We at CUFSmaine feel that everybody in the scene, from the rawest newbie to the most experienced pervert, can learn something from the many excellent reference and non-fiction works now available.  We also feel that, for people new to the scene, it is VITAL that they read one or more of the reference works discussed below.

        The first book that any person in the scene should read is The Gift of Fear, and Other Survival Signals that Protect us from Violence.  We explain why in the review, below.  After that, we recommend that you read several of the reference works below.  Each has its own viewpoint, and each has something unique to give.

 

 


Bondage, An Anthology of Passionate Restraint

Masquerade Books, 1998

        I flipped open this big volume at Borders and took all of 30 seconds to decide to buy it. The book contains work of my favorite authors and some I'd never read before. There are a couple of short how-to pieces in the beginning. From John Warren's "Loving Dominant" and Pat Califia's "Sensuous Magic" to help guide beginners and to remind the more practiced among us of safety concerns and issues. I rather like Califia's "Nine Types of Bondage Scenes" because she deals with the physiological aspects of placing ropes and chains on another human. Warren's short concise directions for tying knots and some easy positions to put a submissive were a good choice to include as an opener. It is odd that Masquerade chose to use a pair of steel hand-cuffs
on the cover though, because both Warren and Califia warn against their use because of possible nerve damage to the wrist and hands.

        On to the good stuff! And good it is, whoever picked the excerpts of novels to include in this book did an excellent job. "Richard's Correction" is from my all time favorite Victorian erotica, "The English Governess." Oh poor Richard suffers for the sin of not being able to keep his hands off himself. The vision of his governess, caped and cowled appearing in his room bearing the instrument of correction sends the poor boy into delightful terror. "The Parlor" by N.T. Morely is a good one for those that like their BDSM erotica descriptive and intense. "Kathi's First Time" by Grant Andrews is going to have me looking for the book it was taken from, "Legacies," the next time I'm in front of the erotica section at the book store.

        In fact, this lengthy tome, 571 pages, is going to put quite a few books on my list of books and authors I have to read. It is an intriguing way to make picking and choosing future books and
authors a little easier. It isn't all new, but it is all currently available. Don't pass this one up it is well worth the $10.95 price tag.

Review by Eidilon


BONDAGE ON A BUDGET
The Ultimate Guide To Low Cost Lust

by Alison Tyler & Dante Davidson
Publisher: Masquerade Press, 1977

        This is a big fat book for $6.95, chock full of ideas for good cheap fun. It's an interesting set-up, alphabetical, with each entry having its own short, hot erotic tale. We're talking ace bandages, "Wrapping it up in Public" to zucchinis, "Recipe for Romance." Tips and safety notes are included at the end of many of the stories. There are a lot of persuasions included, the table of contents is coded for easy identification. But, you're going to end up reading every entry after you've skimmed a few.

        I like stories written from the viewpoint of the top, and this collection has a few. Ace Bandages is one, once the blindfold goes on, the real fun begins. Under C, we find Candles, with a story titled, "Come on Baby." This is a hot one, from the top's view. A woman who swears she would never stoop to masturbation, well she does. Of course, candles, (that's right, plural) come into play. Under Y we find, Your hand. Now that doesn't cost a thing! The story is "The Masterpiece." A gay Dom meets his new work of art. Gay or hetero, this is a great description of the anticipation, surging lust, and pure delight Doms experience during those all important first acts of submission.

        I can't leave without mentioning another couple. Under C, Clothespins, is a juicy story of painful performance art. Under F we've got Flashlight, and the story "Pervert." A sexy, nasty look at some very intimate voyeurism.

        There's really something for every frugal Maine Cuffer in here, pick it up the next time your at the bookstore.

Review by Eidilon


The Bottoming Book, Or How To Get Terrible Things Done To You By Wonderful People

By Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Lizst, Illustrated by Fish
Published by Greenery Press, 1995.

        This book, and it's companion volume "The Topping Book, or Getting Good At Being Bad" are clearly written and concise examinations of what it is like, what it means and how to do it.  The authors are knowledgeable and expressive, using a wealth of personal examples to illustrate their dialog. 

        The books do not delve deeply into technique, but rather rely on a psychological and social examination of the quintessential BDSM roles, spiced with a lot of good advice and insight into scene etiquette and behavior.  There are also good doses of scene safety and common sense.  The illustrations are humorous, graphic, irreverent and possibly shocking, but help in setting the light, yet informative, tone of the books. 

        The Topping Book contains a short but excellent resource list.

Review by LesVoiles


The Compleat Spanker

Lady Green
Greenery Press, 1996

This is another of those slim volumes that cover one specific area of BDSM play, and despite its small size, it contains a wealth of knowledge. Subjects covered are not just the act of spanking, but of the psychology behind the desire to be spanked, various implements, aftercare, resources, and everything else the reader needs to know on the subject. In addition, the book explains bruise care, safety issues, implement selection, and most of the pitfalls that could trap the novice spanker.

The author's style is simple and concise. The book is very readable, leaving to the reader only the "hands on" experimentation in technique to complete his or her education. I highly recommend it.

Review by LesVoiles


Different Loving
The World of Sexual Dominance and Submission

Gloria G. Brame, William D. Brame, Jon Jacobs
Villiard Books

Different Loving is a broad, careful, and unbiased examination of BDSm. While there is no �how to� information here, the psychological insight and the voices of scene participants that the authors bring to bear on the subject makes it invaluable. 

The text is broken down point by point, including chapters on everything from �head-trips and power� to bondage, spanking, body modification, even enemas and golden showers. Each chapter is a careful examination of an important aspect of our lifestyle, with objective descriptions interspersed liberally with quotes, followed by more lengthy interviews from more than 100 scene members. 

There are no judgments made here, only carefully researched facts juxtaposed with the heartfelt words of people who live those facts. The people interviewed speak of their motivations, their feelings, and their experiences. Their voices, never clearly heard before this book, tell us of the lives that so many have lived underground for so long. For us in the scene, their bared souls speak to our humanity, to our normalcy as functional human beings, and to our place in society

In clearly revealing the reality of BDSM, this book helps break the barrier of objectification that people who follow alternative sexual lifestyles. For those of us in the scene, it helps us understand ourselves. In this book, we recognize ourselves, and are validated as human beings. We learn of many aspects of our lifestyle, and what it is like to practice them. It is both a useful reference and a mirror into ourselves.

Review by LesVoiles


Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices

by Brenda Love
Published by: Barricade Books, Inc., Fort Lee, New Jersey 1992

        I've read and re-read this book since it came into my possession in an accidental kind of way a few years ago. I don't think I would have coughed up the full $28.00 price but I'm glad I have this encyclopedic tome.

