Between the ground and a hard point

Or a guide to slings, rings and more.

What you put between your bottom and the hard point is a critical point of failure.

We most commonly see people not understanding their equipment and using it incorrectly, however thankfully most equipment we use was intended for climbing and so is over engineered for us.

The key points of failure I want to point out

  • using carabineers which are not intended for climbing
  • throwing their sling over a rough surface and having it get cut.


unrated carabineers
Unrated Carabineers

When choosing all your hardware you want to be looking for things rated and intended for climbing or aerial arts. The carabineers above are from key rings, hammocks and other sources.

Remember we need something with a 10x safe working load. Meaning if you have a 100lb bottom you would want a working load of 1000lbs. This might seem like overkill but having a safe working margin is important when your gear is all that’s between your bottoms head and the concrete.

Climbing Carabineers

What we want to look for on our carabineers is the “kN”

All rated carabiners come with a kN, or kiloNewton rating engraved into the spine. If you have carabiners without a kN rating DO NOT use them for suspension. A kiloNewton is equal to about 225 lbs.

meaning in general we’re looking for anything greater than 10kN to support a person. If you want to understand the nitty gritty there’s lots of climbing articles on kN and how the physics or it all works.

Most rings for suspension are leveraged from either docking rings or custom welded, you won’t see any kN ratings on these. Instead when choosing a ring look for any deforming (if it’s wood) and buy it from a reputable seller.

Some people use Bamboo rather than a suspension ring or carabineers, Bamboo can be quite strong however it requires the correct drying method and humidity. Be sure to regularly check your bamboo for any cracks and retire it when they occur.

Let’s Talk about slings.

This information may look like code, but we’re here to help you decode it.

This is information on a sling used for aerial apparatus (AKA a the loopy thing the lyra hangs from) it describes how much load the slide can support safely in different orientations. Similar to a carabineer we want to look for ratings in kN or the thousands. Some slings are intended for children’s swing sets…and some for towing trucks, make sure you’ve got one that will support an adult.

Sling Orientations

  • Vertical the simplest rigging, connection to hard point, sling hangs right down, carabiner attaches to apparatus or person.
  • Choke– a choke is a common method to capture a suspension ring without requiring an additional carabineer, however it does slightly lower the strength of your sling.
  • Basket Basket is a “U” shape where the sling is doubled up you’ll know it doubles the strength capacity compared the vertical.

The key thing with slings is while they are strong enough to tow a truck with they can be ruined by abrasion. throwing your sling over a rough surface and having it get cut is the biggest point of failure. Inspect your hard point for rough edges, if you’re doing rope in some place with non standard points (say off a tree, or abandoned structure) be sure to use a blanket or something between the sling and the hard point.

If you’re looking for recommendations you can check out what’s in my gear bag.

Scene Ideas Handout

Below are word clouds, feel free to cross out, circle or add words to help you brainstorm what you like either generally or for a particular scene

I want to play with you because….

  • You’re hot / I want to have kinky sex with you
  • I want to try something out and hope you’ll demo top/bottom for me
  • I want to practice a skill
  • I want to feel closer to you
  • I like our chemistry
  • I want to be challenged and win/lose/learn
  • I want to fulfill my/your/our fantasy

I want to feel like I am ….

Little Tough

Funny Bratty Ridiculous trouble

cute sweet

Good  Clever Pretty Strong

Loved Precious Innocent

Whore Dirty Slut 

Cumdumpster objectified weak dumb

I want you to act ….







Kind Protective

Gentle Calm Masterful








I want our scene/ dynamic to feel….



Relaxed Empowering Genuine















Note: This hand out is intended to facilitate thinking about negotiating not just for actions but also emotions and goals around what the potential feeling of a scene might be

Rope Guide

Rope types

Synthetic rope (especially nylon) can be very slippery and may not work with frictions, it also requires you tie bulletproof knots which can be helpful for beginners but also frustrating. They also have a high burn rate on skin.

