Luke George
27.01.22
Stimulation

From top to bottom: the kinky art of rope bondage with Luke George

Ever wondered what it’s like to be tied up? Or fantasised about the power that comes with tying someone else? Thanks to pop culture and a more progressive view of sex and pleasure, BDSM has become a part of the mainstream. But getting into kink can still be intimidating without the right introduction. Whether you’re looking to play with rope or simply want to know what it’s about, hearing from an expert can fill in important gaps around consent, safety and pleasure – so you know exactly what to expect. Luke George is a multidisciplinary artist and sex worker who’s devoted himself to the practice, we sat down with him to give you a window into the intense and erotic world of rope bondage.

‘Hi Luke, can you please tell us a bit about who you are?


I’m a queer artist and my work has to do with the body, around intimacy and interaction. I create spaces where both artists and audiences can explore risk together in fairly non-conventional ways. I also work with rope to create installations, craft custom pieces and kinky macramé items that can be worn during play.


In my sex work, I provide sessions that work with erotic/sensual massage or bondage and BDSM dynamics (or sometimes both). In the kink space, I’m professional rope Dom as well as an educator – teaching people how to work with rope and facilitating playful kinky spaces for people to explore intimacy, pleasure and consent.


Tell us a bit more about rope work.


Rope is a sensitive and dynamic material, it can act as a conductor between bodies where energy, pleasure and power are exchanged. Rope bondage is an aesthetic form of art and play – tensions, binds, bonds and release. . . the rope heightens the sense of touch and sensitive mutual listening between the giver and the receiver through communication, consent, trust, empathy, and pleasure.

Rope is a sensitive and dynamic material, it can act as a conductor between bodies where energy, pleasure and power are exchanged.

Rope bondage engages BDSM dynamics that may involve various forms of kink play (as far as your imagination takes you) through roleplay, sex, and power exchange. Like any form of BDSM, play can range from sensual to intense, through a consensual journey shared by everyone involved. Specific to rope bondage, the top/dom is known as the ‘rigger’, and the sub/bottom is called a ‘bunny’ (so cute, right?). Essentially, I tie people up and take them on a wild ride and we both get a kick out of it.


What does it feel like to tie someone?


It feels like a gift that someone is entrusting you with their entire body and pleasure. There is a great sense of power being exchanged – not taken – given and received. With great power comes great responsibility! As the rigger, you’re temporarily appointed caretaker of your bunny, seeing to their safety, needs and desires, as well as your own. It’s incredibly sensual and visceral. By the end of a scene, I feel utterly spent and connected to myself and the other person/people in a way that I don’t experience in any other sexual or sensual encounters. My rigger-energy ranges depending on the bunny and the scene. I can be a gentle, caring, sensual, teasing, playful rigger, or wolf-like and ravenous, unforgiving and unrelenting, even brutal.


What about if you’re the one being tied?


For me, being tied feels like deep rest. Sounds strange I know. Being tied up is a type of sensory deprivation – which I love – where I can relinquish responsibility for myself and give that to someone else. I can let go entirely. I can enter a very deep place in my psyche and body and reside there, while all these crazy things are being done to me. It’s like a big warm embrace, being enveloped by rope.



For me, being tied feels like deep rest. Sounds strange I know. Being tied up is a type of sensory deprivation – which I love – where I can relinquish responsibility for myself and give that to someone else.


Sometimes I even lose my sense of being a human and regress into primordial goop – well, a sexy goop. And then there’s the intensified sensation – as my Rigger pushes me further and further, seeing what makes me jolt and quiver and moan and writhe. . .I’m reminded that I’m hooked on the adrenaline and endorphins rushes, whilst testing out my brattiness, my piggy greed for pleasure, and being a total attention slut.


How did you get into rope work?


It was through an art project. A new collaborator and I were looking for connections between our interests and practices, to find common ground together. We were talking a lot about intimacy and for some reason rope bondage came up and we were like, oh, let’s learn that together.


So, we went to a rope dojo and did a whole weekend workshop. It opened the door for both of us. We created a performance called ‘Bunny’ which explores the tensions and bonds between people, particularly in the space of a performance, unpicking the boundaries of desire, trust, consent and communion between artist and audience.


As part of the show, I invite some members of the audience to be tied up, often complete strangers who I haven’t met before that moment. To do that and gain trust you need to be really fucking good at it. So, I trained intensely for about a year to learn with different teachers, as well teaching myself and working with different resources (and lots of very patient bunnies all around the world). It was a very, very steep learning curve because of the technicalities of working with rope, it’s a very specific material and you really need to know how to use it. You need to develop an understanding the physical safety involved with restraining and suspending the body, but also the emotional and psychological safety of working with dom/sub dynamics in a consensual kink space.

Can you explain how consent/emotional safety factors into kink?


