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Everything You Need to Know About Attending Your First Rope Bondage Conference

Published: MARCH 4, 2022 | Updated: APRIL 27, 2022
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Reviewed by Jon Pressick
on February 24, 2022
Rope bondage conferences can be a great way to expand your kinky confidence and capabilities. And coming prepared to them can ensure you get the most from the experience.

Calling all rope bondage lovers! We have a couple of questions for you:

Did you find yourself staring at the hard points the entirety of your last play party?

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Did you make it to a hotel takeover kink conference and found yourself longing for even more rope classes?

Are you simply turned on by the idea of rope bondage and see it as an art form you want to master?

READ: The Ins and Outs of Rope Bondage.

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If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, a rope bondage conference might be your solution. A rope conference is an event comprised entirely of rope-bondage-focused education, evening play parties, locations with many hard points (for suspension) and lots of social events. Consider these gatherings a mini vacation away from the real world: Everything you live, see and practice will be rope bondage!

Understandably, however, the idea of being surrounded by such practiced and talented rope kinksters can be daunting. No matter where you are in your rope journey, it's easy to feel awed (and intimidated) by watching talented riggers' scenes. But don't let that keep you from attending!

As with most things kinky, preparation is essential before heading out to your first bondage conference. So, check out this article ahead of your first rope bondage conference for answers to some of the some of the most-commonly asked questions. Hopefully, it will help you steel your courage up and feel fit to be tied—in a good way!

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Where Do Rope Bondage Conferences Take Place?

Rope conferences can happen in any kind of setting that offers the opportunity for suspension and space for folks to move around. Unlike general kink conferences, which typically take place in a hotel or campground, rope conferences are a lot more flexible. They might be private residences, play spaces, hotels or other venues.

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READ: Everything You Need to Know About Attending Your First Kink Conference.

The most important aspect of finding a rope conference space is the availability of hard points. These are safe, above-head anchor spots that can support a good amount of dynamic body weight hanging from them—a key element in rope bondage suspension. Some conferences may bring in huge steel frames to work as hard points.

Beyond an abundance of hard points, a rope bondage conference needs to be a safe, discreet place. It should have extra individual rooms where classes can be taught. In some cases, a hotel works perfectly for all of those things—the built-in design of conference rooms can be perfect for teaching classes and places to sleep are right there in the building!

In some cases, though, a well-designed play space is a better fit. Due to the cheaper cost per square foot and out-of-the-way locations, many kinky play spaces are located in old warehouses. These are generally built with exposed ceiling supports, which can make perfect spots for hard points.

How Is A Rope Bondage Conference Different Than a Regular Kink Conference?

In the Venn diagram of kink conferences and rope conferences, there is definitely some overlapnamely rope and kinksters! However, there are some differences in the atmosphere and how folks approach each type of event.

A rope conference narrows in on rope, the people who play with rope and how it can be used, manipulated and enjoyed. Every class focuses on various aspects of rope. Some classes prioritize learning about the physical ties themselves, while others lean on learning various ways to invoke feelings and sensations through the use of rope. Other types of classes may be offered, such as building communication skills in rope relationships, rope bondage photography and more.

READ: 8 Bondage Sex Positions from Simple to Extreme!.

Another difference how rope conferences approach cell phone use. Some conferences have more lenient cell phone and/or photography policies. As many rope riggers and bottoms love to capture the look of rope's "final product," photography and cell phones may be allowed within the conference and play spaces. There may even be a staffed rope photography room (possibly even with classes during the conference!) to help capture those rope photo memories.

If you're a regular general kink party attendee, you'll be familiar with the rules surrounding play parties. However, rope conference play parties can feature different restrictions and conventionsso make sure to read over the rules of your rope conference play parties before going buckwild. There may be limitations on where you can play or where rope can or cannot be used. Unlike standard kink play parties, however, most rope play either takes place on the floor or with a suspension point—no furniture needed! This means less-strict time limitations on scenes compared to general play parties.

What Should I Bring?

Rope

When determining what kind of rope to bring, the first step is making sure it's rope you're comfortable tying with. Then, consider length:. Depending on what classes you're attending and what you plan on doing, you'll need to bring decent amount of rope. If you're travelling out of town to the conference, it could be a challenge to clean your rope—so you'll want to bring extra lengths of back-up rope if you plan on doing any crotch rope or any strenuous scenes that might include sweating or bodily fluids. Rope conferences tend to have rope vendors right on-site; but you'll want to bring rope you're comfortable with.

READ: 7 Tips for Choosing Bondage Rope.

Now, here's an important consideration: You need to make sure your rope stays your rope.

