Rope Bondage for Dungeon Monitors

how to monitor a bondage scene when you can’t tie yourself

(Text: guilty^, special thanks to Fade, Mack and harper for commenting on and contributing to the early drafts of this article and to Aurelia for modelling for the illustrations)

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1. Introduction

Bondage is a dangerous activity. It’s one of the few BDSM activities that can actually kill and disable. Recent years have seen a rise in more complicated bondage both in Japanese and western styles, including a lot more partial and full suspensions. While “shibari” used to equal a sloppily tied cotton fishnet harness when I started, nowadays more and more people are doing complex and powerful rope work.

This makes it more difficult for DMs to do their job, especially for DMs who are not into rope themselves. As a DM you may now encounter a rope scene way beyond your own skill level, that you will have to monitor and, if something really bad happens, even might need to untie yourself. Also, you may have to deal with that scene from an authority position against someone who knows much more about bondage than you. I’ve noticed that many DMs struggle with this, often resulting in unnecessary DM actions, erring on the safe side. Although this is definitely preferable to an error on the unsafe side – which could be a catastrophe- it’s still annoying to all parties involved.

In this article I will try to provide some recommendations and practical guidelines for DMs with regard to both floor bondage, suspensions and for ties that include objects (such as crosses). They are based on my experience as a rigger and as a DM. However, I do not recommend that you stop thinking yourself. Some of the recommendations do not apply to all situations and may even turn out to be completely wrong in a specific situation. Every scene, every bondage, is different.

Although many safety issues will be discussed, this article is not a bondage safety article. I assume the reader is at least familiar with my articles on rope and bondage safety. If not they can be found here.The recommendations are mostly aimed at the biggest and most dangerous risks associated with bondage. The things a DM might take into account when monitoring, or ending, a scene. It doesn’t deal with risks of muscle cramp, back problems, etc. as a result of poorly executed bondage. I consider that the prime responsibility of the players, and not something a DM should be taking responsibility for.

These recommendations are not in any way meant as a guide to learning bondage or suspension but for DM use only. Also, there are two more issues this article does not address.

  • There’s not much medical advice in it. I’m not a doctor. It’s your own responsibility to have sufficient first aid knowledge. Especially if you’re a DM, you might consider taking a basic first aid course.
  • There’s no definite guidance on when to stop a scene. The article points out the risks and points of attention for certain bondages. How much risk you will allow at your party is between you and the club owner. I cannot make that decision for you.

Finally, I’m using the words rigger and bunny here for both suspension and non-suspension scenes. I’ll also be referring to the rigger in the male form and the bunny in the female form. That’s only a matter of convenience, not of sexism. You can read them the other way around.

2. General recommendations

First, we deal with some recommendations that apply to all or almost all bondage scenes, regardless of the type of bondage.


Benchmade rescue Hook

As a DM for bondage scenes it’s best if you make sure that at all times you have a rescue hook in your pocket and a working telephone (on stand-by) to make an emergency call if necessary. Rescue hooks are made to cut rope on or close to the human body and by far the most safe option, much preferred over EMT shears or knives.

Make sure you can see the scene

Floor bondage is often just that, taking place on the floor. So if there are people watching around it, you may need to move yourself to a front row position to actually see the bondage scene. Don’t hesitate to do so, but be kind and tactful to the viewers. Many people like watching a good bondage scene. With suspension this often is less of an issue, as many suspensions are tied about mid-air between floor and ceiling. Remember though, that a suspension can be tied just an inch or so off or above the floor, and still be a full suspension, with most or all of the associated risks. Another factor that might prevent the DM from seeing the scene is the available lighting. If the club is very dark, you might want to turn up the lights a bit for an intense bondage scene.

