Too much

too much impact semenawa rope bottoming

There is so much I want to say about “too much”. We often do too much. We are a culture of too much. Too much noise, too big movements, too strong impact. Observing rope sessions on the jams over the years, I often notice how the body in ropes is cringing, tensing, resisting, pushing through things. I feel pain when I see it. Is it just me? 

Here is one typical situation, how i would describe it: 

  1. taking what the rope bottom does not offer

In SexBod, when we learned about consent, I think it was from wonderful Betty Martin, we learned about 3 levels: one, is verbal. The person says “I want that”. Another one is physical, when you feel their body agrees with what you are doing. The third one is your own gut feeling. It’s a difficult one, for that you need to feel your own body.

This is just a model to bring in the idea that bodies communicate on different levels. I know it is complex and it’s often rope bottoms themselves who push for too much – directly or indirectly. I also know this is thrilling to play in “violence”. I’m just bringing in some pointers from a somatic perspective. 

“If I touch the shoulders, and the shoulders are tense, I don’t tie Gote. I keep touching. Models need more massages:)” Alexander often says. There is a simple truth in it. Do not tie a tense body. Do not bend / stretch / twist a body that is not melting.

My point is not really about consent. It is beyond consent – it’s about kindness. They might agree verbally. If their bodies, their beings are not offering, melting into the thing you are doing to them, it would be more kind to stop it…

  1. tying the figure no matter what

When we are concentrating on tying the figure – what you last learned at the workshop, what you had in mind for this shooting, what impressive thing you wanted to do, because everyone is looking… when this is where our focus is, we don’t observe what is happening with the body. It often comes with the narrative, something we have decided in advance, something that we already knew we wanted to do. This mindset makes us less present with what is, more rigid in our actions, and we often end up doing too much…

If we don’t want to overstep, we must look at what is happening with our partners in the moment. Observe, listen, touch – appreciate how beautiful they are, trying to cope with the next rope, next movement, next position you offer them… before you decide how you like to proceed…

  1. not taking time

Too soon often leads to too much, however could be right at the right timing. 

When the body resists, do not increase the volume. Instead, give it some time. In many situations, the body will relax and go with your suggestion, naturally. In some cases, it won’t. Then it is not on offer for today. You might not complete that impressive thing. But you didn’t overstep the living reality of this body…

I am not saying at all we should not play intensely. I think it’s beautiful! I love to see people struggling in ropes. It has a different quality when the body is agreeing and melting vs. overriding the natural coping mechanisms. 

Let it not be ego play, no matter riggers’ or models’ ego. The reality of the body matters the most. It was important for me to bring across this message.