Doug & Jo on Roping & #MeToo – Smart Sex, Smart Love with Dr. Joe Kort

Have you ever wondered what Roping really is? This week’s guests on Smart Sex, Smart Love are rope anarchists and kink organizers, Doug and Jo from miropes.com. Best known as experts on incorporating rope into sex and bedroom bondage, Doug and Jo chat all things bondage and #MeToo with Joe Kort, breaking the taboos and myths about sexual orientation versus erotic orientation. Typically, an illicit subject, Joe gets to the bottom of what makes rope so enjoyable, and asks, “Is rope always about sex?”

Joe Kort:              Welcome to Smart sex-Smart Love. I’m Dr. Joe Kort and today we’re going to be talking to two experts in the BDSM field. Their names are Doug and Joe. Not their real names of course. They’re organizers of Oakland and Macomb rope as well as m-i-r-o-p-e-s.com. As two of the founders of the Michigan Rope Expo, they’ve been sharing their passion and rope adventure as kink organizers for the last six years. As rope students, they are best described as rope anarchists who prefer to break down rope to its fundamentals, and then build back up into the different passions from patterns such as goat, to predicaments to how to incorporate rope into sex and bedroom bondage.

They have also presented on other topics including polyamory on behalf of the Michigan Board of Education and BDSM education alongside The Center for Relationship and Sexual Health in Royal Oak. In addition to presenting on rope, Joe is a licensed massage therapist and teaches on the healing power of touch, and both the therapeutic and kinky uses of cupping. Welcome both of you to the show.

Joe:                        Hi.

Doug:                    Thanks for having us.

Joe Kort:              Yes. So I thought before we start, I did want to ask you … So that people know that Joe was … Identified as female.

Joe:                        Yes.

Joe Kort:              Yes. And what is cupping?

Joe:                        Cupping is a very ancient form of massage that lifts up your skin instead of pushing it down. Literally use a suction to pull it … Everything up.

Joe Kort:              Oh, all right. So you’re using a suction cup to lift the skin?

Joe:                        Yes.

Joe Kort:              Okay.

Joe:                        So just [inaudible 00:01:37] of it, yes.

Joe Kort:              Okay.

Doug:                    Because essentially to get knots out of muscles, you can either push the knot down or you can try to pull it up.

Joe Kort:              Okay.

Doug:                    And cupping is just the pulling up.

Joe Kort:              I see. Okay, great. There’s something else I read in this that I want to ask you about, but was there something I said that made you want to expand on anything in your intro?

Doug:                    I mean, we were just chuckling because I believe this is the first time we’ve had someone read it out loud to us [crosstalk 00:01:57].

Joe Kort:              Well I love having you here because so many people misunderstand BDSM. They misunderstand roping. Why would somebody want to do this to somebody, especially from a man to a woman? Why would a woman want to be treated this way from a man? So I thought we could cover those things. But maybe we could first start with Doug. I like your story about … Because a lot of people think you get into this because you were traumatized. Something happened to you, you were abused. You were … But that’s not how you got into this. And I love your story about how you realized you like ropes.

Doug:                    It’s not complicated in my case. I was 13. I was really horny. I was in the scouts. They handed me rope. I was tying knots. My high school girlfriend also wanted to do things with me. So I tied the knots on her. She loved it. It was a great experience for both of us. And I’ve been doing it ever since. So it’s no more complicated than that. I’ve never understood why people think it needs to be more complicated like there’s some sort of complex and result issues. I was 10 years old, I was screwing [inaudible 00:02:55] rope my high school girlfriend and I did it and it was great and I still like it.

Joe Kort:              Yeah.

Doug:                    That’s-

Joe Kort:              And it was as innocent as Cub Scouts teaching new ropes. And you knew that then I was aroused by that?

Doug:                    … yeah. And actually the first person I tied up actually was not my girlfriend. It was actually one of the other scouts just because, okay, well here how does this work and [inaudible 00:03:13].

Joe Kort:              Yeah.

Doug:                    Actually we were learning the lashings where you put two poles together and we actually didn’t have any poles, so we just ended up lashing his arms as if they were the poles to teach each other. And the first person I ever tied up was trying to learn my lashings on a fellow boy scout.

Joe Kort:              Okay. Now some people … I’m just going to say out loud, they would say, well that’s gay and you were doing it with a guy. So it must be … And I always say that’s not true, that it’s the roping that was more important than the guy. What would you say?