  • Twisted Nylon 6mm 223-372 lbs. 
  • Braided Nylon 6mm 198-331 lbs working load, 1325 tensile strength

Synthetic blend rope: POSH and Hempx these have more ‘tooth’ to them and keep knots and frictions nicely, slightly higher burn than natural fiber but overall ideal.

Jute -lighter, more tooth, lower tensile strength

Hemp- “hay smell” heavier, softer, moderately stronger.

Any of these are okay for accessory up lines.

in boating they use a x12 safe working load, in theatrical rigging they use a x10 safety factor. Meaning if you have a 100lb bottom you would want a working load of 1000lbs. natural fibers aren’t generally rated for more than 1000lbs making it just barely inside the recommended safety factor for very small bottoms

With all the hybrid and new synthetics there’s no reason to not use synthetic for your primary uplines besides tradition.

If you plan on doing drop lifting, inversions, spinning, flips, climbing on top of your bottom or any other “circus” rope use synthetic or the ghost of Tornus will come haunt you.

In particular issues with natural fibers include:

  • You can’t safely do Shock loading (drop lifting, dynamic movement or other ‘circus’ rope).
  • Natural ropes don’t like water, it causes the fibers to swell and shrink, making it less than ideal for outdoor rigging
  • If natural fiber isn’t well maintained the rope can be significantly weakened (regular oil/wax conditioning and inspections for twists)
  • Because natural fibers aren’t generally rated for more than 1000lbs making it just barely inside the recommended safety factor for very small bottoms.

Natural fiber uplines are fine for accessory lines (arms, ankles etc). or static ties

Rope only to be used in groundwork/ accessory body harnesses:

All of these are rated for 100lbs or less.

  • Manila
  • Sisel, the stuff you use on cat scatching posts…itchy and weak
  • Coconut -think sisel but even scratchier and weaker
  • Bamboo -super soft antimicrobial making it well suited for crotch rope, has a lot of stretch making it not suitable for uplines.
  • Cotton- soft, cheap, looks nice but not rated for much weight beyond a clothesline.

The working load limit tells you the maximum amount of weight the rope should support at any time.  

  • Polyester: Synthetic material that is UV-resistant, abrasion-resistant and maintains its strength when wet. Usually pre-stretched. Good choice for general purpose rope. 
  • Polypropylene: Lightweight synthetic material that is resistant to mold, mildew and many chemicals. Floats in water. Has low resistance to UV rays and abrasion.  
  • Nylon: Synthetic material that is both flexible and strong. UV-resistant and abrasion-resistant. Weakens in water and does not float. 
  • Kevlar: Extremely strong synthetic material that is resistant to fire, extreme temperatures, stretch, water and chemicals. Has low UV resistance, so it is often covered with polyester. 
  • Sisal: A natural fiber used for making twine, paper, cloth, carpets and more. Sustainable and biodegradable. Low water resistance and abrasion resistance. Prone to mildew. 
  • Manila: A natural fiber that is very stretch-resistant and holds knots well. Sustainable and biodegradable. Like sisal, it has low water and abrasion resistance and can be prone to mildew. 
  • Coir: A natural fiber made from coconut husks. Sustainable and biodegradable. Used in many gardening applications. 
Material (6mm)tensile strengthworking load
Twisted Sisal44 lbs
Twisted Manila54lbs
twisted cotton318 lbs.48 – 80 lbs
Twisted Cannabis Hemp234 lbs.35 – 59 lbs.
twisted Manila Hemp540 lbs.81 to 135 lbs.
nylon braid1,325 lbs. 198-331 lbs. 
twisted POLYPROPYLENE 1,260 lbs.189-315 lbs. 