        It goes from abduction to zoophilia, a six page entry dealing with sex with, you guessed it, animals. How about insect torture -makes you think of Maine's blackflies on a D\s camping trip huh?

        The book is written with a kind of pseudo-scientific dryness that makes it an easy read, it is chock-full of sex info and really well done line drawings. Each entry is cross-referenced and you may find yourself tracking down things you've never really thought of as sexual. Bee stings, beds of nails and bell dancing, or how about dacryphilia, dysmorphophilia and doraphilia, there's lots out there that turns people on.

        In addition to the entries the book is indexed, has a glossary, bibliography and is very concerned with safe sex. If you ever come across it in a used bookstore buy it, or buy it for your special partner, you're sure to find something, shall we say, useful in it.

Review by Eidilon


Erotic Power, An Exploration of Dominance and Submission

by Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D

        Have you ever wondered why? I know you have. Why do you like to submit? Why does she like to dominate? A good place to find out is Erotic Power, An Exploration of Dominance and Submission by Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D. Written in the early eighties, and recently re-released, the book is one that should be on your D&S bookshelf if you're of the Fem Dom persuasion, from the top or bottom. T here is plenty of good information here about personal long time or casual relationships, an overview of the semi-public D&S scene coming to life in the early 1980's, the professional dominant is discussed, along with a good section on psychological aspects of erotic power. All presented in an easily read, positive style. Ms. Graham became a "participant observer" in the West Coast scene for two years to research the book. Interested in establishing a 24\7 relationship? The pitfalls, problems, as well as testimonials are in there. Do you suspect your sub partner is topping from the bottom? Part II, D&S Relationships has an extensive section on power struggles and manipulative subs.

        Part IV, The Psychological Dynamics of D&S, is a section I have re-read a lot over my years of erotic writing -when I feel myself slipping into a mechanistic recounting of experiences. It explores what goes on inside a power exchange relationship from the meaning and use of power, through the psychology of pain, all the way to the dark side of D&S. Like the rest of the book, Ms. Graham maintains a balance of information and erotic interest by quotes from dominants, submissives, and even a few first person tales of scenes and events. In other words, you'll be sure to get some tingling in your tingler when you read this book. Is there anything worse than a book about something that can be so deliciously nasty than a dry recitation of facts and figures? You don't have to worry about that here.

        The book's problem? Well, I think it arises from it's time, the early eighties, the beginning of public D&S. I've never come across such a group of whining subs not able to find "exactly" what they want in a Mistress, rather than striving to serve the needs of the dominant they had. Lots of behavior I don't think a Mistress of the nineties would put up with for a minute. Cruise around the Fem Dom sites on the web and you'll see what I mean. It would be interesting to see how many of the "submissive males" quoted and described in the book are still active in the scene.

Review by Eidilon


Family Jewels
A Guide to Male Genital Play and Torment

by Hardy Haberman
Published by Greenery Press

    This excellent book is an educated, careful and comprehensive "how to" manual, exposing the pleasures and pitfalls of male genital play (and torture!). As the proud owner of a set of male genitals (and as a person with no personal experience in this type of play), I found this book fascinating.

    The book begins with a medical analysis of male genitalia, and then moves on to tools and methods, exposing both the pleasures and the risks of playing with these exceptionally sensitive organs. It finishes with a number of detailed (and HOT) scenes. Even I, who had never dreamed of either subjecting myself to, or attempting, cock and ball play, found myself inspired! I firmly believe that anybody who wants to play with areas as sensitive and important as the genitals owes their partner a complete reading of the medical analyses and other "educational"  material in the book. I wouldn't let anybody too impatient to read those few pages play with my genitals!!!

    My one (minor!) caveat is that I would have wished a stronger caution attached to the description of electrical play. I feel that no discussion of violet wands is complete without mention of the wand's ability to inflict "delayed action" burns that do not show up until the next day and can take weeks to heal. I know of several players who have received a nasty surprise the day after a seemingly moderate session.

    Greenery is now issuing Joseph W. Bean's equally good work on flogging, along with two books I have not had the pleasure of reviewing, A.H. Dion's The Stap-On Book and Lady Green's The Compleat Spanker in similar covers and formats. I hope that these books will form the basis for an expanding series of targeted, in depth, treatments of specific sexuality subjects.

Review by LesVoiles


Flogging

By Joseph W. Bean
Greenery Press, 2000

This book is all about the details. It is the most complete and in-depth analysis of all the aspects of our favorite activity I have ever seen. It treats the subject with precision and care, covering not just the flogging itself, but everything that makes a great flogging scene happen: discussing finding the right partner, the right position, the right flogger, and even how to care for both the flogger and the bottom afterwards. The book also includes four lengthy (and excellent) scene examples.

Ironically, my only complaint with this book is that I had hoped for more on the strokes themselves. As a Dom and flogging enthusiast, I had hoped to learn something exotic, something unusual and special, but as to the flogging itself, the book sticks to the basics. There is a great deal of use here for the beginner, but I found little to spark the interest of the experienced scene player, unless that person has missed out on safety, negotiation or common sense.

The book is available directly from Greenery Press, and can be special-ordered at most bookstores for $11.95, but can be found online at amazon.com for $9.56. If you are a beginner, or a slightly experienced scene player interested in flogging, this book is a must.

Review by LesVoiles


The Gift of Fear, and Other Survival Signals that Protect us from Violence

By Gavin De Becker
Published by Dell, 1997

        This book could be the single most important volume that any person in the scene ever reads.  Why?  Because it is a wake-up call to those of us who feel that we are safe.  It reminds us that there are predators in this world, and that some of those people may be targeting us ... yes you.

        De Becker analyzes the warning signs that signal that a person is a predator.  Perhaps that pushy Dom you met online who won't go away, perhaps that person you met at a club who is so anxious for you to play at his place ... tonight.  He gives examples of how these people approach their would-be victims.  The everyday nature of these interactions is terrifying, as we recognize patterns that we, or our friends, have experienced.

        He also demonstrates that we already know these danger signs and, that if we listen to our feelings and fears at the appropriate times, that it can save our lives.  He reminds us that, however desperate we are to meet the Dom/sub of our dreams, we cannot let down our guard until we have determined that our dream date is not a rapist, or worse, a murderer.

       Those of us in the scene are especially vulnerable to predators because we are out looking for partners.  Not only that, we invite behavior that often mimics that of the criminal or predator.  For many of us, our fantasies involve letting our guards down, being helpless for another, even a stranger.   Is that stranger going to be the partner of your dreams, or will he rape you?   How do you tell the difference?  Read this book.  Then read our Safety Page.   Then follow that advice. 