Doug:                    Certainly for me now, the rope is … It’s more for me about the connection in the power of it than the sexuality as such. I mean, I’ve tied up many number of men but I’m not sexually aroused by the experience so, I’ve not had intercourse with a man. I gave it a try just because I was curious. So I hate to have kissed a guy or touched a guy, but I’ve never been aroused by it and sexually gratified by it. But I am completely happy to go ahead and tie a man up or transgender up or whoever up, because the tying as an experience in and of itself is just fantastic.

Joe Kort:              So would you say you’re more pansexual? The rope is primary, but you took the gender or to the orientation, it doesn’t matter?

Doug:                    Yeah, not really.

Joe Kort:              Yeah.

Doug:                    I mean to me, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve, topped thinking of boys and girls and just think of fellow people who are awesome in doing this with me.

Joe Kort:              I love it. I want people to hear this because people don’t understand this. They’re always focused on the gender or they’re focused on the act and they’re not listening to the person’s experience.

Doug:                    Correct.

Joe Kort:              Joe, could you share … How did you get into this? How did you awaken to the fact that you like this?

Joe:                        Doug.

Joe Kort:              Okay. So you met Doug, and you didn’t know?

Joe:                        I met Doug.

Joe Kort:              Yeah.

Joe:                        And I didn’t know what it was, and he was trying to explain it to me using words and words are failing hardly, because you can’t see things. So he sent me a bunch of pictures. It’s very artistic and it’s very beautiful and it’s very attractive. Like, “Now I want to try that.” And then once I tried it, I absolutely loved it.

Joe Kort:              What did you love about it? What was enjoyable about it?

Joe:                        Oh, there’s so many factors of it. There’s so much … The first thing is that it takes all my control away, and you don’t realize how much you have to do during the day that involves your own control. And to give it to someone else is very lightning. It’s relieving. And here you have it. I don’t want it for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, whatever.

Joe Kort:              So it’s a way of being vulnerable, giving up … like you said control, turning your life over to somebody in a consensual way?

Joe:                        Yes.

Joe Kort:              Right?

Joe:                        Yes.

Joe Kort:              Who’s giving you pleasure?

Joe:                        Right. Oh, everything about it’s enjoyable. Whether it’s the pain of it you like, or the softness you like, whatever. But someone else has that power over you and it sounds negative, but it’s very positive.

Joe Kort:              You didn’t have these fantasies before meeting Doug, is that right?

Joe:                        Not really, no.

Joe Kort:              Okay. So some therapists I know are listening to this would say, “Well, oh my God, you were introduced to this and maybe you would have never liked it and never wanted this to happen.” What do you say to that? Do you have thoughts on that?

Joe:                        It’s an experience. There’s a lot of experiences you’re introduced to in life that you didn’t see coming. And I took it. It was my choice.

Joe Kort:              Yeah. Right. And you’ve enjoyed that choice?

Joe:                        Yeah.

Joe Kort:              And you could have stopped it at any moment. Right?

Joe:                        Yeah.

Joe Kort:              You could have said, “I don’t want to do this.”

Joe:                        Absolutely.

Joe Kort:              Yeah. But didn’t, because you enjoyed it?

Joe:                        Right.

Joe Kort:              What is it that you enjoy by the way Doug, what is the pleasure for you in roping someone? Is that what you say? Roping someone?

Doug:                    Roping is as good a term as any. I call it [inaudible 00:06:32] just say I’m tying them up because that’s what I’m actually doing. For me it’s about using the rope as an extension of my hands. I’ve told so many people, a rope is like a hug that just doesn’t let go.

Joe Kort:              I love that. Wow.

Doug:                    So often I just want to hug my friends, but well it’s hot and I get sweaty. So instead I will just literally tie my friends up and we will watch TV together and it’s just fantastic because, well in the case of Joe for instance, she does not sit, she just doesn’t sit and stop moving. It’s not within her to do so half the time. So from time to time I’ll say, “Joe, you’re done for the night. You’ve done enough.”

I and I will just tie her up on the couch and put on a movie and sit there with her, tied up, unable to get away, because then she can’t get up and clean a dish and can’t get up and do this. She has to actually be pressed into herself, tied up on the couch, watching a movie.

Joe Kort:              So I think what’s important is that she’s consented to this.