Ways you can make rigging safer

  • Use synthetic uplines
  • Avoid rope on the back of the upper arms (TKs and strappadoes in particular)
  • Practice harnesses on the ground before attempting suspension.
  • Always use a mat or padding below the bottom especially when doing inversions.
  • Tie closer to the ground

When to retire your Rope

  1. Broken or cut fibers
  2. Variations in size or roundness of strands
  3. Discoloration or rotting
  4. Abnormal wear
  5. Powdered fiber between strands
  6. Exposure to extreme tempatures (20ºF to 180ºF for natural fibers)
  7. prolonged UV exposure of synthetic rope
  8. prolonged exposure to water for natural fiber ropes

Upline technique

▪ Don’t lift on a single bight (i.e. use a double bight, A.K.A better bight or australian bight, instead to reduce repetitive stress on the bight). Carabiners and rappel rings also reduce friction stress on the bight.

  • Never use run one rope through two hard points. this is known as the American Death triangle, the rope is actually twice as weak when run though two points. Alway only run the rope to one point, you can connect multiple uplines using a ring or plate to spread the load between two points.


Suspension Paths

So I went to SCRUE the other day and had a really good conversation with GrayDancer and Provocations about rope skill levels and the issues around what is intermediate, but one of the things that really jumped out to me Gray’s comment that we treat suspension as a monolith, you turn on or off the switch, when really it’s several different skill levels, styles and kinds of knowledge needed.
Anyway it make me think about how you might structure a series of classes on suspension.

Suspension basics
baby’s first ‘suspension’ would be a chest or hip harness where the bottom can entirely self rescue by standing, the top gets to practice running a up-line but neither top nor bottom need to feel the stress of a full inversion.
perhaps a second tie is a hammock or M suspension, you work on managing more up lines but it’s not too stressful for the top or bottom.
and this is all you really need for basics.

From here we branch into a few kinds of advanced suspension.

Advanced ties
Fancy harnesses (aguras, elaborate body harnesses etc)
Arm loading harnesses (tengu, TKs etc)

Dynamic ties

  • Dynamic rigs (puppet suspensions, up lines for jumps, jolts and other dynamic movement)
  • partials (fall safety, fatigue management, body manipulation)

(understanding shock loading, up line safety, advanced rescue methods)

  • accessory transitions (not changing the mainlines but using legs and waist lines to shift weight or shape, body mechanics to help shift the bottoms comfortably)
  • Major transitions ( switching from chest to hips, face up to face down,)
  • inversions and coming out of inversions (single point foot/leg hangs, advanced safety and rescue procedures)

Curious what other people think and if there’s various other niches within suspension I’ve overlooked.

It also struck me how a lot of people will say “you must/must not” have synthetic up lines, if you’re doing dynamic rigs or major transitions…you really do need synthetic up lines. However but if you’re just doing basics with no shock loading it’s much much less likely to ever be an issue for you if you rig average to smaller bottoms.

Suspension, it’s a team sport

One of the biggest mistakes I see inexperienced riggers making besides rigging above their own skill level is tying beyond their bottoms skill level.

While it might be easy to tie a person by only their ankles and wrists it’s extremely challenging for the bottom and unsafe to tie on inexperienced bottoms.

Easy for most Bottoms

  • Hip Harnesses
    • Most people find them comfortable and it’s frequently the center of gravity.
  • Futos
    • Pros: puts pressure on strong muscles, distributes weight. 
    • Cons: can be tricky to tie/lift, some people find it painful on their shins.
  • 3 line Chest Harnesses (Neko, Hishi, Butterfly etc)
    • Most people find them doable but not comfortable consistently.

Hard for Most bottoms:

  • Strappados
  • TKs/Box ties
  • Angel wings or Tengus
  • waist rope
  • single point suspensions
  • torsions
  • single column chest harnesses

Both Strappados and TKs require significant shoulder rotation and some flexibility,

this increases the likelihood the tie will be unsustainable or injure your bottom. 

If your bottom wants to do more challenging tying approach it as training for aerial arts. If you want to do advanced ties your bottom needs to practice in those more challenging shapes and ties.

When working with less experienced bottoms ideally look for ties that do not go to the maximum range of motion. If you seeScapular winging this is an indication that the shoulder is in a weakened position and vulnerable for your particular bottom. Test range of motion before you begin tying.

