50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 69.]

This episode’s book review is 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino. I received it for free from the generous people at Cleis Press, but that’s never stopped me from being honest.

First bit of honesty—with this title, if it hadn’t been by the illustrious Ms Taormino I would have never asked to review it.

Recently, though, another sex blogger, Amy, from Coffee & Kink, wrote about how high quality 50 Shades branded things—toys and such—were important because people new to kink would no doubt be overwhelmed by the quantity of gear out there. A lot of it being non-body safe. And if we scoff at these people due to how they found the scene they’ll go away and practise kink in unsafe ways—ways that probably look like what happens in the trilogy. If we welcome them and say, ‘Here, try this other thing/book/this is how consent actually works in the scene…’ Everyone will have a much better and safer time. Let these people come in in the way they’re most comfortable.

This book is written for beginners—if you’ve read 50 Shades (or know someone who read it) and wants to know more about the basics—it’s excellent. Taormino has been writing and teaching about BDSM for years and knows her stuff. She covers a wide range of topics concisely.

It’s the precursor to a book she edited called The Ultimate Guide to Kink, which is for more experienced practitioners—there probably won’t be a lot of new ground here if you’re not brand new.

Particulars of the book. It’s 140 pages so it’s not dauntingly long. I was surprised how much was covered.

In the introduction the author defines ‘kink’ thusly:

I use kink as a catch-all term that includes BDSM, sadomasochism, kinky sex, dominance and submission, role play, sex games, fantasy and fetish.

She further defines the word:

Kink is an intimate experience, an exchange of power between people that can be physical, erotic, sexual, psychological, spiritual, or, most often, some combination. People who practice kink explore the territory between pleasure and pain, eroticize the exchange of power, experience intense physical sensations and psychological scenarios, and test and push their limits.

That’s a pretty all encompassing definition. I like it.

Something else she said in the intro that is one of my favourite things about BDSM is:

BDSM can be a lifelong learning process and way of getting to know ourselves and our deepest, and sometimes darkest, fantasies and fetishes.

I love, love, love that kink is about being encouraged to play and grow and learn about ourselves rather than stifling creativity and stagnating and being a grown up and behaving and being just one way that is defined by very dull people. I love the entire concept of seeing where certain dark (and light) paths go and being with people who will protect you and celebrate those journeys. Once we’re past a certain age we’re no longer supposed to explore our inner worlds—we’re supposed to focus on what the outer world wants of us all the time. Kink says, ‘Lighten up! You’re no good to anyone if you know nothing about yourself! Put on that Minnie Mouse frock and jump in a vat of applesauce, if you want!’

After the introduction, Taormino starts off with a chapter called Embrace Your Inner Kinkster: Myths, Truths and Communication.

Much like it sounds, it covers a lot of the myths surrounding kink—nothing you haven’t heard before if you’ve been around awhile—and dispels them succinctly. This book would also be good for a vanilla person in your life who was just confused by what it was BDSM was about and would sit and read 140 pages.

The chapter also covers how to have a conversation—whether in person or some form of writing or another way—about your new kinky desires. There’s advice on what to do if that conversation doesn’t go well.

Chapter two is BDSM Basics: Terms, Roles and Principles. It covers all the basics I’ve ever heard of so you should be set for the new people, at least.

In this section there’s consent, as well as a Yes-No-Maybe sample checklist. I read the digital version and it would be easier to make a physical copy of the physical version for you and your partner(s) to make checkmarks on than having to draw out your own version of the spreadsheet. Though with your own version you could add extra activities you had thoughts about.

There’s extensive information on good ways to communicate both before, during and after play and examples of how to incorporate communication into play if you’re doing role play or trying to maintain a certain atmosphere.

She stresses that it’s important for tops to remember to take care of themselves after scenes, as well. The focus is often solely on the person having something done to them, but tops are important, too.

Contracts are discussed in this section and a sample contract is given.

Chapter three is Dominant/submissive Role Play.

This chapter includes this quote:

A power exchange of some kind is nearly always present in human relationships. There are people all around us in power exchange relationships who don’t acknowledge the dynamic or call it anything. Consider a husband who gives his wife an allowance but not credit card in her own name. A woman who controls her coworkers, making them eager to please her even though she’s not their boss. That’s right—there are plenty of people wearing collars and others tugging at their leashes, but the gear is invisible and the dynamic unexamined.

The more I’ve embraced my submissive side, and considered it, the more I’ve noticed how power works in the world in general. I prefer the acknowledgment of unequal power and intentionally playing with it.

In this section the author talks about how Dominants don’t have to be tops—a Dominant could order their submissive to flog them, for example.

Then there was this:

But there could also be a sadistic submissive who enjoys piercing masochist bottoms.

Yes? Hello? Hi. Hellooooo.

People don’t have to be just one thing, basically. Which goes back to being encouraged to play and learn about yourself.

This chapter also addresses how, for some people D/s is role play—people exploring playing with power—and for others their Dominant or submissive side is as ingrained as their sexual orientation or their eye colour.

Chapter four is Sexual Power Games: Pleasure and Orgasm Control.

This covers things like tease and torment, forced masturbation, orgasm control (which AliceinBondageLand taught us all about a few episodes back) and sexual service. What these things are, what’s appealing about them and how to do them safely.

The next chapter is on Sensory Deprivation: Blindfolds, Hoods and Earplugs, which is what it says on the tin.

Chapter Six is Sensation Play: Massage Oil Candles, Nipple Clamps and More. ‘And more’ is right. Feathers, edible body paint, stimulating gels and creams. There was also lots of safety information here. People tend to think that you need to be careful most when using pain or hitting someone, but a too hot candle can involve an explanation at the hospital, which ruins everyone’s good time.

There are two chapters on bondage. The first is Basics and DIY.

This chapter is about what you can use around your house and the author starts off by warning not to use athletic tape or duct tape, as well as zip ties. She then goes into what are good choices and why and how to use them safely.

The second bondage chapter is stuff you purchase: Restraints, Bondage Tape, Gags, and Collars.

In this chapter Taormino discusses the hazards of the classic handcuff (keys get lost, they can close too tightly, they can cut into the wrist) and then covers the other basic types of items out there and how they might be used, as well as makes recommendations for quality manufacturers of said items.

Then we’re onto a chapter called Smack!: Spanking, Paddles and Crops. There are instructions on how to give a spanking, including how to spank genitals, in case that’s something you’d like to try. Then there’s the various implements that can be used and how and why. In this section she recommends trying a slapper if you’ve enjoyed a hand spanking, but:

…crave something more intense or with more of a ‘bite’.

The follow up chapter is Smack Harder!: Floggers and Canes. This covers the array of materials a flogger can be made of and how that effects its sting or thud, as well as how to use a flogger. Taormino always stresses education and safety and urges the reader to learn to flog properly before ever throwing it at a person.

Then we’re onto canes—she doesn’t have a great deal to say about canes outside of what they’re made of, what parts of the body they can be used on and how painful and dangerous they can be if not used properly.

Chapter eleven is Rough Sex. I learned something about myself reading this. Rough sex is triggering as hell for me—big hard limit, so that was useful. I didn’t even know what that phrase meant (it’s not exactly descriptive) and thought it meant someone likes bondage or spankings with their sex. Nope. It’s a whole thing of its own and I have a visceral reaction to it. Okay. So, the author talks about how some people don’t consider rough sex kinky—Taormino says:

Rough sex is another kind of dominant/submissive role play where you can explore power, control, and surrender, and use intense physicality to push limits and break taboos.

She talks about the various acts involved in this activity and how, though it’s incredibly intense, there are still ways to communicate and get consent for the specific ways you want to be roughed up or rough someone else up.

The rest of the book is resources. The Epilogue is Fifty Items for your Toy Bag–not all of which are physical. The first three are consent, communication and honesty, for example. Then there’s an entirely decent reading list comprised of both fiction and non-fiction books. A list of films is back in an earlier chapter, so you’ll finish this book with a nice little syllabus to begin your studies.

Overall, 50 Shades of Kink is a great introduction for complete beginners to BDSM or those who are curious about what it is we do and how we do it. It’s straightforward, inclusive and covers a wide-array of topics. I definitely give this one a 5/5.