Review by LesVoiles


Health Care Without Shame

Charles Moser, PH.D., M.D.
Greenery Press

Ren and I knew a woman whose clitoral hood piercing was pulled out accidentally. She was so afraid of the medical system that she showed up at a local BDSM club, bleeding, looking for medical care. She refused to go to the hospital under any circumstances. I won't go into details, but probably as a result of refusing medical attention, after an unnecessarily long convalescence, she healed with a split clitoral hood.

That was a minor injury, but people in the scene have been known to risk permanent injury or death because they are afraid of the medical system. This book is Dr. Moser's attempt to give alternative lifestylers the ability to access the health care system, and contains a guide for health practitioners to help them deal with alternative lifestylers and an extensive resource list.

For the alternative lifestyle practitioner, it lists your rights as a patient, tells you what questions to ask a prospective doctor, and what to do about his/her answers. Most important, it tells you how to approach the system so that you get the healthcare you are entitled to.

Much of the instruction in the book is daunting, especially if you are closeted. It is difficult to come out to a physician, but sometimes you have to or you risk your health or your life. The book tells you how to give yourself the best chance that the physician will respond with "are you safe, sane and consensual?" instead of "you are mentally ill."

For the physician or medical practitioner, this book gives valuable information on how to make your diverse cliental feel comfortable within your office, and how to ask questions that will give you the answers needed for proper treatment without causing insult or stress.

Unless you already have a kink-friendly Doctor, this book would be a good investment. Even if you do, the explanation of how the HMO system works, and how to work with it, is priceless information. In fact, as the cover blurb suggests, I would highly recommend that you purchase a copy for your physician.

Review by LesVoiles


Internet Slavemaster

By John Glatt
Published by: St. Martins 2001

After reviewing the book 'Perfect Victim' last year, here I go again writing another book report about a real-life predator. I wonder why God created sociopaths, psychopaths, and other dangerous people with criminal minds who live among us in society. These stone-cold, anti-social personality type people exist without conscience, guilt, feelings, or remorse for their suffering victims. They care only about themselves and live out there waiting for their next opportunity. What better reason for using safety precautions when meeting potential partners in the BDSM lifestyle!

John Edward Robinson was such a person, someone very dangerous with two distinct sides to him. He was a grandfather in his mid-50�s from rural Kansas. He was an Eagle Scout, entrepreneur, and devoted church-going family man who even played Santa for the neighborhood children. He was honored as �Man of the Year� at a Kansas City charity. Posing as a wealthy, benevolent businessman, he promised some women job offers with money and world travel.

Too bad his victims didn't know in advance that he was also a habitual liar, career con artist, embezzler, convicted felon who served prison time, and a grisly serial killer linked to the disappearance of numerous women. In the summer of 2000, the decomposed remains of two women were discovered in barrels on Robinson�s farm, and three other bodies were found in storage units he rented. At least three other women he met are still missing.

His involvement in BDSM is most interesting. Robinson used his charm, charisma, and intelligence to entice subs/slaves searching for their Master. He preyed in cyberspace on those who feel that inner need to submit, surrender, serve, and live out kinky fantasies they've had throughout their lives. Though unremarkable in his physical appearance, he was good at playing the role of Master, being self-assured, challenging, demanding, and controlling. But in truth he was a master of manipulation and deception.

Luring and seducing women seemed to become a full-time job for Robinson. He spent hours everyday prowling BDSM websites and chat rooms. No one will ever know just how many women he met online. Investigators believe it was in the hundreds. A fertile ground to do his search for victims! One woman he disciplined without murdering reported he used extremely rough punishment such as bludgeoning, slapping and choking to the point of almost passing out. She barely survived their session and still feels traumatized.

This book is well written and compelling reading. The one shortfall is it was printed before the recent courtroom verdict came down, so you need to do a search on the Internet to see what happened. It's just a shame that cases like this give our beloved BDSM lifestyle a bad name and perpetuates the mistaken beliefs some others out there have about kink.

Review by Greg


Juice - Electricity for Pleasure and Pain

"Uncle Abdul"
Available from Diversified Services

Despite the popularity of "mild" toys like violet wands and TENS units, electrical play is edge play and can be very dangerous. As with any edge play, education before play is A MUST. Juice is the only book dedicated to electrical play that I have found. It is a deliberate, careful treatise on the subject. I think that people serious about exploring electrical play should read it, as it contains much information I've seen nowhere else. It is, however a difficult read.

The author is apparently an engineer and it shows. Parts of the book are technical and difficult to follow. The basic information is there, especially the terrific chapter summarizing the various toys and their limitations, but the background information is presented as a sophisticated discourse on the various ways the body can be symbolized as an electrical circuit. The author's reason for this sophistication, that you can't truly play safely if you don't understand all the underlying physiology and electrical theory involved, is generally valid. The reader should stick with the book, but it can be a trying experience.

Second, a number of the illustrations are illegible. It appears that the book was to be published by a well known alternative publishing house, but that the process was dropped after a preliminary draft of the book was typeset; thus, the unfinished illustrations and unreliable index. This is not an insurmountable problem by any means, but it does make for aggravation.

Third, while I have no experience with "heavy duty" electrical play such as telephone magnetos, cattle prods and tasers, my experience with "lighter" toys like violet wands and electric bug zappers tells me that the author is a heavy player who can underestimate the impact of the "lighter" toys. I've seen burns delivered quickly by a violet wand, for example, a toy that in my experience can easily exceed the "mild and sometimes pleasant" description it gets in the book. The warning about burns is present, but only for "prolonged, continuous exposure � to the same area of skin." I've seen burns from a violet wand that didn't show up until the next day, giving no warning to the players, but causing marks that lasted for weeks.

The author certainly does not underestimate the impact of the more "heavy duty" toys. His warnings are graphic and explicit. He includes several tasty scenarios illustrating their safe use.

In general, I would say that anyone interested in shelling out the big bucks for electrical toys should read this book and learn how to use them. I just wish the author had done one more revision on his manuscript before publishing it. He has a great sense of humor, but the book may go over the heads of some of his audience. As always, but in this case more than most, careful experimentation is an absolute requirement before diving deeply into this type of edge play.

Review by LesVoiles


Kink: The Shocking Hidden Sex Lives of Americans

by Susan Crain Bakos
Published by St. Martin's Press

        Being a student of Psychology, especially concerning alternative lifestyles, I was intrigued and thrilled when I discovered this book in the local Bookland. The author, Susan Crain Bakos, is a self titled "Superlady of Sex", having written sex advice columns for Penthouse Forum and Letters and Cosmopolitan, as well as her own books What Men Really Want and Sexual Pleasures.