Check the environment

Take a good look around. Are there any dangerous objects near the scene? You can think of furniture, but also of candles and glasses that might get hit by the rigger (or by carelessly flung rope). People can faint and fall, and some bunnies can be quite volatile even in bondage. My partner can hop around the room in most bondages, and not always with much regard to furniture and audience. If there are any potential obstacles or dangerous objects the rigger isn’t using in his scene, move them out of the way rather than tell the rigger. If you like, you might point out the potential risky situation to the Top after the scene has ended.

The audience is part of the environment as well. Bondage scenes are often popular to watch with spectators. At all times, make sure the audience is at a safe distance. Hardly anything is more annoying than someone bumping into the bunny or the rigger, and with suspensions that can be even outright dangerous.

Assess the rigger and his skills

Take a look at the scene. Is the rigger acting with confidence or is he fumbling around with the ropes? Do you know the rigger? Have you seen the rigger scene before? Is the rigger using materials that are good enough for what he’s doing? Is there a rescue hook, a knife or a pair of EMT shears on his belt or on a nearby table? How is the rigger handling his material (for instance, if the ropes come out of the bag tangled and knotted, this may be an indication he’s careless and perhaps the ropes haven’t even dried after use with all risks of rotting. Then again, he may just have been in a hurry packing that night). And perhaps the most important aspect: Is the rigger communicating with the bunny, either through spoken word, or by body language?

Second, try get an estimate of the health,physical and mental state of the rigger. Does he look fit and healthy or not? If you’ve caught a cold you might suddenly tire halfway through a scene. If your venue allows alcohol or perhaps other drugs, does the top look sober enough for a bondage scene? This is primarily the players’ own risk, but you may advice them if you think they may not have considered it.

One cue for the DM to start paying attention is if the rigger has his mind more with the audience than with the bunny. Keeping an eye on the people around you is a smart thing to do when doing bondage, but the main focus should be at the bunny.

Assess the bunny and her skills

Take another look at the scene. Is the bunny comfortable, or is she showing signs of distress (or, well, boredom)? Do you know the bunny? Have you seen her being tied before? Is she cooperating or acting more like a damsel in distress (in the latter case, check the environment again). And perhaps the most important, is she communicating with the rigger, either by spoken word or body language?

Second, try to get an estimate of the bunnies health, physical and mental state. Does the bunny look healthy and fit? If you’ve caught a cold, having a gag in might not be the wisest idea. If your venue allows alcohol or perhaps other drugs, does the bunny look sober enough for a bondage scene? This is primarily the players’ own risk, but you may advice them if you think they may not have considered it.

Some bunnies are very very quiet and still while being tied. Others keep moving a bit, perhaps wriggling their wrists into a comfortable position, or flexing their fingers every now and then. The first type is more difficult to monitor, both for the rigger and for you, the second type is easier.

What kind of scene is this going to be

Scenes can change in very little time, a floor bondage can turn into a suspension in seconds. Even if only partially suspended, some bunnies raise that last foot off the floor themselves. Is that likely to happen? Are there any objects that might get included in the scene? Is there an overhead hard point that’s suitable for suspension (or that is unsuitable for suspension but might be taken for suitable!)? Try to imagine what might happen during the scene.

Make a decision

After these preliminary checks you will have to make a decision. Is this a scene that needs close monitoring or rather more loose monitoring. In the extremes this is probably quite obvious. If the rigger is clumsy and the bunny is non-communicative, or if the scene is likely to go airborne, you will probably want to stick around for a while. Is everything on the average, all parties communicating, and there’s no overhead hard point, or other dangerous objects, you might decide to leave the scene to itself for a while and check back later.

In all cases it’s your call. When in doubt, err on the safe side. Monitoring, if done unobtrusively, doesn’t hurt anyone.

If you keep watching

If you decide to keep watching, it might be smart to keep track of the order in which the bondage is being tied, especially with suspension scenes. By the time you’ve read through this whole article, you will know why.

