For Male Rope Bottoms - bondage basics

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Nobody’s done an in-depth study focusing on men who love bondage (or of any other gender, for that matter), so we don’t know the total number or percentage. In a survey of 1,516 people by researchers at the University of Quebec and the Philippe-Pinel Institute of Montreal, however, 46 percent of the men reported that they fantasized about being tied up in order to obtain sexual pleasure, and 53 percent reported fantasizing about being dominated sexually.

So it seems safe to guess that the relatively small percentage of photos we see of men in bondage on social media and elsewhere is a really bad indicator of the actual percentage of the male population who get tied up—or wish they did. It also seems pretty easy to guess why. Traditional cultural stereotypes of men’s roles in many countries include a focus on emotional toughness, achievement, self-reliance, and being in control. So it seems hard enough for most men to accept a desire to be in a submissive or bottoming role, let alone actually act on it, even in vanilla situations. Ten add the idea of bottoming in a kinky way, and further add documenting that in public or semipublic places through photos...well, it seems like a Herculean leap for most men, doesn’t it?

“It’s the fear of provoking ridicule or, worse, distaste in the girl I’m with.”

But we don’t have to guess at the challenges and thoughts of men who love bondage, because here they’ll tell us themselves.


The biggest challenge male bottoms seem to face is finding tops. “Not many males want to tie men, and few females willing either,” Hastingsbound says. Bound_Mnementh cites “finding riggers not only willing but capable and safe, able to not only rig but also keep me safe when I space out.”

Body of Work

One layer of the challenge is that many people learn to tie on female bodies, and the male body is obviously different in key ways: “no boobs, no hips,” as one bottom succinctly puts it - plus there’s, you know, the cock. The presence of a cock can require different crotch ties or hip harnesses than someone has learned, and a person used to tying females may not know what to do with this body part even on a basic level - tie it gently? tie it roughly? ignore it completely? - - and may shy away and stick with what’s familiar. (Another instance where good communication can work wonders.)

Bodily differences may affect suspensions more than floor ties, but even in floor ties there can still be the challenge of tying a body that is bigger, heavier, or denser/more muscular. (By the way, I’ve noticed that more than one class has popped up on this very topic.) And adult males in general tend to be naturally less flexible than adult females, so ties may need to be adjusted for that too. But of course that’s a big generalization, and there are very bendy men and less bendy women and the whole gamut in between.

Cracking the Cliche

Another layer is the stereotype of the male top and female bottom: “Female rope bottoms are presented as the default", Achilles says. This can be subtly pervasive or in-your-face. “The first time a friend took me to a peer rope event, one of the organizers asked for a volunteer and I offered myself,” Gnethys says. “He ignored me, and instead made his partner (a lithe female) stand up and model for the demonstration (a simple single column tie on the wrist, where model skill or body shape wouldn’t have been an issue). After that, my friend told me that riggers prefer to tie petite women, and that I shouldn’t have volunteered. Foolishly, I believed her.”

“[In the] early ’90s, [I was told] I couldn’t be a bunny, as I was a man. Only men could rig and only women could bottom’,’ Bound_Mnementh adds.

As with other categories of rope bottoms, social media contributes to the stereotype. Female rope bottoms are “so ubiquitous that it was hard for me to fathom at first if it was even possible to apply these sorts of things— elaborate harnesses, complex predicament bondage, suspension - to a male-bodied person,” Achilles says. “I couldn’t find any examples of men in this context. After becoming more experienced and learning what to look for, I began to find representations of men bottoming, but I consider it a rare treasure.”

A Shallow Pool

Another layer is that the majority of the population is heterosexual. Estimates of the percentage of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual population range from about 1.2 percent (internationally) to 5.6 percent (in the U.S.), and although it’s safe to say a good number more just haven’t reported being LGBTQ, the substantial majority is still clearly heterosexual. It’s also clear just from being in the rope scene that the majority of rope tops and especially suspension riggers, at least the ones tying publicly, are heterosexual males. Since tliere's a smaller pool of both female and gay male rope tops to begin with, it can be tough for a man to find a rope partner regardless of sexual orientation.

