Monday, June 21, 2010

Meeting HiOhMegan

Last Tuesday, GirlMouse and I attended a class at Good Vibrations. The class was Fabulous Fellatio: The Art of Oral Sex and it was being hosted by Megan Andelloux. Being the shy, retiring sort of girl I am when it comes to blow jobs (insert hysterical laughter), I was curious if there was going to be something new for me to learn. OK, so I really attended because I have an insane fetish to meet everyone on my Twitter stream AND because I’m always curious whether or not I’m “doing it right”.

It was an interesting night. We started off with a breaking the ice card game by The Kink Academy. The object of the game was to get people used to saying really dirty things so that we’d feel less self-conscious about it later on. My card was “The Porn Star”. We had to say dirty things to the others in class to find our counterpart. I apparently misunderstood the directions, and while I was looking for my “opposite” role, I completely missed the fact my counterpart was the pizza delivery guy. I thought I’d found the match with the Virgin. I really thought I’d had it. What’s MORE opposite of a Porn Star than a Virgin?

It may not have gotten me over any self-consciousness about talking dirty, but it did make me smile, talk to people that I’d probably wouldn’t have in the class, and started me thinking about throwing out any pre-conceived notions I’d had about sucking cock.

Megan is a wonderful speaker. I’m often surprised by just how great some of the women speakers I’ve met in the last couple of years have been. I don’t know WHY I should be surprised. Princess Kali, Mollena Williams, Sophia Sky, and now Megan Andelloux have all left me feeling empowered in my kink and in wonderful company. The intelligence, passion, and compassion of these women when discussing and teaching others about submission, sex, sexuality, and being a strong woman who can enjoy those things without being ashamed, is an indescribable joy for me.

We got into the cock (and Megan uses that term because she finds that easier and more apt than saying ‘penis’ or naturally occurring equipment or whatever other term may be fashion or your kink) pretty quickly. We discussed and tried out different lubes and talked about safer sex. Then we got to know our dildos pretty well. She started with anatomy and where all those fun buttons are.

GirlMouse was pretty hysterical. Megan was teaching us how to put on a condom with our mouths and GirlMouse whispered to me “I’ve never done this before”. Now this is a trick that I learned in tenth grade or so and it always surprises me that people have never experimented with this. But what I learned from Megan and GirlMouse is that there are people for whom cock is something of a scary proposition. I will say that with Megan’s no-nonsense approach to cock, it looked like everyone in the class managed that little party trick pretty well.

Megan ran through various drills using mouths, tongues, cheeks, lips, and she quite often interchanged oral with hands. Mostly it’s because there’s only so long one can actually USE your mouth to give a blow job before you get tired and start to think “would he just freaking HURRY?” And before getting to the point where the job becomes an actual job....she recommends mixing things up to give yourself a break.

Megan then got into deep throating. And if you've ever done this particular activity, you'll know that gagging and tears are pretty common. Fortunately, gagging is in fashion these days (Megan said so) and fortunately for me...those are two of Daddy's favorite things. And fortunately for me, Megan needed some help with that. She'd asked for a volunteer and since I was wearing pants...and since nobody else was going for it...I forced myself to raise my hand. OK, you know I'm kidding. There was this beautiful woman, asking if someone wanted to get a strap on, and help demonstrate cocksucking....like I WASN'T going to volunteer? Are you serious?

But deepthroating takes a lot of practice. This isn't the time when you shove your partner's face onto your cock (or maybe it is, but that's a different kind of face-fucking). In order to deep throat, it seemed to me that there were two things that people should know: a) positioning of the people is key and b) you're gonna gag so just get used to it. Seriously. Although deepthroating is something of a "must have" there's really no possible way to keep this up for very long. This is one more time that porn movies create unobtainable expectations. Ah well...it's about time that people who have cocks understand that just as 12 inch cocks seldom exist in real life, people who can deep-throat for hours without coming up for air seldom do either.

I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow (that's what she said) of the class. It was informative and I highly recommend it for everyone interested in the art of cocksucking. And I seriously recommend it for couples. It would have been really awesome for Daddy to hear some of the things that Megan said. Even if he never sucks cock. (I'm SO gonna pay for that one)

Although I personally didn't learn anything "new" with regards to the mechanics of a great blow job (although I did learn a couple of new tricks with prostate massages that I'm dying to try out) I did learn one very important thing. It's not whether or not I'm doing it "right" or if what works for GirlMouse works for me. It's solely about what makes it work for me and Daddy. Only HE can tell me what works...and it only matters that both Daddy and I are happy when we're doing it. And I say "we" because like everything else...the best things happen when we're doing it together. It's about being comfortable with the cock you love.