Doug:                    Oh yeah.

Joe Kort:              You don’t just do it against will right?

Doug:                    Goodness no.

Joe Kort:              Of course. And it’s not sexual?

Doug:                    In that case no.

Joe Kort:              Right. You’re not having sex, but are you aroused by it? Watching her tied while you’re watching the movie?

Doug:                    Sometimes. In part depends what kind of mood I’m in. I’m not a perpetual horn dog. There are nights I’m just actually not in the mood to do anything other than watch a movie. Yes. I’m still in the mood to tie you up and make you sit still.

Joe Kort:              Okay.

Doug:                    That’s fantastic. And sometimes Joe will request that [inaudible 00:07:57] me and say, “Honey, I just can you just.” And I’ll go, “Yeah, hang on. Let me get the ropes.” And because she needs someone to help force her to sit still, watch this movie and enjoy. There’s no walking away. If somebody knocks on the door, I will handle it. You’re sitting down on the couch and watching a movie and taking the next hour off.

Joe Kort:              Wow. All right. And Joe, do you feel for yourself that that’s sexual for you or is it usually not. What is that?

Joe:                        It’s situation depending.

Joe Kort:              Okay.

Joe:                        It really is. there’s times where I may start off, “Oh, just tie me.” So I [inaudible 00:08:28] still have that moment and it may turn into sexual, it can happen. But if you’re not in the mood, you’re not in the mood. There’s no forcing it, this isn’t a tool to say, “Oh, as soon as this happened, I’m going to be sexual.” No.

Joe Kort:              Okay.

Joe:                        It does not happening that way.

Joe Kort:              I want therapists to hear this. I want people to hear this because they think it’s got to have genital play, orgasm, penetration. It has to have some … or move toward that or it’s like foreplay. For some people, it’s nothing of that, right? It’s just pleasurable.

Doug:                    It is.

Joe Kort:              Right. And it’s peaceful sometimes for people. Would you agree with that?

Joe:                        It’s what you make it.

Joe Kort:              It’s what you make it.

Joe:                        It’s what you make it.

Joe Kort:              I love that.

Joe:                        Yes.

Joe Kort:              I love your answers because they’re so noncommittal to one thing, you know. When I met with you before this, we were talking about how we do the show, your answers were just noncommittal. They open it to whatever the experiences for people.

Doug:                    I’ve often said part of why I love rope as a BDSM tool is, it is completely honest. It says things … It’s almost like giving someone a massage, but it’s an extension of your hands. I sometimes say I can’t touch my lover from the shoulders to the knees all at the same time. I just have two hands. So when I put the rope on them and I star at their shoulders and go all the way to their knees, even though I’m only touching the rope but their knees, it is felt the entire way up the body.

When you realize rope is just an extension of your hands, for me, tying Joe up on the couch is probably no different than for you sitting on the couch running your fingers through your lover’s hair, or rubbing your hand across their back. It’s not necessarily sexual, it might lead to that, or it could just be you’re cuddling on the couch, running your fingers through your partners hair, or rubbing your friends back after a terrible day. I just use it with rope.

Joe Kort:              One of the things I would have a hard time with if we were watching TV and you tied me down, I’d want to say to you, can you leave my thumb out so I can check my phone every once in a while? Would you do that? Would you let me?

Doug:                    Well I mean if we negotiated it, yes. I will probably push you to say, “Actually Joe, you’re overworking and do so much for others. How about you take an hour off for yourself?”

Joe Kort:              Okay.

Doug:                    Which is actually part of what the rope experience ends up being for Joe and I is sometimes, to press the world out of our heads for an hour, we get out the ropes because, “No, dammit, stop checking your phone, you’re home already. Would you sit down with me and take an hour off? It’ll do you good to not work for an hour.”

Joe Kort:              Yeah. I love what you’re saying because it’s very caring and the other person matters. You’re doing it for them as well as it is for you.

Doug:                    Oh yeah.

Joe Kort:              Right?

Doug:                    Yeah.

Joe Kort:              Where people would think that … They would think, “Oh, it’s selfish. You’re doing it for you and you don’t care about her, but you do.”

Doug:                    Oh, I care about … I mean, I am getting something out of it. I just [inaudible 00:10:58] for it.

Joe Kort:              Yeah, all right.

