and stopped, but we've changed direction and done things differently and work together to kind of find that path. And again, that's something that I think is been really impactful on me is that I tied with the same person all the time. So, you know, we get to negotiate through all of those things together, and sometimes it works for one of us and not the other. Like finding that balance is an interesting journey in itself.

Wicked Wren [00:12:03] Isn't it funny how once you get the technical aspects of suspension down, you're not worried about it all the time? You kind of tend to go back to the ground and you're like, Oh, partials and floor work is more the fun thing to do.

MoBights [00:12:18] It can be for sure. I mean, I think this sort of like escalator path to suspension, a lot of people jump on, right? They start rope and they see these wonderful suspensions and like they're great to look out and I think you see performances where people are having these almost transcendental experiences and everyone's like, Oh, we've got to get in the air. And then I think once you get in the air, like you say, the sort of fear of overcoming the technical hurdle, really opens things up for people where you don't always have to do suspension, but you have that tool available to you. And I think for me, when I was first learning, there was definitely a lot of fear around a lack of correctness, like, am I doing the right things? Is the harness balanced well enough to to be supportive and as I've kind of learned the principle behind that, not just the pattern which we follow and be able to kind of strip things back and understand how a harness works, how weight and load shifts in a harness, and actually don't always have to be in the air to do that. You can do a lot of that stuff in partial and it's having the ability to change the approach for different circumstances. So there's like, there's been times when I've wanted to achieve a certain shape and suspension and instead of doing it in suspension, we've done it in partial and it's actually been really rewarding. And one in particular I've never even done successfully in a suspension, but we've done successfully on the floor a number of times. And actually that's enough for me. That's okay. I don't need you to be in the air for us to still get the same feeling and sense of experience. So yeah, it's very much kind of overcoming that fear opened up a lot of different avenues to explore in different ways. And then we kind of realized actually it's nice to be on the ground sometimes. It's a different way to play than just always being every session has to go in the air. Every rope scene has to end in a suspension like always. But it's changed our approach in that sense.

Wicked Wren [00:14:17] It sounds like what you're referring to is knowing the principles of the patterns rather than just knowing the patterns.

MoBights [00:14:26] Ohh, I love these. Yeah. People that know me or taught over the last couple of years will probably be bored with same principles over patterns, But it's like, that's my mantra is, you know, you can learn 50 different harnesses, but if you don't understand how they work, did you really learn anything at all. Y follow the recipe sheet and like, I love cooking, like I enjoy cooking. And I think there's similarities between cooking and rope in certain ways. Like you can get a recipe sheet and you can follow the recipe and you can make the meal, right? But is it really going to taste the way you want it to taste if you've never understood why the flavors work, how it's balanced, like what things you want more of or less of is nuanced. And when we talk about adapting rope to different bodies, I think if people really understood some of the principles that sit behind the pattern, why something works, they would probably be more empowered to adapt slightly and not just follow the process and not just go. This is step one, this is step two and and then achieve the pattern at the end of it. That's great. But I think if we really delve into the principles of how things work fundamentally, you know, what we're trying to do is provide support, restraint, a feeling of constriction. Like potentially freedom in contrast to some of that constriction. And when we sort of get into that world, I find that we can be a lot more creative in our approach. And that's the difference between the sort of science of rope and the art of rope for me. The science is the is the process, right? And you learn by replication and we mimic and we get taught. But then at some point you kind of have to find your own voice and your own expression in rope. And I think once we get to the principles of the technique dialed, you can then really start to play around with it and then it opens up a whole different way of exploring more rope and really how you express yourself in rope.

Wicked Wren [00:16:23] Yeah, I do have a kind of off topic question. Are you a Alton Brown fan by any means, or were you a Good Eats fan?

MoBights [00:16:31] I'm not that I'm aware of.

Wicked Wren [00:16:33] Okay, well, never mind. I was curious. You're talking about the science of food and cooking and things. It was all really in line with the TV show Good Eats and Alton Brown and like, Adam Ragusea and things. I just curious.

MoBights [00:16:45] I have ti make a note because I love food programs as well. So I am a big fan of various different food programs like.

Wicked Wren [00:16:52] Alton made Good Eats. It really talks about a lot of the science, quote unquote, behind cooking. And he talked in these absolutes. And looking back on it, it was actually really hard because he had this really definitive way of saying something. He'd talk about a risotto and he was like, if you are making it, it should take this long and should take this much time. So as a kid, I was sitting there trying to make it and it wasn't coming out because I didn't understand the concept of what we were doing. I was just listening to someone and in rope classes I get frustrated as a bottom when we're just being taught a pattern very quickly. And then the top I'm with and I are both trying to just remember the pattern, much less understanding why things are happening and no one's really getting anything out of it. And then the feedback that I can give as a bottom isn't qualified. It's not like does it feel good, does it feel bad? I'm not really sure because this is the first time we've done it and.

MoBights [00:17:54] It's always at that point of reference. Yeah, I think definitely that's the case and kind of whenever I kind of taught groups, I tend not to do pattern based teaching. I'm a big fan of using like Ichinawa or Ipponawa depending which school of thought you come from. And the sort of one rope technique where it's very fluid and you're not highly in a technical mindset because I think it's more accessible to groups of various different skill levels, which is kind of where I've done workshops like ad hoc things, events and stuff. A lot of people's first time in rope, and I think it's much harder to do that when it's a pattern based approach. But recently we did a workshop with Docvale and Banana, which was incredible because they really deconstructed some of those issues in terms of they would show a pattern but then really empower people to if this isn't appropriate for you, that's fine. So they might do a pattern with a gote, for example, and then say any chest harness will work, like do a chest harness you're comfortable with. Because they didn't want people getting kind of caught up in following the steps and executing the exact same gote that was tied. They were more interested in getting people to think about the experience they were looking to have and how they communicated with each other. And when you looked around the room, what you found was all of these sort of nuanced interpretations of what people had been shown. And that was wonderful to not see people doing a cookie cutter rope and just following exactly the same thing and then seeing 12 people with the exact same shape. It was 12 like slightly nuanced and adapted, and everyone was conscious of their bottoms limitations, their desires, the things that they wanted to feel and were able to really tweak it. And that for me was different to what the kind of classes that I've seen or been to where it is that, you know, follow these steps and do these things. And it's important in some ways if you're trying to learn a specific pattern that has specific important or specific structural integrity, what you can't play around necessarily. But I did really enjoy the ability to have some freedom to interpret, and it helps that the skill level in the room was very high. It helped that, you know, people were were very comfortable with what they wanted to tie. And I think on the second day as well, we had been tying gote all weekend, which for us is a bit of an Achilles heel. Gotes in general. And it's been a focus for that kind of last year for us to break through that wall. But it's been the longest time that we've been tying gotes in a kind of prolonged session. And then by the second day we were like, you know what? We're just going to go with a nice, comfortable arms-front harness because, you know, we're both tired. Like we already kind of felt like we'd achieved something with the gote in the first day and a half. So by that point it was like, actually, let's just do something that's really like comfortable, sustainable, that works for where we're both at. And I felt confident to tie because I was tired and my wife felt confident to be tied in because again, her body was tired and the strain on the shoulders and things. And it was nice to be an environment where that was really fostered as a good thing was no one was scolded for going off script. Like it was like, Oh, it was really cool to see the differences in how people approach stuff. So that was that was super nice.

Wicked Wren [00:21:20] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nothing to prove by doing TK for, you know, another day or something.

MoBights [00:21:25] Yeah, exactly. It was like that I think would have been like the seventh TK of the week. And then I'm like, okay, maybe no, maybe not this time. Because like, the other ones that we did were great. So like, quit while we're ahead.

Wicked Wren [00:21:36] Yeah, exactly. I with a lot of talk about community management with you. So you are the community manager of the Siscord with Shibari Study and it's a pretty amazing place to see because there's all these different channels, there's different avenues for people to talk. Everyone's very engaged in the Discord as well.

MoBights [00:21:59] Firstly, I mean, I can't take full credit for that. You know that the Discord as an idea was something that was incepted before I joined the team and the general sort of construct of in the setup I was a member of. I really enjoyed that space to be able to talk with like minded people. And it's something that I've always been somewhat passionate about. So I've done community management professionally in the past. It's something that I've done as a hobby when I used to be kind of into e-sports and then racing online with different people and I set up a community for people to meet for weekly races and stuff. And we had a league and it was great. And then my world changed a little bit. I got more into rope and switched my obsessions. So I've always enjoyed kind of, you know, engaging with different people across cultural boundaries, across geographical divides. So when I sort of discovered this Shibari Study Discord, I was like, Oh, this is really cool place, and it was more kind of serendipitous that I became the community manager and it was very much something that, you know, there was a post one day that was like, Hey, we're looking for a new community manager. And, and I was like, Oh damn. Like, I actually have a qualification in this. And I really enjoy rope and I like being here anyway. So like, maybe this is something that I can, I can, I can do. So I threw my hat in the ring and then I guess the rest is history though that's very cliche. Like, no, it's not. It's, it's the present. It's right now. It's happening.

Wicked Wren [00:23:34] Right now. It's not going anywhere. It's only growing.

MoBights [00:23:38] And that's the thing. I think from kind of joining the team and being a part of that, I was very, very passionate to make that community a really healthy space for people to be in. You know, we've got some really good community guidelines around how people conduct themselves. We very rarely have to kind of moderate that sort of role of moderator. We don't really moderate in the community. It's very self-moderated. People are just generally really respectful and.

Wicked Wren [00:24:04] Except when Tomporarily comes in and just gets on hand.

MoBights [00:24:07] Well, you know, some people just like to watch the world burn.

Wicked Wren [00:24:12] You know, he's just, he's unhinged.