I mean comfortable with your partner so that you're not embarrassed or wondering if you're doing it wrong. You don't have to be an expert (or even a porn star) to give a wonderful blow job to the person you love.

I also highly recommend OhMegan's website (check out the "For Your Head" tab for some fun things). And if you can't get to a class with Megan (and I really think you should if you can), here's a site I found helpful for cocksucking basics.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pushing Boundaries: When Laughter Turns to Tears

Friday night I spent some time in another class. I know...why do I keep doing that to myself?

But this one was hosted by NEDS and it featured Princess Kali of the Kink Academy. The topic was Pushing Limits - or as she likes to say Pushing Boundaries. Daddy didn't attend because he'd had other commitments.

I love hearing Princess Kali speak. Not only does she really love what she does, she's like an excitable puppy (her words) when speaking about it. If there was ever a pervert that I'd look up to, it would definitely be the Princess.

I learned a lot about pushing boundaries. The key concepts (insert the sissy cheerleaders here) included communication and understanding. Communicating with each other, and understanding that what you're playing around with requires extra special attention. The possibility for damage to a person, and to a relationship, is too great to casually fool around with limit pushing. I'd wondered about pushing tops' boundaries, but figured that was a question for another day.

Little did I know that Daddy would decide to push THREE of my own boundaries before the weekend was over.

I'd been a good girl all weekend (his words). I'd made him smile, took care of things around the house, and was pretty happy that we'd had a weekend where we could give kink a rest for a bit. We did go to the Boston Pride parade, but solely as spectators. I took care of him, and as a result, he said to me that he wanted to do something nice for me. I assumed that we'd spend some quality time fucking. That's the one that I always choose. But Daddy had other ideas.

I can't describe what led to what. I was in such a great mood, I was laughing, teasing, smiling, and playing with him. And I'm not really sure what changed or when. He'd given me one of those choices. You know what I'm talking about. The one where there is really NO GOOD CHOICE. The one where you absolutely HATE both of them and the one where I try my hardest to distract him out of. When he'd decided that I was taking too long to choose, he picked one. I chose the other. However it had happened, I'd chosen the method of my destruction. And at that moment I hated myself only slightly less than I hated him.

But the result was him pinning me to the bed, tickling me. Now, tickling really is a limit for me. One of the reasons I didn't have it on my LIST is because Daddy is a sadist and I foolishly thought that tickling was tame. That, and he'd told me that he really doesn't care for tickling all that much. This is the time I really should have paid more attention to my playground. We were also playing without a safeword. That was something that I'd wondered if we'd ever really do. He really is a wonderful boyfriend and is very careful of my feelings and safety. But still, I'd wondered when we'd get comfortable enough with each other to trust ourselves to play that way. That takes a special relationship. That takes more trust that I'm used to giving. And that takes a special top to be able to know himself to trust himself to play like that.

If you've ever been pinned to a bed and tickled mercilessly, you've experienced the panic, the desperation, and the laughter turning to tears. The agony of being tickled like that, the fact that you can't stop it from happening, and the frustration of being forced to endure something that you'd kill to avoid ended up being so overwhelmingly rough, that I started to be afraid of the one person I'd never imagine fearing. His faced changed from the sadist that I'm used to seeing, the one that I know well...to the sadist that I wasn't quite sure I was capable of playing with. He became MEAN. In those few minutes that he was tickling me like that, he pushed three of my limits. Tickling. Crying. And Fear.

It wasn't easy to be pushed like that. And it left me feeling as if I didn't have anywhere to turn for protection. I felt no love, no compassion, and nothing of the man I was used to feeling. It was a scary place...being out there alone. Losing even the right to breathe. With him sitting on my chest, overpowering me and forcing me to cry when he knows damned well that I hate to cry. It was so difficult to lose all sense of myself, my control. And then the realization came to me. He'd won. By choosing the method of my torture, agreeing to his terms, thinking that I could still control things and realizing I'd lost, he'd taken more from me, than I was prepared to lose. Yeah. He'd won. He took Everything from me in that instant.

Afterwards, while we were talking, when I told him how mean he'd been, he just said to me that it's just so hard to get me to the place where I'm afraid. Experiencing my fear is hot. Knowing he caused it, knowing he's in complete control..not only of my body, but of my head and my emotions, is something that happens infrequently. And he likes that feeling. He said that he is always mean to me. When he's caning me, he's mean. But because I like it...it doesn't seem that way. But when he tickled me last night, because I don't like it....it felt as if it's the meanest thing he'd ever done.