        Crain Bakos starts out trying to explain the ins and outs of BDSM and other alternative lifestyles with an open mind, but anything past what she terms 'tie and tease' is, in her educated (?) opinion, sick and disturbing, and she makes no bones about it. Even during her interviews with members of the BDSM community, she ridicules their comments and seems to not really be listening as they explain, in detail, the joys, rules, and safety involved in our type of loving.

        Her interviews start out in the right direction, but as the important questions are being answered and we are starting to get into the psyche of the BDSM individual, she interlaces the interview with her own private thoughts. I am interested in hearing how John Doe discovered his S/m interests...I am NOT interested in Bakos comment, while staring at John Doe's hands, that "I can imagine them caressing my breasts, parting my thighs." She is obsessed with her subject's hair, dress, and number of partners.....but not their insight into their own sexuality. The only person's sexuality we learn about in this book is Crain Bakos's....who cannot stop talking about her past conquests, her own sexual appetite, and what she would like her interview subjects to do to her.

        My opinion? Save your $6.99 and go see "Titanic" again. Leonardo looks good in handcuffs.   :)

Review by Mistress Ren


KinkyCrafts, 99 Do-It-Yourself S/M Toys for the Kinky Handyperson

Edited by Lady Green
Published by Greenery Press, $15.95

        This paperback volume is a good introduction for those with little money in need of toys. The selection of projects ranges from simple slappers which can be cut out and used to complex bondage benches which require carpentry skills and power tools. The various ideas have been compiled from various scene players, and have been tested for effectiveness.

        Many of the projects use basic supplies like skirt hangers (for clips) and inner tubes (for whips). A lot of the projects won't be fancy or pretty, but they will do the job.

        The book makes no attempt to teach skills, but assumes that the reader has the skill level to make each project. Thus, the directions are often terse and, if you are not experienced in the requisite area, can be confusing. The illustrations are primitive and not always helpful.

        Given these limitations, the book is a font of ideas, and many of the techniques used to make various toys can be used to make others. There is some basic leatherworking advice, along with good safety concepts and descriptions on how to mount gear to walls and ceilings.

        This volume has found a home in our library, and, if you are at least a little handy, and short of cash, it will serve you well.

Review by LesVoiles


La Laisse, A Common Sense Approach To Dominance and Submission

By: Soduire
Published by: La Maison du Raison, 1422 E. Lincoln Ave. Orange, California, 92865.
Published in 1999

        This book is an impressive compilation of just about everything anyone would want to know before wading into the waters of a D\s relationship. It attacks the emotional as well technical content of a successful relationship between people interested in exploring the intensity of a BDSM lifestyle.

        The European aspects of La Laisse grabbed me right away. A submissive is a Charge, someone who is cherished and cared for by a Master or Mistress, generally treated as a "lady" or "gentleman" in public. Far different from the treatment of submissives as seen by many of us in chat rooms, BDSM sites on the internet, play parties or clubs. The use of the term Charge gives a more respectful, caring element to the whole relationship.

        The chapter on sexual service is sure to be flipped to first by many readers, it's tasty. The book is illustrated with simple black and white photos used to illustrate positions and toys. Ahh, the posture of sexual offering, one all submissives should become adept at.

        Safety is stressed throughout, but not in a deadening way. The book stresses a gentle but firm style of a BDSM lifestyle practitioner who knows what she is talking about. It is all about how she lives, and she goes through life with plenty of style.

        Anyone living with a Master or Mistress who decides to adapt and adopt the ideas presented by Soduire is sure to enjoy the freedom to be who and what they are. Trust will grow, and they will come
to understand that they will not come to harm either physically or mentally so submission can be total.

        This is a keeper, a volume you'll return to over and over because it is packed with juicy, sexy, hot bdsm information that we all need to know.

Review by Eidilon


Learning the Ropes: A basic Guide To Safe And Fun S/M Lovemaking

by Race Bannon
Published by: Daedalus Publishing Company, 1992

        This concise volume is an excellent overview of the BDSM scene.  It explains our world, how we fit into it, and what we do in a short, easy to read format.  It covers the essentials from a common-sense and experienced point of view.  It touches a wide variety of topics with enough depth to give a new BDSMer a good safe background.  For more detail, however, the reader will have to look elsewhere. 

        I recommend this volume as a first introduction to BDSM to anybody who is curious, or just beginning to get into the scene.   It's accessibility is a great asset, as is the author's no-nonsense and good humored approach to his subject.

Review by LesVoiles


Leather and Latex Care

Kelly J. Thibault
Daedalus Publishing Company, 1996

One thing that all of us in the scene have noticed is that leather and latex is expensive! Most people save long and hard for that leather dress or that latex top. Not only that, but the skimpiest fashions often seem to be the most expensive. I had the same uncomfortable feeling paying $10.95 for a 63 page book on leather and latex care.

However, just as that expensive garment can make your look, this book can save your pocketbook. The author not only lays our basic and advanced care techniques in a clear and concise format, but warns the reader of a number of things that can destroy your beautiful leathers and leave your latex clothing literally a puddle on your closet floor.

If you are willing to fork over the bucks for your dream dress then you should be willing to fork over the bucks for this little book. After all, how many times more than the price of the book would a new dress cost? Besides, the author's description of the history and manufacturing processes involved in latex and leather manufacture is interesting reading by itself.

Review by LesVoiles


The Loving Dominant

By John Warren, Ph. D.
Published by Greenery Press, 2000

        This is one of the best reference works on the scene.  John Warren (Mentor) has a huge amount of scene experience and is able to relate both the psychological and physical aspects of the scene.  The particular strengths of this book are in its breadth and depth.  It has lots of good advice on etiquette, and is particularly excellent in its advice on techniques and how-to.  It is detailed and precise, illustrated with ample examples of the author's personal experience.  The author has also included a helpful glossary and list of scene resources.

Review by LesVoiles


Perfect Victim

By Christine McGuire and Carla Norton
Published by: Dell Publishing 1988

This book tells of an incredible true story, as written by the district attorney who prosecuted the crime.

In 1977, twenty-year-old Colleen Stan was hitchhiking in California, when a married couple that offered her a ride kidnapped her. For the next seven years she was turned into a bondage sex slave who existed for the husband�s sadistic enjoyment. The book does a good job of describing her hellish ordeal and brainwashing, and also the subsequent courtroom trial.

We in the BDSM community live by the motto �safe, sane, and consensual.� The abuses Colleen was forced to endure for years were �unsafe, insane, and totally non-consensual.� She knew nothing about kinky lifestyles or why this was even happening to her.