MoBights [00:24:14] I mean, I love it as a contrast to that. He in particular actually has some really useful contributions to the community as well, otherwise.

Wicked Wren [00:24:21] Oh, Absolutely.

MoBights [00:24:21] But I think, for me, what I really love about that space is that I see people just coming together and really exploring the differences in how people approach stuff. So for me, my sort of physical rope world is very UK centric and that's quite aligned to the sort of European way of doing work. Like we all have a sort of shared history, I guess a little bit. It's very traditional. There's a lot of Jew, there's a lot of kind of experience of scenes is quite slow, I guess, in certain ways. Whereas when I kind of got onto the Discord and started talking to people from different places, like I realized so many people have different approaches to rope and, and my kind of background of doing decorative rope or very aesthetic rope. There's still a strong community doing that. And then there's people that are into Western bondage, which we probably don't give enough credit to. But there's a whole really interesting, diverse history of our Western bondage and how that works. Going back to the days of John William Bizarre magazine, which if I'm honest, has whole connotations around foot fetishism and heels and stuff that I love and a vibe with that. So that's another conversation for another day. But then I look at stuff happening in the Bay Area and there's a lot of what I call kind of circus rope, but really performing very dramatic stuff. And I don't see so much of that over here and I wouldn't be exposed to that without a place like the sort of Discord community. Because people are sharing the things that they're up to every weekend and things like Folsom Street Fair when I'm like, I don't even know that existed beforehand. And it's a whole cool thing that I'm like, Wow, that'd be awesome. We don't have so much of that over here. So I guess for me, I really enjoy how bridges over those cultural divides and people can share and have different experiences. And and we start to learn more from each other in a supportive environment rather than in isolation. And I think we've probably all got to where we are somewhat in isolation. But now, because the more of these communities and more spaces where people can connect across geographical divides, it's really been interesting to see how that develops, the general sort of global rope community as well as just the the pockets that we all live in physically.

Wicked Wren [00:26:38] Can you talk a little bit about what makes a strong community from your perspective? And what are some tools that you use to kind of foster conversation? Does that make sense?

MoBights [00:26:52] Oh, you're going to make me give away all my secrets.

Wicked Wren [00:26:54] Giving away all secrets now.

MoBights [00:26:58] I'm a huge people person. I love people. That's my biggest thing. And you know, rope and kink, for me, it's about people connecting. And this is community management is another way that people connect. And I think a really strong community is about people feeling a sense of representation. About people feeling a sense of identity in that community. And that has to be shaped by the community itself. Like I could sit here and try and really drive a certain type of community, but I don't like to do that because I find it quite homogenous. And you create echo chambers when you do that, and if you're really strict about the type of people you want in the community, the type of conversations you want to have, like it becomes like a self-fulfilling prophecy that the only things that you will have. Whereas what I try to facilitate is a space for people to just really talk openly. I like people to challenge each other respectfully, to bring different opinions together. If things are a little quiet, I'll probably start to like, you know, prompt a notch a little bit. So I don't know anyone that's joined in the last couple of months. There's probably a point where I've gone as a gentle nudge. Introduce yourself. So when anyone joins the community, they get a little notification that says, like, check out community guidelines and come and introduce yourself or maybe share a photograph. And a lot of people, I think, are dead nervous about doing that because the community is established and Shibari Study has a brand. And there's a bit of almost anticipation where people don't want to be like, Oh, hi, I'm new here, have been doing it for two months when this people have been doing it for years. Yeah, but I really like the people that bring new perspectives. I like to know why people got rope, what sparked their interest. And I will periodically kind of tag multiple people who haven't maybe introduced themselves and say like, you know, let us know a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Like what kind of rope do you enjoy? What got you into this weird and wonderful world of perversion that we all live in. And they're the kind of things where I think I try and sort of be moving the community around a little bit in terms of like prompting conversation. But for the most part I just enjoy getting into the conversations people start. It moves and it's fluid all the time around. Sometimes it'll be about equipment, sometimes it'll be about experience. The bottoming channel has some great stuff there. You know, I find quite unique in Shibari Study Discord community is to have really pushed to have a lot of representation for bottoms and for them to talk freely about their experience. And when we rolled out the partner feature, that was huge because I think a lot of subscribers of Shibari Study tend to be tops because what we're doing is teaching people patterns and ways to tie. There's some really good content for bottoms. Fuoco's kind of like body care, body conditioning, like the first rope date content that just came out recently. We're getting more aware of targeting content towards bottoms to make them feel engaged. You'll sign a class and you'll learn and there's nothing towards the bottom half of the room. 50% of people aren't really getting to know of it. So that was a big thing when I joined to try and facilitate more people having those conversations and for bottoms to share their experiences and to really think about things not just from a top centric perspective. And when we rolled out the partner feature, that made a huge difference because then we got a lot of people that were on the other side of the ropes in the community, and they were able to share their experiences and broaden people's horizons. And that's something that for me is a top again, like, I don't want my perspective of rope to be tainted by just my kind of viewpoint of the world in the top down view. Like, it's really important for me to be shaped by what my bottom wants to experience and how they want to be feeling in their rope and how they want rope appliance the way they want it or don't want it and that's different for everybody. So that was a huge thing for me to to kind of facilitate the rest of it. It's just super organic. I mean, it's just a really great bunch of people and just like 650 of them right now. So there's a lot of really good people.

Wicked Wren [00:31:12] Can you tell me about the partner feature really quick?

MoBights [00:31:16] Yeah. So I guess one of the things with the community is that it's specifically for Shibari Study members. So it's a close community. There's an ideology behind that, which is to give people a safe space where they feel like they can be open and honest and not have to worry that, you know, the whole world is watching what they say on like kind of social media, like Instagram. Everyone's going to read every comment that you make. Like it is a more closed community in that sense. But because initially you had to have a subscription to Shibari Study to join join, it was a say, the subscriber that joined. And what the part the feature allowed us to do is kind of say, look, we value both parts of the story, the top and the bottom. Something else that I was quite conscious of in the early stages of designing the partner feature was it was initially designed that people could add one partner and I was like, Is that really representative of a lot of people in rope relationships? And so we we extended that and people can add two partners. There has to be a number at some point, I guess, like it can't just be unlimited. But we kind of felt that the two partners really reflected like the sort of primary rope relationships that people would have. I think I have made one exception to allow someone to add a third partner at one time, but it was very much about kind of adding more balance to the conversation. And it not just being a bunch of tops in a room talking about rope, which is fine in one sense, but I think having that other side of the story really did change how the conversations went. And attracted different people to the Discord as well to share their experiences. So that was super, super important for me to provide some more balance in that sense. And it's been really nice to see people bring their partners along and talk freely between themselves and also for partners to talk to each other as well. Like outside of the watchful eyes of all these rope tops.

Wicked Wren [00:33:13] I feel like that's one of the hardest things about bottoming is that you kind of are in a vacuum. You can talk to other tops, you can kind of talk to your friends that are bottoms, but there's not a big community of people getting tied. It's hard to reach out to someone else and say, My shoulder really hurts when this thing or this thing happens. How do you feel about it? Those are hard conversations to have, so the bottom channels are awesome for that.

MoBights [00:33:38] Definitely. And I think if anyone's listening, get in there and have more of those conversations because for me, I like to I like to read those conversations. I like to see what the other side of the story looks like. So, yeah, certainly it's really important for people to be able to have that. And again, being on the Internet, being accessible to people across geographical divides really opens that up to not just say your so small group of friends that that might be bottoming that you feel confident enough to talk to. It really gives people a lot of a broader kind of perspective of experience.

Wicked Wren [00:34:13] Yeah, to echo that, I would say just get in there and talk and it might be scary because there are a lot of people in there and you're new or whatever, but it's not, you know, everyone's nice, You just go in, introduce yourself and just kind of start talking.

MoBights [00:34:28] And jump into conversations like people. I think they get afraid to ask questions sometimes, and especially when we have sort of regular rope office hours with instructors, which is super unique to be able to have this like direct avenue to talk to the people that you see on Shibari Study. And I think people are really scared of asking questions sometimes. And I'm like, Please do. So I tend to go around and like grab questions that people have asked recently and pose them to the instructor to get their perspective. And it's actually like our most read channel for our least message channel. So people don't comment in there, but tons of people read it and they're clearly getting good value out of the information. But I'm like, ask the questions because there are no bad questions to ask where ropes are concerned. Especially if you're if you're new. Challenge the people that have been doing this for a long time to ask them why and to understand why we do certain things. And for people, I've been doing this for a while. Help the new people to understand why we make certain choices over other things and you know, how we can all work together to just create a better space.

Wicked Wren [00:35:35] I was going to say one of the best things is someone that hasn't been in the scene for a long time coming in, asking quote unquote, common sense questions because they haven't been fed the script of what a quote unquote power bottom is or the TK is the only way to how to be in a chest harness or whatever. Like that perspective is so valuable and we never really hear it.

MoBights [00:35:59] No. And I think for me, it's always great to challenge ourselves with stuff like that. When people ask us those, I say the common sense questions that we might have started to take for granted because we've just been curated to do things the way things are done. And it's only through people really challenging that I'm going actually could we do this differently, that we've created some interesting new approaches and new harnesses and things of that to solve a problem. And if no one actually points out the problem, we never solve it. We just all carry on blindly tying TKs and ripping people shoulders out. And, you know, so someone at some point when actually maybe you could just put your arms forward maybe or just have them arms free. Tif might come up with the Tenshi and sub the chest. We'll just do arms. And I'm like, Okay, cool. Like, this is development and it's how we evolve, so we definitely need more of those questions.

Wicked Wren [00:36:53] Is there anything coming up with the Discord, anything on the horizon that we should keep our little eyeballs peeled for?