And to tell the truth, as hard as that was for me last night, that feeling of being completely his, in his complete control, and unable to save myself from the fear....

well...that indeed WAS really hot for me too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It’s My Playground

A while back, I was talking with a friend about topping from the bottom. I was looking for an analogy to use to describe that phenomenon for a class I was teaching. I'd been using the analogy of writing a script and directing the actors. And by that I mean that submissives should write the script. But then actors (dominants) take it from there and put their spin on it. She told me that she viewed it as being in a playground. (and forgive me if I cant' remember which friend told me this, if it's you...please let me know. I'd love to credit your wisdom here).

That made a lot of sense to me. D/s IS like a playground.

Its a playground containing anything and everything that you’d ever imagine. Things your secret self wants to try, things you really like and want to do often, things you’ll try out with someone special, things that you really don’t care all that much for but will play with if someone wants to, and things that are so awful that to even look at them makes you upset. It contains things that bring out emotions, sensations, things that you fear, feelings of ecstasy, anticipation, denial, bliss and sometimes even pain. It is a place where fantasy can meet reality, and where you can experience the greatest highs and the corresponding lows, that you’d ever imagine. It’s thrilling, scary, intense, and erotic.

Another friend phrased this concept as:

While Dominants may call the shots, it's often submissives who run the show


I own my playground. It's mine and I get to run the show. But a playground without people to share it with is a sad, lonely thing. And I know that I can get far more variety and excitement out of it if I let others in and then let them call the shots.

So I share it from time to time with chosen people. People I trust not to damage the equipment and who will play nice and by the rules I’ve set for the playground. Those who break the rules get bounced and never invited back. There are some dangerous things on that playground. Things that will harm me, things that I'm not quite ready to play around with yet. There are also other things that if I don't play with at least once in a while, I'll miss a lot. So I want to make sure that the people I invite to play there are safe, sane, and that they’re there for the same reasons I am.

A submissive needs to take a look around that playground and decide which pieces are off limits. They might need repair or they might be something that is just broken and won’t ever be fixed. They need to decide what they're comfortable playing on with their guests, and those things that perhaps they might play with some day. But once you've done that, you have to let the people you've chosen to join you there actually choose which games to play. That's only fair I think. In order to get the most out of the playground, you have to let others decide which pieces to play with. Otherwise, it's not really likely that they'll be back.

In a D/s relationship, I may own the playground, but I don’t get to pick which pieces to play on or in which order they’re played....of even if they’re ever played with at all. And there may be some that I like to play with that my chosen companions might not. I don’t get to stop the merry-go-round from going faster if I’ve not set the stoppers beforehand. I don’t get to come down the slide ass-first, if I’ve not put up a sign that says “ass first only”. This is why it’s vital for submissives to understand exactly what’s in their own playgrounds and the ways that they might be used. It’s also vital to make sure that there’s always a way to shut things down if the equipment does things that you hadn’t thought of or if your invited guests do things with the equipment that you hadn’t thought of.

Although I own the playground, I want others to enjoy it as much as I do. I still haven’t used every piece of equipment contained in my playground. And there are a few pieces that are broken and won’t ever be fixed. I set the outside parameters of the playground, telling my partner which pieces are off limits, and then I join the fun that they create within it. That’s why my playground doesn’t get boring and that's why although I own the playground, my companions get to enjoy it as much as I do.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Shades of Grey

A thread on Fetlife caught my attention.

A dominant asked the following question:

“Is it unrealistic to expect my pet to live in a black and white world with no shades of grey?”


The responses overwhelmingly said that the dominant was indeed being unrealistic. Examples were given, people opined, and the majority said that while the dominant is certainly entitled to his expectations, having such unbending ones would likely result in his inability to maintain any sort of long term relationship with a submissive.

Rules are indeed rules. Expressed expected behavior and the performance of those expected behaviors is the foundation for any D/s relationship. But what happens when the bar is set so high that it’s impossible for a submissive to reach it?

Daddy has a favorite saying: “it’s not your fault, but I blame you anyway”. That phrase, in the context of that post makes a lot of sense. Blame doesn’t necessarily mean that punishment will follow, just that the expectations which he set, and I agreed to, couldn’t be met. The reason why may not be my fault, but the blame is mine. The punishment may also be mine, but I don't really have to worry about that. You see, I chose someone who shared MY style of D/s. Someone who remembers that D/s is about people. His full response is here:

If you and your submissive have different attitudes (black & white vs gray), it's not likely you'll be together for long.