Doug:                    It’s not like it’s a true selfless act, but yes, I get something out of it, so does she, and it’s not like I come home from the office and just grab her in the kitchen and tie her up immediately.

Joe Kort:              Right.

Doug:                    No. We have to cook dinner and do all the other [inaudible 00:11:13] you know, the food. But it’s consensual, it’s negotiated and it’s very enjoyable.

Joe Kort:              Yeah. What would you say is the most … Oh, go ahead Joe. What’s the biggest misconception people have about this when you go around teaching this?

Joe:                        A lot of people don’t have misconceptions. They just don’t know.

Joe Kort:              Okay.

Joe:                        They just don’t understand because they haven’t been approached by it before. It’s brand new.

Joe Kort:              Yeah.

Joe:                        So a lot of their questions are mostly like, what? And then you have to start talking about the basics of what we’re doing and things like that. Because it’s not something that’s openly talked about.

Doug:                    A common misconception, and I’ll say this in more of a gut check reaction is, “That’s too hard. I can’t do it.” Or, “That’s not for me. And I’d never like it.” And I often go, “Well, okay, do you want to try or have you ever thought about it?” Or things of that nature. So the most common misconception is just that gut level reaction. I don’t want to be tied up. Why the hell would I want to be tied up? That’s fine. We don’t have to tie you up. But what is it that you’re really seeking?

And sometimes walking people through that adventure into themselves, is as much the challenge of rope as the rope.

Joe Kort:              I love that. Walking them into that adventure into themselves.

Doug:                    Yeah. I’ve told so many people, kink is actually a wonderful adventure into yourself if you care to take it. One of the best mentors I came across, he had a scene handled Bucky Kurt, and he talked about kink as positive negotiation. He said, “Hey, what are your hard limits to the class?” And they started naming off this or that or this or that. And he said, “I can’t help but notice none of you said, I’m not allowed to fuck you with a CFL light bulb.”

And of course he was being silly and absurd to point out, all of us were saying what we don’t want. What we don’t want to have in a scene, what our limits are. And those are good things to know. But then he said, “So what do you want me to do to you?” And that positive that, “Well, what do I want?” Can I admit that to myself? Can I admit that to my partner? Can I open up and be vulnerable and share it? If you can do that and find a way to say yes, you’ll be very glad you did. But it is a had adventure into yourself to take.

Joe Kort:              This is great because I think about just sex therapy in general. Sex in the therapy world and in our culture is what we shouldn’t do and what we don’t want and what limit should be. We don’t talk about what pleasure is for me, what I do want, what I hope for and wished for right?

Doug:                    Correct.

Joe Kort:              I love that.

Doug:                    Yeah. And the big part of kink is in a lot of the kinksters I meet, have found out how to say and acknowledge their bodies and what they want. And it’s actually very empowering to be able to acknowledge, this is my body, this is what I enjoy about it. This is what I like about it and it’s what I want.

Joe Kort:              And would that person who’s been roped be called the sub? Is that what we say, submissive?

Joe:                        Bottom.

Joe Kort:              Bottom?

Doug:                    Bottom.

Joe:                        Bottom.

Joe Kort:              So what does bottom means when people here what that means?

Joe:                        Bottom is the person being tied. It’s different than sub in that they’re not necessarily submitting to, there’s no dynamic between the people per se-

Joe Kort:              Like a power exchange?

Joe:                        … yeah. But there is the person receiving, so they’re on the bottom.

Joe Kort:              Okay.

Doug:                    Yeah. Frequently when I teach classes, I will end up tying people I don’t have any particular relationship with. They would be said to be bottoming for me.

Joe Kort:              I see.

Doug:                    When I’m the top.

Joe Kort:              Okay. It’s confusing for gay guys because topping means anal penetration.

Doug:                    I understand.

Joe Kort:              Bottoming means receiving. So when you say it in BDSM, it means being roped, right?

Doug:                    Yeah.

Joe Kort:              And being the roper.

Doug:                    Correct.

Joe Kort:              Right. The rigor is that the-

Doug:                    Rigor is the … Yeah, more common term.

Joe Kort:              … what do you get out of it as a top doing this?

Doug:                    I’ve likened this before, I’ve said. Why does so many guys or girls like say shooting golf or shooting pool, or even shooting guns or something of that nature? In order to do it well, you push the rest of the world out of your head and it’s you and the golf ball and that’s it. Or It’s you and the game and that’s it. It’s a very relaxing experience to force yourself to focus on just that one thing and do it well. When I’m roping someone, when I’m tying up Joe I care about Joel, I don’t … I say I want to hurt you. I don’t want to injure you.