If you have "standard-looking" rope—like natural hemp or natural jute—your rope can look like a lot of other people's rope. In a room full of people tossing around rope strands and focusing on practicing their new chest harness, ropes can easily find their way into someone else's bag. Unless your rope is uniquely colored, you'll want to mark your ropes so they end back up in your bag.

Some people like to do this by threading a unique thread pattern near the ends of the rope. For a quicker solution, you might consider putting little colored rubber bands near the knots on the end of your rope. You can make color combinations to identify your own rope and you can easily pull off the rubber bands afterwards.

Blankets, Pillows and Padding

A lot of rope work at the conference will likely be done on the floor. And depending on the space, the floor might be concrete or have just a thin carpet. Bringing your own thick blankets, pillows and padding to sit comfortably on the floor—often for an hour or more—is essential.

Consider finding an easy way to pack up those items and tote them along with you, since you'll likely be moving between classrooms and other areas with your items. You might spend more than a dozen hours on the floor over the course of the weekend; make sure you don't skimp on floor comfort items.

Clothes for Photographs

Also falling into this category are body prep supplies, lingerie and facial coverings—generally, anything you need to feel photo-ready.

That's because, these days, many rope bondage conferences include photography; and many riggers go specifically to have their scenes photographed.

Self-Care Items

Finally, don't forget anything you need to keep yourself as healthy and as rope-ready as possible.

This can include packing things like:

  • High-Carb and High-Sugar Items. You'll be expending lots of energy during scenes!
  • Water. Staying hydrated is very important as you'll likely be sweating during classes.
  • Electrolyte Beverages. These can serve the triple purpose of hydrating you, replenishing electrolytes lost during sweaty setups and boosting your energy thanks to their sugar content.
  • Snacks. Besides fuelling your body for high-intensity classes, your favorite snacks can also be a great source of comfort.
  • Lint Rollers. Rope fuzz gets everywhere.
  • Stretching Supplies. This can include blocks, yoga straps, yoga mats or a go-to stretching playlist.
  • Hand Oil/Lotion. These can make a huge difference for riggers—you're likely going to be doing more tying than you're used to in a very short period of time. That can be hard on your hands!
  • Sleep Supplies.Your body will need time to recover overnight; and that can be harder when you aren't sleeping in your own bed. Consider bringing along ear plugs, cozy clothes, a white noise machine—whatever it is you need to get optimal rest.
  • Things to Settle Your Stomach. Rope bondage is a high-stretch athletic activity; and having an upset stomach doesn't help. Snacks to fuel yourself are key; but extra stomach supports, like ginger or mint, can be helpful for some.
  • Anything You Need to be Active. For example, kinesiology tape or extra deodorant.

Also, remember to build in some time for self-care after you return from the conference. At the event, it can be easy to get swept up in the tying, socialization and energy—and fall back a little on your aftercare. But once the conference is over, it's important to make sure you're physically and mentally taken care of.

READ: 5 Tips For Practicing Intentional Aftercare.

How Should I Prepare to Attend?

There are lots of ways to make sure your upcoming rope conference is a fun and exciting event that you look forward to attending!

Keep an eye out for rope conference updates. As the conference staff releases class descriptions, plan your schedule around those you are most interested in. Then you can also plan snack breaks, opportunities to meet up with friends and downtime for self-care.

If you're the "be at my best" type of person, you might use your upcoming rope conference as an excuse to get a lot of practice in. Consider practicing new ties. Brush up on skills needed for particular classes. Consider practicing some ties you'd like to use during a scene while at the conference. Maybe make a concentrated effort at better rope handling or upline management. Whatever the case, it can be fun to use your upcoming event as an excuse to practice and stay "good" at your craft.

READ: Kinbaku and You: A First Timer’s Foray Into Rope Play.

It would only be natural if you immerse yourself in rope content leading up to the big event. You might also choose to get "high" on rope by watching rope performances on YouTube, Vimeo or Fetlife, learning new rope ties to take to the conference, ordering new rope or delving into rope podcasts.

Do I Need to Know Any Rope Basics Beforehand?

Jumping into the deep end doesn't tend to work well with rope. You could hurt someone or just generally feel lost and confused for the entire class. And that's not a good use of your time!

Picking classes that work well with what you want to accomplish and what skills you currently have, regardless of your experience level, is key to a successful conference.

If you're familiar with rope, but not proficient, you likely need to know your limitations and current knowledge base. Rope classes are particularly good at listing pre-requisites and suggested skill levels; so before you attend, look at the class list and descriptions. Research any unfamiliar terms. Be realistic about what classes are likely over your head—and which classes are within your skill set. Don't worry, the more events you attend, the more you'll learn and grow!

