Why Bottoms Should Make Notes At Kink Workshops

Stock photo of a blank, lined, spiral-bound notebook, open and with a fancy pen sitting on top of it

I want to present to you my case for bottoms who attend kink and BDSM workshops making notes on the material they learn. I notice a lot of tops with notebooks and pens, but markedly fewer bottoms with the same, and I think those bottoms might be losing out a little as a result.

But before I delve any deeper, a small disclaimer: I go to a lot of rope workshops. And very little else. So this piece will be from a rope bottoming perspective, using rope bottoming examples, but it should still be relevant for spanking workshops, protocol workshops, humiliation workshops, and any other workshop you can conceive of where bottoms might be there, absorbing information and/or being practised upon by their toppy friends and/or partners.


I’ve written plenty about how actually being tied up feels for me, and why I like it, but I think there’s a particular art to attending workshops and classes in a bottoming capacity. I’ll likely never use the information provided at these classes for topping (since I’m dyspraxic as hell and sub-leaning besides), but I like to be more than a willing body for a top to practice on when I’m in any kind of workshop setting.

So I make notes.

They’re not notes that a top could use (at least, not on their own), because they don’t feature any technical details, diagrams or instructions. Instead, I make notes on the things I’ll find useful later, for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. When I’m in subspace, I’m not likely to retain information unless I write it down;
  2. When I’m overwhelmed by being in a noisy room full of people, I’m not likely to retain information unless I write it down;
  3. The physical act of writing keeps my autistic gremlin hands busy in a way that doesn’t look too rude (unlike, say, playing Animal Crossing on my phone), so my autistic gremlin brain can focus on what the workshop leader(s) is/are saying;
  4. They’re both informative and fun to look back over days or weeks after a class or a workshop.

“But Morgan,” you may be asking, “what do you make notes on, if not technical details and instructions?”

I’m glad you asked, dearest hypothetical reader.

I primarily make notes based on gut feeling – things that make my ears perk up, if you will. I start each workshop’s notes with the title of the class, the date on which it takes place and the scene name(s) of the workshop leader(s), and then I outline what we’re actually doing, like so:

Example Workshop – 12.05.19 – Led by Example McExampleface and E. G. Forinstance

Objective(s): full side suspension; gunslinger hip harness; eat as many aftercare snacks as humanly possible

After that, I might make notes on specific ties, both naming and describing them so that I don’t have to Google fancy shibari terminology every time I revisit my notes.

Tie: Tengu (the raptor hands one that makes my boobs look excellent)

The most useful notes I make, though, are usually based upon things said by the demo bottom (who often also doubles as a workshop leader). Demo bottoms provide invaluable tips on which things are the hardest to endure and how you might go about doing so, and they’re not usually tips that tops will take note of. Demo bottoms remind you to stretch and wiggle, encourage you to be a princess if something hurts in the wrong way, and give you straight answers about how uncomfortable or painful something might be. They make the world go ’round.

TIP: keep an eye out for circulation loss/nerve impingement in the hands for this one

Another key thing I include in my workshop notes is something a top simply cannot do on a bottom’s behalf – my initial reactions to all the activities we try. This is especially important for me as I have a hypermobility condition which requires me to be careful with the positions I put myself in (or allow others to put me in), and keeping track of which positions seem to aggravate which joints is key. For instance, if I’m having a Bad Knees Day™, I can use my notes as a tool in considering whether a futomomo is a good idea.

“Morgan, don’t you just remember when things hurt you?” you might be wondering.

No, dearest reader, I do not. If I remembered every position, activity or weather change that ever made my joints hurt, I would have no room left in my brain to remember anything else. I’m always in a little bit of pain, and often in a lot – so I often block it out, and I almost always forget about it afterwards.

Thoughts: that was hot as fuck, very much enjoyed the feeling of being compact & smol. Elbow joints ache, about 4/10 pain, but worth it (and could be fixed w/ ibuprofen and care)

Naturally, bottoms who might be inspired to take notes in workshops as a result of this blog post can deviate from the formula I’ve presented here. If you think you’d benefit more from making notes on the mechanics of something, drawing little diagrams of human anatomy or anything else, you do you. I’m just here to sell notebooks remind bottoms that they’re active participants in kink, and that their insight and learning is as valuable as that of their toppier counterparts.

Smut Saturdays #15: The Beauty of a Blindfold

Stock photo of a piece of light brown rope arranged in a heart shape, lying on a darker brown bench. The background is out of focus but looks greenish. It's cute, and suits this smut about a blindfold nicely.

Ready for some blindfold smut? Every fourth Saturday, I’ll be posting erotica I’ve written, based loosely on my own real life experiences or fantasies, for your wanking enjoyment. They’ll all be under the category ‘Smut Saturdays’ and if you’ve got any feedback or requests for smut scenarios, put ‘em in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @KinkyAutistic!


(I acknowledge that it is no longer Saturday. In fact, at the time of writing, it is Tuesday. But what could be more on-brand – for #AutismAcceptanceMonth especially – than running three days late on a self-imposed deadline?)


It hurts.