Episode 069: 50 Shades of Kink

Episode the sixty-ninth; wherein the Pageist reveals why comedians are not to be trusted, despairs over technology and enthuses about the new shop. The book reviewed is 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you to Mark for recommending an alternative to Skype! Here’s to clearer interviews in future.
  • Several survey responses, which always makes my day. If you’d like to take the (brief, anonymous) survey, you may do so here.
  • The site’s old theme is no longer nice to look at on desktop so has been jettisoned for this one until Walter can build a new site from scratch. At least this is classy.
  • Our Zazzle shop is nearly ready to launch! Just in time for the shopping season.
  • Kate Lister (@WhoresofYore) is writing a book called A Curious History of Sex. You can help fund it here.

5.15 My Submissive Life:

  • Thanks to Arthur Chu (@arthur_affect) for reminding me of some things I had forgotten about comedy. One of his threads inspired this week’s segment.

11.24 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino. The precursor to her book The Ultimate Guide to Kink, which is for more experienced people, this one is an excellent beginner’s guide. Covering everything from common myths to how negotiation and contracts work to a wide array of actual kink practices succinctly, this one would also be a good choice for a vanilla person who was curious about what kinky people actually do.
  • Amy from Coffee & Kink talks about why 50 Shades branded materials are useful and important in this blog post.
  • AliceinBondageLand joined me to talk Chastity and orgasm control, which is covered in the book.

25.08 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing the hosts of Red Light Library about reviewing erotica.
  • Support the show through PayPal!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon and get bonus content each month!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
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  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

BDSM by Ayzad (Extended Review)

The Italian cover of the book. (source)

This is the text version of the review from episode 48. With a bonus section at the end that wasn’t in the show.

First, the part from the episode:

The book this episode is BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism by Ayzad.

I received this book for free, but that isn’t going to affect my review because this book was a mixed bag if ever there was one.

If you’re a regular listener you know how much I love judgmental people. If you’re new: I’m allergic to judgmental people. I’m baffled by how anyone who wants to have their kinks accepted can be judgmental towards other kinksters.

Oh, the judgment.

The author has twenty-five years of experience in the scene and is around fifty, I believe, which means he’s seen a great number of kinks, but that didn’t stop him from calling people into certain types of activities ‘freaks’, being derogatory about men into cross-dressing and saying that people into scarification were mentally ill.

I started out making a list of all the people on the List of Judgment, but eventually I gave up. [This appears in the bonus section at the end now.]

And it was entirely unintuitive what would be okay. For example, coprophilia—or shit eating—was just fine. He gave tips on how to do it as safely as possible.

I don’t care if you want to eat shit. I also don’t think people into cutting or scarification need psychotherapy. And cisgender guys who want to be pretty princesses can be a pretty princess. Heraclitus on a cloud, leave people alone.

So there’s the chapter on effluvia—people who are the receptacle for everything that is produced by their D-type. Nail-clippings, phlegm, everything else.

Then he says something like, ‘And if you think that’s extreme, wait until I tell you about this next group of people.’

I think, Great Sophocles, what can be next? Cannibals?

It was 24/7 D/s.

Now, maybe because 24/7 makes sense to me or maybe I need therapy, but consuming everything that comes off or out of another person seems a little more extreme than 24/7 power exchange.

In the 24/7 section he offers some sage advice for how to handle kids while in a power exchange:

I’d love to be able to offer a good solution on how to bring the needs of children and those of a Master/slave couple together, but the truth is that none exists.

Yes, all of you power exchange couples who’ve successfully raised children—your experiences are invalid.

Your experiences are probably invalid, anyway. The author describes what he calls:

the typical profile of a couple committed to a full-time domination regime: no kids, above-average education, well-off, 35 or older, where the Dom is generally slightly older and often a self-employed professional.

There were other moments where I laughed out loud, too like this one:

Far be it from me to promote any form of less than totally disinterested BDSM.

Now would be a good time to point out that the author is from Italy and I have no idea what kink is like there. When I met up with Eros [a listener] for books and tea, I was telling him about this book and he pointed out that I had one person to speak for an entire country (in terms of their kink scene), which is a good point.

I’m starting near the end of the book, though, which builds from the gentler arts to the more extreme, complicated side of things. The author recommends reading it from start to finish rather than choosing sections at random. As a way of easing the reader into the activities on offer.

This book is 600 pages long—it has a massive amount of information. There are also a couple hundred photos—many pertain to the subject being discussed, some that don’t.

Now I shall talk about some of the positives for a bit, then go back to some other things that don’t recommend it. I’m not saying don’t buy it, by the way—it could be quite useful for some people. I’m trying to provide enough information for you to figure out if it will be of use to you.

One of the positives is the practical information. There’s info on how to do a lot of things to a lot of body parts with a variety of implements both store bought, pervertible and handmade. In the shibari section he doesn’t provide a map of nerves, but does cover how to be careful of nerve damage and in general is safety-conscious.

It’s basically a torturer’s handbook. In a good way. This is where his twenty-five years of experience is obvious.

There’s also ideas for role-plays and other non-physical funtimes.

Now for the section of things that made me crazy but may or may not bother you.

This was originally written in Italian and the English translation leaves a little to be desired. There are words…that aren’t words. They sound like English, but aren’t. Like ‘sensoriality’ rather than sensually or ‘inexistent’ rather than ‘nonexistent’. And others. And there were a few paragraphs here and there that hadn’t been translated at all. I don’t know if that was just the digital version I had or if it’s that way in the physical version, as well.

[It turns out ‘sensoriality’ is a word, though my computer doesn’t recognise it as such. It’s so uncommon that the general reader wouldn’t recognise it, either.]

I have never in my life wanted to edit a book so badly. The intended audience wasn’t obvious. On the one hand, there was precise, quite excellent instructions on how to safely do things like infusions, needle play, rope work, genital torture, the list goes on, but much of it was also written like it was introducing a third party—vanilla people—to kinkdom and reassuring them we weren’t a bunch of serial killers. Perhaps that’s where all his judgment came from.

The way the author went about reassuring the gentle reader kinksters weren’t out to eat their faces was by using the phrases, ‘In fact’ and ‘As a matter of fact’ A LOT. Which winds up sounding condescending.

‘BDSM may seem dark and scary when, in fact, it’s people who negotiate clear boundaries. As a matter of fact, no one ever does anything they don’t want to do. In fact, anyone who did something bad to someone by accident would kill themselves out of guilt.’

Not really that bad, but it’s not far off. I wanted to control f and delete all of those, which would make those sentences stronger.

This is a quote:

‘The truth is, nothing especially worrying normally happens during BDSM sessions and there are hardly ever any problems.’

Which is the polar opposite of what I’ve heard from … everyone else who say, ‘Something is going to go wrong at some point. You just have to be as prepared as possible. Everyone makes mistakes.’

I had to wonder if some of his attitudes—some of which were rather sexist—were down to his coming from a conservative country. Something he referenced himself on more than one occasion.

One of my favourite assertions was that North American men don’t enjoy going down on women. Maybe he meant Mexico or Canada—I don’t know how men in those countries feel about it, but guys from the U.S. tend to be down with going downtown, if you know what I mean.

He eschewed doctors’ advice on not caning female breast tissue, as it can cause health problems later on because he’d never seen that happen.

The likelihood of breast cancer increases with age, so unless you’re hanging around until those women are in their 50s, 60s, 70s, then you wouldn’t see it happen. ‘Boobs are fun to play with though!’ Ignoring the people who study something for a living is never recommended.

There were some other, ‘Ah, people worry about sickness and death too much,’ statements that made me wonder if I’m just a safety-conscious American or if he’s a lackadaisical European. For example, the author thought the extent Americans go to to be safe when meeting people in the scene was laughable. Well, we’re women and we don’t want to die. Silly women.

One other thing—it’s all about sex. There’s no place in this book where BDSM isn’t about sex. Kink doesn’t have to be about sex. His recommendations for most play also revolved around humiliation and degradation, as well. There wasn’t mention of how to use various types of torture for fun or laughing or gentle play. You’d have to figure out how to use these methods in those ways yourself—not that that’s impossible, you just have to use your imagination.