Some female rope tops don’t tie men, reducing the pool for heterosexual males even further. And if you’re looking for an experience beyond just bottoming for someone in a class, workshop, or other non-sexual or nonsensual scene, it can be tougher yet.

“Although male rope tops are willing to tie other men, if your goal is to get sensual rope ties, then those are usually limited to female tops or very open-minded male tops’,’ CuriouslySwitch says. Now of course some men can tie men just as sensuously as anyone else! But CuriouslySwitch’s sentiment is shared by other (presumably heterosexual) males who responded to the survey.

Fear of Flying

Then there’s the challenge of overcoming personal feelings of embarassment or shame about being a male who loves bondage. While loving bondage doesn’t necessarily mean someone is submissive, it does go against the cultural stereotypes regarding men mentioned earlier. One rope bottom describes it as “my own discomfort regarding the feeling that, as a male, I shouldn’t allow myself to be put in a humiliating position.... It’s the fear of provoking ridicule or, worse, distaste..”

Even someone like Peter Acworth, who owns Kink, com - which has been producing videos for years for audiences including gay and heterosexual men who love bondage - says in his essay later on that he finds asking for bondage difficult, because “the role drilled into me was that I had to be in charge.” Overcoming gender concepts imprinted on us in ways both overt and subtle since birth is no easy thing.

What’s a man to do in the face of all of these challenges? Let’s find out.

Helpful Ideas

As you can see from all the photos of men being tied in this book, it’s not an impossible dream—it just might not be easy.

Get Your Group On

First, know that there are defnitely female rope tops, and heterofexible and heterosexual men who tie men. You might fnd female partners in the Hitchin’ Bitches group on FetLife, which at last count has more than 40 chapters worldwide. Founded by Hedwig, it’s a group for rope tops that welcomes “all women who live full time as women and FTM, genderqueer and intersexed persons who feel that they still have links to women’s communities.”

Being male, you can’t join the group or go to most of the events. However, a proactive male rope bottom might check out the members of their local Hitchin’ Bitches group and write a respectful note to someone they find appealing, asking if said appealing person might be looking for a prospective partner or even just someone to practice on. The Hitchin’ Bitches group is specifically “not a cruising spot’,’ so I’m gonna emphasize respectful.

Next, while we’re on the subject of being proactive, why not consider helping someone learn to tie? Maybe all they need is a little encouragement and a willing partner. Tere are so many rope classes, books, and videos these days that you two could be getting your rope on together in no time.

Confdence Quest

Doing all the above things requires a bit of confidence, a word that came up in more than one survey response. “To this day I still need a lot of confidence with a person to ofer to be tied by them,” Gnethys says. Achilles recommends, “Take care of yourself! Get in shape, groom yourself, dress well. It does wonders for your confidence, and confdence looks damn good in rope.” Having confidence will help you toss aside those cultural norms that don’t serve you, will help you reach out to potential partners, and will help you enjoy your scenes more when they do happen.

“Put whatever you may think of as cultural norms’ aside,” recommends one rope bottom. “This has nothing to do with your value, intellect, masculinity.” Hear, hear!

Along with developing confidence goes being persistent—just the same as for rope bottoms in other categories. “Not everyone will want to play with you, but that happens to anyone,” Gnethys says. “Don’t let that discourage you; more people than you might think would love to tie you.” Hastings-bound cites “bloody-mindedness” and determination as helping him, and recommends, “Don’t give up trying to find someone.”

Learning to tie can also put you on the radar of rope tops while helping you get to know your own body in rope and giving you a bit of a rope fix.

As for flexibility, remember that many ties don’t require it. But if you do want to improve flexibility, you probably already know that yoga or just general stretching can help. You may be outnumbered by females at your local yoga studio, but so what? If you cared about being part of the herd, you wouldn’t be doing bondage in the first place.


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