When the San Francisco Armory, home of Kink.com and its brazenly hard-core porn productions, opened its doors to the public for Morpheous' Bondage Extravaganza (MBE) in late September, more folks raised a glass than raised an eyebrow. In freak-flag-flying San Francisco and other "alternative"-lifestyle-friendly locales around the world, public and semi-public displays of rope bondage are as easy to find as poetry readings.
But guess what? If you think it's just those "crazy liberal" cities where people are hanging from trees, statues and lampposts, or putting on sensual or sadistic bondage shows to packed houses or live-stream viewers, take that blindfold off. Whether we have Fifty Shades of Grey, Kink.com, FetLife.com or just general evolution and increasing open-mindedness to thank, it's clear that rope bondage is becoming more accepted and even sought after — not just in the bedroom but in the clubs and even in the streets.
Witness the recent launch of Cirque Shibari, a group of rope performers set to take on the world in spring 2015 with theatrical shows in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan. Or the generally packed meetings of Rope Bite, an international organization with more than 50 local chapters from Kalamazoo to Kuala Lumpur, dedicated to peer-style rope bondage coaching and practice. Or MBE, which started in Toronto eight years ago, added Orlando and San Francisco to its roster in the past two years, and has plans to add a fourth city in 2015. Toronto's MBE show alone on October 4, 2014, had more than 140 rope performers, and in 2013 the live feed of the all-night show logged more than 70,000 views, while 5,000 viewers showed up in person, according to the MBE site.
So if you've been tethered to the idea that rope bondage is just for kinky "weirdos" in seedy dungeons and shameful shadows, it's time to cut that cord. Bondage lovers are out in force and coming to a city near you — if they're not there already.
Photo (top): Mailler Phong and Evie Vane performing at MBE San Francisco on September 27, 2014. Photo by iambic9.
Photo (left): Evie Vane performing at MBE in San Francisco September 27, 2014. Ropework by Kanso. Photo by The Silence.
Evie Vane is the author of The Little Guide to Getting Tied Up (Including Suspensions) and has taught classes on rope bottoming at The Eulenspiegel Society, Bond Con, and San Francisco State University. For more info, visit RopeBottoming.com.