In my experience, a D/s relationship, especially a 24/7 one, is really two relationships. There is the meta- or outer relationship in which the D and the s are equals discuss the content of the inner relationship. The inner relationship is where the actual D/s takes place. At various times you'll have to step back into the outer relationship, assess, and recalibrate.

If you're not agreeing about black & white rules in the outer relationship, it's certainly not going to get done in the inner relationship.

Here's an example. Early on I told my girlfriend that she was not allowed to wear a bra. Some time later, talking to a friend, she mentioned my rule and added, "That's OK. When I get older, I can use my boobs as kneepads."

Now, I could get all domly and tell her not to talk to her friends about my rules (fat chance) or to investigate breast surgery to keep her tits perky (fatter chance). I could stand my ground and insist that she keep the rule, because, you know, I made it, and I'm the domly one, and I can't be wrong.

Or I can step back into the outer relationship and say, "Hey, you know that no bra rule. It sure seemed like a good idea at the time...."

If you're new to the lifestyle, it can sure be exciting. A pet girl! Collars! Blowjobs on demand! But you know, there are human beings at both ends of that blowjob. Humans need to be flexible.


However, when we discussed this thread, I had an opinion of my own. He posted it on that thread because, well frankly....I hate getting into pissing contests with domleh doms ::wink::

Here's my take:

If you told me to call you at 3:15 every day, I would say that I would do my best, but because I am working, it may not be possible. However, if you were to insist that I put my call to you ahead of my job, this is what I'd say:

I will call you at 3:15 no matter what. But if I lose my job because of it, I expect that you will support me and take care of any losses relating to it. If you're going to require that kind of obedience, you have to be responsible for the consequences of that obedience.


And there's the shades of grey that many (and I'd venture to say most online d/s practitioners) forget. Yes, you can make a rule. And yes...I'll do my utmost to keep to the rule. But I'm not the only one who must pay the consequences for the fallout of the rule...otherwise known as the blame.

Grey sounds a whole lot better now I bet, huh?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Who Wears the Pants?

We have a strong D/s relationship. I'm the "D" in case you were wondering.


I know that this is a joke. But sometimes Daddy jokes about things that aren’t completely a joke either. You know what I mean?

We’ve known each other about 18 months. We’ve been in a fluctuating D/s relationship for most of that time. I say fluctuating, because it hasn’t come easy. It has grown little by little, sometimes taking a step backwards before we could move forward. Mostly that’s my doing. For me, I went into this relationship thinking that it’ll be my last one. And knowing that, thinking also that this will be my last D/s relationship. I really can’t see myself starting over yet again. So because of that attitude, I wanted to make sure that it was one that I could grow into. I wanted to make sure it was right for me, and would be something that I couldn’t find anywhere else. Or with anyone else.

Sometimes the growing pains have caused some problems.

I don’t know if Daddy truly feels that he’s sometimes not “D enough” or if it’s just that sometimes I’m not “s enough”. Our relationship isn’t set along immutable lines. Sometimes I need to be the stronger partner. I can usually tell when he needs me to step up and take the reins of life for a while. And I always know when he’s ready for me to let them go. And the way I know is that he usually makes a joke about “who wears the pants in the family”.

The truth is, that sometimes I do.

Just as a submissive is not submissive all the time and in all things, dominants aren’t gods, infallible, or dominant in all things. Nope. Really. They’re not. And any dominant that believes that they can BE dominant in every situation is delusional. And as much as submissives would like to let them believe that they are, I think it’s a bad idea to believe it yourself. It’s setting you both up for failure in your relationship....nevermind the D/s part of it. When you begin your D/s relationship, most begin as equals. Decisions that affect both of you should be made BY both of you. This isn’t the time to break out the books, smile coyly, and say “as you wish, Sir”.

While a part time, transactional, play situation D/s relationship may allow the participants to ignore the real world for a while, an ongoing, 24/7, real life D/s relationship is like every other non-D/s one. There are family obligations, work, bills to pay, chores to do, and personal needs to be taken care of. People have a life to live. Being in a D/s relationship doesn’t change any of that. The thing that changes, is that at some point. the “s” part of the equation decides to cede control of the things that the “D” part WANTS to control. That’s an important thing to realize. Submission isn’t about giving up control over every aspect of your life. And dominance isn’t about taking control over every aspect of another’s. D/s is about who wears the pants in a given set of circumstances, and over the things you’ve both agreed to.