I will say this—his website is quite good. It’s ayzad.com

So. Should you buy this book? If you don’t have a firm sense of self—no. Dude may not approve of your kink. Or he might! There’s truly no way to know.

He does have some interesting insights. I’d be grinding my back teeth into a fine powder over something or other and then he’d come out with some new idea or piece of information from kinky history that was educational—I do like my historical trivia. And, as I said before, there’s a wealth of practical information on just about everything one person can do to another. It would be a useful reference book on practices.

One thing he talked about was how, in non-English-speaking countries, safe, sane and consensual is translated as safe, healthy and consensual. Which is curious. Why? Do they think no sane person would do kink?

He dismisses RACK—Risk Aware Consensual Kink—as he thinks it’s dangerous. Kink is risky, though. You have to be aware of the risks. Not being aware of them is asking for trouble.

Oh yes. He also says you shouldn’t pay for your porn. For two reasons. One, it’s probably out there for free somewhere. Two, not paying for ethically-made, professional porn will incentivise amateurs to make porn for the fun of it.

That’s not how it works. You give your money to the ethical people so they can make more of the porn you like. Give them lots of money.

I give this one a 3/5 and leave you with this nugget of wisdom that I know absolutely sums up my submission in no way whatsoever:

The truth is that subs are driven by the urge to experience the sensations they so dearly love, and—at least in the early stages of the relationship—they are merely looking for someone capable of giving them what they want. In many cases their actions are guided by simple masochistic narcissism, that is the search for pain and trials to overcome, thus proving their worth to themselves or atoning for their perceived guilt.

BONUS!

This bonus section is brought to you by the email I received from the author, who wrote to me a few hours after the podcast went live.

He felt I had been unfair to him in the episode, going so far as to intimate I had skimmed the book and was intentionally choosing quotes to hurt a struggling, self-funded project. He also pointed to the legions of people around the world who’d loved his book and wondered why I was different.

Nearly every person involved in kink (what the Eroticon people would call ‘erotic creatives’) are struggling and self-funded; including myself. I would never intentionally hurt someone because I’m not a terrible person and also don’t want to destroy my career.

Book reviewers (reviewers of any kind) consume media differently than the average person. It’s why a book or film can be a critical hit and flop with audiences or vice versa. Individuals like media based on whether or not it resonates with them personally. Reviewers take a broader view. We have to look at a work from many angles.

If I had been reading the book for myself alone, the review would have been quite different.

Another note from the author included emotional manipulation and a wall of text listing all of his experience and accomplishments. 1. Not cool. In the years I’ve been reviewing various media this is a first. So points for that. 2. I know. I said in the review more than once the author’s copious experience was obvious. However, all of the experience in the world doesn’t preclude badly needing an editor, nor does it keep a person from developing biases.

Now that I’m no longer constrained to a time (or word) limit, let’s do quotes. I will provide evidence for my assertions from the episode and include some extra points I didn’t have the time to get to.

The Judgement Zone

The author felt I had unfairly categorised him as judgmental.

I refer you back to the phrase about promoting totally disinterested BDSM.

Also, I did stop highlighting sections at one point so this list won’t be complete. Here we go.

I should have known we’d be in trouble when the foreword was by someone who often writes about sex addiction, which isn’t a real thing.

In a section called ‘The wrong kind of BDSM’ there’s a bit about the incorrect ways to get into kink and includes:

Other non-recommended paths to the world of extreme eroticism are those linked with challenging oneself or the world, which are more common than you’d believe…Finally we have the completely clueless characters: stray clubbers, swinging couples, goths, self-styled occultists and kooks aplenty.

There are very, very specific ways to get into kink. Do it right.

Then there’s this:

BDSM has nothing to do with cults, angels, demons, past and present deities, magic, wizardry, exorcisms, demonic possessions, evocations or any paranormal event. Whoever tells you otherwise, including references to an imaginary ‘sex magick’, is trying to take advantage of you or is deluded in good faith.

It’s funny that’s brought up, because I’m looking forward to reviewing Lee Harrington’s Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond later this year.

It’s also funny about saying it’s nothing to do with anything woo-woo when two kindle pages before it says:

As we are going to see in the following chapters [BDSM] is also closely related with more noble and respected activities as meditation, autogenic training, asceticism and the spiritually elevated forms of religion.

But not past or present deities. Okay.

He gives some information about Gor, then says:

If you’re interested, on the internet you can find way too much information.

A disinterested version of that sentence would be: ‘There isn’t space enough to cover the complexities of the Gorean lifestyle, but here is a link for more information.’

He talks about humiliation at one point and says:

Let me take a moment to clarify the term. Humiliating only means creating situations that through actions or words prove to both partners who is in charge and who must obey. Insults, violence or degradation have nothing to do with it and are not part of healthy eroticism.

Lots of people are into insults and degradation with their humiliation. It’s a whole kink.

A bit later under the same section:

It is also wise to refrain from obvious absurdities like calling a thin woman a ‘fat slag’ or a well-endowed man ‘dickless’.

Again, that’s actually something some people are into. It needs to be negotiated, but…that’s a thing.

I referenced this earlier but the actual quote is excellent:

One should also take into account any cultural differences, which may be the result of different regional or family customs. This is particularly true when dealing with foreigners: North American men from certain regions find the idea of licking a vagina repulsive.

Cultural differences are important. More important is knowing what the actual differences are. You can also simply negotiate beforehand with each individual person about their sexual preferences and not assume what anyone is into based on the country they’re from.

Still in the section on humiliation, we’re on to sissification, where the author says:

It goes without saying however that the majority of men look terribly awkward and grotesque in women’s clothes…

Shame is a funny thing, because if I were a man who was into cross-dressing because it felt natural and made me feel pretty, but I thought I wasn’t supposed to be and I read that line, it wouldn’t matter to me that it was in a section about the ways Mistresses humiliate men who want to be humiliated; I would remember it forever. This line could be cut quite easily—it’s clearly an opinion (if it goes without saying then it doesn’t need to be said) without harming the rest of the section.

Then there’s a bit about people being forced to be animals and how humiliating that is, but… some people are puppies…I’ve met them. They’re great. They’re happy as hell—no one’s humiliating them. Maybe they don’t have happy puppies in Europe.

Then we’re on to shaming the people into Mindfucks.

The main problem is that kink is based on mutual trust, whereas mindfucking depends on destroying it… My advice is therefore to just give up on these sorts of pastimes, but if you really want to try them, here are a few classic scenarios.

Big of him to be okay with grown ups making their own decisions. The scenarios include rape play (fun fact, rape fantasies are incredibly common amongst women!), the serial killer, and takedown scenes. Give up on consensually living out that hot rape fantasy, ladies, gentlemen or other fancy people.

When we get to breath play he describes myriad ways people perform breath play then ends the sentence with:

…which, in my opinion, are disturbing evidence of repressed violence.

The phrase ‘in my opinion’ doesn’t belong in anything claiming to be disinterested. The neutral way of putting it would be to list the ways it’s performed, as well as a list of what can go wrong (there is more information in the chapter here and the line about people into it having repressed violent tendencies is superfluous.)

(Gloria Brame’s Different Loving is an excellent example of a book written for a general audience that takes a disinterested tone about a wide array of kinks. Podcast review here, written review here.)

He calls a few people ‘fanatics’ but that word can mean people who are very enthusiastic about something or unhealthily enthusiastic about a thing. This post is becoming long enough so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Some people are fond of the idea of consensual nonconsent—also known by the German name of ‘tunnelspiel’—which consists in authorising the Dom to continue playing without restraint, beyond any set limit and in spite of any resistance physical or otherwise—disregarding even safewords. Although this may sound like an intriguing fantasy (perhaps, and I’m not so sure about that), indulging in such behavior is a criminal and irresponsible idiocy.

I’m not rewriting this entire book. But this isn’t disinterested. Describe what a thing is and why people are into it. Say it’s edgy and requires negotiation. No opinion required.

Some diabolical ladies even force their slaveboys into preemptive masturbation for guaranteed ultimate vulnerability—I don’t approve, but to each their own.

YOU DON’T APPROVE OF SOMETHING?! GET THE FUCK OUT.