Examples of her abuse included being chained down onto a rack in his cellar and forced to wear a heavy wooden box around her whole head twenty-three hours a day for over five months to mentally break her. Later on she was held captive in a coffin-like box under the couple's waterbed. She never was allowed to remove her blindfold for half a year and never got outside the kidnapper's house for a full year. She was often hung from the ceiling by leather cuffs that painfully cut into her wrists. Colleen was regularly raped, whipped, tortured, punished, and ordered to work and turn over her paychecks to the kidnapper. She was lied to constantly about a network of slave traders who would track her down and crucify her, plus kill her family if she tried to escape, which she truly believed.

Well, you get the idea. It makes �The Story of O� look like a children�s fairytale. One thing this book serves to remind us is that there are real predators out there in our society, who not only make their unfortunate victims suffer, but give the BDSM lifestyle a bad name for the rest of us who live it and enjoy it.

This book is very fascinating reading for a price of $6.99.

Review by Greg


Re\Search, Modern Primitives
An Investigation of Contemporary Adornment & Ritual

Published by: Re\Search Publications, San Francisco, CA

This is an old gold book. Published in 1989 it somehow manages to stay in an active pile of books in my office space. It did disappear for a year or so once, took off with my son to an apartment in Dover-Foxcroft where I understand it was a big hit as a coffee table book.

It's easy to see why, it's a compilation of interviews and photos of tattoo artists, piercers, and modern shamans and their subjects. There are some pierced body parts in here that are simply amazing. The tattoo art depicted in black and white photos is stunning. Tattoo history is taken up in a few of the interviews, reaching back to primitive tribes in New Zealand.

The opening interview with Fakir Musafar is worth the price of the book itself. He details an interest in body modification that reaches back to his childhood. That man has tried it all. There is also a wealth of safety info in there too.

I've read a couple of bad reviews of this book over the years, and I'm not sure why. I have found it to be entertaining and informative. Maybe because some have held it up as a "bible" of the early modern movement of tattoo and piercing, but hell, lots of folks take themselves too seriously sometimes - writers and reviewers.

Try the Internet to find a copy, there are some great used book search sites out there. I'm not sure if it's still available in the big box book stores. It's worth a look if you are at all interested in body modification.

Review by Eidilon


Ritual Sex

Publisher: Masquerade Books (1996)
Editors: Tristan Taormino & David Aaron Clark

        This book, is quite a tome, an excellent study of how sex, religion, and power intertwine. The editors have chosen everything from fiction to non-fiction to explore spirituality and sexuality. A connection denied by many western religions, and if it's not flat out denied, then they sure as hell do like to control our libidos now don't they?

        But, I've always wondered about the connection between the ecstasy of religious devotions and intense sexuality and let me tell you, this book certainly backs up the suspicions I've carried around all these years that they are closely connected indeed.

        Pat Califia opens the Sacred Blood section of the book with an essay on leather-sex and Goddess centered paganism. She describes exactly how to do a cutting and how not to do a cutting. Her analysis of the power of blood letting and scarring is well thought out and presented.

        There's plenty of hot writing here too. Revelation by Tom Caffery is a hot, hot, hot tale of a priest who gets his faith renewed by a mysterious church goer.

        Radical Rite an essay by Guy Baldwin details many similarities between Catholicism and modern BDSM rituals. The major difference between the two is simple, BDSM is much more democratic than
catholic ritual.

        Ritual Sex is a good read, and will certainly make you examine your own BDSM roots with a different perspective. The book also backs up one of my own, wacky, tongue in cheek ideas I've had for years. Why don't we make BDSM a religion? It certainly has many of the trappings already and then we would have a first amendment argument when a stodgy town council tries to rain on our parade by closing down a club\church. The book is available at all the big bookstores and from Amazon.com

Review by Eidilon


Safe, Sane, Consensual and Fun

By John Warren
Published By Diversified Services, Boston Mass.

Wondering how to introduce your lover to your foot fetish without her cringing? Trying to figure out a way to 'spice up' your BDSM play? Looking for just a bit of inspiration? This book will get your imagination running.

John Warren - 'Mentor' to those of us who know him from the Boston Scene - author of the 'Loving Dominant,' has been a busy guy in the BDSM literary world. Safe, Sane, Consensual and Fun, one of his earlier works (published in 1995), is a book few folks know about but should definitely check out if they are new to BDSM and looking for some scene ideas.

This slim, easy-to-read-in-a-couple-of-hours book is broken down into a brief but informative introduction section, 14 vignettes to get your imagination and mojo moving, and a short appendix that gives quick but in depth safety instructions for using risky items, such as handcuffs and enemas.

Each vignette covers a specific scene�everything from spanking and fantasy to self-bondage and gender transformation. A complete list of toys and materials needed to pull off the scene is listed prior to each story. The features that make this book so different and beneficial are the 'footnotes' that explain safety concerns as well as offer helpful hints for improving your kinky skills. While Warren's sex writing style is reminiscent of that found in the average steamy romance novel, the dialog between characters is so realistic you almost think he was hiding in your closet one night jotting down you and your partner's conversations. The insightful footnotes are pure BDSM knowledge and experience. He's not called 'Mentor' for nothing.

Most importantly, the stories touch on the internal conflicts most people have when submitting or introducing a partner to the world of BDSM play. Warren describes well the reservations each partner may have regarding their desire and reactions, but as quickly as he brings up the doubts, he also offers assurances and ideas for soothing the other partner and opening their minds to further exploration.

Of course, the book won't solve everyone's fetish frustrations with his or her partner, but it can offer hope to those who just haven't known where to start.

Safe, Sane, Consensual and Fun is available through Amazon.com for a respectable price of $11.95 and Diversified Services (P.O. Box 35737, Brighton, MA., 02135) for the same.

Review by Mistress Ren


Savage Love

A Weekly Sex Advice Column by Dan Savage

I'm a creature of habit, and every week - every Thursday, in fact - I sign on to The Stranger Online for my weekly dose of Dan Savage - sex advice columnist extraordinaire.

Dan is not your usual advice columnist....he's acerbic, straightforward, and unabashedly to the point.  He could make Dear Abby faint and bring stunned silence to even Dr. Phil.  Dan is queer, and he's here...and if you didn't notice him arrive, once you read his column, you'll never forget him!

What makes Dan such a great advice columnist?  First and foremost, he's human.....he's done the same stupid things that anyone with sexual organs and half a mind has done, and he shares his sexual misadventures with his readers.  Secondly, he gives advice in a very NON politically correct manner.....if he thinks you're a twit, he lets you know in no uncertain terms.  He's not afraid to say what he - and we - are thinking....in plain common cussing-like-a-sailor English, and it's all part of his brash charm.  Nobody is safe from Dan's musings and rants...his readers, his friends, his partners, or his dear old mother.