3. On the floor

Floor bondage is often considered a mild BDSM activity, but floor work can be as tough and dangerous as suspensions can be. You don’t need a suspension to hurt someone. Below are a few recommendations to help to assess floor work systematically.

Assess the position

Many dangers of floor bondage are related to the specific position the bunny is in. Here are some general remarks on bondage positions.

Standing & walking

Standing and walking
The most obvious danger in standing positions is that the bunny might fall. People can trip over their own toes or objects in the environment (including the riggers rope bag and loose ends of rope). This problem is even more likely to occur when the bunny is walking around in bondage. Take special care if the bunny is also carrying any hot fluids (and I don’t mean… well). Also, when people stand with locked knees (as opposed to slightly bend knees) too long they can faint. Fainting isn’t that bad, generally speaking, but hitting your head on the sharp edge of a table when falling down is. When tied to an overhead support the “dead” weight might be difficult to untie. With a “strappado” (standing bent over with the arms tied behind the back, fixed to an overhead point), fainting might easily lead to serious shoulder injuries.

So with standing and walking bondages, check the environment again carefully. Check if a standing bunny is flexing her knees or not. If not, stay close. If a bunny faints, lay her horizontally on the floor, that should help within seconds. If not, get medical assistance immediately. Do not leave the faintee alone. If possible, aks someone else to make the call with your phone and report back to you.


Lying Face-Down

Lying face down
Lying face down can be anything from incredibly comfortable to the tightes hogtie. In all cases, the prime danger specific to the position is positional asphyxia. Over time (and that can be a relatively brief time), the bunny might get into breathing troubles solely due to the position. Check if the rigger is checking consciousness of the bunny regularly and this is definitely not a position to leave the bunny in unattended. Use of a gag increases the risks of asphyxia.

Lying Face-Up

Lying face up
In general this is not a particularly dangerous position. Be carefull tough when a ballgag is involved, as it can can sink down towards the throat and block breathing. Also, a person tied in this position might choke on her own vomit.


Sitting position can be quite comfortable and need not be dangerous. When the bunny is bent over, for instance as in a cross-legged “ebi”- like position positional asphyxia might occur, so check if the rigger keeps checking consciousness. Also, in extremely bent forward positions, the femoral nerve in the upper leg might get compressed, possibly resulting in nerve damage in the direction of the knee. It’s a good sign if the rigger checks for feeling in that area occasionally.

Assess the bondage

After you have assessed the position, assess the bondage itself. How are the ropes tied? Are they tight? There are a few special areas of interest here.

Hands, feet, legs, & arms

The limbs, hands, and feet are among the most vulnerable body parts when doing bondage and they require careful checking. Contrary to popular believe circulation is not the biggest issue here – most body parts can do without blood for quite some time – but nerve compression is. If the rigger is regularly checking the bunny’s hands and fingers, that’s a good sign. Checking might/should include checking feeling (for instance by pinching) and movement (flexing fingers, spreading fingers, moving the little finger and thumb separately).


Upper arm nerves

A special risk factor is the use of an arm-chest harness (also known as box-tie or takate-kote) incorporating the arms in the classic u shape at the back, or any other harness or bondage that includes ropes over the upper arms. Compression of the upper arm nerves can lead to loss of sensation or movement in the hands and fingers. Many riggers mistakenly attribute this to tightness of the wrist bondage

When to interfere? Some DMs step in when “hands get blue”. In general, I would recommend that as a cue only if accompanied by a lack of interest on the riggers part. If the rigger keeps regularly checking the hands, I wouldn’t recommend interfering. If they don’t, I  would recommend that you do. If there seems to be any issue with the hands or fingers the rigger is NOT addressing himself in a timely manner, you also might want to step in.

Rope Around the Neck

The neck
Ropes around the neck – especially the front of the neck – pose an additional risk. In fact this is potentially combining bondage and breathplay and all associated risks including death. Assess the rigger and the bunny, and their communication again. When in doubt of the skills of either one, you might want to check explicitly if there’s a rescue hook nearby, or keep your own at hand. If breathplay is not allowed at your event, you might want to disallow this kind of bondage too.