Sometimes I may appear to others to be the “more dominant” person in our relationship. But people only see a very small fraction of our lives. We’ve sort of morphed into a style of public interaction that works for us. As an extrovert, I’m happier being “on” and that sometimes comes off like dominance. An introverted partner is happier being quieter and that sometimes comes off like submission. But when people expect certain roles to be played, they miss the nuances of a relationship like ours.

They don’t see that I’m always watching Daddy to see if he needs something. They don’t see that he’s always watching me to see if I’m getting myself into mischief. They don’t hear our conversations about how things have gone, and they never see how we behave with each other in private. They don’t get to peek into our lives to that extent and I find it a little annoying that people find Daddy less than dominant and me less than submissive when we’re in public. They never see that Daddy knows EXACTLY how to bring back his ‘good little submissive’. Every. Damn. Time. They miss that he can do it with a word, a look, or a subtle action. They don’t realize that I feel his dominance from across a room and I always hear it in my head.

But what they really don’t realize that there’s never a time when I’m not his submissive. But he knows that I just don’t have to be that all the time. We’ve set the parameters for our relationship. It’s a continually fluid line that moves as we grow into our chosen roles with each other. That’s never going to change. He didn’t want an “as you wish, Sir” submissive. He wanted a woman who didn’t have to submit to anyone. But one who chose to submit to him. Out of love. Not because he was “more dominant”, but because I love him enough to sometimes wear the pants.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Learning Lessons

I’ve made no secret that I’ve had some problems with patience and rope. I learned some very important lessons over the course of the last month. Lessons that have helped me overcome my own internal barrier and have finally allowed me to recognize things for what they are, and not for what I thought they were.

I took a five week rope class in preparation for Shibaricon 2010. My original intention was to tie at the Con. I’d thought that perhaps one of the reasons for my ambivalence about rope was because I’d outgrown simply being tied and that learning to tie would solve the boredom I sometimes felt. In taking that class, I learned a great deal about myself, about rope, and about Daddy. And a couple of the classes I took at Shibaricon this year clarified those thoughts.

One of the classes that gave me my “aha” moment was Sophia Sky’s Feedback class. While discussing the ways that a good bottom gives feedback, we started talking about communication styles. Verbal vs. written. Anger vs. Calm. And one of the things mentioned was that even when in a relationship with someone, someone that you think you know pretty well, and someone that you think knows you pretty well....you don’t always hear what they’re saying. Oh..you understand the words....but the context of how you each view them is just ever so slightly askew.

Daddy often used the term “play with rope”. It took me a long time to realize that he’d been using that term to describe his wish to try something, learn something or practice something. He’s a rope top so playing with rope is a way for him to describe the physical manipulation of the medium. What I didn’t realize was that I’d been hearing “play with rope” and thinking “play with ME with rope”. And despite knowing Daddy pretty well...he thought he was being clear, and I thought I’d heard him. Some of my greatest disappointment stemmed from my knowing what he said, but having diverging meanings of the word “play” at that moment.

It also occurred to me that when he asked “how does that feel?” after he’d tied me, he wasn’t looking for how I was emotionally relating to the rope or to him. What he’d really wanted to know was if it was comfortable, if it was pinching, pulling, across places it shouldn’t be, if my hands were going numb. He wanted to know if I could be in the rope for a while. He wanted a status condition. I was hearing him ask me if I was getting floaty or if what he was doing was emotionally resonating with me. He was asking for facts. I was answering with emotion. And given the disconnect with the "playing with rope" part of the equation, it's no wonder that my emotional answer to the "feeling" question didn't quite make things easy at times.

I also foolishly thought “how hard can it be?” and “why does he take so long to tie?” What I learned was that it Is Very Hard when you’re learning this for the first time. When you’re learning the right way to tie something, when you’re learning new knots, new ties. And it takes so damned long because he’s learning it so that later on, I’m not hurt. I’d forgotten (if I even really ever realized it) that the more comfortable he is with tying, the chances of my getting hurt when in his rope are lessened. Repetition creates speed and accuracy. Practice really does make perfect. In my own bottom world....I couldn’t see the mechanics that went into the tying and therefore couldn’t understand why something that looked so easy....seemed to take so long. And Daddy is really a wonderful rope top. He practices so that I can have the emotions on the bottom safely. I can only hope that with his patience, someday I'll be as good as a ropebottom for him.

