Supension and larger models

Posted on Sat, 14 September 2013

I should preface this by admitting that I'm not very experienced in tying anyone much over about 60kgs (140lbs approx.). However, the rare occasions where I have done so have shown me that I have an easy life with young, flexible, super-light models.

The first and most obvious issue is the greater weight involved. Some techniques are simply not possible. For example, I have copied Osada Steve's direct lift where he uses his body weight on the end of the main suspension line, connected to at takate-kote, to lift his model completely off the ground.  This only works if you weigh a fair bit more than your 'working load'. Steve versus Ageha's 40 or so kg is no contest in that respect! Of course, the principles of leverage mean that you are rarely lifting the whole weight in most suspensions but that doesn't mean some strength isn't beneficial.

The main problem that I have encountered is the greater load on knots or any rope jams making them much harder to correct. For this reason, one should be very careful to ensure knots are secure, yet easy to release. Often, tying hitches too close to the knot on a main suspension line will result in a jam. If you place the hitches further up the suspension line, this problem can be overcome but be sure to pull them good and tight so they don't slip down. Care should be taken not to trap suspension lines under any other heavily loaded lines, route them carefully using a lage ring or additional karabiners. You can get away with supporting a feather-weight but not so easily a more solid individual.

As far as an activity like bondage is concerned it is important whether 'larger' means simply a bigger frame or obesity. One should always work well within physical limitations regardless of which side of the rope you are on. A lot of the more spectacular suspensions are performed by experts on super fit and ultra flexible professional models weighing as little as 40kgs. To attempt the same with somebody who is less physically suitable can be like you entering a 1200 Harley into a Red Bull X-Fighters extreme motocross event! That is not to say that suspension isn't possible but it just takes more skill and greater care with the realisation that suspension can be like an extreme sport.

The photo that accompanies this post shows one particular challenge I had to address. The brief was to suspend this lady in a vertical position, so she could recite a monologue and urinate for an arts performance. We soon discovered that rope alone was unlikely to provide sufficient comfort for the time required, unless we used ugly quantities. The solution was to sit her on  a suspended bamboo perch to take most of the load. As you can see, it worked out quite nicely.

One should always be aware of the unexpected 'suspension' where a sub passes out, or is otherwise unable to maintain balance, and her fall is arrested by a suspension, wrist ties or safety rope. Such a situation will result in a dead weight that is extremely hard to move and can pull knots impossibly tight. The incident in Rome where a very risky breath-play incident went wrong and caused the death of one of the participants happened in just this way. It appears that two girls were rigged with a rope around each's neck and over a pipe above, so that one could breath if the other was on tip toes. The heavier girl, around 120kg and with a history of heart and breathing problems, passed out, which presumably lifted the other off the ground and tightened the ligature around both their necks. Sadly, no means of cutting or releasing the rope was immediately available. By the time, a cutting implement was found it was too late. Here's an article by Lew Rubens