In the kink space there’s a heightened practice of consent because of what we’re about to do to each other. Whether it’s before or during a scene/session, seeking and giving consent is always at play. Working this out is specific to each person, in how you ask and receive information from each other, how peers or lovers teach each other about it. By nature, kink play is about nudging (or hurtling) into riskier territory where we need to give a lot of trust to each other. In order to go further, we need to approach play with intention, care and respect. Consent is always a top priority. And in terms of emotional safety, one of my favourite parts of a session is the after-care – the delicious unraveling of ourselves from what we’ve just been through together, sharing our experiences, checking-in, feeding back to each other. Bondage can sometimes uncover quite deep and unexpected emotional responses in the body, pre-play and after-care are as important as the play itself.


How does that play out in your rope work?


Everyone in the kink community has their own way of doing this so I can only speak for myself and my practice.

For me, it’s different with every sub that I engage with, some it’s super intuitive and we don’t need to get into it too much. I ask them some questions about what they’re interested in, what they’ve had experiences with before, what they fantasize about doing – in a cheeky flirty kind of way. And through language we kind of test the waters with each other a little bit to find out what kind of connection is there and what kind of energy this scene this could be; whether it’s a rough and intense… Are they interested in sensation play or heavier impact work, like being spanked, whipped or flogged? Do they want to be tied up and humiliated and told they are the filthy scum of the earth that isn’t deserving of my dick and my cum? That’s not for everyone. Like for me, I don’t want to be humiliated when I’m subbing, absolutely not, but for some people that is the ultimate.


For many people, kink is more of a sensual and playful dance, often tapping into some deep emotions, sometimes even something akin to a spiritual experience, and not always only focused heavy play. When I teach a workshop, I remind the people that even though we’re working with rope, restraint, domination and submission, you’re really working with touch and intimacy and how to listen to your lover. The rope is an extension of your body. It’s tactile, very responsive and you can do a lot with one piece of rope. You know, we see bondage images, 10 pieces, 20 pieces of rope on somebody in incredible and intricate designs. But actually, it’s not only about how much rope or the visual result, it’s about what the rope does and how you get there, how it electrifies the connection between the two of you.

For many people, kink is more of a sensual and playful dance, often tapping into some deep emotions, sometimes even something akin to a spiritual experience, and not always only focused heavy play.

Do you have some practical tips on consent?


Consent is an ongoing, dynamic conversation between two or more bodies. Before a kink scene, there needs to be an agreement and a shared understanding between the participants that’s quite explicit, in your own way and your own language, but essentially, it’s important to cover territory like:


Bunny:

‘Fuck yes I want to be tied up by you’.

‘This is the kind of feeling or kind of scene that I am interested in.’

‘These are my hard boundaries; these are my soft boundaries.’

‘With this stuff, let’s see how I feel when I get there.’


Rigger:

‘These are the safe words we’ll use.’

‘These are the kinds of signals (verbal or non-verbal) we’ll use, so we can communicate with each other during the scene.’

‘During play you’ll call me Daddy, Master, Sir. . .’


As a starting point – and going into as much detail as you both feel you need to – it’s important for the rigger to know if the bunny has any physical limitations so they’re experiencing good pain, not undesired discomfort, likewise if there’s some absolute no-go zones or scenarios that may be triggering.


As a top or a rigger/dominant it’s a lot of work. I’m guiding us through the experience, and in a way, they’re guiding me too – I’m constantly noticing, observing their body language, face, eyes, breath, the feel of their skin. Tone is important, how you read tone in another person, especially if you don’t know them well. You can read a lot about a person through their eyes, face, tension in their skin, their muscles, and the way that they’re breathing and the sounds that they are making. How they respond to your touch, the rope, or whatever it is you’re doing to them.

You can read a lot about a person through their eyes, face, tension in their skin, their muscles, and the way that they’re breathing and the sounds that they are making. How they respond to your touch, the rope, or whatever it is you’re doing to them.

What have you learned through the rope work that you’ve applied to your sex life in general?


Confidence. For example, I was at the gay sauna the other night, and you know with covid, like a lot of people, I’ve been navigating my sexual confidence again. But I was having a good night. I was walking into that space with a lot of confidence, not the swaggering, macho, or aggressive kind – more quiet, internal confidence about knowing who I am, knowing what I’m interested in, knowing that I’m open to things I don’t know about yet. That was always there, but I think exploring rope and kink has really increased my strength in my sense of self. And my communication’s better – I’m getting better at asking for what I want and what I desire.


Do you have any tips for people wanting to get into rope?


I know rope can be intimidating for people new to it. Like a lot of kink, if you haven’t been playfully introduced to it, just going to the store and going I’m gonna buy this and I’m gonna give it a shot ؘ– it’s kind of a big leap. So, it’s great if it can come through play and connection with people (there’s a big community out there).