Of course, I know that it’s supposed to hurt. There is only one wrap of rope around my upper thigh, and through it is the weight of my entire leg. I feel like my skin might split, but it won’t give me the satisfaction – I probably won’t even bruise.

My Daddy and I are playing in his living room. I’m on the floor under his suspension frame, naked, with my right leg hoisted into the air and my left one resting on the ground, so my vulva is readily visible. It’s relatively quiet and calm in here, but the pain is still overwhelming me, and I’m worried I’ll reach my limit soon. I suck in short, sharp breaths, pulling air through my teeth, as I try to adjust to the feeling that my upper thigh is about to get ripped in two. I want to be good. I want to take this.

“Daddy,” I say timidly, watching as he begins to uncoil yet another rope. He pauses. “Could I have a blindfold, please?”

Asking for things mid-scene is not my strong suit. If we’re being brutally honest, asking for things at any time is not my strong suit. I want to take up as little space as possible, and make as little fuss as a person can; but this directly contradicts my desire to be as honest with my Daddy as possible and to process as much pain as a person can. So I ask for the blindfold, and I tilt my head up willingly when he pulls it from the rope bag.

“Good Puppy for asking,” he tells me, his voice both warm and condescending. He lays the fabric carefully over my eyes, aiming to block all light out of my vision but also to avoid compressing my nose and compromising my ability to breathe (because that would come later). He knots the blindfold tightly behind my head, so it hugs my skull and blocks out some sound by virtue of lying over my ears. I could still hear my Daddy if he raised his voice, but I can no longer hear the clock ticking, nor the hum of the refrigerator in the other room. All I can really perceive is the pain in my thigh.

I breathe in. I breathe out. I start to let go of the panic I had originally felt as a result of this seemingly unconquerable pain. I think, I hope this bruises and, Oh, it eases off if I press my left hip into the carpet and I’m such a good little masochist, all while my Daddy starts to tie my wrists together, silent and deft.

With one sudden, fluid motion, my wrists are pulled up, and with them, so is my entire torso. I yelp, but more importantly, without thinking, I twist, so that both buttcheeks are firmly on the floor and my wrists are comfortable above my head without threatening to pull one of my hypermobile ribs out of place. In the process, I obviously rotate my poor upper thigh, twisting it and dragging my flesh across the rope that encased it, and now I know it’ll bruise. I’ll be lucky if I haven’t made it bleed. I whimper, only somewhat soothed by the indomitable familiarity of ropes swaying and jostling whilst my Daddy locks off an upline that’s connected to my body. (For those not well-versed in rope-related words – some of which I might be bastardizing or making up entirely – the upline is the one that goes up to the suspension point. Locking it off involves doing things to it so it doesn’t move, unravel or otherwise drop your bottom on their, uh, bottom.) I’m disgruntled about my thigh – shearing (the dragging of rope across skin) is a type of pain I do not remotely enjoy – and I keep whimpering until the familiar movement above my head stops. Then there is a very long pause, and I blink against the fabric of my blindfold, against the darkness.

My Daddy takes hold of my chin. I don’t know whether he’s standing over me or kneeling by my side. I do know that him gripping my chin like this can only mean one thing. He holds it for long enough that I can object if I want to, but I stay silent. I’m such a good little masochist.

Crack. The sound of his palm across my cheek. I’m so full of endorphins that I interpret pain as warm, and sigh heavily at its pleasant radiation through my face. I know what’s coming next.

Crack.

It’s going to happen soon. It’s not the pain so much as the shock of it that gets me – and the intimacy of it. Being slapped across the face is completely inescapable. You hear it more loudly than any other slaps. When you’re not blindfolded, you see it. And I think it activates some primal instinct that arse-slapping just doesn’t achieve, because it usually only takes —

Crack.

Yep, three strikes and my eyes well up behind the blindfold. I can feel my lower lip wobble. My Daddy shifts his grip from my chin to my hair, and I know the next slap will make me cry.

He pauses for so long that I whisper, “Green,” in case he’s unsure. And then, crack. Across my face. Knocks the tears right out of my eyes. Knocks a loud sob out of my mouth. And I know that if I weren’t blindfolded, I’d call “Yellow,” because I’d be overwhelmed. But all I can feel is heat in my cheek and an unbearable level of anticipation, and I tilt my head up a little bit to indicate I’m ready for another.

Crack. Crack. Crack.

And now I’m fully sobbing, and I can feel my Daddy’s hand brushing hair out of my face. “Oh, look at you,” he says softly. “You’re so pretty when you cry.”

“I’m trying my best,” I wail, as is my custom when I feel sufficiently little and deep in subspace. “I’m trying really hard.”

“I know, baby.” There is some shuffling. His hand isn’t in my hair any more. “Do you know what else is really hard?”

I giggle even though there’s snot leaking from my face. “Daddy!” Then there’s a hand in my hair again, but this time it’s pulling. I can barely remember that my thigh is hurting, and I only re-become aware that my wrists are tied above my head when I move to scratch something and realise I can’t. “My brain is stupid,” I report honestly.

“That’s okay. You don’t need a brain for this.”

