The rope switch Sophia Rose has answered us some questions about her relationship with ropes, bdsm/sex work and bondage. Also there are some photos from her shibari performance in Athens.
What was the thing that made you fall in love with ropes?
I have always been curious about exploring my sexuality and discovered ropes through being active in the London bdsm scene. When I discovered ropes I was drawn to the idea that there are so many possibilities, the variety of ways to tie, the different dynamics, aesthetics and shapes, it was such a broad range of ways to interact it felt like a lot of freedom to explore all of the different ways and I loved that. I always say that whatever you can do with your hands you can do with ropes, so you can be artistic, erotic, playful, comforting, exposing – I fell in love with all of these possibilities. There is also something very comforting and intimate about being tied by someone I really trust, the ability to somewhat let go and allow someone else to interact with your body in this way is very powerful.
Does the rope define your sexuality or you prefer it most as an artistic expression?
It is really a bit of both and depends on the situation, person, my mood – it can vary. Sometimes I enjoy using ropes in an artistic sense but first and foremost I discovered it as an aspect of sexuality and intimacy and that will always stay with me as one of the main reasons I am interested in this. I do feel that over time I am more interested in sharing a more artistic side to my work in public and keeping the sexual side of ropes more private.
As a rope switch you are open in sessions. Do most people ask for rope topping or bottoming? Do you consider it sexwork?
I do not switch in sessions, I may sometimes be hired to be tied for a private class or to bottom for someone in a workshop but I do not get tied more intensely by people I do not know. Most of the people who contact me for sessions are men who would like to experience being tied. I do consider it a type of sex work, even if sometimes the style of rope is not very sexual. Putting someone in bondage, playing with power dynamics, exposure and vulnerability are definitely playing with intimacy and I would also say it is playing with sexuality. Especially for men who often feel that they have to act or hold themselves in a certain way, it can be very cathartic and exciting to allow someone to free you from those stereotypes you feel you have to adhere to. I think too often we only consider genital contact or things which involve nudity/sexual interaction to be sex work, where as I believe that sexuality is actually much more of a psychological thing and starts with the mind.
If someone is interested in having a session with you, what would s/he expect?
Definitely first to have a discussion about what sort of expectations they already have. I sometimes include sensory deprivation, impact and other play into bondage sessions if that is also what the person is interested in. like to talk to people about how they discovered my information, whether it was a recommendation or from looking online. Whether or not they have been tied before or what their previous experience with BDSM is. I also like to talk before anything happens about some of the risks and sensations they could experience in ropes, of course there desires and limits, and also talking about ways (verbal and non verbal) to keep an open line of communication during the session. I like to tailor my sessions to the person who is being tied and am quite flexible in terms of style and intensity of the experience. Ultimately my goal is that the person has a positive session where they are able to safely let go and enjoy the sensations and pleasure of BDSM and ropes. Especially since many of the people coming to me have not been tied before, I like to go slowly and and not push or challenge the person too much physically or emotionally since the first time is sometimes quite intense.
Do you prefer shibari bondage or western bondage?
I think both serve a purpose and I can enjoy both! I like western bondage for more practical ties for bedroom bondage and sexual play as they tend to put less physical stress on the body and are sometimes more simple. I also sometimes appreciate the more symmetrical aesthetic. However I more often find myself enjoying, tying and appreciating Japanese rope bondage because it focuses more on the emotional affect of the ropes, and the process of tying as being the pleasure- rather than a means to an end. In western bondage I often find the rope serves a purpose, as in – I will tie you like this so then I can do this to you. Whereas in Japanese rope bondage the rope itself and the application of it, the tension you choose, the shapes you put someone into and enjoying the process of the tying itself is the pleasure – you are not trying to reach a finished result alone but more enjoying the journey together.
Here some photos from her performance with Sophia Rose & Burgundy Rose, along with Clea Doublidou’s tribal fusion belly dance with ropes and the shibari performance of Sofia Porfiri with Psychosis of athens shibari. All photos have been taken by Manos Chrisovergis.