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Though it’s good to have ropes nice and snug (and lined up flat so as to not dig in unevenly), it is also important to make sure that the rope is not too snug. Try sliding a finger or two under the ropes; if you can’t fit one finger between the ropes and the skin, go ahead and loosen the ropes up. Otherwise, it can cut off circulation. With the One-Column Tie, instead of taking the whole cuff off, you can loosen it by releasing the final knot, sliding a finger under, wiggling it looser, and then retying.
As a note though—rope can loosen or tighten on its own. Some rope stretches. Sometimes limbs swell. Sometimes skin gets cold and makes it seem that ropes have loosened. You may rotate or move your Bottom and the ropes move slightly, causing them to loosen or tighten.
Check your ropes from time to time; one to two fingers under the binding is usually good, three to four or more under a tie may be a sign that you need to tighten the bindings if you are trying to restrain their body (rather than decorate it).
Many rope marks are caused by pressure on the skin, and can fade quickly. One exception is what is called a “rope hickey.” This occurs when skin gets trapped between two or more pieces of rope and gets pinched between the lines. Capillaries in the skin burst where the skin was pinned leading to lines that are very much like hickeys you give when nibbling on someone’s neck. Avoiding minor gaps between adjoining ropes can prevent rope hickeys, but they do happen from time to time to even the most experienced bondage practitioners. Some Bottoms even enjoy them as a badge of honor.
Rough rope is more likely to mark than soft rope. Struggling and tension on rope are more likely to cause rope marks than scenes where the Bottom is peaceful or relaxed. If you are especially concerned about marks, consider doing bondage over clothing or other padding, and avoid heavy struggling, as even the most careful rope work occasionally leaves marks on bare skin.
Pulling rope very quickly along the skin can cause what is called “rope burn,” a form of mild (or intense) skin abrasion. To avoid it, pull rope slowly, or if going under other ropes, lift up the top ropes and slide the second rope underneath. Rope burns are more likely to happen on dry and cracked skin than on smooth, moisturized skin, so for sensual bondage, consider incorporating massage into your pre-bondage warm up.