Aside from Dan's 'tell it as it is even if you freaking don't want to hear it' style, the weekly fun continues with his readers, who have made a game of coming up with perverted acronyms to describe their sexual woes.  This week's offerings come from:  'Waiting Around, Needing Krack' (WANK), a young man whose girlfriend refuses him sex but objects to his masturbating....and 'Have A Rather Difficult and Unpleasant Predicament' (HARDUP), who only gets laid once a year.  :)

Dan isn't for the faint of heart or easily offended, but if you get a guilty thrill out of watching Dr. Phil, you'll positively orgasm from reading Dan.  :)~

http://www.thestranger.com/current/savage.html

Review by Ren


Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns
The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism

By: Philip Miller & Molly Devon
Publisher: Mystic Rose Books, 1995

        This well-known large format reference work is one of our favorites, and comes highly recommended. It is an informative and entertaining book, with much to interest the beginner and the experienced pervert. Filled with pictures, cartoons and examples, it explores the different facets of our lifestyle, both mental and physical. It gives simple and accurate instructions on how to meet partners, negotiate scenes, establish safety procedures and how to set limits. It also contains sections on making your own toys, furnishing your dungeon, a complete glossary of BDSM terms, and a world-wide resource guide.

        It is written with a sense of humor, and in a familiar and easy-going style. Philip and Molly make the reader comfortable with their reassuring discussions on delicate subjects. They don't take themselves too seriously, but as players in the Scene for over 20 years, their seriousness is evident in their writing. They pass on their sound knowledge with comforting sureness.

        We highly recommend this volume to anyone with curiosity about the BDSM lifestyle, or with a need for solid information to assist with their play.

        This book can be purchased twice a year at the Fetish Flea Market in Boston, or by contacting Mystic Rose Books, P.O. Box 1036/SMS, Fairfield, CT 06432. It is also available in most bookstores by special order.

Review by LesVoiles


Sensual Magic, A Guide For Adventurous Couples

by Pat Califia
Published by Masquerade Press

        I've got a book that's well thumbed, a little tattered around the edges, it gets used for writing, it gets used when there are questions that need to be answered, and perhaps most of all -poured over when we embark on another step along the D\s journey, when it's time to stretch limits and try something new. If we want to do it right, Pat Califia will tell us how in the bible, Sensual Magic, A Guide For Adventurous Couples. A Richard Kasak Book published by Masquerade Press in 1993.

        If you don't have any other book about the why, how and where of BDSM you should have this one. It starts with myths, motives, and demystification in the first chapter through corporal punishment, corporeal reward in chapter five, all the way to penetrating insights concerning vanilla sex and s/m. This chapter includes one of the best how to descriptions of fisting I've come across. For this incredibly intimate act to be successful, or any other act a D\s couple might want to experience communication is the key as far as Califia is concerned. And she's right. There is a great glossary and a good list of suggested reads from the academic to the raunchy.

        It's going to cost you a 13-dollar bill and is available at bookstores and in catalogs, it's been through several reprints. Go ahead and buy it for the one you are dying to have dominate you or submit to you. If it doesn't get them moving in the right direction probably nothing will.

Review by Eidilon

 


 

SEX

By: Harry Maurer
Publisher: Penguin Books

        Have you ever wondered about your neighbor's love life? It's probably included in this intriguing volume of oral history. The subtitle of the book isn't lying: Real People Talk About What They Really Do. Fifty-two interviews, from "Wealth to working class." In depth sexual and emotional revelations from everyday people, all starting with the simple question: "What is sex like for you?" This book is a must read for the intellectual voyeur.

        I enjoyed this book years ago, and it came to mind after attending a few Munches and taking a couple of enjoyable and very educational trips to Boston, for the Flea and Restraints. Our community could be a mirror image of the folks interviewed in Maurer's book. We're all part of this slice of American apple pie.

        The categories are interesting. Opening with Awakenings, first time sex and an intriguing interview with a 68-year-old woman who is "...reveling in her sexuality" after leaving a 48-year marriage." The book closes with Being There, "Six people happy with their sex lives." There are lots of alternate folks included and it's a hot book. But my guess is that you will get more out of it than a couple of one handed sessions, and it will provide those. I'd like to watch this guy interview, somehow he gets people to open themselves up. Subjects are introduced with a superbly crafted background sketch so you know the person before heading into their sexual psyches.

        Professionals get a section. Included are porn stars both male and female. But one that has stayed with me over the years is from this category. Claudia Mercurio, (not a real name) a Boston call girl who thoughtfully enjoyed her work -for the most part. Here is a woman who "...knew at the age of eleven I was going to be a whore." It's in her diaries. Her plan was to get out of the business because sexually transmitted disease worried her, plus she was tired of trying to explain herself to friends. Four years later and I still wonder if she did stop turning tricks every time I go to Boston, even though her location is not Boston, all real names and places are altered.

        Sex is a hefty $13.00 dollar book, you won't find too many copies at the used bookstore so check out the real bookstores or find it on-line. It's worth the effort.

Review by Eidilon


Sex Disasters and How To Survive Them

Charles Moser, PH.D., M.D., & Janet W. Hardy
Greenery Press

What do you do if you can't get a cock ring off? What if you are fisting someone and you can't get your fist out? What if the cops come to your sex party?

You guessed it! This is the source for the answers to this and about 50 more IMPORTANT questions. Not only are the authors some of the foremost authorities on these subjects, but they took the advice of leading experts in a number of fields to come up with short, to the point, accurate, and often hilarious, answers. 

The book also contains the best instructions for putting on condoms, genital shaving, cleaning sex toys, and talking about sex problems with your doctor that I've ever seen. I've been using (and hating) condoms for long time, and even I learned a couple of things. A men's guide to menstruation and a women's guide to male sexual response are also included.

Finally, this book has been written with a wonderful sense of humor. I picked it up for this review and could not put it down. It's not just informative; it's a great read! I've read porn that was a lot less fun, but of course I'm a Dom and perhaps just a little sadistic.

Review by LesVoiles


Sex Tips From A Dominatrix

Patricia Payne
ReganBooks/HarperCollins

This seductive book is another introduction to BDSM. This one is from a major publisher, and is more likely to be found at major bookstores than some of the similar books from smaller publishers.

The book is conversational, humorous, and contains a number of cute illustrations. It is one of the most accessible introductions to BDSM I have read. It contains a good sampling of techniques, safety information, and resource lists.

