The Ropists Are Not Therapists: 5 Effects of Rope Bondage

Article and Photos courtesy of Ashley Ray

Healing, transformative, exalting, spiritual, sacred, evolving – All things rope CAN be.

Rope allows for a primal experience of vulnerability as its ethos.

Understanding the biophysical, inter/intra-relational, environmental, emotional, and cognitive effects of rope provide one with a glimpse of the process that occurs in a rope or kink scene.

1. Biophysically
Rope changes our temperature, blood flow, heart rate, metabolic control, our stressors; our body’s entropy. We enter rope in one state, progress through others, and then arrive at another.

2. Inter/Intra-Relations
We enter a rope scene as individuals. We link during rope – no matter the connectedness in style. To do rope with ourselves or another, we must relate.

3. Environmental
Our ecological systems are interrelated, the influence of one system on our development depends on its relationship with the others, and continually affect each other. Base levels of these include our microsystems (family, peers etc.), and extended to the chronosystem (lifetime environmental changes, i.e. a global pandemic).

4. Emotional
Anxiety, pride, shame, disgust, fear, confusion, pain, excitement, horror, joy, satisfaction, desire, disappointment, grief, love – and so many more are all possible emotional reactions to doing rope.

5. Cognitive
Processes and functioning related to attention, planning, recognition of patterns and relations, motor function, spatial detection, and so on are all disturbed during rope.


On any side of the slash. (Top/bottom, Dom/sub, Master/slave)

As Scout Bliss stated in a recent class on trauma-informed rope, “Rope may initiate a feeling or healing, either/or is NOT attributed to the human on the other end of the rope.” (

Beware those that practice as rope or kink healers.

4 Questions To Ask Yourself & Rope Partners

  1. What qualifications does the person tying the rope have to attend to my trauma?
  2. What training/experience/abilities does this person have, other than rope, to facilitate a healing experience?
  3. If this person has crisis/trauma informed experience – what guidance has been given to them in incorporating this in rope?
  4. If sex is involved – in other healing situations (Dr.’s, licensed therapists, clergy members) would sex/sexual activities with the practitioner be an ethical practice as part of this administered healing?

I am a licensed and certified professional counselor and I would never claim to link my kink to my healing practices. In fact, it is quite unethical and even illegal for me to do so.

Rope CAN BE Healing.

Our experiences and partners can provide witness, comfort, guidance, and support during these amazing explorations. Our kink partners are not our therapists.

Ashley Ray insists rope is for any Body and has a passion in guiding others to have a similar understanding for their journey. Primarily a person in ropes, she believes educated bottoms are vital to the progression of rope bondage, with a shared responsibility through having a voice and learning to work directly with their trained tops through increased self-awareness, empathy, and communication. They have been co-teaching a rope lab and risk roundtable for years, and provide rope education locally in Las Vegas, where they love growing with others in ropes through a lifestyle community of support and inclusion.

Ashley approaches ropes from a body-positive foundation and with the awareness of a mental health professional/educator. She/they is a licensed professional counselor. As a body-positive model and creator/author of a humanistic paradigm shift, they demonstrate the intrinsic understanding that as humans we exist upon a spectrum of being. She/they has attended numerous weekend intensives, cons, rope classes and events, as well as conduct independent research, and is forever a student.

Connect with Ashley:
IG/FL: @Rayz_Of_Ash

For more information on the effects of rope, supported by peer-reviewed studies: Better Bondage For Every Body by Evie Vane, chapter 3 by Neuromancer28. This book overall is an amazing resource for bondage and a foundation of my rope education.

“The Ropists Are Not Therapists” will be offered in an online course, with in-depth examination of the concepts presented here, hosted by Wicked Grounds on February 11, 2023 from 12-2pm PST.

And also online “Making Mountains Out of Molehills” a rope intensive for intentioned rope handling will be held on January 28, 2023 from 12-5pm PST by Ashley.

Scan QR for more information and to purchase tickets!

PROUD & Kinky Magazine - Issue 2

This article was originally published in the second issue of PROUD & Kinky Magazine. You may read it in its original format here.