MoBights [00:37:01] Uhh, so Discord specific not so much because we're doing a lot of work behind the scenes on the blog.

Wicked Wren [00:37:10] Tell me about the blog.

MoBights [00:37:12] Oh, right. So the Discord people know this. They know it's coming. But we've been doing work to really add a different way for people to interact with, with shivers to do so. Obviously, a huge amount of what we do is creating content for the site, this tutorial style content. But there is a demand for different ways of people to interact and different media types. And a blog really extends the way in which we can we can give people information at a different pace as well. Like sometimes you don't always have the ability to sit down and watch a video for 30 minutes. And sometimes it's not about learning a harness more about the experience. And this is something that is very much benefited from the community. So we're looking at some of the things the community have asked for and how we can translate that into different content. That's not necessarily going to be the sexiest video content, but it gives people an insight. And it's the same with the podcast, right? You know, this is adding extra value for people that might want to listen to a podcast when they're on the train, going to work on the commute or, you know, they're not able to watch a video because they can listen to something. And it gives people a different insight and a different lens that we're not just looking at these amazing instructors doing this awesome stuff that might be inspirational or might be educational. We're also humanizing that. And I think the blog is... I'm super excited for that. We've kind of curated a little bit of content from community members. We're looking at how we can listen to the community and translate that, I say, into different ways for people to sort of consume rope content that is really valuable to them. And like I say, kind of some of the conversations about equipment, like we don't have many videos on equipment choices because it's not the most exciting thing to watch a video about. But we could definitely create articles on that, like what different rope types are like why you would choose certain rope types in certain situations, like different kinds of hardware and all of that kind of stuff isn't the... Video is not the best medium to do it. So the blog really, really expands upon that and it means we have a reference guide for the community as well. When people ask certain questions, we can then say, Look, we have this article. It gives you a lot more information than I can sit there typing out over and over again. And that's something that is going to really support what we're able to do in the community. Other than that, I mean, more sort of rope office with the instructors are going to happen and I'm thinking of ways in which we can do more interactive stuff with the community as well. So I'd love to do like a virtual rope jam where people can just get together online and just tie. No, no expectations. No, we're not learning something per say. We're just sitting. People are tying, people are watching and just having that sort of shared experience. But it's. getting the time to be able to do that. That suits everyone because like a lot of our audience are in the U.S., I'm in the U.K. There's a time difference. So it's... I'm still trying to find the right time to be able to do that. I've road tested it a little bit here and there. It's been interesting, but I definitely like to be able to do something like that in the future where people can have that like fly on the wall view. It's all the people's rope worls. So, I would definitely be something that I'd love to do more.

Wicked Wren [00:40:46] God, that'd be huge. It's funny, the actual activity of rope is the only thing we do in a vacuum. Like, we don't have insight into people's personal rope, but we do have insight into what kind of dude they like. All these kinds of things we can see it from pictures. We can see like, like a snapshot of it. But I think seeing people's actual scenes would be so, so helpful, but also very, very vulnerable.

MoBights [00:41:13] Yeah, super vulnerable. I think for me, I love that humanization of it because again, I say we look at people online, we see people do performances, we look at the teachers in videos. And I think sometimes we forget they're people. They just become like dispensers of knowledge and these oracles that we put up on a pedestal. And I guess I say kind of having more of that human interaction where we see people just having real true organic connective rope experiences that sometimes might be great, sometimes might be not so great, like and demonstrating that to people, that is kind of what the real world looks like, not just what we post on the Internet on social media, because that was the great photo that we took and put through 15 different filters and went, Look how amazing this was for 3 seconds before we came down. Like, you know, people seeing the journey, not just the destination. I think that's something that would be would be really, really cool to do. I just need to find the right time to get people together where we can be like, Let's do this thing.

Wicked Wren [00:42:13] Yeah, well, where can people find you, Mo? What are you up to? Anything going on?

MoBights [00:42:19] Discord mostly. Like I'm passively active on Instagram, so, like my handle on all socials is @mobights so you can find me on Instagram and Twitter. But as I mentioned before, I'm not hugely active in terms of putting out content. I tend to just like see what people are up to, get inspiration, but my DMs are always open if people ever want to ask questions and if you're on the Discord, you'll know that I'm I'm quite avid at talking on there and happy to share my opinion. So yeah, definitely come and say hi. Or if you see me around events, I'm at a few in the UK. Manchester's got a really good rope scene and some great, great people here traveling a little bit more down at Nottingham, seeing different people around the scene. So if anyone ever sees me, I've usually got a mohawk and makeup on. I'm easily spottable. So come say, Hey.

Wicked Wren [00:43:14] I thought I was going to see that mohawk today.

MoBights [00:43:16] I know. I'm sorry.

Wicked Wren [00:43:18] It's okay.

MoBights [00:43:18] It's there. It's just got it's a Thursday and it's the week has been long.

Wicked Wren [00:43:22] Look, I understand. I mean...

MoBights [00:43:25] Catch me on a Saturday and it's right.

Wicked Wren [00:43:27] Yeah. It's a day dependent mohawk.

MoBights [00:43:30] Yes definitely. Definitely. It takes days off. It needs a rest.

Wicked Wren [00:43:33] Yeah, I understand. Well, Mo, thank you so much. I appreciate you talking to me.

MoBights [00:43:37] Well, thank you, Wren. It's been awesome.

Wicked Wren [00:43:39] Yeah. Thank you so much for what you do in the Discord. You've curated conversations in there that are really special.

MoBights [00:43:46] Well, thank you. That's so sweet. That's all I ever want it to be is just like special conversations with people who enjoy it.


In this episode, Mistress Kiko shares her story and kink journey. Together with Wren, they explore her job as a pro domme and talk about some of her sessions.


In this episode, Mistress Kiko shares her story and kink journey. Together with Wren, they explore her job as a pro domme and talk about some of her sessions.

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Guest Bio

Mistress Kiko is a Japanese Dominatrix and uses bondage as a tool for her clients during sessions.


Wicked Wren [00:00:24] Hello and welcome to the Shibari Study podcast. I'm your host Wicked Wren. And today I have on Mistress Kiko. How are you?

Mistress Kiko [00:00:32] Good. How are you?

Wicked Wren [00:00:33] I am amazing. So you are a pro domme living in Los Angeles, correct?

Mistress Kiko [00:00:39] Yes.

Wicked Wren [00:00:39] How did you get started being a pro domme?

Mistress Kiko [00:00:42] I started in Japan. I walked into a café. I was interested in wearing an outfit and I wanted to hear about it. And I walked in and it was like, you know, it was like a house.

Wicked Wren [00:00:59] Yeah.

Mistress Kiko [00:01:00] And they were like, Well, you need to learn B*** if you want to work here. And then they gave me a list of stuff they do at those places. And I was like, No, no, no, no. I don't want to do that. Like, they were like telling me there's face sitting. And I was like, Okay, no, thank you. I don't want to do that. And then I don't know. And then after that, they're like, You should experience the other side. And I experienced it with the, you know, the owners there. And I was like, okay, I'm not working. But then, I don't know, one day I was like, I really want to understand the psychology of this. It felt very interesting. So I got really into it.

Wicked Wren [00:01:51] Gotcha. Do you think you figured out the psychology of it a little bit better over time?

Mistress Kiko [00:01:56] Um, I think I have more understanding about it.

Wicked Wren [00:02:00]  And is it you wanted to figure out why people wanted to participate in bondage?

Mistress Kiko [00:02:05]  And there's all kinds of fetishes, right? And bondage, I understand because I already had that taught to myself. But the other stuff was very mysterious to me. So I really wanted to understand everything.

Wicked Wren [00:02:22] What was the most mysterious?

Mistress Kiko [00:02:25] There were so many different people that I've met. For example, people who want to be stepped on with a heel. I didn't understand why they would enjoy that called. Tell them that they're just a piece of trash and why people would be turned on by that, you know.

Wicked Wren [00:02:43] Do you think you understand why people want to be degraded and stepped on now?

Mistress Kiko [00:02:48] I don't know. I just feel a lot of the times, they're childhood experiences, and they want to relive it, you know?

Wicked Wren [00:02:59] So did you have issues with doing more humiliation, degradation in the beginning?

Mistress Kiko [00:03:06] No, not really.

Wicked Wren [00:03:09] That's too fun. So you were just like, I don't understand this but I'm still going to do it and have fun with it.

Mistress Kiko [00:03:14] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:03:14] That's so funny. And you said that you're into bondage before you went in.

Mistress Kiko [00:03:19] Yeah, I was into – I had always liked the aesthetic of it. When I was a little child, I've seen magazines. So I've always been – but then when I went and saw their performances, that was when I first saw a real girl hanging from the ceiling. I was like, This is what I want to do.

Wicked Wren [00:03:46] And when you saw that, did you want to be the person being tied or you wanted to tie?

Mistress Kiko [00:03:50] I wanted to tie.

Wicked Wren [00:03:52] Who did you study with?

Mistress Kiko [00:03:54] I studied a long time ago. I think it was more when I first started. The tie I learned was kind of more similar to, you know, Naraki style. And everything was tied off with one. There was no connecting and... But I think it wasn't locked either. So back then, it was more dangerous. And then the modern style came in. I learned some modern style. Kazami Ranki taught me. Also Koizumi.

Wicked Wren [00:04:32] Yeah. What was the change in your career where you started learning the modern style?

Mistress Kiko [00:04:39] I think it was, it started changing, I mean, I took a little break and then when I went back into the scene, that was maybe around 13, 14 years ago. People were already doing, really caring about and thinking about aftercare. And modern tying has become so big. So that's when I really started learning.

Wicked Wren [00:05:15] That makes sense.

