Longtime rigger and film director Damon Pierce will be coming to Stockroom University this weekend to present a class on Alternative Arm Binds. This class is more than one more teaching you a new series of knots; to Pierce, it’s essential to good and pleasurable bondage that kinksters don’t get too hung up on how to do things “the right way” and remember that our partners’ bodies have different abilities and different pleasures that aren’t necessarily covered in any of the numerous manuals or instructional videos that are available. The right way to do it, he says, is the way that makes it a pleasurable experience for the people involved. We had a quick conversation with him about why (and how) bondage lovers need to look more closely at the bodies in front of them instead of focusing too closely on the “one true way.”
So, just to take a cue from your class description, I’d like to ask: Why have an alternative to the usual armbinding techniques?
Damon Pierce: Well, we’re all comfortable or have explored the normal armbinders that we see all the time. But what if your body can’t accommodate those positions? Or what if the thing that you’re trying to do doesn’t accommodate that position?
What kind of obstacles do people encounter with traditional methods of armbinding?
Some of the obstacles are that medically or healthwise, some people can’t do those arm positions. So thinking of something different is a really great idea to be able to still do really a really fun scene and probably really similar to what you originally thought about doing. You’re still able to have a great time, have a really super-hot night, and have fun. Sometimes the arm position won’t really accommodate the position that you want to do in the play, so thinking up some type of alternative can help you be creative and help your play blossom. So really, the class is partially about feeling comfortable with creativity and thinking about the body that you’re tying. Not necessarily being rigid and thinking “I’ve been taught how to tie a specific tie, so therefore if I want to play with my partner, I have to follow these rules.
In my opinion, there shouldn’t be so many rules for play and having fun with your partner, it should really be about playing with the body and playing with your partner so the two of you get to evolve creativity and have a great time.
I hope that when people take this class, they feel more comfortable with the idea of being creative with their bondage and thinking about the body that they tie as opposed to the rigidity of tying a pattern.
I wish that I could attend this class myself. I’m out of town, but we have some of those issues in my relationship.
Oh, like what?
Well, my partner is a stroke survivor, and so she’s partially paralyzed on the left-hand side. Her arm has a lot of spasticity, so it’s kind of locked into one position.
I’m really lucky, and I get to travel around the world and teach and present and do shows and meet lots and lots of people. And it is so not uncommon that people are like, even simply a box tie is difficult because of something like what you’re describing. Or maybe not even something as intense or life-altering as that; maybe they slipped and bumped their elbow and it’s swollen and sore that night. But you still want to play. Putting your arm into a box tie in that situation will be uncomfortable and laying on your arm is going to be uncomfortable. I would hope that we wouldn’t feel restricted by the idea “I’ve been taught that this is the way to do it,” and instead think: “I want to tie my partner. I want to have fun with my partner. What can I do so that we can still achieve the mental and physical elements of bondage but have a wonderful time?”
So, simply tying the arms in front would be a wonderful alternative to something like that. But we often are told that if you don’t do it “right,” then you’re doing it wrong. But really, this is about intimacy with your partner and connecting with your partner and closeness with your partner, and fun. So if we can free ourselves from the rigidity of the do’s and the don’ts and the “right way” or the “wrong way,” and have a great, hot night, everything blossoms and we have a great time.
Now of course, I’m not saying blow off safety; not at all. As a matter of fact, even in the class description, and within what we just talked about, it’s about somebody’s health and somebody’s safety. That’s often one of the main concerns.
For instance, we find strappado beautiful and erotic and we’re drawn to it, but the strappado was designed as a French torture to dislocate your shoulder. So, it’s not really the safest tie we do. It’s a fun and sexy tie, but it’s not a safe tie. It can be tied safely, but it was not designed to be healthy. It was designed to be really hard.
So, if we like the look of that, we might be able to creatively think of something that is inspired by that, but doesn’t put as much stress and strain on the shoulders. Even simply if you were a baseball pitcher and your shoulder has been sore from playing two innings, but your playmate wants to reward you with a really fun hot rope night. Tying your shoulder in a rigid way that night won’t work for you because you played two innings or whatever. So let’s think of a more creative way to tie somebody and get all of that yummy fun bondage hotness out of the play. And really, that’s what the class is about.
So it sounds like you’re not only talking about alternatives in terms of physical capabilities, but also learning how to communicate what’s pleasurable and what works right for a particular person.
Yeah, I would say that very much is part of it. Because we’re taught that there’s a “one true way” of doing something, but I don’t subscribe to that. I think that the “one true way” works tonight with the partner that you’re doing in a hot scene. That was the true way to do it. You had a great night, no matter how you tied. No matter how you played, if the two of you had a hot night, that was the way to do it. Not the way someone else told you to do it. So yes, creativity that I think is wonderful with BDSM, and one of the main reasons why I think a lot of people love it.
One of the reasons I was drawn to rope is that it’s a way to do bondage that is limitless. The only limitation is the body that you’re tying. So that’s really the focus.
When talking to people who come to your class, what are some of the first steps you would advise them to break past the book of rules and start seeking alternatives?
In the class, I start by talking about the ties that we are accustomed to. But then we move on to, why do we like them? And so it’s really a conversation. I think all play is about conversation. So we really like to communicate with one another and explore what and why we like these things. Then, looking at the body and thinking about how we feel today or tonight. Because just because you could do a really strict hogtie last night doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re up for it tonight. Every day we change and every day we need to communicate with each other about our play and about our desires and about our fantasies. So one of the first things I would say is “Start talking about your dreams and your fantasies.”
Saturday, November 7th, 2015
Stockroom Hall, 2811 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Why have an alternative to arm binds? We’ve all enjoyed many of the tried and true classic bondage positions that are beautiful and sexy, but what happens when these positions work against body mechanics or are just plain impractical?
Join us as international and award winning bondage rigger and director Damon Pierce leads and encourages active participation in learning new arm positions that you and your partner can enjoy. Bring your rope and a willing participant.
About the Instructor:
Damon Pierce is a proud member of the Society of Monarchs and Cirque de Sade, a BDSM Educator, and former rigger/director for Intersec Interactive. Damon is a perpetual student and has studied bondage in the USA and Japan since the early 90’s. His love of restraint also inspired him to create his rope company, Vintage Rope, and his training site, Slave To Bondage. His work both in front of and behind the camera can be seen in places from Dave Naz’s book, LA Bondage to the erotic work of Andrew Blake, rock videos, and hundreds of publications and videos in the adult BDSM industry. Damon Pierce has been a presenter at events such as ShibariCon, BoundCon, Venus Fair, Kinky Kollege, TES Fest, Primal Arts Festival, Body Bound, Leather Retreat, Bound In Boston, SDRE San Diego Rope enthusiast, BOLD, The Lair De Sade “Insight,” and NorCal SusCon.