There’s a big difference. I don’t want to torque your shoulder out or cause damage. So in order to do it well, the entire room disappears. Work’s not there, the kids aren’t there, the bills aren’t there, the stress isn’t there? It’s me, it’s her, it’s the rope, it’s the moment and all the rest of it disappears. And it’s amazingly relaxing to get into that space and have that focus, much the same way. So many other hobbyists when they pick a hobby and they really focus, everything else disappears. Same thing with rope.

Joe Kort:              That’s great. I want to tease out what you said that’s helpful to hear. So you want to hurt her, you don’t want to injure her.

Doug:                    Correct.

Joe Kort:              And she wants to be hurt and not injured?

Joe:                        Yes.

Doug:                    Correct.

Joe Kort:              Right. And that’s an important thing for [inaudible 00:16:03] I’ll share about that Joe, do you want to say?

Joe:                        Oh. Pain is a great aphrodisiac for me, because it just releases so many endorphins. So much happiness comes, but it’s my own, it’s how I react, you know? And that’s how I react with him. Not necessarily with someone else. If someone else came up and started doing things to me, I’d probably punch them. Yeah.

Joe Kort:              Could you have negotiated with them and given them permission?

Joe:                        Exactly. Yep. Sam.

Doug:                    Yeah, Joe is not to be trifled with on those things. But I sometimes use the workout analogy. A good coach will push you and make you hurt your muscles because that’s how you build them and get them bigger. Mind you, they’ll stop before they injure you because we’re not trying to injure you, we’re trying to hurt and cause that burn. Well, if someone can go to the gym and go [inaudible 00:16:53] at the machine and hurt their legs so that they go home, rub their leg sore as hell, why can’t someone go [inaudible 00:17:01] in response to a good solid hit on the butt, so that they can go home rub their butt and feel good?

Joe Kort:              And remember the pleasure that they felt.

Doug:                    Yeah. Why are those two things different in our heads?

Joe Kort:              I love this because I think about when my trainer pushes me in working out and I love feeling the pain the next day, because I know that I worked out hard and it was a reward.

Doug:                    Right. But he doesn’t want to injure you.

Joe Kort:              Yes.

Doug:                    So here’s how you lift this thing safely. Here’s where you should stop. Often times when you work out, they’ll track a log. So you don’t go and try and pick up 300 pounds and tear your shoulder out.

Joe Kort:              Yes.

Doug:                    Because I don’t want to injure you.

Joe Kort:              Yes. Right.

Doug:                    I want to push and hurt you. There’s a big difference.

Joe Kort:              If you don’t mind doing this, I think you have a gift for normalizing what happens in BDSM, outside of BDSM, and when you talk about how two boxers, we go to a fight and we pay … Can you do that analogy? I love it.

Doug:                    Oh, okay. So oftentimes when people see the act of BDSM, they confuse it with non consensual assault. So they’ll see me hitting my partner. In this case, a woman and go, “What the Hell’s wrong with that guy? Why is he hitting her?” And I say, “Well, wait a second. If she and I were at karate class and the Sensei said, “Go” And we walked into the middle of the ring and try to roundhouse kick each other in the face, you’d be like, “Sweet. I hope they get a black belt.” Take our clothes off. Now it’s bad?

That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. That there’s absolutely no logic to it other than we’ve associated sexuality with it which we’re taught to be ashamed of, because it’s bad that we enjoy your bodies, et Cetera. Well, two boxers walk into the ring with the gloves on and they’re going to beat each other up until one of them gets knocked down for 10 seconds, and that’s when it stops. That’s perfectly okay. We call it boxing. Somehow when you go home and do it with a paddle with a girl, now it’s bad. Why?

Joe Kort:              Right.

Doug:                    Doesn’t make any sense.

Joe Kort:              Yeah I love this. Joe, what do you say? Do you have anything to add to that?

Joe:                        Oh my goodness. I try not to. No. It is, it’s just a very horrible misconception. Why are some physical activities deemed bad and others good when we’re doing the same thing.

Joe Kort:              Yeah.

Joe:                        We are doing the same thing.