Mistress Kiko [00:05:16] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:05:16] So you felt in that break period, there's a big change?

Mistress Kiko [00:05:20] Yeah. I mean, there was more change. I think in Japan, people didn't really teach, so. When I first started, they taught me the basics. But it was more about the speed of the tie. They taught me how to get a gote done within 20, 30 seconds, at the most.

Wicked Wren [00:05:39] That is wild.

Mistress Kiko [00:05:41] Yeah. Yeah, but people didn't care about the subject getting injured. Back then when I first started, if you're injured, you're injured.

Wicked Wren [00:05:52] Yeah, it's just kind of a part of it.

Mistress Kiko [00:05:53] Yeah, kind of part of it. But now after that, you know, the modern tying coming in. People started caring about the safety and the aftercare.

Wicked Wren [00:06:06] What are some things that you use in your sessions rope-wise, that maybe you weren't taught and you learn just from having to tie so many different bodies and things like that?

Mistress Kiko [00:06:19] Like rope technique wise or?

Wicked Wren [00:06:21] Yeah, a lot of rope bondage is set up to tie women.

Mistress Kiko [00:06:25] Mm hmm.

Wicked Wren [00:06:25] But you tie a lot of men in your session.

Mistress Kiko [00:06:27] Yeah, it's completely different. It's completely different. So I tie men so much that I kind of realize like, Oh, like you don't realize how light girls are and how flexible. It's completely different. Yeah. So one time I was like. Tying a girl after I haven't tied girls for so long. And she went up to a ceiling with one hand. You know, it's just completely different. Whereas the guys that come see me, they're all over six feet tall and they weigh over, you know, about 200 pounds. 160 at the lightest. So.

Wicked Wren [00:07:15] Wow. And how have you adapted some of your knowledge to tie different bodies?

Mistress Kiko [00:07:23] A lot of hands down for guys because a lot of guys can't stay in that TK position for a long time.

Wicked Wren [00:07:30] That makes sense.

Mistress Kiko [00:07:31] Yeah. Or I'll do, you know, hands split a little bit, you know?

Wicked Wren [00:07:38] You're saying that there's a weight discrepancy between you and the client. When you're suspending them, how or what are some tips on how you get them off the ground when they're so much heavier than you are?

Mistress Kiko [00:07:52] I mean, I wouldn't, I don't do a lot of the... I would mummy them and then suddenly lift them up. And of course, you know, I wouldn't to be able to do that. I'll just lift them one by one like, you know, the torso and then the leg or the hip or, you know.

Wicked Wren [00:08:09] Definitely. What role does rope play in your sessions currently? Like, you're not doing a lot of suspensions, is it? A lot of partials maybe? Or?

Mistress Kiko [00:08:17] Yeah, partials are actually easier. Recently, I have, if I'm traveling, I've stopped carrying my suspension frame unless I get a request to. Before I used to but it was so much work.

Wicked Wren [00:08:33] That seems like a real pain.

Mistress Kiko [00:08:36] Like I used to ship them over to each city and and set it up. But, I mean, I realize most people don't really care about it as much.

Wicked Wren [00:08:46] That makes sense.

Mistress Kiko [00:08:47] So but I do partial more because then I could do things to them for a longer period of time. If I do full suspension, obviously they can stay up there for a long time.

Wicked Wren [00:09:04] Do you find that a lot of your clients that are maybe new think that they have an idea that they want to get suspended and stuff like that, and then once they do it, they're like, Oh, this actually isn't what I want.

Mistress Kiko [00:09:17] Yes, they all want to try. A lot of people wants to try. And then they realize, like I mean, I can't spend hours, you know, unless I do like a lot of, you know, rope to them, then they're okay. But they realize it's harder to stay there.

Wicked Wren [00:09:38] Absolutely. Well, you brought up a great point where when you're in a partial, you can actually connect and play with the person. I like being put in a partials when I'm bottoming way more.

Mistress Kiko [00:09:47] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:09:48] You know.

Mistress Kiko [00:09:49] I think a lot of people do.

Wicked Wren [00:09:50] And I think that they're more cruel a lot of the times.

Mistress Kiko [00:09:54] Yeah. And so it's not as uncomfortable too. But it can be pretty cruel, too.

Wicked Wren [00:10:03] Definitely. Do you think about the flow of the session in your time period that you have with the person. Maybe like a beginning, a middle and end? Do you construct them in that way?

Mistress Kiko [00:10:16] I actually never think about my sessions until it starts, and then I just go with the flow.

Wicked Wren [00:10:22] Have you always been like that?

Mistress Kiko [00:10:23] I've always been like that. Well, unless it's like a whole roleplay scene where I have a lot of people coming in, like multiple people. Then I'll think about how I would do it. But other than that, if it's a one on one, I actually do what I feel that day.

Wicked Wren [00:10:44] That makes sense.

Mistress Kiko [00:10:44] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:10:46] You were telling me that you do a lot of bondage in your sessions is not only rope. You have a session coming up where someone's going to be in a 48 hour sleep sock, correct?

Mistress Kiko [00:10:57] Yes. Not just a sleep sock. We do bondage, too. He also loves metal cuffs.

Wicked Wren [00:11:06] Gotcha.

Mistress Kiko [00:11:06] Just the idea of being chained up and never allowed to get out. Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:11:12] And for 48 hours. How does that work logistically?

Mistress Kiko [00:11:16] It's more of a psychological experience where he's tied down like mummified with rope. And then we'll change the scene here and there, but sometimes in a sleep sack, sometimes in a chain, he's buckled down. So it's just a verbal thing where psychologically we do this whole role play scenario where he just feels like he's never going to get out of the scene. And these girls come in and everybody, they just use him for whatever they want and he's fully hooded so he can't see anything.

Wicked Wren [00:12:05] That was my next question. Is he fully hooded for 48 hours?

Mistress Kiko [00:12:08] Yes.

Wicked Wren [00:12:09] Wow.

Mistress Kiko [00:12:09] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:12:10] That has to be wild.

Mistress Kiko [00:12:13] With almost no sleep. Maybe 2 hours here and there, But it's more of a psychological thing, I think. To experience.

Wicked Wren [00:12:26] You talk about the psychological aspects a lot.

Mistress Kiko [00:12:29] Yeah. For that, it's more like, you know, something that normally wouldn't happen. Like he's locked up and he's not never going to get out. He's a prisoner. He's just tied down and just used for whatever anyone wants to use him. And he's never able to eat human food and ...

Wicked Wren [00:12:58] Definitely.

Mistress Kiko [00:12:59] Yeah. And never be able to see the sunlight.

Wicked Wren [00:13:02] So after you come out of the 48 hour mummification. What are some of the first things that you two talk about? What were some things that he says to you?

Mistress Kiko [00:13:15] We talk about it after we leave. So he goes... After he finishes, he goes to the mountains.

Wicked Wren [00:13:24] Okay.

Mistress Kiko [00:13:25] He's totally out of it now. He hasn't had almost no sleep and he's mentally out of it. But usually he goes to mountains and then just, you know, relax.

Wicked Wren [00:13:37] And what are some things that he says about the sessions to you after? Does he say anything about the session to you after?

Mistress Kiko [00:13:48] Actually, not really. No, not really. But I've seen him many times.

Wicked Wren [00:13:53] Yeah. That's suprising.

Mistress Kiko [00:13:56] I just want to destroy him completely. That's my goal.

Wicked Wren [00:14:02] What about previous sessions, then?

Mistress Kiko [00:14:04] The previous session, we do the same thing. But I always like to push his limits.

Wicked Wren [00:14:09] Absolutely.

Mistress Kiko [00:14:10] And make it harder and harder on him.

Wicked Wren [00:14:12] What are some things that scare him?

Mistress Kiko [00:14:15] I think what scares him the most is abandonment. You know, being in that place in the dark.

Wicked Wren [00:14:22] Yeah.

Mistress Kiko [00:14:22] And feeling that there was nobody there.

Wicked Wren [00:14:26] How do you play with the abandonment?

Mistress Kiko [00:14:29] I mean, if he doesn't hear any sound, he'll just start freaking out.

Wicked Wren [00:14:34] And do you purposefully let him get there? A couple of times.

Mistress Kiko [00:14:39] Yeah. Yeah. But I enjoy pushing more. So this time we're trying to feed him dog food throughout the whole time. Whereas last time he ate normal food, right.

Wicked Wren [00:14:52] Yeah. Yeah. Is there going to be kibble, like hard dried dog food.

Mistress Kiko [00:14:56] Canned food.

Wicked Wren [00:14:57] Canned food. So at least, it's soft. You know, it sounds like you like to push people.

Mistress Kiko [00:15:01] I do. I enjoy it.

Wicked Wren [00:15:03] Yeah. Have you always been like that?

Mistress Kiko [00:15:06] Yeah. I like to challenge, you know. Every session, I want to do more. Yeah, I don't know I get greedy.

Wicked Wren [00:15:15] Absolutely.

Mistress Kiko [00:15:17] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:15:18] What are some things that come up in sessions that really excite you?

Mistress Kiko [00:15:22] Excite me?

Wicked Wren [00:15:22] Like the perfect client that could come in and say, This is what I want to do? What would that person say?

Mistress Kiko [00:15:28] I'll do anything you want.

Wicked Wren [00:15:29] Okay.

Mistress Kiko [00:15:30] Yeah. I want to always make it beautiful. But session, it's more about, you know, how that person is experience, what they're experiencing. So I would speed up on purpose or I would slow down. But like, even this time, I wouldn't exactly do a proper tie sometimes. Just the feeling on top of a proper tie, like, you know, just to combine it. Like, they'll feel that they're inescapable. But like, you know, sometimes if there's, like, changes of speed, you know? Their feelings change.