Up next in JudgementTown, medical play.

This is the clinical games genre, also called ‘white art’ in German-speaking countries. These terms refer to situations inspired by the medical sector, just like the classic doctor and patient role play. … These practices aren’t terribly common—for every fan there are at least another ten who consider them to be in bad taste—but a niche of enthusiasts see them as the ultimate in extreme eroticism.

I wasn’t aware it was all that rare, being that most dungeons have medical play rooms. But it was good of him to let everyone know most people think it’s in bad taste. So if a newbie into it is reading this book they’ll be aware. (You’re not alone, newbie—it’s not at all rare.)

On Cutting and Scarification:

I must stress that this practice is not normally considered part of BDSM and is generally even rarer than fire branding: I am only mentioning it for the sake of thoroughness and to avoid misunderstandings. Outside of the artistic context of body decoration, attacking the skin with blades or scratches, feeling the urge to disfigure it or to draw blood must be seen as indicators of a potentially dangerous mental illness, which has no place in the world of eroticism.

Must it? It must, apparently. I know some mentally ill people. They seem so nice and productive, too.

It was somewhere around in here I stopped highlighting The Judgements, but I happened to remember one and went to find the quote. It was about FinDoms. It only caught my eye because I recently met one, who was a lovely person and explained what it was like. She was basically on call all the time so she hadn’t done it in awhile because it was exhausting.

FinDom is short for financial domination. The author explains what this is over a long paragraph, his disdain apparent, then ends with this:

I will refrain from making unpublishable comments.

But that lets us know what he thinks anyway. So much for disinterested. Maybe the word he was looking for was a different word.

People into cybersex and webcams:

Apparently it is the sport of choice for unhappy spouses, immature people of all ages and —in perhaps the only remotely understandable case—couples who are temporarily separated by long distances. The perversion lies in how the people who love this type of activity often refuse to meet their online partners in person, which frankly sounds a bit unhealthy to me.

I bet people reading this can say how to re-write this to make it unbiased. Go on, try it yourself at home.

Amongst all of this, he gave advice on how to practice some highly extreme and complex kinks. As I mentioned before–he was cool with people consuming other people faeces. The man isn’t a prude. But it doesn’t matter if you accept 98% of the group if you make the other 2% feel like crap about who they are. That actually alienates that 2% even further.

‘Oh, you’re okay with people who [insert extreme fetish here], but my interest means I need professional help.’

That was one of the more confusing aspects–the reader would truly never know what he would be okay with.

It was the kink version of ‘I’m not racist because I have a black friend.’

‘I’m not biased against extreme kinks, see? I’m totally cool with people doing this one! And that one. And those over there. But you know, those bad kinks… they’re the problem… Those are the ones you have to look out for.’

How To Do Kink Right:

…it is also true that unless you explore your presumed limits and attempt to overcome them, albeit slightly, you will never experience that magnificent ecstasy which for the sub is achieved through total loss of control, and for the Dom by savouring this condition in his partner.

Never. Be sure to do it right.

Another important note for all you D-types out there:

In this regard the dominant is also responsible for ensuring that his affection for the person in his hands doesn’t lead to treating them too tenderly.

No comment.

Other quotes of note.

Taking control of a sub’s most intimate physical dimension—especially in the case of anal penetration—is tantamount to possessing their mind, in a lesson on domination you both will never forget. While during the first few minutes even the slightest attempt to resist causes discomfort or pain that leads to unconditional and voluntary submission, soon thereafter instinctual reactions kick in and make the sub lose control of their body, which becomes a puppet in the hands of the dominant.

Is…is there some sort of internal ‘sub’ switch in the anus I didn’t see in my anatomy 101 book? Or is this kink jargon? You can possess someone’s mind through their butt now. No wonder straight dudes are so jumpy about the backdoor.

According to some frescos dating back to ancient Greece, ladies have been using objects tied to their pelvis to penetrate their play partners as if they were men for a few thousand years.

‘As if they were men.’ Or, as if their play partners enjoys being penetrated and they enjoyed penetrating someone. Lowkey homophobia and sexism for the win. Men don’t tie things to their pelvis in order to penetrate people. That’d be like saying, ‘That guy went down on that woman until she came—just like a lesbian!’ People who have sex with people who have vaginas do that.

In the ‘where to meet people’ section he talks about ‘Fake Parties’, which are fetish parties held at clubs that aren’t dedicated BDSM dungeons. The derision in this section is palpable. Everyone doesn’t have access to a nearby dungeon or munch. Sometimes being able to be around other kinksters during a fetish event for one night is the best they’re going to get. Don’t make people feel bad they don’t live in a metropolis.

‘Fake parties’… It’s like kinky Mean Girls…

Among the many alternative styles of bondage, Japanese kinbaku—also improperly known as shibari…

Well, excuse me and everyone else.

While we’re on incorrect language, though, I mentioned inexistent and sensoriality. Others misused in the book were ‘contraindication’, which is a medical term and was being used to mean something like ‘there is no reason not to’. Also ‘deresponsibilization’, which isn’t a word at all, but was supposed to mean something like being in subspace or being removed from all sense of responsibility.

Then there was a particular use of the word ‘organism’ you see with people who speak English as a second language. It’s used to mean the person’s entire body. English speakers never say, ‘I need to rest my organism,’ but there are a few instances of sentences like:

Having multiple partners, a weak organism or bad hygiene increases the risk of contracting the disease…

Which sounds—to a native English speaker—like you have a little, single-cell amoeba in a dish who isn’t feeling so well. Which is kind of adorable.

I only bring this up because when I mentioned English issues to our good author he didn’t get how his two English readers could have missed the problems.

Maybe they skimmed it.

Sex Sex Sex

The author didn’t like that I said his version of BDSM was all about sex—he felt he represented non-sexual BDSM well, I suppose.

To that I have some quotes:

For our purposes however there is only one aspect to keep in mind: sexual arousal. In simple terms, the more aroused you are, the easier it is to bear the suffering.

And:

Relationships founded purely on domination without sexual contact, do exist and may well be very thrilling, but they cannot completely replace a normal adult relationship and its carnal components without transforming into a pathology.

There are many, many people who have non-sexual M/s or D/s relationships. Some people are asexual, some people can’t have sex, some people choose not to introduce sex in order not to cloud the purity of the power exchange. Some people have sex with their vanilla partner and a power exchange with someone else.

The phrase ‘normal adult relationship’ is remarkably condescending, as though relationships are only valid if sex is involved. I do enjoy ‘may well be very thrilling’, though. You can hear the chuckle. ‘I’m sure that’s fun for you amateurs, but us grown ups who are doing the real kink are having sex.’

Another questionable assertion about sex:

So at the bottom of all this is sex, done right: committing to BDSM before having explored the range of possibilities offered by vanilla eroticism would be a pity to say the least.

Sex is the point. This is a myth of BDSM. It doesn’t have to be about sex at all. The idea that a person has to get their bachelor’s in vanilla sex before going on to get a master’s or PhD in kink leaves people out who’ve never been interested in vanilla sex. Or are asexual. That’s like saying ‘Going on to gay sex without trying straight sex first is a pity.’

How is it a pity? What’s pitiful about not having something you don’t want?

More sex:

[Sex is] the greatest pleasure life allows us.

Wow. I’m missing out. For every single person on Earth it’s the greatest pleasure? What does that mean for people who can’t have sex?

Sex again:

Regardless or not a persona is used, this is the essence of BDSM: one directs the action, the other follows in the oldest game in the world: that of arousal and pleasure.

It doesn’t have to be about that. It can be about control, trust, creativity. The author is big on people exploring every type of physical sensation but seems to forget the range of emotions involved.

Incorrect Information Ahoy!

He asserts that all STDs can be treated or at least kept at bay. This is not true when it comes to HPV—people with cervixes can find out by pap smear if they have the cancer-causing type after they’ve developed abnormal cell growth, but they will have had it for quite some time (years, even) before then and can have been passing it around. There is no test for people with penises. People with penises can pass it around, though, and get all sorts of delightful cancers from it.

The only way to prevent getting it in the first place is to have children vaccinated and using latex or other barriers.