In addition, get used to your rope. You may not know any complicated ties; but just being comfortable with the feel of your rope can make the conference go smoother. Recognize how it handles, how knots tend to tie or stay in and how well it stays on the skin. Familiarity with your "tool" will help as you start tying.

If you're an absolute beginner, consider looking up a single-column tie and a double-column tie. These are often the first step to more complicated ties, making them good basics to know ahead of time.

READ: Mastering the Sensual Basics.

Can I Get Dedicated One-on-One Help?

This all depends on the conference offerings and the number of presenters available. Many rope bondage conferences recognize the value in one-on-one help—teaching a tie to a class of 30 people can be great learning. However, folks might have individual questions about their partner's body or want to learn something beyond the curriculum.

That's where "privates" or "private lessons" come in: For a price, some presenters may offer private, one-on-one lessons. Many rope conferences will have a time or space set aside for these private lessons. How much you'll pay for a private lesson will vary per hour and depend on the presenter.

Also, remember not all presenters offer privates; some have other things planned or just prefer not to teach one-on-one while traveling.

Can I Attend A Rope Bondage Conference by Myself?

Learning rope requires practice. In fact, most classes at a rope conference are going to be hands-on, step-by-step classes to learn new ties and techniques. This doesn't mean you have to bring another body along—but it definitely helps the learning process.

The person you bring does not have to be a sexual or intimate partner. As rope doesn't require any intimate contact, there's no reason you can't bring along a good friend (or a fellow kinkster)! That said, ensure you bring someone you're comfortable touching, talking to, and being around—since you'll be with them a lot! Be upfront about what you're looking to do, ask them what would make it better for them and, most importantly, offer to split or cover some of their costs if they're doing this for you as a favor.

READ: A Step-by-Step Guide to Negotiating Consent.

Alternatively, you can link up with someone at the rope convention. Rope bondage conventions offer multiple social activities and opportunities to meet new people. In fact, some rope bondage classes will require switching bottoms or tops so people can gain experience tying a new body type and working with a new communication style.

As a last resort, many things can be self-tied—even if you aren't into self-tying as a regular activity. Your thighs and legs can be used for tying certain things; and many chest harnesses can be self-tied too. If there's a particular class you're really dying to attend, and you're unsure about self-tying it, consider messaging the presenter ahead of time and asking if self-tying is an acceptable method for their class.

What Rope Bondage Conferences Are Out There?

Kinky rope conferences are still relatively new. That being said, they're popping up all over the United States! If you're open to traveling, you can have a fantastic time with a fresh group of people learning new things you can't find in your local kink community.

Some of the most-popular rope bondage conferences currently include:

  • Florida Intense Rope Experience (F.I.R.E.): Orlando, Florida. F.I.R.E. plans to resume in 2022 following a hiatus due to COVID-19. You can stay up-to-date with its plans via Twitter.
  • Ropecraft: Chicago, Illinois and other locations. Ropecraft will take place in-person, in Chicago, in 2022. In light of COVID-19, the organizers have put a new ticket policy in place in case of unforeseen cancellations. The event also has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy this year.
  • Bondage Expo Dallas (BED): Dallas, Texas. BED has yet to announce its plans for 2022 in light of COVID-19; but you can stay informed via its Twitter and FAQ page.
  • Snowbound: Cincinnati, Ohio. FetLife members can get information on the next Snowbound conference and COVID-19 policies through its FetLife event page and FetLife group page. Otherwise, Twitter is the best way to stay informed.
  • BeachBind: Jamaica. BeachBind 2022 will be held in-person in May and October. There is no COVID-19 vaccination mandate; but the organizers encourage vaccination as the best way to protect yourself and other attendees. You can find more announcements about BeachBind's COVID precautions through its COVID information hub.

Can't Travel? Explore Rope Locally!

If your budget doesn't allow for travel, keep an eye out for local rope groups and events. In areas with active kink groups, rope-focused groups are starting to pop up. Most of these groups are dedicated to learning safe and fun ways to play with rope bondage. While these groups may not offer the full, weekend-long experience of a rope conference, they'll still provide invaluable knowledge and the opportunity to talk with like-minded rope lovers—and they're close to home!

Some of these groups may schedule monthly practice sessions and may occasionally bring in national presenters to teach new rope skills. If you're interested in rope but a large convention is out your budget, your local rope group can be a great entry in rope culture.

Conclusion

Rope bondage conferences can be a great way to expand your confidence and capabilities in rope bondage scenes. Don't be intimidated before your first one—everyone's there to learn—but proper preparation can ensure you get the most from the experience.

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Mistress Kay

Mistress Kay has a fondness for all things sexual. With a house that's quickly running out of room for all of her reading and vibrating pleasures, she spends her free time reading, writing, and learning about the sexual universe with her partners. She can be reached at Kinky World.


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