While I have always been in queer relationships—even in the straight world—I haven't always been having queer sex. I played with crossdressing boys, group sex, polyamory, and bondage from an early point in my sex life, and while that was all (generally) fun, it still fit into a predefined notion of what sex was. Even with female-bodied people, sometimes the sex was still very straight, because we were trying to achieve something that looked normal.

But there is nothing hotter than queer sex. There is no insert tab A into slot B. And operating without a manual—pushing boundaries, navigating uncharted waters—is the most exciting thing about it. Though it has taken me a while to break free and find my own brand of kink, these days I'm very happily exploring the world of rope bondage with the girl that I love. Why?

• Girls are hot. Duh. Why do you think creepy dudes have been trying to draw, sculpt, and photograph us naked for centuries? Because we're hot. Girl-on-girl action is hot. And I'm not talking about drunk sorority girls on spring break or the sex in "lesbian" porn with terrifying shots of acrylic nails digging into all the wrong places. I'm talking about raw and honest passion between women. The pure carnal intensity of girls fucking that taps into another world. The knowledge of our bodies that we aren't supposed to have. And there is nothing timid or lacking about having your hand deep inside another person who shares a similar body to yours while she comes so hard you think that your wrist is going to snap.

Even I fall prey to the stereotypes about queer relationships between girls sometimes. Just last week I went to pick up a free box spring (more height! More leverage! More positions!) and had a hilarious and campy moment with the self-identified vegetarian-Unitarian-lesbitarian who generously donated it to us. I was so excited to have something besides a sad mattress in my bedroom that I forgot to bring anything to secure our new acquisition to the car, so she had to generously donate some gardening twine, too. While we were tying the box spring to the roof, she got frustrated by my lack of preparedness and asked my partner and me "what kind of lesbians" we were—and proceeded to show me what a slipknot was. We giggled about it the whole drive home. But the encounter left me wondering how many potlucks and boring political conversations my new box spring has seen. Here's hoping the thing isn't full of lesbian-bed-death juju.

• Ropes are hot. The aesthetics of Japanese rope bondage appeal to my sensibilities as a designer, as well as my OCD tendencies. I can totally geek out on its dedication to maintaining the perfect balance of visual and physical tension. Tying knots, looping the rope so it balances itself, accentuating form with the punctuation of a line—all that is mentally stimulating and thrilling to me. Other forms of restraints haven't provided that extra edge. (Sorry, leather community. I tried. I love the enthusiasm, not the look... though if you made me a custom, cream-colored, gold-studded harness to match my new heels, I wouldn't complain.) When I'm in the ropes, the feeling of being made into an object of beauty and knowing that my partner specifically chose the method and placement of my bind to appeal to her visual desire gets me incredibly wet.

• DIY is hot. Picking up your sex toys at the hardware store feels delightfully devious and liberating. No one is going to wonder why you are picking out lengths of nylon cord or clothesline unless they are privy to the game. It's comparatively cheap, there are many styles and colors to choose from, and you can make it your own. Plus it's always good to have a versatile tool. Not only can you tie a girl up in a variety of ways, you can throw the rope into your car for all your moving and camping needs (would have been handy when picking up that box spring).

• Imagination is hot. I spent around four months in and out of sublets, house-sitting, and couch-crashing last year, and then another seven in an apartment with barely any furniture. Without a bed frame and with most of my stuff in storage, I had to get creative. Ropes and restraints opened up a lot of potential, and soon I couldn't look at objects without considering how much weight and tension they could hold. Door handles, window pulls, drawer knobs, chair legs, railings, and even bicycles should fear me. There is nothing that makes me melt more than tying a girl to her Italian steel frame. That's some serious bike porn.

• Power play is hot. Okay, I admit it—I have control issues (again, I'm a designer). It's hard for me to let go and not try to plan or see ahead. But when you are consensually at the mercy of another person's whims, you have no choice but to follow. It is incredibly liberating. The dialogue of power dynamics between women is especially exciting, because—unlike when men tie up women or women tie up men—there are no ingrained social roles. There's no unconscious cultural privilege to get in the way. Being dominated by another girl is empowering. It may sound strange, but it's true. I am definitely more submissive and I enjoy the luxury of being a bit of a pillow queen, but it wasn't always something I knew how to appreciate. It wasn't until after I got comfortable fucking others, teasing them to a breaking point, experiencing this rush of power and how it made every nerve in my body sharpen, that I was able to understand it.

• Tension is hot. The pinpricking sensation of rope pulled taut against the skin. Your arms tied together behind you, your body bent at the waist, your knees buckling as you get fucked so hard you can't hold yourself up—counterbalanced by your partner's support. Letting go and letting yourself sink deeper into it, rocking on your heels. Your body simultaneously straining against the pressure of the restraints and releasing into orgasm. The extra wave of sensation after being released and the awkward rush of blood to your freed limbs. Feeling the phantom hold of the bind for days after. Admiring the marks and pressing the bruises from your lover's bites to remind you of the adrenaline and endorphin rushes that pulsed through you. You can't tell me that's not hot.

• Trust and love are hot. It may not be everyone's thing, but it's definitely mine. recommended