Suspension is a BDSM activity that I expected to love, but didn’t.
I thought it would be fun. I knew it would be challenging…but in a fun way. It certainly photographs well–I think images of suspended models look amazing. Suspension seemed like it would be a mind-trip, one of those things that would get you in touch with your body right away, while you went on an interesting tour of painful sensations that changed on a minute-to-minute basis. I knew that I liked rope bondage fine, and I always felt comfortable with tight, restricting clothing, like corsets. I was convinced that suspension and I would be made for each other! Awwww, a perv and her jute rope, happy together at last! How romantic!
I learned very quickly that I couldn’t hang (pun most certainly intended). Whatever it takes to make a bona fide rope slut, I don’t have it.
I was expecting it to hurt. A lot. I was also expecting the pain to change, from one sensation to another, according to the pressure on the rope and how I directed my concentration. I expected my mind to have more control over it. I expected it to be, I don’t know, interesting. Why not? A good beating can be very interesting. You can learn a lot about yourself, or someone else, over the course of a beating. Why should suspension be any different?
Well, it is. At least it is for me.
The minute your body weight is supported exclusively by the rope, the countdown starts. Time is running out. To the point where the pain is going to become absolutely unbearable. Breathing in the rope harness feels difficult and there is the illusion of suffocation. The heartbeat hurts and you can feel the throb in your extremities. Every place the rope bites in hurts and burns, and it’s impossible to shift and get comfortable. I’ve found that I can last longer if I imagine that my body is a bean bag and I collapse into the rope without clenching up or resisting, but in the end, it becomes unbearable. Suspension is an endurance test designed by a sadist. I’ve read online that shibari was developed as a method of torture. I have no idea if that’s historically accurate, but I certainly believe it’s possible. Tie someone in the right position and leave them for a few hours, and they’d do or say whatever you wanted. You wouldn’t have to cut them or smash up their bodies or any of the other messy alternatives.
The only thing that can distract from the pain of suspension is different pain. Pain is the only thing. Pleasure is out of the question; some people claim to be able to have orgasms in suspension, but I sure as hell can’t. Nor can I have a thoughtful dialogue. Getting single-tailed, or a cattle prod on the soles of my feet, well, that takes my mind off the pressure in my chest for a minute (but only for a minute).
Heinrich has an O-ring in his ceiling. A thing he’s been known to do is tie my chest in a harness, and then tie and lift a leg behind me, much like this (there’s always an additional support above the knee of the tied leg, too):
|Thank GOD you have a leg to stand on, huh?!|
The weight is now partially supported by balancing on the ball of the foot. The only thing that is keeping all that rope from biting in and becoming excruciating, unbearable, is the foot you are using for support.
It gets better! Instead of balancing on the floor, like this young lady in the picture, you are standing on a very unstable 3-legged stool.
How long can you perch there….? And what will you endure to hang on…? To keep that stool under your foot…?
The answer is: a lot, because almost anything is better than dangling in space by your chest.
It gets positively ridiculous, especially in retrospect, because there’s no way to “win.” You’re just playing little games and enduring different sorts of pain in order to avoid falling off the stool. Not falling off the stool becomes the sole focus of your life’s ambition. Things in the world become very simple. In fact, the world ceases to exist beyond the room. Sometimes he likes to talk, but pain and endorphins clog your brain, and you can’t follow very well. Sometimes he has to repeat himself, and that doesn’t work out too well for you either.
In the end, you always fall. The ending was never in doubt.
* * *
Here are some cool images I found while searching for the one I used in the blog post. Enjoy em while you can; Blogger is making all its bloggers (including ME!) take down all “adult content” March 23. I’d call them assholes, but it’s a free platform, and they can do whatever they want.
This would be a great image if it wasn’t for the douche on his computer! I’ve seen wooden frames like that set up in people’s houses and garages.
This one’s been blogged to hell and back, but it’s never been posted on my blog before. Great model, great rigging, great photograph. Very interesting. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Photographer: Heiner Weichert