My hearing isn’t muffled enough to disguise the sound of him pulling down the zip on his jeans, and I open my mouth readily, my tongue stretching down my chin.

And that’s where I’ll leave you, friends, because some things are sexier when they’re unseen.

Tips For Getting Suspended (and rope bottoming in general!)

Photo is of a curvy-ish white person (Morgan) suspended off the ground with rope. They are sideways, wearing a brown hoodie, grey short shorts and knee-high grey and white socks, and their head is turned towards the ground, their face not in view. The background is a room with red walls and brown flooring, and a yoga mat type thing is visible directly beneath Morgan.

If you’ve read my ropespace post, you’ll know I love to be tied up. If you’ve spent more than two minutes on my Twitter feed, you’ll know that I love being suspended. But if you’ve ever been in the same room as me whilst I’m getting hoisted into the air, you’ll have quickly figured out that I’m a little bitch about it.

The pictures that go onto my Twitter feed (or onto my Daddy’s Instagram) make me look perfectly content up in the air, and I often am… after a fashion. During the process of being lifted, though, I have a tendency to squeak and squirm and repeatedly shriek the phrase “I’m scared!” with my eyes scrunched up shut. However, I do end up in the air, and I have some wisdom on how to make it from A to B as a bottom without completely freaking out that might also be applicable outside of suspension scenes.

1. Let your top know how you respond to fear and to pain, if that’s knowledge they don’t already have. If this is someone with whom you regularly do edge play and/or S&M stuff, they might be aware of your reactions to fear and pain already, but a refresher doesn’t hurt. For instance, I make a lot of squeaky noises when I’m frightened, but they don’t necessarily mean that I’m so frightened I want to stop the scene – in fact, fear and adrenaline are two of my main motivators for getting suspended. Conversely, some people fall into complete silence when they’re trying to process pain, and if you’re one of those, make sure your top knows that! Otherwise they may well worry that something isn’t going well, or even that you’ve lost consciousness.

2. Accept that suspension is going to be scary and that it may well hurt. The first few times you get suspended (at least), your fight-or-flight response might well kick in. Not only are you more or less immobilised by rope, but you’re no longer on the fucking ground, and no matter how much you trust your top you’re going to be terrified of falling. The only way I’ve found of soothing this fear is a. Acknowledging that this is an inherently fuckin’ terrifying thing to do, b. Reminding yourself of all the ways that the risks involved are being mitigated (your top has received training on suspension; there are crash mats beneath you; the rope you’re suspended with is as strong or stronger than climbing-grade stuff) and c. Breathing as slowly and deliberately as you can manage. The only other thing that will help this primal terror subside is practice and time – that’s how demo bottoms & performers can be inverted and spun around like yo-yos with naught but a serene smile on their face.

As for the pain: you’re putting most of your body weight through ropes, which are not renowned for their generous surface areas. I usually revel in the pain where I can, and I remind myself that part of being a good bottom is communicating my needs when something hurts too much or in an alarming sort of way. You aren’t going to ruin the mood by saying, “Could you adjust that thigh cuff, Sir?”, or even, “I don’t think I can do this – can we try something else?” – any rope top worth their salt will be not only happy, but excited to experiment and improvise to find a tie or position that you’ll truly enjoy.

3. Move around in the rope! Remember how I just said that being hoisted into the air with just rope and carabiners is terrifying? Well, we’re gonna go ahead and make that more terrifying by wiggling. This sounds counter-intuitive, but moving around in the air might actually make you less afraid in the long run, since it’ll show you how much control you still have over your body (and might flood you with a little more adrenaline). In addition to that, moving around in a tie while you’re still on the ground will help you find all the kinks (haha) and less comfy areas so that your top can adjust or reassess that aspect of the tie, and moving around in the air can shift the pressure from one part of the tie to another, meaning that you can stay up there for longer. Oh, and wiggling your fingers and toes can keep your circulation going, and alert you if you’ve lost sensation or motor control – always important.

4. Remember that it’s supposed to be fun. Oh, God, I am shit at this one. As soon as my dodgy joints or my autistic overwhelm or the universal limitations of the average human body get in the way of my being able to stay in a tie or in a suspension, my chin wobbles. I become simultaneously apologetic and whiny. I am consumed by guilt, Impostor Syndrome and disappointment in myself. But suspension, and rope, and kink as a whole isn’t a competition or a test or a judgement of your worth as a bottom or a person. If you can’t do something, or you need a tie adapted, or you just plain aren’t enjoying yourself, it’s okay to stop! It’s okay to try play around and try something else, and it’s also okay to bundle yourself up in your Sonic the Hedgehog blankie and call it a day. In kink, we play with bodies in some intense ways, and with brain chemicals arguably even more so. Even if the stuff you’re doing doesn’t look as physically draining and fucking wild as some of the stuff you see in videos and performances, it can have a huge impact on you – so make sure it’s a positive impact, and respect the limits of your body and your brain.

Oh, and always bring a lint roller along if you want to wear your clothes anywhere other than the rope scene itself. Rope fibres get everywhere.