Humans are remarkably adaptive, and can learn to do almost anything, but we need practice to get our bodies acclimatized to the sensations and figure out how to best move our bodies. You wouldn’t try to do the flying trapeze with someone who’s never done trapeze before – even if you’re an expert. Rigging is the same, you need to work and train as a team.

Bottoming Bag

A guide of items you should pack in your bag as a bottom.


  1. Daily Medications (Inhalers, insulin, etc)
  2. Water
  3. Snacks (sugar + protein)
  4. Your insurance information and emergency contact written down for your top

Generally Recommended

  • Pain Meds
  • Gear to get tied in (Wireless bra/compression shorts/ leggings)
  • Cover up (sweater, onesie, robe) or change of clothes
  • Your own sex toys (Vibrators, gags etc)
  • Ear plugs (clubs can be noisy)

Hygiene / Toiletry Supplies

  • Deodorant
  • Breath mints/ gum/floss etc
  • Chapstick
  • pads/tampons
  • Finger nail clippers
  • First Aid Kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Safer sex supplies (gloves, lube, condoms etc)
  • Your own crotch rope (or change of underwear)

After Care Supplies

  • Blanket or Stuffy
  • headphones/music

Suggested for Classes

  • Drop cloth/yoga mat to lay on
  • Pen and BDSM notebook
  • Caffeine pills (if skipping coffee)

Random Recommendations

  • Flashlight
  • Cutting tool
  • Duct tape
  • Pasties
  • A squeaky toy or other nonverbal safe sign

Building your Risk profile

your own risk profile. For example if you’re the sole provider for a child you might choose to never participate in any kind of breath play because that’s too risky for you. On the other hand perhaps you are a model and need to have perfect skin, then you might choose not to do impact play unless you’re wearing clothing to protect your skin. Maybe you’re a top and don’t feel comfortable doing anything that could cause nerve damage. Your risk profile is up to you, but it requires that you talk to  your partners and think about what level of risk you’re comfortable with. These are all worst case scenarios we don’t have statistics to tell us what percentage of people get nerve damage every year so it’s going to be personal estimation.

Worst case outcome: Death

  • Breath play (air restriction, blood chokes, waterboarding)
  • Electrical play (current from wall)
  • Suspension Inversion
  • Gun play
  • Solo Bondage
  • Abduction in car trunk (motion/accident)
  • Unprotected PIA/PIV
  • Fire play
  • Chloroform

The Wikipedia article on Auto erotic fatalities is particularly enlightening here.

70 to 80% of autoerotic deaths are caused by hanging, while 10 to 30% are attributed to plastic bags or chemical use.

Other methods of autoerotic fatalities include

electrocution, foreign body insertion (especially sharp or large objects), overdressing/body, amyl nitrite, GHB, or nitrous oxide. Mixing drugs and BDSM in particular has lead to deadly results for some people.

Our key advice is never do breath play or bondage solo, and never mix drugs and BDSM.

Worst case outcome: Permanent scar

  • Electrical Play
  • Fire play and Wax play
  • Chemical play
  • Cutting / knife play / Abrasion / Scratching /
  • Whips

Serious injury

  • Rough Body play (kicking, wrestling, punching)
  • Suspension bondage
  • Impact with hard objects

Nerve injury

  • Suspension bondage (especially Arm-loading ties (e.g. TK)
  • Hand cuffs

Consent failures

  • Gags/failure to safe signal
  • Failure to disclose other sexual partners
  • Failure of negotiation resulting in: rape, injury, consent violation

Emotionally high-risk activities

  • Group sex / open relationships
  • Humiliation/degradation
  • Heavy D/s and or TPE
  • Consensual nonconsent
  • Fear play, mind fucks and phobias
  • Emotional/psychological sadism
  • Individual-specific triggers (PTSD)
  • Identity dysphoria play (race play, gender and sexual orientation subversion, etc.)
  • Behavior modification or conditioning

We think emotionally damage is actually one of the most common outcomes of BDSM scenes gone wrong. There’s a bunch of ways you can go wrong doing these kinds of play from creating insecurity in a partner to accidentally crossing a boundary. Because of this having a trigger plan to handle emotional fall out can be a good way to help you navigate this kind of play.