Ropes at or around the genitals can be great fun. With female genitals, keep in mind that leaning on a crotch rope can be very tiring. With male genitals, keep in mind that that’s one part of the body where circulation does matter, and that tight cock bondage shouldn’t last too long.

4. Tied to an object

Being tied to an object generally increases the risks associated with floor bondage and might pose risks of itself. To start with the first, in general, it takes longer to untie someone fixed to an object. Also, when someone faints, it might be substantially more difficult to untie someone if fixed to an object. “Dead weight” puts pressure on knots, tightening them (there are of course knots that can be untied under pressure, but not every rigger uses them).

Every object is different, so general guidelines here are more difficult. But it’s wise to ask yourself how would I untie this, especially when the bunny faints. For instance, with a “strappado” (standing bent over with the arms tied behind the back, fixed to an overhead point), fainting might easily lead to serious shoulder injuries.

Also, if objects aren’t too heavy, be aware that the bunny might be able to move the object, often to the surprise of the rigger, or might even fall with the object on top.

Otherwise, assess the bondage as with floor work.

5. Suspended in the air

Suspensions, partial or full, are among the most dangerous of bondages, and their popularity is strongly on the rise. Especially in this area, you may run into scenes way beyond your personal skill. The recommendations below are NOT about learning how to do suspension safely, but about monitoring a suspension by someone else. Do not attempt suspension without the necessary expert knowledge and skills. To be on the safe side, apply suspension guidelines to partial suspensions equally. Remember, as noted before, that even a suspension a few inches above the floor is a full suspension.

The club’s equipment

If you’re club is allowing suspension, you should provide at least a solid hardpoint that can safely handle a weight of 5 – 10 times the weight of the bunny. The point will have to be able to handle dynamic forces, as suspendees have a tendency to swing. For practical purposes, I’d recommend at least 800-1000kg, but preferably more.

A tackle or pulley system is not necessary to do suspensions. As a matter of fact, using a tackle to bring someone up can increase the risks due to unpredictable forces on the body and almost all positions ca be rigged without. A tackle can, however, be very convenient for bringing someone down in an emergency situation.

Some clubs require the use of a panic snap.However, many riggers (and bunnies) are not comfortable dangling from an item that can be opened with one or two pulls. Even if the device is safe, it takes but one moron who wants to joke or worse to open it. From the other hand, panic snaps don’t add very much safety if the rigger is experienced and uses knots that can be easily untied under stress. I would recommend you allow panic snaps (if – and only if – they are rated!) but not to make use of them mandatory.

Also, some clubs nowadays require the use of crash mats. While they add to the safety in case falling due to hardware failure, they have significant disadvantages. A crash mat that’s thick enough to be effective is also a potential object for the rigger to trip over. Also, in the bringing-up and bringing-down phase, a crash mat is an instable underground to stand upon for the bunny. Here too, I’d recommend against mandatory use, but your club might want to consider providing crash mats to riggers who would like to use them.

Finally, the club might consider having a backboard at hand for emergency procedures.

Check the equipment of club and rigger

First and foremost, check the equipment. Every part of the rig should be able to have a safety factor of 5 to 10. That means that at least 5, and preferably 10 bunnies should be able to dangle there safely instead of just one. Work our way top down. Start with the hard point. Is that ceiling bolt or whatever it is that is being used designed for suspension? Does the club allow for suspension there? If not, or when in doubt, stop the scene immediately.

Second, check all the hardware in the rig. Often, riggers will be using carabiners, or steel bondage rings in their rigs. Bondage rings shouldn’t be too thin and have a smooth surface so the rope won’t get damaged. Carabiners should preferably be rated. Biners from the hardware store are usually not, AND may have sharp edges cutting into the ropes. However some non-climbing gear is rated and can safely be used. If you have any doubts, pay very close attention or ask the rigger.