I would be much happier if the book didn't contain two glaring errors. First, the author demonstrates a wrist tie that will constrict like a one-way slipknot if used and is completely unsafe. Second, when talking about gags, the author quips "a cocktail (or several), might be considered 'chemical bondage.'" Apparently, she feels that getting the submissive tipsy will stop their chatter. I feel that use of alcohol in this way is completely unacceptable. Even if the objective is just to take the edge off a mouthy masochist, it's still something reputable scene players simply would not do. There are better ways to control somebody than with alcohol.

Considering the high safety standard of the rest of the book, I can't comfortably reconcile these two errors. If I could not forewarn a reader, then I would recommend a more consistent book like "Screw the Roses" instead, even if it is a little harder to find.

Review by LesVoiles


'Sex for Dummies'

By Dr. Ruth Westheimer
IDG Books Worldwide Inc., 1995



Once again, I was asked to do a book review. I had hoped for a tome on knife making or bladesmithing, but alas, this Newsletter is not for the knife knut. Ren led me to the collection of books that remain to be reviewed (big hint here guys and gals�...)

A brightly colored spine jumped out from the dark recesses of the book shelf and like a bass striking at a shiny lure, I snatched it muttering that "this book will do." I consoled myself with the fact that this book is, at a minimum, about my second favorite topic. I set the book down among my knife books and magazines and there it lay several days later until I heard the dulcet tones of my Lady asking if I'd done the book review.

Enough joking. I actually was looking forward to reading this book, despite the fact that I would be more embarrassed about having this book found among my personal items than the books written by the Marquis de Sade. I could have used this book about twenty-five years ago.

Warning: on the cover there is a picture of Dr. Ruth with a quote from TIME magazine stating that "Her (Dr. Ruth) image is synonymous with sex." Wrong call there. I'd say that about images of Tami Monroe or Kathy Ireland or Jenna Jameson but Dr. Ruth's picture is best placed on books about relationships.

The first few chapters are the nuts and bolts of procreation and diseases. Very useful for those in junior high school that are just discovering sexuality and hormones. But if you think that the remaining chapters are about different sexual positions and marital aids, you are mistaken and you should start looking elsewhere. The book is for relationship building between couples in which sex is an integral part.

Her alternative sexuality section focuses on homosexuality and disabled people. Dr. Ruth advocates relationships and possibly sex for those institutionalized by stating:

"In some cases, the couple cannot have sex without assistance, and I advocate that, just the way the staff would help them to bathe or to void, staff should be trained to help disabled individuals enjoy the benefits of sex. Sex is not only for the young and beautiful, but for everybody, and this assistance should be provided in a nonjudgmental way."

Bondage is hinted at as a way to inject something new and spicy into the sexual routine. Swinging is mentioned once in a case study with a negative outcome for the couple. I would have to recommend this book for a couple in the BDSM or D/s lifestyle only to enhance the 'vanilla' (the basic) aspect of their relationship.

Dr. Ruth is good at helping couples develop strong relations in which sex is an integral part; her advice is sound and this book should be required reading from any parent to a budding teenager or for any Catholic newlywed couple. Truthfully the title should be changed to 'Better Relationships for Dummies" but I doubt that the book would sell as well.

Review by lafayette{Ren}


Sex Toy Tricks, more than 125 ways to accessorize good sex

By Jay Wiseman
Greenery Press

This slim volume is a compendium of good sense and the summary of a lifetime of sensual skills. The book is not specifically S/m oriented, but anybody with any interest in the sensual side of D/s will find many ways to tantalize and tease, to drive somebody wild, or to drive them completely to distraction. Many of these tricks can be used in a sex oriented scene simply by beginning stimulation and then pausing at the appropriate moment. The sub will be begging and pleading in no time!

If you have a sensual bent, you have probably thought of many of these tricks, but I'll bet no-one has thought of all of them. Just one or two ideas gleaned from the book will more than justify its $11.95 purchase price. Wiseman has included a short but useful recap of safety rules and a good list of resources, including S/m and fetish resources, at the end of the book.

Review by LesVoiles


The Sexually Dominant Woman - A Workbook For Nervous Beginners

By Lady Green
Published By the Greenery Press, San Francisco

This slim volume is an easy to digest primer. At only 83 pages, its list price of $11.95 seems a little steep, but it is a very efficient source of good advice. The book covers contains basic, concise, easy to read chapters on bondage, domination, and flogging, along with some very basic illustrations. Lady Green also writes timely and accurate reminders about the fears that a new dominant or submissive may have, along with hints on how to alleviate these fears.

This book is for the pure beginner only. Most people reading this review are well beyond it! It is intended by the author to help nervous new Dommes (it should work reasonably well for Doms too) get over the initial hurdles of introducing BDSM play into a relationship. The book assumes that the 
subject has already been discussed, that both partners are willing, and that they don�t know the next step. The book does not cover the intricacies of the topic of introducing the concept to a partner or spouse.

My problem with this book is that almost all the information on safety issues, such as negotiation, safewords and limits, is buried in the back, well after all the titillating chapters on flogging, bondage, domination, collaring etc. An anxious new Domme might very well read the technique sections and completely fail to read that short chapter at the end that contains the vital information she needs to play safely! Safewords and negotiation are mentioned in the earlier chapters, but not in useful detail. Any person who reads through the technique sections and then goes to play may be making major mistakes and never know it.

There is a small but useful reference section in the back, with good information on more advanced books and other resources. The book is written for people who already have partners. Thus, while it broaches the subject of finding a partner, it gives only a short overview of the process and gives little safety information about the dangers inherent in that process.

If you read the whole book, it is an excellent source of basic information, blessed with clear, concise prose, a non-threatening attitude, and a great sense of humor. If, however, you skip the end in your anxiousness to begin playing, you could find yourself in trouble!

Review by LesVoiles


SM101, A Realistic Introduction

by Jay Wiseman
Second Edition published by Greenery Press, 1996

        Jay Wiseman's book is one of the standard reference works that members of the scene rely on.  It covers basic aspects of the scene and scene behavior, etiquette and safety.  Mr. Wiseman has over 20 years of scene experience and a medical background.  The reader benefits from advice that goes beyond "common sense" to revealing hidden techniques, subtleties and pitfalls.

        We feel that this book is a "must" for any kinky library.  Its detailed and specific explanations of various techniques, and how to employ them make it as useful for the experience player as for the novice.   Even well seasoned perverts like ourselves found much of value.

        The book is filled with recommended techniques, along with numerous personal examples demonstrating both the successes and the pitfalls experienced by the author.  Also, the book's additional resource sections and references are invaluable.

        Mr. Wiseman has a dry and academic humor, and he does occasionally sacrifice clarity for literate wit.  It is unabashedly opinionated and may be hard reading for some.  However, we would not be without it.  

Review by LesVoiles


The Strap-On Book

By A.H. Dion
Greenery Press

Why is a man reviewing a book about strap-on dildos and harnesses? Because I don't know much about them and want to learn. It's that simple.