Fun fact: HPV is the most prevalent STI in the U.S. A quick search says 50% of people in Europe with get HPV in some form in their lives. But go ahead—bathe in other people’s bodily fluids. Your body will probably kick the disease easily, and if not, cervical, anal, penile, vaginal and mouth and throat cancer are no biggie.

Under lubricants, he recommends KY Jelly. This is a bad idea, as it can cause infertility and yeast infections.

I covered the whole ‘I haven’t seen anyone get breast cancer so it’s fine’ thing already.

Who This Book Was For and Why That’s a Problem

While I’m giving you quotes… The author answered my question about who the intended audience was—it was for a general audience. Average Vanilla-Person.

This is hugely problematic.

If it were for kinky people, then some people reading the book would know this guy didn’t speak for everyone, but since this was for people who know nothing about kink they’ll take his word as gospel. If this person is calling certain people freaks and saying other people are mentally ill and taking the tone of ‘wait until you see what’s behind this curtain’ then it’s okay for them to, as well.

Perhaps all those great reviews were from people who had their fears confirmed.

Early on, the author says this book isn’t his way of saying his way is the only way of doing things, but he doesn’t offer other philosophies when it counts. For example, when he’s discussing how D/s works, it starts with the quote from above:

The truth is that subs are driven by the urge to experience the sensations they so dearly love, and—at least in the early stages of the relationship—they are merely looking for someone capable of giving them what they want. In many cases their actions are guided by simple masochistic narcissism, that is the search for pain and trials to overcome, thus proving their worth to themselves or atoning for their perceived guilt.

Not all bottoms are masochists. People in the scene are supposed to know themselves and what they want and negotiate… I’m getting ahead of my rant.

Here’s the next part:

[The Dom’s] starting point must be the ridiculous concession of ‘do everything I want to me’ to gradually suggest new situations, introduce unexpected delights, inch their way closer to their own desires. If they manage to do this, the subs themselves will want to renegotiate the original terms in order to enjoy new pleasures. The game consists in softening limitations, doing away with embarrassment and entertaining the will to experiment—turning egotism into openness, and provocation into possession. This way, step by step, what was initially a mere illusion of submission is transformed into something real and tangible.

Subs are narcissistic masochists who want to experience pain and need an all-knowing Dom to manipulate them into being good submissives. Do I have that right?

The next section is called ‘The Contract’ and includes this:

For this, all you need to know is how to seduce your partner until they stop resisting, which may take some time but shouldn’t really be a problem for any sensualist worthy of their name.

Oh, I do have it right. Manipulate your sub.

(There’s no other description of how two people might approach this sort of relationship—nothing about two people actually being self-aware adults who intentionally build a power exchange together.)

When talking about negotiation he says this:

…agreement is as annoying as it is essential.

Which may explain the manipulation part. If you find negotiation annoying (rather than an interesting way to learn about your partner) you agree to whatever and then manipulate—I mean seduce—them around to what you actually want.

Not only is this enormously problematic in terms of non-kinky people thinking this is how all kinky people work, but if someone is new to the scene or considering joining and this is their first information from an authority there are some questionable assertions here.

If I read this before anything else and seriously thought the first Domme I was with was going to try to ‘seduce’ me to her way of thinking or out of what I wanted to do or that sex was the entire point… I wouldn’t trust one single D-type I met, for one, and for two I’d think I’d never be able to do kink ‘right’ as a nonsexual person.

Which, if there’s one thing I absolutely know, it’s that there is no one right way. There’s no one way that is going to be perfect and correct for every single person. People come to kink by all sorts of paths in order to achieve all sorts of ends. The point of kink is to grow and learn about yourself and as long as everyone is aware and consenting then other people need to shut up.

No one else can know how profound your own experiences are. Never let anyone tell you your experiences or your kinks are invalid.

[This was only about 1/3 of the quotes and notes I had. I don’t skim. I take a selection of what works and what doesn’t and compress for time on the show. I am 100% done with this book now, as I’ve spent far more time on it than I ever intended to and have much more important things to be getting on with.]

Episode 048: BDSM by Ayzad

Episode the forty-eighth; Wherein the pageist is glad to be back, expresses gratitude for fans, and talks about why nudity is boring. The book reviewed is BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism by Ayzad.

.54 Intro & Announcements:

  • TPOK Radio is now streaming 24/7 just like … well, radio. You can listen to all the shows on the network without downloading, by going here.
  • Welcome Darkside Magazine! It’s an online and print magazine for kinky people of all persuasions who are also sponsoring TPOK Radio shows. Check them out at Darksidemag.net If you like what you see–let them know where you heard of them.
  • I’m personally going to be running a giveaway for listeners and readers of the blog of adult colouring books and other fun things–I’ll announce more information about that in the next couple weeks.
  • New countries: Croatia, Philippines, Vietnam.
  • A few new Facebook follows and a like from Jess. Welcome!
  • Thank you to the recent survey responders. More information is good information. The survey is anonymous and short and can be taken here: http://www.podtrac.com/audience/start-survey.aspx?pubid=iPbbHhuqVWOI&ver=standard
  • And finally. A big thank you to drut and Eros. Two listeners who said exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it.

7.04 My Submissive Life:

12.34 Book Review:

  • This episode’s book is BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism by Ayzad. It’s a 600 page mixture of excellent practical advice on how to do a wide array of activities combined with judgment on any number of kinks and fetishes the author doesn’t approve of. Whether or not the book will work for you will depend on what you’re looking for.
  • The author’s website Ayzad.com has a wealth of resources, though.

26.54 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode the topic will be kink and health–mental and physical.
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

Periodicals: Sex and Sales

This is the first Periodical Section, which will be replacing Mentor posts.

Like the periodical section of a library, these posts will contain links to articles, essays and sales that have crossed my screens in the previous week or two and may be of interest to the kinky, sex positive people who read the site and listen to the podcast.

Writings may be recent, or they may be older–there’s no expiration date on useful information.

  • Let’s start this entire new feature with a something impressive. How about a Norwegian video series on puberty and sex? Yeah? Yeah!

Toybag Guides to Taboo and Age Play

[This is the text of the book reviews from episode 26 of the podcast.]

The books this episode are the Toybag Guide to Playing with Taboo by Mollena Williams and The Toybag Guide to Age Play by Lee ‘Bridgett’ Harrington. Two episodes ago I said I wasn’t going to review these so soon, as I had just read another book by Lee, but this was the review that was ready, so this is what you get. It’s how life works out some times. Whoopsie doodle.

I’ve previously reviewed a book by both authors called Playing Well with Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities in episode 2, which I loved and subsequently purchased in physical form for future reference. Both authors also had short stories in Leather Ever After: An Anthology of Kinky Fairy Tales, which I reviewed in episode 3. You know what? That’s not my fault. They work too much. I hope they’re getting enough rest.

The version of Taboo is digital, which was perfectly adequate. I chose the physical form of The Toybag Guide to Age Play and that was equally reader-friendly, so go with whichever format you prefer. It is easier to read a digital book in public without anyone knowing what you’re up to. So there’s that.

I chose to read The Toybag Guide to Playing with Taboo because when I first learned of this type of play I wondered what on Earth people could get out of it but didn’t want to dismiss something simply because I didn’t understand it.

Conversely, I chose to read Age Play because I very much got it and was looking for more ideas.
Both books are pocket sized or the size to throw in a toybag. They’d fit in a hoodie pocket perfectly. Age Play is 102 pages, Taboo is 128 pages. The font is…16? 18 weight. You may not need your glasses is what I’m saying.

Though they’re really not the sort of book you’d chuck in your toybag in order to consult just before play. This is fairly advanced stuff, though also covers information for beginners.

For the books’ size, the authors cover an enormous amount of information. In both cases I felt like I came away with far more than I should have done considering the size of the volumes.

I definitely got what I came for—Taboo helped me understand what practitioners get from their play and Age Play gave me beaucoup ideas, oh boy, oh my. It also helped me be a little more comfortable with that side of myself. Because, let’s face it, some people get their judgment on when it comes to the age players.

Both books covered how to do each type of play as safely as possible, as both age play and taboo play can be dangerous territory for everyone involved. Both go over everything from exploring why you’d like to do a particular activity to what to do if a scene goes sideways.