If you like doing emotionally intense play make sure you feel safe and secure with your play partners, if you already feel insecure or unsafe this kind of play is going to just make you feel more insecure and unsafe. If you have a history of abuse these kinds of play might be retraumatizing especially if you haven’t addressed the root issues. We recommend finding a kink friendly therapist before delving deeply into anything emotionally fraught.

Remember there are many abusers out there if you’re not sure if you’re in a healthy relationship ask yourself : Do I feel loved and safe? Do I have control of my financial and living situation? Am I respected? are my boundaries respected?

You likely will find that your risk assessment of things will change over time with experience and research, it’s a normal and healthy part of developing your risk profile. We encourage you to have fun thoughtfully!

Sex Toys

The term dildo was first coined in around 1400 AD and originated from the Latin for ‘dilatare’, which means ‘open wide’, and ‘delight’. Dildos have been found all over the world, made out of stone, ceramic, jade, gold and even dung. Some theories include that these were worshiped, used to keep orifices closed in the dead, or for fertility…. But we imagine plenty were simply erotic aids. Sex toys are nothing new and nothing to be ashamed of, they can be a great asset in your sex lift whether that’s solo or with an entire orgy.

Sex Toy Myths

  • You will lose sensation
    • Maybe temporarily you will become desensitized however if you reduce stimulation you will go back to your prior level of sensitivity
  • You will become “loose”
    • Vaginas are elastic and naturally are designed to “snap back” from having a baby…there are almost no toys that size, you’ll be okay.
    • Anuses however are less elastic, it is possible to cause long term issues from excessive stretching or rough penetration. Be gentle with your bum.
  • You can’t use silicone lube with sex toys
    • Partially true – you can’t use silicone lube with most soft plastics/rubbers, (TPE and “silicone blends”), however  it is safe to use with with platinum silicone toys, glass, and metal.
  • You can’t use oil as lube with sex toys
    • Mostly False. You can’t use oil with toys that contain latex (gelly toys) or with latex condoms

Things to consider when buying toys

  • For Gspot and anal toys look for firm (metal, firm silicone etc)
  • For vaginal toys look for something softer
  • For harness toys look for something with a larger head and a inch or two longer than normal to help it ‘stay in’
  • For cockrings look for something that attaches to the balls or has a counterweigh to keep the toy from shifting sideways
  • More modes isn’t necessarily better, consider how many buttons it takes to get to your happy place.
  • The average vaginal canal is 3-6 inches in length, after about 7 inches you’ll be bumping the cervix… do with this knowledge what you will.

Toys that we consistently hear are ‘earth shattering’ are: the Magic wand rechargeable, hydromax pump and weVibe melt. (This is not a sponsored post this is purely personal opinion and experience)

Other brands we like are

  • Vibrators: JimmyJane, B-vibe, Magic Wand, Dame, We-Vibe
  • Dildos: Vixskin, Tantus, njoy, FunFactory, Squarepeg, Colours
  • Strokers: hydromax pump, hot octopus duo for stroker,
  • Harnesses: spareparts, joque
  • Lube: Sutil, sliquid

Toxic Toys

It’s no surprise there’s questionable products out there. But what you might not be aware of is there are Toxic Sex Toys.

Not all toys are not chemically stable and can leach out that oil. The end result is a synthetic oil in your vagina and Anus.

Look for Platinum silicone, a type of silicone that uses only platinum as a catalyser, and is used for medical and food grade silicone products.

Beware of Jelly, Cyberskin, Vinyl and PVC, TPE, TPR, Elastomer, TPR-silicone, SEBS, and silicone blends

Porous Toys

Not safe to share without condoms, can’t boil or put in dishwasher

  • Rubber
    Soft, sometimes contains questionable materials
  • Hard Plastic
    Can crack with age, cheap
  • “Gelly” toys
    Stretchy, good for strokers, very porous can’t be shared. Silicone lubricants will deteriorate softer sex toys that may also contain silicone, jelly or CyberSkin, due to the way that silicone molecules react with other silicone products.
  • Wood toys Wood can be sealed, however is inherently porous, shouldn’t be immersed in water or boiled..