Third, check the ropes. In general, rope will be the weakest part of the rig, but is still should have safety factor 5-10. This means most synthetic ropes are ok. Hemp of at least 6mm thick in general is ok (but check if it is old or worn), jute is less strong than hemp but can be used for suspension under the same conditions as hemp. The popular 6mm cotton is unsuitable for suspension, and I recommend not allowing it for suspension at a club.

Fourth, if any panic snap or other quick release device is used, check if it is a rated one. If it is a cheap equestrian panic snap DO NOT accept it for suspensions, because they are often designed to break under heavy loads.

Fifth, check if there’s a rescue hook, knife or pair of EMT shears visibly nearby. If not, keep your own at hand.

Check the environment


Yes I know you did this already, but do it again. Pay special attention to objects at hip-to-shoulder height as that is likely to be where the bunny will be when suspended. When bringing someone up, inexperienced riggers might find out that newly suspended bunnies can move or swing quite unexpectedly. If there’s any object posing a threat that you can’t move, stand between that object and the bunny, preferably out of range..

Check the audience again. Is everybody aware that this is a dangerous scene? Make sure everybody keeps distance. Under no circumstances is it acceptable that someone from the audience interferes in a suspension scene unasked. If you notice this, get the audience member out of the way ASAP.

Assess the bondage

Uncinched Harness

The Danger

Keep in mind that all parts of the bondage now should be suspension proof. If you see harnesses or other parts of the bondage slipping or shifting, stay close.

Nerve compression is probably the biggest risk when doing suspensions. The effect of hardware failure is potentially more damaging and lethal, but, if the equipment is ok and the rigger reasonably skilled,  nerve damage is much more likely to occur than hardware failure. In fact, it is an inherent risk in all suspension scenes.

It can’t hurt to reassess the rigger at this stage. If he’s clumsy with the ropes, stay close. Take a good look at the harness again. If a classic japanese style takate-kote is used, or any other harness including the upper arms, there is a severe risk of nerve compression. Pay attention, and check if the rigger and bunny keep communicating. Keep an eye on all other body parts that might suffer from nerve compression.

The Missing Part

cinched Harness

If a box-tie style harness with ropes over the arms is used, check if  they are `cinched’. With that I mean there should be a vertical rope preventing the upper chest wraps from slipping over the shoulders. If this is lacking it’s a potentially very dangerous situation. Note, however, that cinching does not mean tying the wraps at the fron and at the back together – this increases the chances of nerve injury enormously – a proper cinch only prevents the slipping up of the wraps without additionally tightening the harness!

Assess the position

Again, different position bring different risks. The focus here is on the risks that should concern the DM.

Horizontal face-up
This, horizonatlly face-up or slightly tilted downward as shown above)  is one of the more comfortable suspensions. Apart from nerve compression and hardware failure, there aren’t too many other risks. Keep an eye on things. If the head is not supported, the neck might get tired, hang backwards,  and the bunny might get dizzy or nauseous.



With the hips lower, it gets tougher

Horizontal face-down
One of the most common AND most dangerous positions! When using a box-tie, nerve compression at the upper arms is very likely to occur within a relatively short time unless the ropes are very well positioned. If the box/tie is not cinched, the upper chest wraps may slip over the shoulder to the throat, chocking the bunny. When the upper legs are supported (instead of the hips), nerve compression might occur there too. Regardless of the harness used, breathing might get difficult, especially with harnesses not including the arms – there’s a safety trade – off here, and when the hips are lower than the chest (picture to the right), positional asphyxia might kick in quickly. Many riggers therefore tie this position sliightly tilted, with the hips higher than the chest (picture below).