Now for specific information on each book.

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Starting with The Toybag Guide to Playing with Taboo.

Williams said something most people coming into kink can probably identify with on some level:

I quickly learned that the BDSM “community” was a microcosm, not a utopia. All of the prejudices, fears, biases and issues we trudge through in the outside world are tracked into dungeon and discourse, making for a Byzantine labyrinth of hot-button emotional issues. Imagine the blow when you finally suss out your lusts and realize that, once again, you are an outsider. The age-player who realizes that the darkly sexual incestuous undertones of his preferred game is “too much” and shouldn’t be practiced.

Up until that last line, many of us probably think, ‘Yay! People like meeee!’ Then you get five feet through the dungeon or chatroom door and someone is shaming your kink like they’re being paid to do so.

Well excuse me, Judgerpants.

Williams goes on to say:

the emotional decriminalization of your impulses, desires and feelings is an important key to letting your mind frolic in those swampy places.

I like the phrase ’emotional decriminalization’. What you feel is what you feel. And how you feel is never wrong—it just is what it is. How you respond to that feeling is what’s important. And as long as you’re acting on those impulses in a healthy way—meaning everyone involved is self-aware and consenting—then the Judgerpantses of the world need to find a fjord and jump off it.

Before I list off this next bit of what taboo play can include I want to stress that we’re talking about fully grown, consenting, negotiating, very much alive adults. Okay? Okay.

Taboo play can include themes and activities related to: genocide, degradation, warfare, hate, scat, piss, blood, religion, sexual taboos like incest and rape, bestiality, necrophilia, and race. No actual animals, children or dead people. Real pee, blood and poo, though. Williams had some interesting things to say about poop in an episode of Tina Horn’s podcast Why Are People into That she was on and in the book.

[Williams was on a two-part episode of that show, which was episode two entitled Mollena Williams: Role Play–I cannot find a link for it, but it’s on iTunes and I highly recommend it.]

Fun factoid—Tina Horn dislikes the word poop. If you’re listening to or reading this, Tina, sorry.

Mostly what Mollena has to say about it is that people put scat play on the same level as illegal activities like necrophilia and pedophilia when it’s not illegal—it’s just smelly and germy if you’re not careful. That’s how deeply ingrained the idea of poop being disgusting is. Little kids paint with the stuff, but parents teach that it’s the mankiest thing ever and next thing you know—no kids, no dogs and no scat.

I hadn’t thought of it that way.

You know what, though? I’m not even into kissing because of the germ factor so the poop isn’t for me. Porn is ruined when someone starts rimming someone else, man. The e. coli is partying it up in your mouth now! But people are into the butt now. So much butt.

However, I support the scatters…or poopers or whatevers in doing your thing. You don’t do it in public, which is more than I can say for people kissing. People do that in films and tv shows. All I think is germy, germy mouth sluuuuugs.

What were we talking about? Right. Incestuous Nazis with a thing for dog-fucking nuns. Now there’s a scene you want to see at your local dungeon.

Williams says:

many people assume that the complexities of taboo play involve re-enacting and therefore strengthening that cycle of abuse. Not necessarily: Imagine the scenario of a cornered hounded bottom turning the tables on an overbearing menacing top. Sound fun? Now add to the mix the idea of the fag-basher becoming the bashee… or the beleaguered victim of racial profiling by a member of Homeland Security gaining the upper hand during that back-room pat-down and cavity check.

In a chapter entitled General Principles, Williams discusses motivations and intentions.

Why bother? Why take the risk of being ostracized, or of going down a destructive pathway? What the hell do you have to gain from such awful explorations? I hope that you do ask these questions of yourself, and can answer them well. If you cannot, this might be a good sign that you don’t have a solid “jumping off point.”

I consider intent to be absolutely pivotal in the planning, negotiation and execution of taboo scenes. In the same way that “intent” is the main feature that separates BDSM from abuse, intent can salvage a relationship even if a scene takes a turn for the worse. Knowing my partner engaged with me with the intention of a good scene leaves room for us to recover if the scene goes off track. If you are at all doubtful of someone’s intentions, you don’t really want to uncover that mess in the aftermath of a problematic scene.

Then she talks about what she gets from engaging in these sorts of scenes. She says:

For me, edgy, taboo scenes push me in ways that move me closer to my core. I’ve a new respect for my own resilience.

The concept of moving towards your core is an interesting way of looking at it. Of being stripped bare by whatever sort of play you think will make it easiest and safest. Most people aren’t brave enough or curious enough to know themselves that well. Perhaps they’re frightened to find out what they’d learn. I don’t mean specifically about playing with taboo—I mean kink in general.

In the chapter on how to do everything from negotiate the very beginning to deal with the unexpected she says:

If, at any point, anyone involved in a taboo scene has misgivings, hesitancy, doubts, or just the jeebies, halt. Stop. Check in. If you have to, cancel the scene. I don’t give a shit if you flew in authentic Booted Goats from the lush rolling foothills of eastern Switzerland for that very special “German prisoner escaping the Third Reich” scene. Just drop it. Nothing is more important than a clear and open mindset when you are doing these scenes. The goats will wait.

Soooo… in the chapter about animal play and bestiality I learned that twenty states in the US haven’t outlawed sex with animals. TWENTY. It wasn’t surprising that it wasn’t illegal in every country. There are a lot of countries and, you know, some are sort of remote. Or maybe they don’t think they need to outlaw it… That could be it.

Still, the chapter in this book is how to negotiate to do animal play with consenting humans.

There are specific chapters on play involving religion, sexual taboos like incest of many varieties, rape, animal play, necrophilia, race and identity, bodily fluids hilariously called Your Body is a Wonderland. Then other chapters on communication, things to consider and other useful information. Like many indie press books, there are a few typos. But I’m a grumpy person about that sort of thing.

On to…

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The Toybag Guide to Age Play by Lee Harrington

[Brief note about the cover above–the cover to my book has ‘Bridgett’ as the middle name in quotes. Your version may vary.]

The intro points out that age play is not a precursor to pedophilia. Everything I have yet read concerning age play has some sort of disclaimer saying it has nothing whatsoever to do with pedophilia. I don’t get out much so no one has said this to my face, but the first time a kinky person does so I’m going to say, ‘I guess that means your kink has to do with domestic abuse, then. We should get a group discount for the therapist.’

The Judgerpants family is legion, apparently. Don’t mess with me. My rants are hella fun. I’ll hella fun your face off.

In Chapter One: What is Age Play, Lee says:

Age play is any interaction or roleplay between consenting adults (or enjoyed by a solo adult) involving the concept of age as a dynamic. This can include, but is not limited to:
–age regression back to being a ‘kid’ (pretending to be 7 and playing video games or masturbating for the first time)
–fetishizing one’s current age (the power of being a twenty-year-old woman)
–age forwarding towards being a different age bracket (a thirty-year-old dressing up to be Santa Claus)
–or any roleplay interacting with any of these concepts.
Age play incorporates a sensual or sexual element, but many ‘age players,’ ‘kidz,’ ‘babiez,’ or ‘littles’ enjoy ‘pure’ age play that is just about the role and not about any hanky panky.

Like Taboo, the book talks about what people get out of age play, in this case, the people who go younger often do so in order to re-experience the joy and freedom of youth or to be a kid for the first time. Those who take on the adult role do so to be trusted or to ‘corrupt’ someone or act as a teacher or guardian. There’s a list in the book of quite a few reasons why people do the age play thing.

There’s discussion of how to go about actually doing age play once you’ve decided you’d like to.

Lee says his first question is always:

How much investment do you want to put into this?

Investments can range from a three minute role play when you’re fooling around in bed, to a scene/evening investment to a repeat role where a scene or character makes a return performance on more than one occasion.

Then there’s one step further, which is Personal Investment, something Lee describes as, ‘When your hobby starts spending your money.’ On props and those sorts of things. Mmmm prooooops. And finally, Full-Time Identity.

It bears saying—it’s in the book, but I’d say it here, too: ‘There is no ‘better’ type of investment.’ If you’re happy being a naughty little boy for about fourteen minutes every six months, it doesn’t make you any better or worse than the guy, gal, other or both who dons a school boy outfit the second they get home from work every day.