Non Porous toys are Dishwasher Safe , can be boiled,  and are safe to share with proper cleaning

  • Metal (Good for temperature play)
  • Glass (Need to store safely )
  • Silicone (Variety of textures)

Clitoral Vibrators

  • sonic wands
  • Rabbits
  • Bullet vibes
  • Fingertip vibes
  • Suction
  • Air pulse

Hands free/remote control Vibrators

  • Panty vibrators (we like the Moxie by Wevibe)
  • Vulva huggers (Eva 2 by Dame, RockHer -designed for scissoring)
  • ‘Dual vibators’ such as the WeVibe Sync, We-Vibe Jive and Lelo Tiani 3
  • Liberator and other sex pillows can make a wand hands free

The Magic Wand

While there are a variety of knock offs out there the rechargeable Magic wand (previously created by Hitachi) is the holy grail

  • numerous attachments
  • Strong motor
  • Long lasting battery

Alternatives include Lelo smart wand which has a feature where it turns off when it’s not incontact with skin. 8 settings, not as strong, more ergonomic handle

The Doxy is not cordless but it advertises as being the strongest wand on the market.

Toy Dicks

Dildos come in any size  from small and firm to large and soft.

Why not use a tool that’s perfect for that particular day?

Internal Vibrators

  • Can be used anally or vaginally (All toys used anally need a flared base)
  • Thrusting
  • Rotating beads
  • Ben wa balls

Brands we like for insertables: Vixskin, Tantus, njoy, Squarepeg, B-vibe, Colours

Harnesses and double ended dildos

Boxer brief or Bikini style

  • Great for packing
  • Less ‘firm’ and less adjustable

Traditional harnesses 

  • Extremely Adjustable
  • Slightly awkward to put on

Thigh cuffs and Boot straps

  • Great  if you have trouble thrusting using your hips
  • can slide around.

Harness free strap ons

  • Can be used anally or vaginally
  • We recommend using some kind of external support since most find it will slip out without support.

Butt stuff

  • Plugs
  • Anal hooks
  • Dildos
  • Anal beads

Anything that goes in the butt needs a ring or flared base!

Toys for external genitalia

  • CockRings (vibrating, pressure)
  • Bumpers (OhNut)
  • Strokers(tenga egg, fleshlight, hot octopus duo)
  • Cockcages
  • Penis pumps


  • Silicone – works in the bath, lasts forever
  • Hybrid – lube and water based blend, not too slick, not too sticky
  • Water based- works with all kinds of toys, no residual lingering
  • Oil based- not compatible with latex condoms, we recommend fractionated coconut oil  which has anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Flavored – Avoid glycine and other sugars for vaginal use

Ideas for how to leverage your toys

  • Wear a toy on the ride to or from your date.
  • Choose a toy that will represent ‘your dick’ for your partner to fuck while you’re away.
  • Try DP with a toy or 69!
  • Have your partner use a toy on themselves while giving you head
  • Make you partner show you exactly how they use the toy on themselves…for educational reasons
  • Have phone sex (even if they’re just in the other room)
  • Attach a toy to your partner (face, chest, hips) and ride it to show them what they are missing out on.
  • Tell them they can use their favorite toy as a reward for good behavior.
  • If you are into squirting a firm curved toy can often unlock this super power.

How to clean toys

Rechargeable toys: use soap and water! we like Hibiclens it’s used on people for pre surgery scrub!

Solid toys: Glass, Metal and silicone: top rack of the Dishwasher or boiling.

If you don’t like cleaning or are sharing toys with someone else consider buying unlubricated condoms for toys, gloves also work well for bigger toys.

We hope you’ll use these tips to go out and have hot sex! For more (free) tips, go to