Amber Lynne is a self-proclaimed jack of all trades, in more ways than one. “I’m involved in every community, to an extent,” she says. “I go to many different events. I prefer the BDSM community, but I’m involved with many different lifestyles.”
Within the BDSM community, Amber is primarily involved with the B – she’s been doing rope play for the last four or five years, exclusively as a rope bottom, and likes to use it to escape everyday life. “With the swinger community it seems to be more of a physical thing,” she says. “With BDSM, it’s a controlled environment that’s not based on having sex. That’s really what it comes down to. I have so much control in my life that the rope allows me to let go of that.”
She initially got started in the lifestyle by volunteering at one of the clubs where her then-boyfriend was working. “I was really involved in that club a lot. We broke up, but being in that environment introduced me to a lot of different types of lifestyles.” Before that relationship, she says she wasn’t “full-on into the BDSM community” like she is now. “But being a bartender at the club, I was involved with all different activities in that club for four and a half years.”
It was at the club, at the events, where Amber was introduced to rope, and from there, her curiosity got the best of her. Her first rope experience, she says, was amazing. “It felt like a kid eating candy for the first time. The moment that I had the first tie, where my hands were behind my back, all of a sudden I could just exhale and be like, ‘Okay, everything is fine, and I don’t need to worry about anything else.’ I don’t have control of the situation that’s at hand, so I’m able to just close my mind off and just enjoy the experience all in itself.”
Though she’s a switch by nature, Amber doesn’t top on rope at all. She likes to be able to let go and have someone else take the reins. “It’s like my escape from everything else… The moment I walk into that space, it’s just them and I. We’re in the scene and I’m able to completely let go of everything, and completely trust that they have my best interest with getting tied up. I’m able to just kind of check out and just enjoy the rope as what it is.”
Amber has two riggers, and has never been tied up by anyone else. “It’s a complete trust thing. [Feisty] is the one who tied me up for the photos, and then I have one other [rigger] who goes by Mr. Old School.”
For Amber, rope offers an escape, and isn’t about satisfying sexual needs. “In the partnerships that I have now, they serve more of the physical and mental aspects of me, and then with my BDSM outlets, I don’t have a sexual relationship with any of them. So I have somebody else that I go to for impact play, I have people that do rope for me, but it’s not a sexual relationship. Everybody serves a different purpose, or different needs and desires for each and every one of us. None of my partners interact with each other. We’re able to go out and do social functions together, but everybody has a purpose and it’s not like a trifecta happening.” Though her partners are all separate, they’re all aware of one another.
Amber prefers not to use titles, instead referring to anyone she’s involved with as “play partners” to encompass all aspects. “I’m not one for titles now. If somebody’s going to be a partner, they can be a partner, but the title ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ is so middle-school to me that I never want that again. It just seems so juvenile, and I don’t want any unrealistic expectations of anybody in my life, and I don’t want anybody in my life–partner or not, to not be honest with their truest self and what they’re wanting.” Being wary of those labels, and being a switch, Amber is never really just one specific thing, and feels as though she can identify in multiple roles. “It’s circumstantial with a lot of things,” she says, specifically about switching. “Women tend to be more tops for other women, and then more bottoms for men… It just goes back and forth, and sometimes it’s a powerplay thing. So I have different relationships where the top role goes back and forth, where sometimes I’ll be the top, sometimes they’ll be the top.”
However, there’s only one person Amber allows to top her for impact play. “I’m very able to let loose and be in that moment. I have been a top, but I’m also a bottom. I started off at a very young age knowing that I was bi and not really understanding or exploring that more at a younger age. I knew I liked girls, and I knew I liked boys, and I didn’t like one more than the other.” That self-identification came in her pre-teen years, when she was around 12. When she got older, her bisexuality helped her in exploring a variety of lifestyle practices. “I think coming into the lifestyle, I started off being more of a bottom, but I also have a very high need for control within a lot of situations so my presence demands a lot of respect. Over the last few years I’ve explored that a lot more,” Amber says.
Though she’s known for years that she wasn’t straight, nowadays she doesn’t necessarily identify with one sexuality. “I’m like that grey area between being bisexual and pansexual. It all depends on the person. I don’t care what’s between their legs, I care what’s between their ears. I’m a little bit of everything.” Amber likes to get to know a person and have a connection with them mentally before physically.
Only one of her three current partners is from the lifestyle, but even the ones who aren’t are “completely open and understanding of the things that I need within myself for that.” One is even learning how to tie rope, and sometimes she goes to the clubs with them.
Amber loves that “[the club is a] non-judgemental space. You can literally just walk around and converse with people and be fine, or you can walk around naked and still be fine,” she says. “Nobody’s going to look at you any different either way. It’s just a very accepting space of everything.”
That acceptance, at the club and within the lifestyle in general, is what really draws Amber to this way of life. “When you’re at an event or at a club, you could be sitting there having a conversation with somebody, and somebody could be sitting next to you having sex, and you’ll actually lower your voice so you don’t interrupt their scene and what they’re doing,” she says. “It’s not even a second thought that you’re doing that, because you’re just trying to be courteous of what they’re doing. Most people would be super-distracted by other people having sex and things like that, but I think once you’ve been around it for so long it just becomes a certain level of normality. I just don’t see anything abnormal about that, but then you tell other people who are not from the lifestyle and they’re just blown away.”
Most people outside the lifestyle don’t know about her involvement, not because she’s ashamed of it, but just because most people don’t understand. “I come from a very conservative household… my parents know my standpoints, so it’s more agree-to-disagree, ‘We’re just not going to talk about things because we don’t want to hear what you have to say,’” she says.
But Amber knows there’s not just one set way to do anything. Even in her work, she embraces that ideal. She went to school for cosmetology, and currently works at a barbershop, but also does women’s hair on the side, primarily house calls for close friends and long-standing clients. “I’m a barber and a full cosmetologist. I can do hair, skincare, nails, waxing… I can do everything,” she says. This ability to do everything seems to thread through all aspects of her life.
Amber wishes to break down boundaries of what is an isn’t “normal” within the lifestyle and within her relationships. “My views are not brand new or unlike other people’s,” she says. “It’s very similar to a lot of people in our lifestyle, and I understand that, but it’s just breaking down that normality of monogamy. There’s not only a man and woman for everybody. It doesn’t have to be marriage and white picket fence for everybody. It’s not the 1950’s anymore, that’s not the lifestyle that everybody wants.”