Joe Kort:              Yesterday I had a client who was struggling with watching porn and he liked watching. He worried about objectifying women. He worried about BDSM porn and what was happening. And I said, “Well, do you feel the same way about Handmaid’s Tale, right?” Handmaid’s Tale on Netflix. I don’t if watch watching this. It is chilling, mortifying what they do to women on this. And it’s a Netflix show and it’s not porn, right? But what they do, how they harm women, what they do, the slavery, all the stuff. And you think, “Oh my God.” Right.

But I said to him, but if somebody found that exciting and started masturbating to it and watching it and finding that pleasurable, then people would have a problem with that, right? And that people forget that in porn … I’m going to do another show on porn, but that everybody in porn is just like everyone in Netflix shows. It’s a movie. They’re not making love, they’re making movies. And sexual pleasure is in the eyes of the beholder of whatever they’re watching.

Joe:                        Yes.

Joe Kort:              Right? I think what you’re saying is once the clothes come off and your [sexualizing 00:20:03] it, then it’s bad. But prior to that, you paid for it and you want to see the winner.

Joe:                        So my favorite porn is always the ones where they’ll do … Usually a very dramatic scene. Usually there’s a lot of BDSM involved, and then afterwards they talk to the participants. How did you like that? How did it go for you? And they’re always so happy. And I think that helped at least when I was watching it to be, “Oh they asked for this.” This is what they really wanted. They’re really excited they were going to come back and do it again. So.

Joe Kort:              So let me ask you in that vein. So now we have the #MeToo movement right? Around sexual harassment and women saying how they feel about what men have done to them. And then we have the BDSM scene where we have an … I’ll direct this at you Joe first. You’re a woman who wants something to happen to her that resembles what happens in the #MeToo movement. Some people would say that. Why would you want a man to do this? Or why would a man want to do this? A lot of men are worried these days. I maybe shouldn’t do this to women anymore because in the BDSM realm, because women don’t want to be treated this way. How do you reconcile?

Joe:                        Well, you certainly shouldn’t do it without talking to them first.

Joe Kort:              Yes.

Joe:                        Me too just amplified the empowerment that we have, and BDSM gives us a place to put it.

Joe Kort:              Say that again. I love that. That’s great. Say it again.

Joe:                        I can’t.

Joe Kort:              Oh, so the [crosstalk 00:21:17] so the Me Too movement gave you the empowerment you should have, and BDSM gives you a place to put it. Love that.

Joe:                        Yup. And that’s really all it is. I am part of the conversation. I’m half of the conversation actually. And we talk it out. What do we want to do? What do we want to accomplish? How are we going to do that? And therefore I own it. It’s not like in the outside world where these things happen without the other person knowing, without any consent. It’s-

Joe Kort:              Without being able to say no, without being able to walk away.

Joe:                        … yeah.

Joe Kort:              You can do all that.

Joe:                        I can do all that at any given point.

Joe Kort:              Yes.

Joe:                        Yeah.

Doug:                    And I know when I meet new tops, both men and women who are struggling with, “Wait a second, my partner wants me to hit them. Something’s wrong here.” And I often say, believe it or not. Most of the kink women I know are incredibly empowered and confident because they understand who they are and what they want. And I occasionally have told more than a few of these couples, stop asking me what your spouse wants. She’s sitting right there. Ask her. What did she just say?

Did she just say, yes, I want to be spanked. And I want it rougher. I think ignoring her and treating her like, “Oh, you’re just a dumb girl who doesn’t understand that you don’t actually want that.” No. “Yeah, did you listen to the woman and what she asked for.” Okay. To me, part of empowering women is listening to them, acknowledging their desires and then enjoying them with them.

Joe Kort:              Yes. One of the things I think that throws therapist is when I say, this isn’t just BDSM toward women, it’s also some men are bottoms. Many men are bottoms and women are tops and there doesn’t seem to be much of an outcry about that when it’s the other way around.

Doug:                    You’re correct.

Joe Kort:              Why is that?

Doug:                    Well, in my opinion there’s a sexist assumption there that the man was smart enough to understand what he did and well the woman’s … Well, she’s just a nice little leathered up girl and basically they sexualize the woman and make it so she’s not actually participating in, and it’s just a thing that the man is getting done to him. More often than not you’ll see that in the context of I say a pro down where some man just paid some woman to wear leather and hit him. And of course he’s a man. He’s got the power. So he’s entitled what’s The problem?