Wicked Wren [00:16:07] So you'll tie something functional and then on top of it, just kind of put rope on it just to add some emotion to it.

Mistress Kiko [00:16:13] Yeah, I just do it because I think when you're tied up, you don't really, you're not really looking at it and making sure it look so beautiful, you know? So I do the basics, but then you want to feel the feeling, right? So there's like a pause, like the speed changes, the tightness, you know?

Wicked Wren [00:16:33] Absolutely.

Mistress Kiko [00:16:34] Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:16:35] Yeah. I feel like that's something that people forget a lot.

Mistress Kiko [00:16:38] Like when they're breathing, you know, and then you suddenly change it. You know, you feel something different. So I kind of like to play with that if we're doing a whole bondage scene.

Wicked Wren [00:16:50] Did that take you a long time to figure out? Was that always pretty natural for you?

Mistress Kiko [00:16:56] I just do what I would like, you know? I mean, I think it's more, I think it was kind of... Now, I don't know if they like it, but so if it's a heavy bondage-based session. I would focus on more the, you know, emotional part of it. I mean, I'll do the technical part, but I'm not really focused on, you know, how it's going to look with the photographs. Yeah.

Wicked Wren [00:17:23] Thank you, Mistress Kiko for being on. This is amazing.

Mistress Kiko [00:17:26] And thank you for having me.


In this episode, Knotty Devil talks about how religion shaped his youth and discusses his approach to rope. He encourages people to tie for flow and break their movements down into how they're connected to the person they're tying.


In this episode, Knotty Devil talks about how religion shaped his youth and discusses his approach to rope. He encourages people to tie for flow and break their movements down into how they're connected to the person they're tying.

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Guest Bio

Knotty Devil has been infatuated with rope bondage since he first saw a suspension performance five years ago. Since then, he has strived to learn from a variety of sources and is now a shibari artist.


Wren [00:00:18] Welcome to the Shibari Study podcast. I'm your host Wicked Wren. And today I'm talking to my friend, Knotty Devil. How are you?

Knotty Devil [00:00:26] Ah, good. I'm good. A little sleepy, but doing great. Had some coffee, so.

Wren [00:00:31] Maybe you need to go to bed earlier.

Knotty Devil [00:00:33] Actually, very true. I'm working on it.

Wren [00:00:35] Do you have a nighttime routine?

Knotty Devil [00:00:38] Um, I kind of – I definitely have a morning routine. I do not have a nighttime one. I'm usually, my roommates are usually up until 4 a.m. so sometimes I'm playing video games or hanging out with them, or sometimes it's like, No, I got to be up early, so I'm just going to maybe stretch and then sleep. It's about a 50% chance of me actually stretching or somehow winding down before I sleep. Otherwise I just have a DND podcast or show on and just pass out with that in the background.

Wren [00:01:10] What is your morning routine? I'm fascinated by morning routines in general.

Knotty Devil [00:01:14] I literally wake up, roll over and post to all the social media that I have. I'm just like, Okay, here's – I'm doing posts on Reddit, I'm doing posts on this and that uses 30 minutes of me in my bed on my phone and then I shamble downstairs, make coffee, and then if it's a nice day out, I like to read either manga or a book on the porch because I'm in a big house and it's even if it's cold out, I have a nice coat. But if it's a nice sunny day, which is a rarity these days, I will be outside reading. If not, I will be upstairs in my little room, sipping coffee and reading as well.

Wren [00:01:57] That's amazing. How do you take your coffee?

Knotty Devil [00:01:59] Black.

Wren [00:02:00] Same. So you said that you wake up and you post. How often do you post?

Knotty Devil [00:02:06] Probably anywhere from 3 to 5 times a week. I'll usually be posting on Reddit or on Instagram or Twitter, whichever. Whatever content I have that works for that specific platform. But I usually try to post anywhere from 3 to 5 times a week and then OF. Of course, it's usually two to three times a week as well.

Wren [00:02:34] That's a lot of content to make to post. Are you thinking about that stuff in your sessions?

Knotty Devil [00:02:41] Yes, actually. Well, it depends on it depends on who and what I'm doing, because sometimes it's like, okay, if I'm doing a regular session with someone I've been talking with like super frequently will be like, okay, we're going to make a preview for Instagram, so I'm going to try a build, put you in it, take a quick shot that's like no gags, that's fully closed, and then, okay, next is going to be the one for Twitter. There can be a little nudity, maybe a gag, and then like next is going to be the one that actually goes to Onlyfans. And so we'll do that like per pose sometimes. And other times it's not at all focused on that. But that's tends to be the if I'm like making content, I'm like, All right, let's get this shot, this shot of the shot, and then just call it good.

Wren [00:03:29] That makes sense. Really quick, there's a small clicking sound.

Knotty Devil [00:03:34] Yeah, that is my heart. I have two mechanical heart valves, so there is ticking. It cannot escape me, I'm afraid.

Wren [00:03:41] I've never heard of that.

Knotty Devil [00:03:43] Oh, yeah. It's, it's – you picked up on it so fast. Sometimes, it's really fun to be in a room and have someone look up and be like, Is there a clock in here? And it's funny because it's just a regular thing for me and I'm always excited to be able to explain it or maybe even try and come up with like a weird nerdy thing that's not that and just see how long it takes for people to understand that. No, I actually do just have two mechanical heart valves. At one point, I had someone on TikTok shoot me a message back when I had one and they were like, Hey, why is there this constant ticking in the background? I love your content, but I just can't stand the ticking. I'm like, I'm so sorry, I can't make it stop.

Wren [00:04:22] You're like, Trust me, we don't want to stop.

Knotty Devil [00:04:24] We don't want to stop.

Wren [00:04:26] Have you ever been around someone else and heard the ticking? And you're like, Oh, you have a mechanical heart valve?

Knotty Devil [00:04:31] No, I've really been I, I would love for that to happen. I have been like that, that would honestly be a dream is for me to recognize someone across the room and then do the same and both point to each other and be like, Eyyy.

Wren [00:04:46] Thank you for sharing.

Knotty Devil [00:04:47] Yeah, of course.

Wren [00:04:48] So earlier you were talking about the role of documenting your sessions, and it's always cool to hear different people talk about the camera and what it does in a session because some people are really against photo rope and some people do rope for photos and for posting. It seems like you go in with a creative idea.

Knotty Devil [00:05:08] Yeah, well, it actually it changes based on the people that I am tying because there are people that are good friends of mine in my rope family or who are people that I'm making content with where we go in and the goal of the session is to make content. And then there's people like my partners or other members of my rope family where it's not really at all about making content. It's about the connection, the feeling, the flow. And so it really just depends on who I'm working with and what we all kind of like want based out of that. But I found that going into the session, if we're making content, it's good to come at it with the intent to make content and the intent to like, this is what will work on these different platforms and we'll pass and we'll be fine.

Wren [00:05:59] How are you looking at structuring your sessions? Do you go in with ideas or are you just kind of go with the flow after obviously an intake from your partners and things like that?

Knotty Devil [00:06:10] I think, so once we figure out, once we kind of build the general world that we're, that we're getting into, we're like, Okay, here's what we can do, here's what we want to do today. Or at least like, Okay, where, where do we not want rope on the body? How are we feeling? That kind of thing. And then moving on from there. It really depends on the environment. Are we, do we have a hard point? Do we not have a hard point? Do we have furniture or are we outside? And then based on that, it's kind of like, Okay, let's see, I want to make, let's play with this shape. And if it works, it works. If it doesn't – in fact, just the other day, I was doing a shoot and I decided I had an idea for a pose. And about halfway through, the person in rope kind of shifted and leaned one way and it just it looked so much better and it entirely changed the pose because I was like, No, actually I like this. This just has an aesthetic to it. Let's go with this. And so it's usually pretty flexible as to what we're going to be doing and maybe 50/50, I have a solid plan. The other 50 is like, Let's just kind of see where we end up.

Wren [00:07:23] You said something really cool and you said, I find out where we don't want to put rope and I find that most people do the opposite where they say, What do you want?

Knotty Devil [00:07:36] I think for us in general, a lot of times it's like, Okay, where – finding out where on the body you don't want rope today and so also kind of alongside like, Hey what harness don't you want to use. It gives us a lot more. So for example, my partner Leviathan has is has been over the past few months recovering from a shoulder injury. And so whenever we were labbing out a tie recently, it was like, Okay, we don't want this pose, we don't want this pose and we can't have the rope going over this part of the shoulder. And so figuring that out and then kind of going with that, it kind of shows us, Okay, here's the things that we can't do. So now we have just so much more. We have so much more room for movement, instead of picking like, Here's one thing I really want or here's one or two places I really want rope, which is also good to know and we can play with that. But I find there's a lot more room for movement when you discuss the things that you specifically, the places you specifically don't want the rope.

Wren [00:08:47] Yeah, there's a million kinds of yeses as well, but there's only one kind of no and no is so definite and finite. Yes can mean yes, but, you know, or it could be a fake because you feel pressured to say yes. Like so many things. But a no, it's great.

Knotty Devil [00:09:04] Yeah, it is. And it's also really, it's a very helpful reminder because I have definitely, I had someone who I was doing a performance with and we had briefly tied or we'd have a history of tying, and then one of the places on the body changed where they were, where they felt comfortable with rope. And we had kind of discussed it before our rehearsal and then we went into doing it. And throughout that performance, I actually I did put rope on that part of the body because we had a whole history of tying that way. And I completely, it did space my mind and we checked in afterwards and which I'm so grateful to this person because they communicated, Hey, that was, that was – let's talk about that. And we did. And ever since that point, one of the things that we've brought into that is before every session being like, Hey, where on the body do you not want rope today? Or how comfortable are you with doing all of the rope that we have done in the past specifically? So it's fresh in my mind where on the body do not want rope? Especially if you're tying different people who have different ideas of what they want and different places. They don't want rope on the body. I might be tying someone one day who doesn't want rope on their feet and the next day tying someone who loves having rope on their feet. And it just, bringing that up beforehand, keeping it present in the mind is such a good thing that it's just kind of become a regular staple of my time with people.