Chapter Two covers all of the ages people role play as kids. It feels weird to call it role play, though. For me, it’s a very definite age and the phrase ‘role play’ sounds like pretend. It’s more like accessing a certain part of myself that I don’t typically allow myself access to.

For lack of a better term I’ll use role play, though. The ages listed for the younger set are:
Pre-verbal, Toddler, School Kid, Teen, Post-Teen/Adult.

They’re defined in the book, but most of those are pretty self-explanatory, except for the final one, which includes college or university themes.

This section reminded me of a story Sex Nerd Sandra told on Perverted Podcast when she went to an age play party. The friend she dragged along taught pre-schoolers, I believe and she said, ‘This isn’t how kids act at all! That kid wouldn’t have any friends and would be sat in a corner!’

I loved that this woman was critiquing the acting abilities of the ‘kids’ at this party. That entire story was…terrible. The story was great. The party was terrible.

The roles for Adultz listed are:
Mommy/Momma/Mom (I’d add any version of Mum for the English or Mam for the Irish) and Daddy/Poppa/Dad; All other blood relatives, basically—aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents, you name it; Daily roles like teacher, bus driver, coach, next door neighbour, babysitter; Special Time Roles like dentist, doctor, camp counselor, ice cream vendor; Then, of course. There’s the Stranger. What if the Stranger really needs to be looking out for little Sally?

Because of the possible emotional and psychological land mines inherent in this sort of play—particularly with the Mother/Father option, the suggestion is made to use a name not used with the person’s actual parents.

Something that comes up in this chapter is the nonsexual aspect of age play. People often focus on that part because it freaks them out, but I think age play appeals to those who are drawn to it for myriad reasons that have nothing to do with sex.

And I had no idea how many nonsexual ways there were to do this! One of the suggestions was Single Adult, Assorted Kidz. Which involved one Grown up type say, taking a bunch of kids to a museum or something. Another was Single Adult, Family Tie Kidz. ‘Dad’ in the middle with one ‘kid’ on one side and that person’s ‘step-sister’ on the other, curled up watching a movie. What?! That’s great. I found that hugely appealing and didn’t know it existed before. There was much in this book I felt that way about, though.

There’s a chapter on all the different types of scenes (hint: probably more than you think—I have so many ideas now).

Then we’re onto gender in age play (you don’t have to remain your own) and aging up. There are people who enjoy playing the geriatric set. They’re called ‘gerries’ or ‘elder players’. I thought about how much I enjoyed old age make up for the theatre and what a curmudgeon I am. I identify heartily with Stephanie Cole in Waiting for God. Even at 10 I loved Bea Arthur on Golden Girls.

I’d just wind up role playing as a grouchy old woman playing mahjong with her grouchy old woman friends. Then again, I do really love that show Grace and Frankie. Oh God. Hi. I’m a gerrie. My name’s Edith. Get off my lawn and your music all sounds alike.

Of course a book on age play would not be complete without a conversation about the appeal of diapers.

There’s a bit about negotiation versus organic evolution. In my, completely non-scientific, utterly anecdotal experience, age play has often started between people in bed for the first time without prior discussion and it’s worked out well then discussed and developed later.

I suppose we don’t hear from the people whose partner responds badly to the suggestion & never brings it up again. And I wonder if it’s only brought up in the dark perhaps when one is tired or after sex—when one is already vulnerable—because it’s so taboo. Even within BDSM, in general, it’s not something people say, ‘want to do this thing?’ or, ‘I really want to dry nurse while we watch TV’ during a negotiation. It’s one of those kinks-within-kink that can bring some heavy judgment.

That chapter also discusses how to handle impromptu scenes in terms of check-ins afterward, which speaks to how common impromptu scenes are with this type of play.

All the different types of discipline and punishment are covered and a reminder that age play affects outsiders. Yes indeedy doo.

Finally there’s a chapter on when things go badly. Relationships end, triggers are tripped and so on and how to deal with those things. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.

This one had several resources in the back.

Though my overall inclination is toward a Victorian-style power exchange I had unconsciously incorporated many elements of a Mommy/girl relationship but didn’t see it or call it that. Maybe I didn’t want to because of my own internalised discomfort, but I can hardly ignore it now. Oh well.

If you’re looking to expand your repertoire when playing with taboo or age play or would like to get your feet—or something else—wet, definitely give these a look. Likewise, if something just confuses the hell out of you—the Toybag Guides are written by articulate people with a wealth of experience. It’s easy to judge—it takes a little effort to understand other people’s kinks, and you may learn something about yourself.

5/5 for both and now I want to read all of the books in the series.

Mommy & Daddy Doms and Little Girls & Boys

This post is about Daddy Doms (DD) [the female equivalent is Mommy Dommes (MD)] and their submissives little girls or little boys (lg or lb).

It’s not something I’m personally into but it is interesting and there are some misconceptions about the dynamic. I’m all about education and the post below explains terminology and dispels misconceptions well.

The link to the actual Tumblr post is at the very bottom of the post (the site is The River Lethe and has been on hiatus for a year.)

I have an absolute horror of broken links and lost information, though (never forget the Library of Alexandria!) so this is the entire text of the post unedited:

Through this guide, and all other BDSM related guides, I’m going to be extremely candid, honest and potentially vulgar, because I’m just talking, which means chances are I’ll swear a lot. I’m not trying to be professional, I’m trying to be educational. This isn’t a guide for writing or roleplaying, this is a BDSM guide – and you can use it to help improve your writing of a character involved in the BDSM community, but regardless.

Keeping in mind, that BDSM relationships are very flexible, and what doesn’t work for one person, might work for another. So any of my personal stories or opinions are completely optional. However, there are things through the BDSM community that absolutely SHOULD be standard, and absolutely SHOULD be mandatory.

If you have questions or comments, my askbox is always open.

I get really ranty and shit here, because I’m extremely passionate about the stuff to come.

We’re going to keep in mind that: DD/lg, DD/bg, MD/lg, MD/bg, DD/lb, DD/bb, MD/lb, MD/lb – are all, essentially the same relationship wise, and I respect each and every pairing, but through the guide, my examples and my wording will be with DD/lg or DD/lb – because it’s what I personally relate to. If this is offensive at all, sorry not sorry, because I’m a guy, I’m a Dom, I’m not a female, so I’m not going to go into the female side. I’m sure people can replace the mental imagery of cock with a vagina. Alright, moving on.

Terminology! The fun part!

Age Play
Age play is exactly that – playing an age other than your own. So, if you’re a twenty year old, cognitively choosing to play at a 17 year old, that is age play. You might not identify with this age, though, you might not be saying ‘yeah, I’m being seven’ or ‘I’m being fifteen’ – but you could be acting that age. Age play is usually sexual – and should not be judged. If someone of age is choosing to age play as a ten year old, that’s their choice, and it’s not anyones place to bash them for it.

Age Regression
Age regression is a little different than age play. Some people see them as the same – but realistically, they are not. Age play is cognitively choosing and age, and playing it. Age regression is literally regressing to a younger state. Age regression isn’t always something someone WANTS to do. Age regression is generally linked with little space. In some cases, age regression is regarded as a mental disability, because it can (and often is) brought on by stressful environments and inhibits people from holding jobs and living a “normal” lifestyle.

Little Space
Realistically, there are two types of little space. Age play little space – where you choose to pull yourself into a younger mindset, and need to waive the responsibilities of the day to day, that might mean you lay around and color, or you just watch kids movies. There’s regressive little space – which personally, I think should be absolutely non-sexual, because it can be damaging, as your little is usually really in the mindset of the age they’re portraying. Little space is different for everyone, it’s about what makes the little comfortable – not about you as a Dominant.

As a Dominant, though, you need to be there, completely and fully while your submissive is in little space. Abandonment is not okay.

The DD of DD/lg is Daddy Dom. MD is Mommy Domme. LG is little girl. BG is babygirl. LB is little boy and BB is babyboy. Yes, yes there are differences.

HOWEVER, sometimes it all just comes down to what you prefer to be called. So you can be a little, but want to be called babygirl, you know? These are just a way to categorize the different types of submissives that are generally interested in DD/MD types. So, if you identify with the Nymphet, but you want to be called babygirl – that’s completely okay, because it’s about what makes you, as the submissive, happy and comfortable.