Face down, slightly tilted



Sitting can be quite comfortable. Depending on the harness and ties, nerve compression and breathing problems may occur though. In theory, Harness Hang Syndrome could come into play if the bunny is tied with the legs completely immobile and below their hearts. I’m hesitant to provide medical advice, but current medical literature suggest that a “casualty who is experiencing pre-syncopal symptoms or who is unconscious whilst suspended in a harness, should be rescued as soon as is safely possible”. Symptoms of pre-syncope include “light-headedness;
nausea; sensations of flushing; tingling or numbness of the arms or legs;
anxiety; visual disturbance; or a feeling they are about to faint”. Furthermore, unlike previously suggested in the literature, it is now recommended that “no change should be made to the standard UK first aid guidance of ABC management, even if the subject of prior harnesses suspension”.  However, if the person has been unconscious while suspended, an ambulance should be called (recommendations from HSE 2009).

As of today, however, I know of not a single confirmed case of HHS related to erotic rope bondage. Riggers tend to get their bunnies down fast in case of problems, and the combination of having the legs below the heart and completely immobile is pretty rare.


Inverted (vertical head down)
Some like it, some don’t. It can be comfortable, it can be uncomfortable. Often, there is little stress on the chest harness, so nerve compression of the upper arms is less likely. Of course, hanging upside down is something you shouldn’t do for too long. Problems may arise especially in the take down phase, especially is the bunny is tired, has fainted, or otherwise impaired in cooperation. If the scene is ending, pay close attention and offer help if necessary. If the going up and down is not done by rotation, pay additional attention to the neck during these stages!

Diagonal-head-down suspensions are relatively rare in the scene. In general, the more vertical they get, the more comfortable, and the less chance of nerve compression. Basically these positions combines the risks and disadvantages of both the vertical inverted suspension and the applicable horizontal suspension (face up or face down).



Gaining in popularity is the sideway suspension. Its a relative comfortable position, often even for bigger/heavier bunnies. The prime risk is that the bunny’s weight is entirely on one – the lower – arm. Even with properly positioned ropes, the harness can cause nerve compression easily, especially in very skinny bunnies. Make sure the rigger keeps checkin the hands!


6. Intervening in a bondage scene

Intervening in a bondage scene can be difficult, especially when you are not a rope expert. Below are some general recommendations and some advice on assisting with untying. Before you intervene, understand that rescue from bondage isn’t always the first, best or safest intervention. Try to find themost subtle intervention that returns the scene to an acceptable level of safety. And unless there is an imediate emergency at hand, consider discussing the scene with colleague DM with a more extensive knowledge of rope bondage.

General recommendations

Rope people tend to be highly concentrated, especially when doing suspension. So, basically, you are probably going to annoy the rigger and the bunny. But what has to be done, has to be done. Be tactful, friendly, and cooperative. And as discreet as possible.

If you request the bunny be untied, understand that that is not always immediately possible. Untying ropes takes time. If there aren’t very strong indicators not to, trust the riggers judgement in the order and speed of untying. If you want to help, DO NOT just grab a part of the bondage unless there’s a life at stake. You might make the untying more difficult or even dangerous by your actions. If you want to help, ask the rigger what you could do. Perhaps you can help him best by supporting the bunny, perhaps by helping to untie. But let him say so himself.

Getting help

If you need help, ask someone from the audience to get one or more of you’re colleuages (your DMs are easily  recognisable, aren’t they?) or ask someone to call the emergency phone number for you with your phone. When asking people to help be clear and specific about what you ask them to do and prevent chaos. If there are a lot of people you don’t need, aks them to leave.

(Assisting in) untying

The most difficult scenario is probably where you will have to untie someone else’s bondage. Of course you can opt to cut the ropes, but that might pose dangers of itself, especially with suspensions. If there is no life at stake, calm but quick untying is usually the best strategy. To comfort the bunny, keep talking during the untying, and explain what you are doing or going to do. This also gives the bunny the opportunity to cooperate if possible.