Wren [00:10:38] It sounds like you created an environment that allowed for that person to say, Hey, that wasn't cool. Let's talk about it.

Knotty Devil [00:10:47] Yeah. Well, and that's also I understand that's a very difficult thing to do. I've definitely felt uncomfortable and rushed before and have struggled with my own, bringing that to the table because, you know, I was raised to be a people pleaser and it's a difficult thing for me to step up sometimes. So I have huge respect for the person that was like, Hey, this made me feel a little wonky and a little uncomfortable. Let's discuss it. And because that took so much courage. But I think that supporting that 100% makes them feel more comfortable. And I would would absolutely much rather have people feel comfortable and be able to do that because communication is very important. And at some point in time, for me, I think the biggest thing that I really like when I'm tying to people is having that open communication. People who are able to say, Hey, actually let's change it up or Hey, let's do this. And people who feel comfortable enough to say those things, that's so, so important to me.

Wren [00:11:52] It sounds like you have a lot of bottoming experience.

Knotty Devil [00:11:55] Yeah. My first suspension intensive, I actually bottomed. It was a three day intensive and I was bottoming for suspension and it was intense. But yeah, I actually got into the shibari scene as a switch and was definitely self-suspending. And because I wanted to be tied, I had always, it was something that both thrilled and terrified me and I wanted to be tied and I decided that I was going to tie myself and then eventually find other people to tie me.

Wren [00:12:30] You come from a really religious background, right?

Knotty Devil [00:12:33] Yes. Yeah. Extremely evangelical fundamentalism bordering on extremism.

Wren [00:12:41] How does that influence your rope bondage? Does it influence them?

Knotty Devil [00:12:46] I've known from a very, very early age that I loved rope and the idea of bondage. I was, I was playing tied games when I was six. I was thrilled by it. And I think that because the the specific sect of religion that I grew up with heavily discouraged any kind of of sexual exploration without the guise, I guess, or not the guise, without, within, without... Outside of the confines of marriage, any exploration that was heavily, heavily discouraged. And so I think that because that was just something that wasn't really even allowed or explored, I fixated on the rope aspect, that other kind of thing. And so throughout like growing up, that was a a part of my, that was kind of my sexual awakening, if you will, was really more focused on the rope and on the sex.

Wren [00:13:51] Gotcha. And I do think that there's a footnote in the Bible that says that rope isn't allowed either.

Knotty Devil [00:13:59] I don't know. If there's a specific footnote of that. I know there's talks about bondage. And I know, me personally, I used to wear as a... I was 15 year old. I had these big leather bracelets on either hand. One pastor once approached me cause we hav a regular kind of session where your your pastor is kind of your therapist in that regard. And so I was like, Well, I'm worried about my, I have this, I feel like I have an addiction to bondage. And... 

Wren [00:14:30] You said that?

Knotty Devil [00:14:31] Yeah, I did. I was I really wanted to be a good Christian boy at the time. And so I knew that I wasn't really allowed to have a community of kink and rope and so I, at the time, thought I was a freak. I thought I was alone. I was scared. The only people I knew who did, who enjoyed tying people up were serial killers. And I was like, I don't think that I'm that, but I'm so worried that I might be. And I went to my pastor about it and was like, Hey, I'm having these feelings. And he was like, Yeah, no, bondage is a bad, bad thing. Don't do that. And actually made me, not made me, but heavily influenced me to no longer like wear the leather bracelets and throw those out as part of my penance, I guess, for that.

Wren [00:15:23] Wow. And then you just kind of stayed clean of bondage for a while. Did it work?

Knotty Devil [00:15:30] Oh, no, no. Okay, I definitely I actually almost got expelled from my, I went to a Christian school. My graduating class was ten, my high school was maybe 60 kids or the whole school through 12 of 60. And I got, I almost got expelled for breaking into the computer lab to look up just rope bondage, not even porn, but just soft bondage porn, I guess. And I, because we didn't have Internet at home because we were a very kind of strict closed off community. And so we didn't have Internet access at home. So I had to do it through the church or through the church in the school. We're kind of one of the same. And I ended up, we're doing a book report on Kidnapped and I google imaged kidnaped and then suddenly realized that I had a whole world of opportunities open to me. And yeah, I almost got expelled and it kind of constantly started being brought up. I got in trouble a lot, I think probably between the ages of 10 and 14. I got in trouble a lot for for playing tied games and then at 15 for looking at bondage porn on the church laptop.

Wren [00:16:42] And so ironic because if they would have just given you regular sex education, then you probably wouldn't have done all these things growing up.

Knotty Devil [00:16:50] Yeah. If they had if, if it wasn't something that was so, if it wasn't something that was so strict and so... Just like you weren't even allowed to have any exploration at all. If I was able to find a community and know that, Hey, actually it's okay to feel this way and know you're not going to be a serial killer, you're just too kinky. You're just a kinky freak. And that's fine.

Wren [00:17:15] Yeah, well, and it seems like, you know, now you seem to adorn yourself and, you know, your hair is really cool and your nails are painted and you have jewelry. That's always really awesome. And it seems like you're, you know, customizing the canvas, if you will. Was that frowned upon growing up?

Knotty Devil [00:17:36] Yeah. So it's actually really funny because I think me, I think the first thing I came out to my parents about was rope before sexual preference. I think I almost kind of paved the way because the church, our church was very anti anti-gay. We were the, we were the people holding the signs at Planned Parenthood, like we were those people. We were the ones and so we were incredibly homophobic. And a part of me I accepted, at the time, I did not accept the gay part of me because I was like, you know, shove that down, got to survive. But the rope part of me, I accepted or was trying to and was struggling with in that regard. And I kind of just, once I had firmly accepted it, I was like, No, I also understand the argument of people who are like, No, I was born this way because I felt like I was born. My earliest memory was like a tie up game, and so I felt like I was born with this part of me. And so I was like, Oh, I can understand this argument and then ended up kind of exploring that side of myself and then being like, I like looking pretty. I like having – there was always, it was kind of that you see that movie. I forget which one of the Rocky movies it is, but Rocky's kid has like a dangly earring. And I was at a friend's house and watched that and I was like, Oh, I want to I want to look like that. I don't know if I don't know if I want to be that actor or if I want to sleep with that character. But, yeah, I want, I want the...

Wren [00:19:17] The angel of dilemma.

Knotty Devil [00:19:18] Yeah. And then I think I somehow got my hand on a copy of Lost Boys.

Wren [00:19:25] That'll mess you up.

Knotty Devil [00:19:26] That'll mess you up. And I was forever just absolutely taken with that and was like, Yeah, okay, this is my aesthetic, this is what I want. I want that hot vampire, vampire boy who questionably goes both ways. And then yeah, I had a tumblr that was fashion, that was all fashion blog, a bunch of shirtless guys and my friends are like, Are you sure you're straight? Yeah, I'm just into fashion. Slowly over the years, once I became kind of more comfortable with myself and my environment. Once I was outside of that that very strict, very closed off religious environment, I was able to actually breathe and come to terms with who I was.

Wren [00:20:13] So you're also really into competitive juggling. Is this related in some way? Did David Bowie juggle at one point?

Knotty Devil [00:20:24] Oh, you know, I think in Labyrinth there is there might be a the juggling of the thing but I think there was just something about it. There's a secret hidden flow and I will lose hours a day watching. There was a Russian juggler who, he can juggle knives blindfolded. And I've never seen anything like that. And there's, I just came across, there's a competitive juggling video where it's people in a ring and they're juggling back and forth between each other. And it looks like there's teams and there's commentators on like, Oh, this person's trying to swipe this baton away from this guy. And I'm like, No way is this a thing. And so now I'm kind of just deep diving into that. But there's some kind of hidden flow and presence involved and the the clowning that goes into it, the people who are super skilled jugglers who just don't even juggle for the first 10 minutes of the video but instead clown around and pretend to the stage presence. And there's just something there that I've always loved. But with juggling, it is that kind of, there is this hidden secret flow that I just, I want to know more about. I'm not very good at juggling. I can maybe juggle three things regularly or toss and catch a knife, and that's about the best of it.

Wren [00:21:46] You seem really in-tune with flow in general. You're a longboard dancer as well. How do these things come into scenes with you?

Knotty Devil [00:21:56] I think there's a thing I do usually at the beginning,if I'm doing connective rope or rope flow where it's less, I just take a second to just breathe, take three deep breaths before even attempting the flow. But there's just, there's something about this. It's this silent, unspoken movement between two people where it's a shared movement, where it's that body manipulation, where you're moving the body a certain way with the rope or even just with pulling or twisting or something. And there's this moment of connection, this silent communication that's shared. That just, it fascinates me and I love it. And it's this ethereal headspace that I'm just, I get sucked into and I'm thrilled by it, especially the very specific rope for flow kind of scenes that we do.

Wren [00:23:04] Were there any early misconceptions around flow and rope and things like that that you came across?