I learned that practice dummies (or dining room chairs) can be valuable for some things. Learning a new knot, practicing wraps, cinches, and the mechanics of tying can easily be done on a dummy...but in order for us to get to the play with rope, he needs to practice with me. My body, my tolerance, my shape, and the way we use rope can only be practiced on me. A dining room chair won’t complain if a cinch grabs a bunch of air, but I surely will if the same cinch grabs the skin under my arm. A dining room chair can be as lithe, limber, and bendy as you’d like...but I seldom am.

Daddy has often said to me that when he’s tying me, what he wants most from me is to participate. It’s taken me some time to learn exactly what he meant by that. It would have been a lot easier to just ask him what he’d wanted, but I used past experiences and people to try to gauge what he was looking for. I’d heard him, but I’d interpreted instead of questioned. It took me too long to realize this. And I can only thank my lucky stars that Daddy is patient and forgiving. In fact, when he’d asked me in the dungeon on Saturday night at Shibaricon “how does that feel?”...I finally asked him....”what do you want to know exactly when you ask me that”? It seemed like a stupid question. And I was kind of embarrassed to ask it. But it was information that I needed to know in order to participate in the way he needed from me. This was sort of the “duh” moment I guess.

I learned a lot at that five week class. I learned that I didn’t want to tie anyone. I find learning rope from the topside tedious, exacting, and well...frankly...boring. But I’m really glad that Daddy doesn’t feel the same way. I really like rope from the bottom. And I'm grateful that there are people out there who obviously really like rope from the top.

So, because I’m a big fan of learning from my mistakes, here’s my list of things I learned from learning I didn’t want to learn to tie:

1. People often say things that we misinterpret. If something doesn’t seem to be working right, it’s better to just stop and ask “what do you mean by that?” Even if you really think you know what they mean..the fact that "something" isn't right should be a huge clue that maybe the message is being lost in the translation from one brain to the other.

2. Rope takes work. It’s not all on the top to do all the work either. Bottoms have a huge responsibility for helping their tops get better. If you’re going to be in a relationship with a rope lover, even if you don’t ever want to tie someone, learn enough of how to do it for yourself so that you can help. Learn about yourself and your own body. Practice things that you can do as a bottom when your top is practicing. Breathing, stretching, or hell...even making a grocery list or organizing your closet in your mind will make things feel like you're doing something.

3. Realize that tying is NOT as easy as it looks. Learning new ties takes a lot of repetition and repetition isn’t always fun. But it’s what keeps us safer in the long run. And if you ever think that it seems easy...remember that it's an illusion and the result of a lot of practice.

4. Make compromises. Tops have to realize that tying the same tie over and over and over again isn’t just boring for a bottom, but gets really annoying after a while. Rope pulled over the same area dozens of times, knots laid over the same place dozens of times....rubs bottoms raw (and not in a good way). While bottoms are providing this service, perhaps they don’t have to provide constant feedback and could watch a little television or read? Perhaps changing from standing to sitting, or even location can make a world of difference.

5. Ask your top what kind of feedback they want. Specifically. And ask them to describe what it is that they’re looking for. Do they want help with “how things go?” Do they want you to tell them if something doesn’t feel “right” right away or if they’d prefer that they finish the tie first?

6. Talk to each other when tying. Maybe this isn’t the time for heavy conversations about arguments you’ve had, your jobs or taxes. But perhaps talking about an upcoming event, a party, a vacation, or even what you’re going to have for dinner can make this seem more like a partnership and less like one person working while the other is being a dressmaker dummy.

7. Understanding what the goals are for rope for both partners is key. Understanding yourself enough to know that you have to be honest with your partner that something is becoming tedious helps. And tops who understand that being a practice bottom, for all that it is important, is indeed a big service being provided by their bottoms. Be grateful you’ve got a bottom who will let you practice that same tie for the 50th time. Say thank you. Make the practice fun for the bottoms, even if it’s just a pat on the head once in a while to remember that you’re STILL tying a pretty girl. Having a willing practice bottom who will be happy to do it the next time relies not just on the bottom's attitude, but the tops' as well.

And perhaps the most important thing:

8. Make sure that you actually PLAY with rope. Don’t spend all your time practicing that you forget why you’re learning it in the first place.

By learning I had no interest in tying, I learned more about myself than if I'd have actually tied anyone. I learned enough to untangle the ties that had clouded my perceptions and have found my way to rope again.

And I'm looking forward to it.