Floor bondages
For floor bondages, first check if there’s anything that needs to be untied immediately. When breathing problems occur, cut any rope around the neck and untie or cut the chest harness first. If nerve compression is the issue at stake, start with the affected body part OR the place most likely to cause the compression. In case of numb, motionless hands, if there are any ropes over the upper arms, shift them a few inches first and then untie the wrists.

Then, proceed systematically. In general bondages are easiest – and often safest – to untie in the reverse order of the tying. So if you have seen the scene, this is likely to be a good starting point, unless you have a cue that this might not be the case.

Muscles might be stiff, so after you have untied limbs, carefully guide them towards a stretched position.

Untying suspensions is difficult to give general advice on. If possible in any way, let the rigger do it himself. If not, ask the rigger how you can help best. If the rigger is not in control (or panicking), calm him first. If that doesn’t work, you will have to untie yourself. If the rigger is incapable of untying (passed out, had a heart attack, etc.) provide first aid if you’re qualified and make sure you get more help.

If you should ever get into the position that you have to untie someone else’s suspension, here are a few recommendations, but please do not take them as holy commandments and keep thinking for yourself.

  • Don’t do it alone. Get help from a colleague DM or someone from the audience. Make sure someone takes care that the bunny doesn’t end up on the floor head-and-dental-work first.
  • If the suspension is connected to a tackle, use it to gently lower the bunny. Untying by the rigger is likely to be safer, but in the absence of the rigger this is quickest and probably safest way down.
  • If you have to untie (or cut!) mid-air, it is often best to do so in the reverse order of the tying process, otherwise you might find that legs won’t reach the ground or there are other problems. If there have been substantial position changes during the suspension another strategy might be better. At all times be aware that if you cut YOU NEED TO SUPPORT THE BODY PART YOU�RE CUTTING LOOSE.
  • In case of inversed suspensions – or as an alternative strategy if there have been substantial position changes – it might be better to have two or three people support the bunny, and cut the suspension line to gently lower the bunny, especially if the bunny isn’t able to cooperate.
  • Be aware that certain positions can be very tough on the back. If you lower the bunny, keep the back and steady as straight as possible.
  • Move limbs carefully, they might be cramped.
  • Be aware that a suspended bunny who is being untied might faint during the process, often directly after standing up straight. Be prepared to catch and support.
  • Leave the main suspension line at the harness for last (that way, a faintee won’t crash to the ground completely). Preferably, support the bunny while untying this last line with one of your arms. TELL the bunny she is loose. Now gently let her sit or lie down and untie the remaining ropes as if it were floorwork.

An alternative procedure is recommended by Jay Wiseman in his article “EMS Backboard As Suspension Bondage Rescue Device” in which the backboard is placed under the suspendee by at least two people, while the other people work on the immediate problem or untie/cut the ropes. Obviously, this is a very safe method, but one that depends on a) having a backboard at the club, b) having it near the suspension and c) having enough people in the immediate surroundings to assist. IF these conditions are satisfied, I suggest you seriously consider the option. But I also recommend not to depend on it as the sole method.

7. Aftercare

If something went wrong, and you had to step in, provide aftercare. Both bunny and rigger may be quite shaken up. A cup of water sometimes works miracles (but no glass in the play area!). The bunny may feel she has failed by not having been able to maintain the bondage postion. The rigger may feel he has failed his responsibilities. Comfort them. Accidents do happen, even to the best. If they are open to it, help them figure out what went wrong and how to prevent it in the future.

Also consider if you could or should have stepped in earlier. It’s good practice to discuss your intervention and all your decisions in your DM team afterwards. Other can learn from your experience, even if yout intervention wasn’t perfect. Being a Good DM cannot just be learned from paper, but requires constant reflection and feedback!


HSE, Evidence-based review of the current guidance on first aid measures for suspension trauma, Prepared by Health and Safety Laboratory and the University of Birmingham for the Health and Safety Executive, 2009