Online Class Thoughts – Tying for Riggers Pleasure – Soptik & Ravi

As soon as I saw this class, hosted by Studio Kokoro, I was super intrigued. Throughout our shibari journey I have always approached rope as a shared experience, one where we work together to achieve a sense of connectedness and reach a stronger and deeper understanding of each other through the expression of rope.

My personal history makes me cautious of those in a position of power over the vulnerable, which inevitably and ironically is the default position of being a rope top. There have certainly been times when we have been labbing new ties/patterns and I’ve left Seraphina feeling more like a mannequin than a person, where my focus is more on the rope than each other and that creeping dread of non consensual objectification creeps in, where I feel like a selfish boar.

So a class focussing on tying for my pleasure seems both a little out of my comfort zone, but also something that intrigues me to understand that perspective, to what extent is it selfish of me to tie purely for my pleasure and how much does that lead to objectification of my amore? Is there a way in which I can learn from this to improve our rope together and what elements of my style can I look to improve. After a small amount of deliberation I decided that it was definitely something I had to at least try, it might not be for me but there may be something that I learn about the wider rope community that helps me understand others perspectives and opinions.

Opening as always with Clover’s introduction, I was quickly reminded why I love Studio Kokoro classes so much. Always a friendly space and a diverse range of topics, each class I have attended has been different but also somewhat familiar, helping to push my understanding.

After introducing Soptik and Ravi the class began with Soptik delivering a quick agenda of what to expect in the presentation section, which was to be followed with a demonstration of this style of tying. Immediately it was clear a great deal of through had been put into structing the presentation so as to get us, the students, to reflect on our own thoughts, perspectives and opinions on why we tie, what we aim to achieve and how that can be done.

Initially Soptik introduced the concept of tying for his pleasure, that as a rigger we aim to stimulate ourselves, be that mentally, emotionally, physically or sexually, through our rope, which we achieve through the union of the rope and our model. In doing so we invite our models to submit to us, to let go their own desires and to trust in ours, giving them the space to experience our desires fully. Soptik built upon this to explore why we take the freedom from our partners, to which Ravi offered a perspective I as a Top probably hadn’t given too much consideration to. Ravi described that in rope she offers the authority and autonomy of her body to someone else and this act is in itself a form of freedom, that releases one from the need to make their own choices and to trust in the choices of others, while still maintaining her boundaries and having her consent respected.

Immediately I realised that in my own rope, my caregiver side, alongside my, sometimes over protective, nature means I have a tendency to check in a lot, ensuring Seraphina’s comfort in our ties, to the point this has potentially distracted from her immersion into the rope, raising the question of trust in my abilities….. If I have to check too much then am I confident in what I am doing? Can I by trusted entirely if I need to check the placement, or tension?

Moving forward the class were taken through reasons why we shouldn’t tie primarily for the models pleasure, the key being primarily as the models pleasure is still important but this is realised through the riggers desire. By focussing on the models pleasure we subtly undermine the power and authority exchange we have both agreed to enter and that the riggers pleasure acts as a proxy through which the model experiences pleasure, the truest form of submission. Likewise tying only for the model renders the top in a position of being a service Dom, which may be ok for some but not necessarily the reason most will choose a dominant role.

Although Soptik and Ravi acknowledge there is not right or wrong way to approach rope, this is just a lens into their own personal preferences and what they find works to achieve their goals within rope. as Soptik explained by tying with different models he is able to express different aspects of himself, one model may not enjoy all aspects of his expression and that is ok, what is important is finding that balance where both people are able to enjoy the scene. Likewise Ravi shared with us an experience that she had recently with another rigger who, tied her in a way that she didn’t expect or would have chosen, yet this was still an enjoyable experience for her as it expressed the riggers desires at that time (and sounded quite lovely if I’m honest) which she was happy to fulfil.