Knotty Devil [00:23:11] Yeah. So there's this idea that rope flow can be, it's almost kind of partner dancing in a way where some partner dancing can be super flow oriented and incredible communication and some can be very sensual. And with rope, there can absolutely be that kind of sensual. And some people then take that sensual a step further and like, Oh, well, if it's sensual, then it's sexual. And it's kind of like, Well, there's actually kind of a huge chasm between those two things, and jumping from one to the other is a bit much. And it's kind of, there's this idea that just because there's this kind of chemistry that like, Oh, well, it absolutely has to go into sex. And I'm kind of like more of a demi person where it's like, No, I actually – there's a whole myriad of other things that are involved around sex, but it's that flow that is that is shared is not, does not have to be sexual and doesn't even have to be sensual. It can still be kind of that aspect of partner dancing that is that is flow that is not that. But there is definitely, I found kind of some people assume that all three are the one in the same and it's not that they really are.

Wren [00:24:34] That makes sense. I would love to hear a little bit about your negotiation, your intake process for a scene. Maybe with someone new or maybe with a partner that you've played with a bunch. Are there any standards there, some repeat things?

Knotty Devil [00:24:52] I think there is a lot because it definitely, one of my partnerships. We have kind of a, it might be, I don't know what the specific term is, I know everyone does like, Oh, blanket consent, castle consent. It's, I check in on like, Hey, is everything that we've done previously okay? Like up to this point, everything that we have played with previously, that's fine. That's how you're feeling. Kind of just has anything changed since we played last? And because we have that familiar partnership, that's kind of the base of that. And they also like to be kind of surprised as to like what we're going to do and not specifically spell out the same. And we have such good communication that I trust that they will speak up if something is not. Whereas if I'm doing, if I'm tying with someone new, it is, there is kind of like a whole questionnaire that happens before we even start. That's, Hey, what's your... Is there anything medical I need to know? Is there anything that, like once again, where do you not want rope on the body today? Where do you and especially, if it's someone I haven't tied with before. I've definitely made mistakes in the past where I have not set boundaries for myself. And it's something where it's like, Okay, for me specifically, I don't tie with mouth rope, crotch rope or neck rope the first time tying. And that's not something that has always been a thing. But I have learned from my mistakes that previously and been like, No, okay, I have to set boundaries for myself as well. But it's very in-depth negotiation. It's like, Okay, we set the specific intent for the scene, I guess, if you will. Like, Okay, what are we doing? Are we making content? Are we doing rope flow? Are we doing something a little bit more sensual and like, Oh, it's, there's some kind of aspect of a scene that is play. Do you want an artistic design? What are we going for? We set the intent and currently these days I'm mostly tying with the same people that I either have history with or people who I know pretty well. And it's something where there is definitely a huge difference between the negotiation that happens between someone new for me and a partner. But also there are some, I guess, it just really does differ based around the personal and the experiences that we've had and the trust that we have built up there. So yeah, I just kind of like, through so much information.

Wren [00:27:30] No, it's amazing. This is what we want. If you were in some weird world where you could only ask one question and you're telling someone new, what would the one question from your negotiation list be?

Knotty Devil [00:27:44] Oh, that's such a good question. I think it would be, what is your intent for this? What are you – What is the intent for this session?

Wren [00:27:59] That's a really good one.

Knotty Devil [00:28:02] Yeah, that's just seems, because you can say like, Oh, I don't want rope here, I don't want rope here, but that doesn't necessarily, you can still tie very sensually without having rope be on any genitals or on the mouth or around the neck. You can still absolutely tie sensually without those things. And you can still, there's so many different things that are involved, but just basing, gauging the specific intent of the scene is incredibly important.

Wren [00:28:30] That's great. Setting expectations. Getting on the same page. That's amazing. Really good answer.

Knotty Devil [00:28:36] Oh, thank you.

Wren [00:28:37] So if we can leave people with maybe one or two things that they can try in their session that you really like that are more flow based, more connection based. Do you have any, like little, you know, sequences that you'd like for that little opener things?

Knotty Devil [00:28:53] Yeah, I think two things. The first being, just tie. One thing I love to do, especially if I'm tying with, if we're for tying for flow is just put it single-column or double-column tie around the wrists and just in front of the person and then just  pull on it a little bit, change, the intensity of the pull, pull soft pull, a little bit harder, maybe kind of move around and see how that person follows you. Are they a little bit more resistant? Are they jumping into it? Are they, not only being, allowing themselves to be led, but are they leaning into it and kind of very, very eager about that. Are they, kind of gauge their body movements and see. Because that also kind of just helps explore how that person wants to be lead in the rope and then kind of use that as a way to set aspect of intent for the scene or also start to play with that kind of thing. And I think the second thing would be every wrap of the rope over the body, every movement that you make, break it down into every moment, how am I connected to the person I'm tying currently? How – when I pull on the rope, am I just holding the rope? Is my, am I guiding their arms with my hand? Am I, how quickly m I pulling the rope or am I yanking it? Am I catching the breath or am I putting them on their toes?How are my actions specifically affecting the mindset of the person in the rope? How am I connected to that person? Think of almost putting yourself in that rope. How do I feel if my head is slowly lowered towards the ground while my arms are put above me. What feelings come up? What feelings arise in this? How do I feel if I'm swiftly brought from a kneeling position up on to standing on to my toes? How does that make me feel? How does that, how would I feel connected and kind of try and think about both sides. Um, and yeah, utilize that.

Wren [00:31:34] It sounds like there's a lot of active listening there. A lot, a lot of active communication.

Knotty Devil [00:31:41] Yeah, and I think that I have, I've have the privileges of being a switch is that I've both been in both sides of that, both tying and bottoming and. Been able to kind of think on that and also appreciate the non-verbal communication of others when when I am being tied and then kind of taking that and utilizing it as well. But yeah, lot of nonverbal communication that is instinctively just kind of based off of – you're watching, how does their breathing rate change? What's the look on their face? What's the, is there, do I feel their body is a little more just kind of stiff and rigid in the shoulders. Are they kind of sinking and are they breathing a little more? Are they, just like going really, really slowly and taking your time to kind of just assess the reaction that the person in rope is having.

Wren [00:32:52] It's amazing. Well, I want to thank you for sharing all these nuggets. I mean, it's really, really cool to hear this.

Knotty Devil [00:32:59] Yeah. Thank you so much for this opportunity. This has been incredible.

Wren [00:33:02] You are welcome. And hope you have fun watching more juggling today. And again, thank you so much for being on.

Knotty Devil [00:33:12] Yeah, absolutely.

Wren [00:33:15] Okay.

Knotty Devil [00:33:15] Bye bye.


With emphasis on ethical negotiation, Twisted Lily focuses on the importance of exploring different rope techniques and style, while also discussing the possible limitations there are to categorizing rope styles.


With emphasis on ethical negotiation, Twisted Lily focuses on the importance of exploring different rope techniques and style, while also discussing the possible limitations there are to categorizing rope styles.

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Guest Bio

Twisted Lily is an Atlanta-based rope enthusiast and has been involved in rope for over a decade. She teaches sometimes and also hosts local events.


Wren [00:00:23] Hello and welcome to the Shibari Study podcast. I'm your host Wicked Wren and today I'm speaking with my friend Lily. You'll know Lily as Twisted Lily on the internets. She is from Atlanta and she's been involved in rope for about a decade. Hello, Lily.

Lily [00:00:41] Hi. Excited to be here.

Wren [00:00:43] How'd you get into rope? Like, how did you find it? What appealed to you?

Lily [00:00:47] I think for me, rope was really twofold. So there is a very straightforward sex BDSM aspect to rope for me. My primary interest in kink is around power exchange, and I think there's some inherent power exchange that comes along with doing bondage. And for me, the most versatile and fun and really useful type of bondage happens with rope so that's really one side of it. And then on the other side, I would say there's kind of a social and also more stress relieving aspect as well. Making things with my hands is really different than how most of my life goes. And creating stuff that's very tangible and physical can be a certain kind of stress release for me. And also there's the aspect of problem-solving. I like communicating through touch, but I'm not a cuddly type of person really. So I think it meets a lot of needs a lot of the time. And I spend most of my social life centered around rope, honestly. So.

Wren [00:01:52] Yeah. And are you mainly a rope top?

Lily [00:01:55] Yes, I do mostly tie. I employ bedroom bondage as a bottom and I have one partner who I'm kind of up for most types of bondage with as a bottom. But I would say 98% of my rope and bondage life is around tying and being the person tying for sure.

Wren [00:02:12] That's awesome. And it sounds like rope isn't a super sexual thing for you. It's more about power dynamics and that sort of thing.

Lily [00:02:22] I don't know. I mean, I think it's the big question, like, what is next? Right? And I don't know if we have time if we had five years to answer that question, maybe. But for me, power exchange and what is sex are very interrelated. So rope can be a lot of different degrees of sexual. Sometimes it is 100% and sometimes it's 0%. And everywhere in between, mostly depending on what the relationship is with the person who I'm tying with or what we've negotiated for that moment. Though, I wouldn't say it's non-sexual or purely sexual. And I think that might be a little unique in that I like to enjoy it in both ways.

Wren [00:02:59] Can you talk to us a little bit about when you're in a rope scene and there is this power dynamic? How are you doing that ethically? What are some things that you have in mind there?

Lily [00:03:11] I think thinking about power dynamics and growth, there are two ways to approach it. So we could talk about how to use rope as a way to enhance power dynamics. And I also think there's a consideration around how you consider navigating the effects of the inherent power dynamics that exist between people. So like I said, I think that rope inherently has an element of power exchange on it, right? Like when a person allows you to manipulate their body, restrict their movement, and kind of take that freedom and autonomy away from them. I think there's a bit of a natural one person having more control or power or impact over the other, right. When you're talking about partner and rope scenes. And so how far you go into that negotiation, I think the way I'd generally term it is, how collaborative do we want to be here? You know, so when I'm negotiating around rope and power exchange, I usually start from we're both going to have influence over what happens and how much influence are you seeking or how much influence are you seeking to give up? What level of comfort does a person have around not having a lot of control over what happens. I think that's just over... over time, it's really been a more central part of my negotiation then it was early on when it was just like, I will do things to you, you know?