The book is slim, precise, and to the point. I learned about harnesses, of course, but I also learned about dildo mechanics and plenty of do's and don'ts. The lighthearted text and fun illustrations are as welcome as the good information within. The scenarios spaced throughout the text are not only enjoyable but useful. I glimpsed a world of sexual possibilities that aren't limited to females, lesbians or any other single sex or orientation. All in all, an excellent and informative book as well as a good read. 

Review by LesVoiles


To Love, To Obey, To Serve: Diary of an Old Guard Slave

By V. M. Johnson
Mystic Rose Books

    This is a difficult review to write, as I have rarely been as affected by a book as I have by this one. Viola Johnson entered the BDSm community as a slave long before the concept of Safe Sane and Consensual. She lived as a "true" slave, obeying without question and without recourse, whatever the cost to herself; she was physically, emotionally, sexually and financially responsible for satisfying her Mistress's whims, whether reasonable or not, whether dangerous or not.

    Her need to serve, her extraordinary capacity for love, and her unparalleled willpower lead her on a journey to such depths and to such incredible growth that it stuns the reader. I entered the scene about the time Johnson's narrative ends, in 1995, and have heard the stories of "the way it was" but never told with such intensity and veracity. For all my avid study, and for all the conversations I have had with more senior members of the community, for the first time I feel that I am beginning to understand servitude. This book lays bare both the rewards and the, often subtle, dangers inherent in pure servitude.

    Johnson's triumph is all the more spectacular for the pain and privation she endured for more than a decade in search of her own fulfillment. The new vistas of experience that opened for her, as she matured in the scene, drive home the points that we never stop growing and that the rewards for that growth never cease.

    The book is difficult to read, as the diary entries are often cryptic and disjointed. Some things are not explained, such as the reason she is storing two Siberian tigers on their way to the taxidermist! However, the effort to read this volume was, in the end, amply rewarded. I feel honored to have had this glimpse into the soul of a truly great person.

Review by LesVoiles


The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus

Violet Blue
Cleis Press 2002

This volume is another hit.  As a man who has been doing cunnilingus for many years, it was a wonderful experience to hear what it is like from a woman's point of view.  Of course I learned a lot.  The only question I still have is what to do about my bottom teeth abrading that little membrane under my tongue when I am "working".

Legible, sensible, spiced with the occasional illustration and a number of short erotic tales (you can guess the subject), the book is just as tasty as the activity it describes.

The difference between this volume and most of the "guidebooks" that I have reviewed in the last year or so is the level of specific detail and advice.  Many books give you the background, the safety does and don'ts, and the psychology but leave the specifics of the erotic techniques themselves to be discovered.  In this case, just about every possible specific motion and variation is discussed.  Wonderful ideas and suggestions abound.  Variations such as incorporating S/M or rimming are examined in careful detail. 

I am amazed at the richness and depth of detail available in this book.  I highly recommend it.

Review by LesVoiles


Unspoken Desires

By Iris and Steven Finz
St. Martin's Press, 2000


Every now and then I like to read a 'fluff; book...something entertaining that lets me relax, yet allows me to continue thinking about my daily to 'do' list...'Unspoken Desires is just such a book.

Written by Iris and Steven Finz - independent sexual columnists and erotica writers - this book examines the secret desires and fantasies of twenty-seven average Americans from all walks of life. A massage therapist expresses her desire to 'more intimately' massage her pro-basketball clients....a handyman whose home repair services were 'bought' at a community fundraiser describes his afternoon of being a 'sex slave' to three college girls who had the winning bid....a voyeur 'lends out' his girlfriends Sybian sex machine to his female coworkers, as long as he gets to watch.....

Some of the participants in the book describe intimate and adventurous encounters they have experienced in the past - and wish could happen again....just about every possible fantasy and desire is covered, from multiple partners, to fetishes, to crossdressing, to voyeurism.

The stories are told in the participant's own words, and while the concept is hot, it's hard to really convey the raw sexuality in the few pages afforded each storyteller. The one thing about the stories that I found particularly sad was that the participants felt strongly that they could not possibly discuss their fantasies with their current partners. While the 'unspoken' truth is considered a major selling point for the book, I couldn't help but find myself feeling very sorry for the participants.

Available at most major bookstores, the book is approximately $6.99...it's a good casual read, but I'd check the local library for a copy or hit the used book section of Amazon.com. where you can snag one for about half price.

Review by Mistress Ren


When Someone You Love is Kinky

Dossie Easton & Catherine A. Liszt
Greenery Press, 2000

How do you tell your parents, spouse, or other loved one that you are into BDSM? How do you tell them that you like to be dominated, spanked or flogged, or that you like to crossdress? How do you explain the chains and leather someone close to you just found in your dresser drawer?

This slim volume is one of the best ways to do so. It is to be given to and speaks specifically to the vanilla friends or family of someone who is in the scene, and is designed to comfort their fears. 

The book tries to make the scene comprehensible to people who may never have given it any thought by explaining, step by step, that their feelings are understandable, what kink is, what kinky people do (with reference to the distorted view of kink in the media), how kinky activities are performed safely, and finally, how to come to terms with a new side of someone they may have known for a very long time. It also has a section that deals with the harmful effects of being forced into the closet and another for professionals (such as doctors) who may encounter kinksters in difficult circumstances.

The authors never talk down to their audience. They address the legitimacy of the discomfort the topic engenders, and carefully balance the feelings of the vanilla reader with the urgent need of the kinky friend or family member.

Scattered throughout the book are letters written by kinky people "outing" themselves to others. Some of the letters are joyful, some are angry, but all are truly brave. Some, especially the letter to the boss who fired his excellent assistant when he discovered that the assistant was kinky, are very hard to read. I don't know how a completely vanilla person would react to them, but they affected me very deeply.

Ren and I have explained kink to a great number of vanilla people over the last few years, and we know how difficult a task this generally is. Easton and Liszt haven't missed a trick, and I will be in debt to them for a long time for several of their explanations. 

This book is certainly not a panacea. It doesn't have the power of opening a willfully closed mind. If a person has prejudged irrevocably that kink is an unforgivable sin, then reading a book explaining and justifying kink will do no good. However, for people who have even a glimmer of openness in their minds, or who may not have ever thought about kink at all, it could be a godsend. It won't be easy for them to read, but if they care, I hope they will make the effort.

I will be recommending it. Repeatedly.

At $15.95 and only 151 pages long, the book is pricey - but if it enables a loved one to understand and accept your kinky lifestyle, it's priceless.

Review by LesVoiles

 

Page Updated 03/26/04

 

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