Further to this we then explored the prerequisites of this style, that is to ensure we have the fully informed consent of our partner, that we respect their limits and we are compatible in the desires of a scene. In addition that we tie safely and sustainably, therefore removing the need to question the safety of a tie, even if it is painful or uncomfortable, this is not a concern provided it is safe and above all to show empathy and compassion.

Cleverly around this point we were engaged to complete a survey about why we tie, displaying the results in a word map demonstrating the various reasons we tie, with words such as “connectivity”, “emotion” and pleasure featuring heavily. This gave reflection that the underlying theme is that we tie to fulfil our desires, whatever they may be.

Leading away from why we tie, the class then explored our compulsions, our internal expectations on why we tie, again supported by an interactive poll, which opened up to understanding that often we tie for the expectations of others, maybe we were taught that this is the “correct” way to tie, or that we should tie for connection not pleasure, or that we always have to tie something new, or that shibari is art and not sexual (more on that here) or that we focus excessively on the comfort of our model, not their safety. In many instances we internalise these expectations and this holds us back from truly following our desires.

Each of these sections resonated with me personally in the aspects of my rope that have caused scenes to be less than they could be, either we ended early or it just didn’t feel quite there. In many cases this was my own performance anxiety that I was not tying in a way that Seraphina desired, or I was worried she was uncomfortable or feeling objectified. For balance, there have been scenes where I have been so lost in the rope and connection that it flows naturally and organically, we communicate through non verbal nuances that only we could understand and without any renegotiation or plan we have enjoyed some of the most intense and connective rope scenes and this class highlighted to me exactly what was missing in those scenes the expectation on myself to achieve something specific, the trust in myself and my skills and most of all our deep and extensive connection that bonds us through our hearts and soul.

Moving into the final stages of the class, we were invited to explore why we may stop a scene, and that in many cases these are factors that are not simply “because I wanted to”. Sometimes this may be down to our own preconceived ideas of what a scene should be, tie, take photo, untie, rinse, repeat, or maybe that we feel our partner cant take any more, when they may be capable, or we may be feeling that we don’t know where to take it next, so rather than sit in that space and enjoy it as it is, we decide to untie and end the scene. Drawing the presentation to a conclusion we were reminded of taking our time in a session, to slow down and enjoy it and find time for our own pleasure, while working on building a strong and deep understanding of each other, to enjoy seeing our partner in the way we want to see them and letting them see how much pleasure that brings us.

With the final 45 minutes of the class Soptik and Ravi demonstrated the principles of what we had learned in the form of a short rope scene. During the scene Soptik narrated his thoughts, giving a deep and rich insight into his thought processes, why he was making certain choices, how this was being perceived by Ravi while she was in the rope. There were moments of beautiful connection between the two of them, balanced with moments of distance and observation. Having this level of perspective into someone’s thoughts was really useful.

After completion of the scene Ravi was invited to share her thoughts on her experience in the rope, how certain moments within the scene had left her feeling, or what processes she was going through internally. These kind of decompression sessions are something we have already incorporated into our rope scenes, but being party to someone else’s method for doing this was enlightening and helped to reaffirm my confidence in how we approach the ever diverse and changing landscape of our rope.

Despite my initial uncertainty about what I could learn from this class, I have spent the following few days reflecting deeply in what this means to me and how this might change my approach and style. Sometimes we feel that there is an expectation of us to tie in a certain way, that one style is more traditional or better than others, that we should be doing specific patterns or positions in our rope to demonstrate capability, or constantly providing new content into the world to stay relevant. However, the main focus I have taken from this is that rope is fundamentally about trust. There is the obvious trust in each other, between top and bottom, to communicate and be safe, but also there has to be trust in ourselves, from a riggers perspective to trust that they are skilled and that they are able to fulfil their desires in rope and not leave themselves underwhelmed or unfulfilled. While for a bottom this trust is in their capability to allow themselves to be liberated of their own desires, to trust in their desires to submit wholly to somebody and to take their pleasure from the pleasure of others.



You can follow Soptik on Instagram

You can follow Ravi on Instagram

You can follow Studio Kokoro on Instagram

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