Wren [00:04:39] So what does your negotiation process look like? How has it changed over the years?

Lily [00:04:46] I think negotiation is so unique to whatever relationship exists between the two people negotiating outside of that conversation. So if someone is, you know, someone I've been tying for five years and or a close friend and there hasn't really been a lot of change in their life or my life or the relationship, it could be very easy to negotiate and just a few minutes around like, do we want to stay in the realms we've explored before or do we want to try anything new? Is there anything that you would rather not do that we've done in the past? And that can be very simple. But if it's a person who's more new to me or someone with a big experience gap, I can take a pretty long time just talking about what draws someone to want to be tied? What draws someone to want to be tied by me specifically and then where they really are as far as the amount of context they have around their own risk and their own, you know, interests and how much they may know about their body, how their body feels and behaves in rope, and also their mental-emotional side as well. You know, a lot of times people can have very surprising experiences in rope, and that can happen certainly with a lot of experience, but it's a little less likely. So I think the care I take in that has a lot to do with those experience gaps and also the individual relationship.

Wren [00:06:11] That makes total sense. If there was one question you could ask in the context of a new rope relationship, what would that question be? You could only ask one in some crazy world.

Lily [00:06:25] I think it would be about feeling. That sounds very deep, though, but I think like what feelings are you looking to experience in, you know, the next hour with me or kind of probably, you know, that's just the beginning of a conversation because there are plenty of feelings that I would not – like we wouldn't have overlap necessarily around the feelings that people might express then, but I think that would probably be the starting point. I can't imagine only having one question to ask. That's really hard. Yeah.

Wren [00:06:59] But that does make sense because it's like getting both parties on the same page on what the outcome is going to be. And if you don't know the outcome that both parties want, then how is it going to be successful?

Lily [00:07:11] For sure. For sure. And where those overlaps, right? I think some people maybe have lots of directions they're interested or willing to go in and figuring out the ones that overlap with both parties I think is super important and obviously acknowledging that there's an element of unpredictability that's always at play as well.

Wren [00:07:28] Definitely. Well, the unpredictability is one of the most fun parts.

Lily [00:07:33] Yeah, absolutely.

Wren [00:07:34] Over the last decade that you've been doing rope, what are some of the trends that you've seen come out?

Lily [00:07:40] Sure. That's a great question. I think one of the things that I've been thinking about a lot lately is something that's maybe emerged in the last five years. I'm sure it's on a cycle. I'm sure it's emerged many times in the past before I was aware of it. Because everything – there's nothing new, right. But one of the things that I think can be a little bit harmful and hard, especially like having my own, the way I view rope education and the way I approach it, one thing that can be challenging for me is the sort of false binary that I think gets set up between styles of rope, right? So many people approach rope from a perspective of learning from one specific teacher who teaches in a specific style that might be part of a lineage that has a lot of historical impact. And I have a ton of respect for that. I think it's an amazing way to go deep and to like a certain type of art or practice. And I know that there's a ton of history and tradition around it. It has not been my approach, generally. I have had the opportunity to learn from a lot of different rope instructors from different places in the world, and I don't have a specific style or teacher or instructor that I think is the beginning and end of how I tie in and how I want to tie. And so one sort of binary that I've seen that has emerged out of people sort of associating their style with very specific other people's styles is that we create boxes and labels to put around our rope that I personally find a little limiting. You know, I remember the first time, I think it was in 2019 when I heard someone from another part of the country say that, Well, if you're into SM, you can't do a lot of transitions. If you're doing – if you're staying in the air for a long time and doing a lot of transitions, that is mostly for performance. That's about circus stuff. That's not sexy. That's, you know, that's a very specific thing. And then there's like SM and suffering and that's the opposite, right? So there's like this weird line between those two things. And on one side of the line is technically challenging, physically challenging, but performance and the other side is like maybe also a little more straightforward or simple, but that's what emotion is about and that's about the interaction. And I think for me, the technical way that I tie can often look a lot more like us spending a long time in the air and doing a lot of transitions or whatnot. But the reason for that is more on the other side of that kind of false binary. Like I am doing that to create a journey of suffering. And so. I just have had a difficult time with a lot of people categorizing those two types of rope as like either or. And I think you can have different goals. And the goals don't necessarily always define technique, but one of the outcomes of sort of tying ourselves to specific styles and teaching can be that you think that you know a lot more about what the other style is than maybe what if you had experienced multiple types of rope and styles of teaching and different lineages. So while I have a lot of respect for people who are very rigid in their tying style, it's just – it hasn't been the right route for me. Like I'm not a professional, I don't need anyone else's instructor name like associated with my name in order to get to do the amount of rope I want to do. And so I just would encourage people to be a little more open about the boxes that they put their tying and bottoming style into, because I think it's very possible to have a mixture of objectives and a mixture of audiences and a mixture of technique.

Wren [00:11:43] Yeah, there's a lot more nuance to it than what we like to, you know, prescribe.

Lily [00:11:49] Sure. And it's human nature, right? You see something you like and you want to do it. And so you think that's the way I will tie. I think in doing that you are saying no to a lot of other things. And for me, being able to study with people from very different backgrounds and different lineages of technique has allowed me to kind of create some hybrid versions of those things that I feel sometimes feel more like my own. And that might not be everyone's objective, but for me, I really like having things that feel like a combination of things that I've learned that feel like mine and the person I'm doing them with.

Wren [00:12:27] Totally. Yeah. It's really safe to put yourself into a box because it essentially says, I can grow, but I can only grow within this box of this style and everything outside of that I don't have to worry about. But it's also very limiting, like you said.

Lily [00:12:43] Yeah. Yeah. And they can even come across us, like, presuming a lot about what's going on between two people. I think that there are scenes that I have had that people might see as more performances where I had no idea whether anyone else was in the room or not. You know, so it's really not... It's not always possible to know what goes on between two people and assuming based on technique or style of rope seems just limiting and not very open-minded.

Wren [00:13:11] When you started tying, did you put yourself into a box?

Lily [00:13:15] Oh, my goodness. I've been in so many boxes. Yeah. Again, I think labeling things and limiting them is so natural for humans to do. But I definitely have been through lots of iterations of putting myself in a box, then breaking out of it, and then just finding I was in another slightly larger box.

Wren [00:13:35] Yeah. Do you think that you are currently in a box and you're going to find out you're in a box?

Lily [00:13:42] Oh, my gosh. I'm sure. Isn't that just like the human experience? I don't know. I hope not. Yeah, but I'm sure.

Wren [00:13:50] But it's amazing that you're, you know, constantly getting into new things. Sounds like you have very, very little ego about things, and that allows you to grow and experience and explore.

Lily [00:14:02] Oh, gosh. I don't know if I can claim to have a little, little ego. I am a rope top after all. But yeah, I will take it as a huge compliment and I will take it to the bank.

Wren [00:14:10] You know, I take it back, actually. I realize what I said. Really flirting with disaster here. So I take it back.

Lily [00:14:20] Yeah, I understand. It's fine, but I think it could be a dangerous assumption. So it's hard to maintain any sense of... Any sense of low ego, I think.

Wren [00:14:34] Absolutely.

Lily [00:14:35] A worthy cause.

Wren [00:14:36] So what are you excited about right now? Like, what's keeping you going?

Lily [00:14:42] I think really frequently about beginner's mind and about going back to basics with new understanding of complexity, right. So every time I have changed the way I lock off my up-lines or something. Or every time I have learned a pattern that I like better than my default pattern for that thing, right. It forces you into this kind of awkward period where you have to approach things with a beginner's mind again. And I think I've probably been through like five or six really significant versions of that. So when you're learning something new and complicated, there's always an inflection point in the beginning where you think, I know, I know enough about this, and it's usually just enough to be dangerous, right. And so exploring the plateaus after that I think can be so fascinating. And that's where I've really had a strong depth of learning, I think. It was five or six years in where I started thinking to myself, How does my body negotiate in this space and movement? And how am I both protecting and thinking about grace in my own movement, right. I'm not sure if you've seen videos of yourself tying. It's usually really challenging to see yourself doing something that when you're doing it, you feel confident and encouraged, and then you watch a video, you're like, Wow, I've never seen anything so dorky in my life. Who is that person? What faces are they making? That's insane. And I had that experience so many times that I started consciously thinking about how do my movements impact this... This feel that the person I'm trying has around this experience. I've been trying to focus on, how can I kind of be, you know, especially suspension. The greatest tool and the greatest enemy is always gravity, right? So how can I make a gravitational pull not just up and down? How can I feel like the thing that it's gravity that is pulling a person into certain shapes or movements? How can that be me and not just the ground? And I think that is super weird and conceptual and nerdy, but that's probably where my experimentation is right now in a lot of ways. And that is definitely a result of just hearing other instructors talk about that and having them be open to discussing it, you know?

Wren [00:17:19] Amazing. Well, next episode, we're going to talk about that. But let's turn to Gravity.

Lily [00:17:27] Gravity.

Wren [00:17:29] Yeah, that's amazing. Well, I want to thank you so much for being on. Thank you. I've learned so much talking to you.

Lily [00:17:34] Yeah. Thank you. I learned so much talking to you as well. And I'm always up for lots of nerdy iterating about rope if I could spend my whole life doing nothing.

Wren [00:17:45] Well, great. Part two going to be about being in rope.

Lily [00:17:48] Perfect. Perfect.


In this episode, The Silence shares his photography journey and unveils some secrets to learning how to capture amazing images.


In this episode, The Silence shares his photography journey and unveils some secrets to learning how to capture amazing images.

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