Somehow when a woman does the same thing, the whole dynamic flips. I don’t think that’s correct or fair.

Joe Kort:              No, I love what you’re saying. And there are some women that like to get into leather and beat men who want to be beaten.

Doug:                    And they’re good at it and very fun.

Joe Kort:              Yeah. Our society doesn’t give them … That’s not the thought. The thought is she’s doing it for him, not doing it for herself.

Doug:                    Right. She’s doing it for her. She wants to go ahead and do this to him, and good for her.

Joe Kort:              Yes, right.

Doug:                    Definitely he wants it done to him. Good for him.

Joe Kort:              Right.

Doug:                    But yeah, it’s generally based on the assumption that somehow the women on either side of the dynamic don’t know what they want.

Joe Kort:              Right. So it’s still misogynists we think that.

Doug:                    It’s still misogynist. It’s still essentially telling women, well you’re too stupid to understand what you want done … Have done to your own body.

Joe Kort:              Yeah.

Doug:                    So move to Alabama and get sentenced to 99 years.

Joe Kort:              All right.

Doug:                    Come on.

Joe Kort:              I had a therapist that worked with me for a while and she basically didn’t believe there was any good BDSM. She thought it should be handcuffs that you could get out of, feathers, no whipping or whatever. But she had, had a really longterm battered relationship with her husband who under the guise of, I’m doing BDSM with you really wasn’t. So some people get … They do confuse the two. One is abuse and domestic violence, the other is BDSM. And the difference again is-

Joe:                        Consent.

Joe Kort:              Consent.

Joe:                        It’s always consent. If someone’s in a BDSM relationship and they don’t have a say, it’s not.

Joe Kort:              … yeah.

Joe:                        That is abuse.

Joe Kort:              Yes.

Joe:                        If you cannot say no, stop, I’m done, whatever, then you’re not in a good relation.

Joe Kort:              Yeah. So it’s consent and intent-

Doug:                    Consent and intent yes.

Joe Kort:              Yeah.

Doug:                    Because I use them because they rhyme and people remember.

Joe Kort:              I do like that.

Doug:                    But I just say consent intent. A, did they consent? And b, why did you hit them? Did you hit them to take their power away to abuse them? To isolate them? To cause in them fear? That’s abuse. Did you do it because it was discussed ahead of time and it’s gratifying, et cetera? That’s BDSM. There’s a big difference. I often say the other way you can tell BDSM versus abuse is the after effect. Did they take care of you after? Or did they deny it? When someone on occasion, Joe looking at me go, “Oh man, you really went to town on my ass with that paddle last night.”

I’ll go, “Yeah, I did.”

Joe Kort:              Yeah.

Doug:                    There’s no denying it. There’s no gas lighting. There’s no trying to make it think it didn’t happen. Yeah, I did go to town in your ass with that paddle, man that was fun. Whereas if the person goes, “Man, you really went over the top last night.” “No, I didn’t. You didn’t say red.” Watch out. Sign of an abuser. Be very careful.

Joe Kort:              Yeah because they’re blaming and gas lighting, right?

Doug:                    Yes. They’re denying and taking their power away.

Joe Kort:              This is great. Last thing I want to ask you before we wrap up is … Oh, we got to talk about it. Fifty Shades of Gray, right? Because that’s what most people are familiar with today with BDSM. Thoughts on that?

Joe:                        It’s a movie.

Joe Kort:              It’s a movie. All right, so what does that mean? It’s a movie.

Joe:                        It’s a bad movie.

Joe Kort:              It’s a bad movie.

Joe:                        I think it was nice in the way that it opened a door people had closed, but it’s not very representative at all in that movie.

Joe Kort:              And a lot of people say Anastasia didn’t have consent throughout all those scenarios.

Joe:                        I have no idea.

Joe Kort:              Oh, you didn’t read that did you? Oh, you didn’t? Okay. Well [inaudible 00:26:41] some of it I did read in that she didn’t, and that’s not BDSM. She should have consent, right?

Joe:                        If you want more of a realistic, I would suggest Fifty Shades Darker.

Doug:                    Yeah. Sorry Fifty Shades of Black is the name of the movie that you’re referencing. It’s a parody by the Wayans brothers and that’s absolutely hysterical.

Joe Kort:              Really?

Joe:                        Yes.

Doug:                    Yes.