I think everyone is kinky, it’s just whether they decide to give themselves permission to explore it.

And with porn and social media, people’s imaginations and curiosity are expanding more and more. But the actual negotiation of kink play you is something you have to experience for yourself. At first, it can be uncomfortable and a bit clumsy, but you have to go through that to find your voice, your desires and to a really amazing place of kinky connection.

I think everyone is kinky, it’s just whether they decide to give themselves permission to explore it. And with porn and social media, people’s imaginations and curiosity are expanding more and more. But the actual negotiation of kink play you is something you have to experience for yourself.

Having said that, there’s lots of helpful resources online. Rope365 has great content and tutorials. If you’re Naarm-based check out workshops with Von Riga or Ash Snare and Harley Ōkami who run Zen Rope, or PolyFinda’s monthly Shibari Lounge for live performances. And the lovely folks at Eagle Leather are always so generous with their expertise knowledge and love of all things kinky.


You book in with me for a rope bondage session or lesson, come to one of my workshops. There’s also great sex workers out there, like myself, who are very happy to introduce people as slowly or intensely as they want. In my erotic massage work I’ve definitely had guys who’ve come to me as massage clients for years and then they they’re like ‘ummm… I saw that ummm you do some work with rope?’ And, you know, it might be another few sessions before they straight out ask for it and even then, it just might be one piece of rope, just a little bit, you know? It’s their journey and they’re in control of that.


What do you wish people knew more about kink or BDSM practices?


I think 50 Shades of Grey did a lot of damage. I still haven’t watched it, I don’t think I need to, although he’s kind of hot (laughs). But it’s a terrible representation in that it can create misconceptions that kink equals abuse, sexual violence, or violence in general. The more that I meet other kinksters and educators and explore the space myself, the more I learn that it couldn’t be further from that. It’s the exact opposite.


I remember being in a situation where I was subbing in a kink night as a newbie, and this guy wasn’t checking in or paying attention to my needs. I was like, this feels a little weird but I’m just gonna go along with it, because I think it’s what is expected of me. Other doms pulled him up right away and said “no, you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re treating him badly, he’s uncomfortable” – he didn’t care for their feedback and actually left the venue, after which a few of the other doms took me under their wing and made sure I was ok and by the end of the night, feeling and great and walking out the door with a spent and satisfied grin on my face. There’s a huge respect for good practice and respect amongst people. So, care, communication, consent, trust; these are the pillars. You know, like yes, we will go there but only once those foundations are established (and maintained).

Do you have a sex hack you can share with us?


So, you know, we can go to the sex store and we can buy all these amazing sex and kink toys, and they’re great and really well-crafted and safe to use. The good ones are developed through very intense design process, you know, a rigorous research and testing regime! And they’re fuckin excellent, but they’re expensive. And for an artist? God damn.


So basically, I was seeing this dom in New York who was such a mentor for me in my kink journey. During a scene I was blindfolded, and he was using all sorts of shit on me. I had no idea what the hell he was using. For example, there was this one sensation, and I thought ‘he’s using a knife on me, he’s gonna cut my fucking scrotum open’. It was insanely scary, but also weirdly thrilling and hot at the same time, because I knew deep down that I could trust him. And then at the end, I was like, you have to tell me what you were using. He said, ‘you’ll never guess, what do you think it was?’ And I was like a blade or something? And he pulled out a toothbrush! A fucking toothbrush! (Laughs).


It was the craziest sensation and since then, I’ve been exploring a lot. It’s about creativity! I’ve had sessions where I’ve had nothing except two pieces of rope and I’m like ‘right!’ Tie them up, use their t-shirt as a blindfold, their undies and socks to gag them, and then I’m looking around their house going, okay, what would be fun and safe to use on them to blow their minds and turn their body into a live electrical wire.


You’ve certainly expanded my perspective! Any parting words for our readers?


You find kink when you find it and you uncover it for yourself at your own pace. Kink is a lifetime journey. It’s opening a little door and another little door and another little door and being introduced to things and discovering pleasure that you maybe had an inkling about or curiosity for but hadn’t given yourself permission to go there.



 You find kink when you find it and you uncover it for yourself at your own pace. Kink is a lifetime journey.

Sometimes you just peak through that door’s keyhole for a while, sometimes you nudge it ajar, and sometimes you just fling it open and charge through – or you’re shoved through by the polished leather boot of your kink partner/s – and they’re there to catch you on the other side.


You can buy tickets to Luke’s rope workshop at Abbotsford Convent this Sunday here.


You can book in a rope bondage session via Luke’s rope bondage Instagram here and his artist Instagram here.


You can buy Luke kinky- macramé items and custom rope pieces here and find out more about his art practice here.