Joe Kort:              Okay. Fifty Shades of Black?

Doug:                    Fifty Shades of Black is the parody by the Wayans brothers. It’s hysterical. And I would argue probably more [crosstalk 00:27:02].

Joe:                        It’s way more honest. It’s great.

Joe Kort:              Oh, that’s great. I-

Joe:                        Especially about how the silly side of BDSM and how things don’t go the way you plan in a scene from time to time.

Joe:                        Yep.

Joe Kort:              … yeah.

Doug:                    But yeah, I mean the character in Fifty Shades is an abuser. She’s broken up with him and yet he shows up in her apartment to confront her. Okay. I think that’s breaking about six laws. Stop that. That’s not okay.

Joe Kort:              Yeah. Totally. I have to tell you my experience with reading it. I’ve never read a romance novel, which was sold as, right? And there is a lot of romance that goes on. And I remember thinking when I was reading the first 100 pages and watching how he was romancing her, getting angry at my husband, he hasn’t fucking done this for me and [inaudible 00:27:41] he hasn’t done that [inaudible 00:27:43] I’m really pissed off, right? And then I started getting the idea of what it was like for women when they read this stuff.

It brings back all the stuff that didn’t happen. So I had to get myself together and go, “He hasn’t done that in a long time. We’ve been together 26 years. Perhaps I should go to him and say, I’d like that again.” But I understood women in a different way from that point of view that, you’re reading stuff that happens in the first six months of our relationship and it acts like it’s always the relationship in these romantic novels.

Joe:                        Very unrealistic.

Joe Kort:              Very unreal … The whole thing seemed unrealistic. What I do like, I don’t know how you guys feel, I like that it introduced and brought the word out, and brought the mindset out that this is a thing.

Joe:                        It created more interest and we had more people show up at classes for sure.

Joe Kort:              Yeah. Right. Good.

Doug:                    One of the things I do like about BDSM is this term we use called a scene where you’re intentionally creating time to go and do something. And that’s something you forget in the day in day out of life because you’re too busy cooking or doing the bill and whatever you’re up to. Whereas with BDSM, “Honey, I’m going to take the next two hours to do something with just you.” Jesus Christ. If I was talking about a movie or a walk, I’m romantic. If I’m talking about rope, I’m an asshole? What?

Joe Kort:              I love that.

Doug:                    Explain that to me.

Joe Kort:              I love this. You’re so good. This … I’m telling you it’s a total gift that you can put the two together and show ups or things the way they do it. We’re going to end, what do you want to promote before we end the show? What is it you’d like people to know about you and how can they find you?

Doug:                    Well we’re presenting an expo coming up in August, miropeexpo.com is the website. We’re actually applying some very fantastic presenters out of Vancouver, who I originally met at Chicago at a Shibaricon. We’ve also got a variety of regional presenters coming in to show classes, different techniques, et Cetera, that we’re really excited about because it’s a non Michigan, non our existing rope environment. And they’re going to bring a really good perspective. Also, miropes.com is our site, miropes.com.

If you go to it, it redirects to a cycled FetLife. But on there I have a group where right up at the top we’ve got kinky and education resources. We’ve got links to where I get my equipment that I know is safe and works well. You can find other Greg resources like Kinky Clover’s Bottoming Guide, understanding your body, things of that nature. And so miropes.com you can find my entire online list of resources.

Joe Kort:              Awesome. How about you Joe?

Joe:                        No, that’s good. That’s good.

Joe Kort:              All right.

Joe:                        What we’re doing.

Joe Kort:              And this is the first time we’re having a rope conference in Michigan. Is that what I’m hearing?

Doug:                    We’ve done this once before. About two, three years ago. We called it SeMi Rope, Southeast Michigan Rope. There used to be a party that ran out of Lansing called The Summit where we actually ran the rope room for the summit.

Joe Kort:              Okay.

Doug:                    So we were able to do some bigger statewide parties there. There’s another group out of Lansing called Synergy, and synergy brings in presenters, including rope, but also on leather and other things. So there are some state wides. I think we’re the first one in years to do this big on just the topic of ope.

Joe Kort:              I love it. Thank you so much, both of you for coming at my show and talking to this through. It’s been really helpful. I hope people are going to learn a lot from listening.

Joe:                        Thank you.

Doug:                    [crosstalk 00:30:46] you.

Joe Kort:              Thank you.