Submissive types.

Little
Alright this is a range. Because in most cases, little’s are more age regression than age play. A lot of times it sticks to the younger sides of things 5-10, but there is no standard, it’s from person to person. If you regress to fifteen, and you identify as a little, you’re not wrong, you’re just you.

Babygirl/Babyboy
Again a huge rage, because it’s about what you want as a submissive. This is more the age play than regression – but, some babygirls don’t identify as an age other than their own; but they enjoy coloring, they enjoy the more “childish” things. Playing with dolls, dressup, enjoying kids movies – often things associated with both littles and babygirls.

Nymphets/Lolitas/Middles
A lot of times, this range is from about 12-16. Usually this type exists because they’ve romanticized the novel Lolita – or, because they simply identify with a per-pubescent age/teenager. In most cases; not all, someone on this rage is more sexually driven, rather than being interested in coloring and playing with blocks.

AB/DL
Adult baby / Diaper Lover. As an adult baby, you do not HAVE to enjoy diapers. These are obviously the youngest on the little spectrum. Most AB/DLs enjoy very young play 1-3 has been the most common that I’ve seen; having bottles, onsies, pacifiers, playtime, nap time and so forth; a lot of these things can be found amongst the littles and the babygirls/boys too, but it’s more intense when it comes to AB/DL. They enjoy being treated as babies, they enjoy baby talk; usually, AB/DL is non sexual during babytime. But that’s not always the case, it depends on the submissive.

Mommy and Daddy Doms.
Are. Not. Pedophiles. Are. Not. Incestuous.
YES, in some cases, they might be a fucking pedophile, but hey, your mailman might be a god damn pedophile.

As a Daddy, we do not want to fuck ten year olds. We want innocence, playfulness, an adorable little boy (or girl) to crawl up on our lap, curl into a ball, and need us to hold them.

We set structure, and rules. We might be a fatherly figure, but we are not FATHERS to our littles; though, some people do enjoy incest play, and that’s their choice, you should not bash them for it, and you should not assume that because SOME enjoy it, we ALL want it.

Daddy and Mommy – those are special titles, something that you call the person you fucking cherish; because they protect you, because they guide you, because they hold you and scare off the monsters.

Because we, as children, were taught that our mommies and daddies were invincible, that they would protect us from evil and keep us safe. That they would feed us, and dress us, teach us right from wrong, guide us lovingly, but firmly.

So, as a grown up, some people still crave that relationship – they crave to be held in the arms of a man they know can chase off the demons. One they KNOW will give them rules, and enforce them.

Mommy and Daddy – those titles are earned, because you’re a protector, not because you want to have sex with your spawn, or because your children want to be with you in that fashion.

In a lot of cases, Mommies and Daddies are more caring and affectionate than a Master would be. Cuddles are what we were made for, snuggling and love; curling up on the couch, watching a kids movie, playing with our little babes. Building forts, having fun – DD/lb/g relationships are mostly about that – having fun, and feeling safe.

Sure there is sex involved, and yes it’s fucking amazing. You can be kinky as you want in bed – that goes back to my first post about ‘what works for one’ and so forth. It’s pick and choose, there’s not specific /type/ of sex that happens in a DD/bg relationship. It’s not ALL about sex, just like with any BDSM relationship, there’s so much more.

Daddy Doms should be strong, not physically, but mentally sound. Strong enough to make rules for their little monsters, and chase away the scary ones. Strong enough to hold your little girls head high when she can’t do it herself, because the world is fucked up. Set rules that help shape your little prince/ss, enforce them when they fuck up, but tell them you love them, and you know they’re trying.

It is your responsibility, as a Daddy, to be the rock that your baby needs when the world is pushing her too hard. You need to be the hand that sets her sights to the sky, so she knows there is no fucking limit to what she can do. You, as a Daddy shouldn’t do everything for your girl, but you should give her everything she needs to do anything.

Hold her when she cries, tickle her to tears, make her feel like the most beautiful girl in the world – because to you, she is.

As a Daddy, your goal isn’t to just fuck some innocent little thing. Your goal is to protect some sweet little sundrop; and if you’re lucky, he’ll love you as much as you love him. Give endlessly, and only take what your baby gives you – never break off pieces they need, don’t push your power, because you have none without your little. Don’t abuse them, because god knows they break like porcelain.

No matter how tough that little thing might act, they have feelings as fucking delicate as glass. Just like you do; admit it or not, watching tears on those cheeks fucking wrecks your heart.

In the end, a Daddy Dom / Little boy – or otherwise relationship is give and take, like with anything BDSM or relationships in general. I won’t cover punishments, because it’s anything from spanking to time out. I can’t dictate what you do with your submissive, or what you do as a human. You need to make these rules with your little, and you need to stick to them.

Consistency, care, and honesty. Big parts of a DD/lb and otherwise relationship.

She is not your property, nor will she ever be – she will be your love, your heart, your spirit. She will be the heart that beats in your chest and the air you breathe; but she will not be yours, until she says so. She is not yours to touch, unless she craves your fingers against her flesh, your lips at the crook of her neck, your arms wrapping around her and keeping her close. You do not command her, now or ever – you do not have power over her; she holds power over you, and don’t ever forget that. She can take it if she pleases, or if you don’t please her. She is delicate, her skin is thin as paper, and her heart shatters as easy as glass; abuse her, and she will break. She, your little girl, is your world – for you, her dominant, are nothing but a lonely man wandering without direction, until you find your way to her.

 

http://the-river-lethe.tumblr.com/post/55631516552/through-this-guide-and-all-other-bdsm-related

Dungeon Etiquette with Ivy Leigh

This Saturday our mentors writing comes from Miss Ivy Leigh on FetLife and it concerns Dungeon Etiquette. Take it away.

 

Why Yes, I am a Bitch: About Dungeon Etiquette

I have screwed up when it comes to dungeon etiquette. I have inadvertently walked into scenes. I have talked too loudly around a scene. I have scened too closely to another scene.

When I walked into a scene, I was hit with the back swing of a flogger. Right in the face. I learned at that moment to watch where I was going.

When I talked too loudly around a scene, I was told in no uncertain terms to shut the fuck up and take it somewhere else. My feelings were hurt, yes, but I learned to take conversation the fuck outside.

When I started a scene too closely to another, I was told by a DM to move it somewhere else. I was embarrassed, yes, but Jesus, they were right and I was wrong. We moved.

And guess what? I didn’t die of embarrassment or humiliation. I just learned.

I’m just wondering how to hit everyone who can’t wrap their heads around dungeon etiquette with a back swing. That’s a lot of back swings.

I have been experiencing and reading what is amounting to countless accounts of scenes being interrupted, players having to develop 360 degree vision because people are wandering into their scenes, water-cooler type conversations, and even cell phone use in dungeons. What I have to say to that is

Take. It. Out. Side.

A dungeon is not a nightclub, it is not a lounge, and it is not a bar. It is not a place to socialize or check your messages– in fact, why the fuck do you have a cell phone in a dungeon??? Unless you’re expecting Steven Spielberg to call about that multi-million dollar movie deal or a parent at death’s door (which if that is the case, you’re waiting for word in a DUNGEON???), turn it off and leave it in your hotel room or coat check.

I have also been reading the suggestions of those who can’t seem to avoid doing any of these things. “Why doesn’t the dungeon have corridors sectioned off for us?” “Why did that guy hit me in the face with his whip when I walked by?? Why doesn’t he look over his shoulder every swing and check?” “Why can’t I text in the dungeon?”

The answer to all these are more questions– why can’t you be aware of your surroundings? Why is it all about YOU?

If you walk into a whip scene, you pretty much deserve to get hit. You violated a space and interrupted a scene. You learned something.

If you’re talking about your car repair or gossiping while someone is doing a needle scene, you deserve to get bitched at. The needle top needs all their concentration as to not send someone to the emergency room. You learned something.

If you scene too closely to another scene and you are asked to move, you deserve to be confronted. Again you are interrupting a scene and jut may bump someone doing a knife scene or a whip scene and that could end very, very badly. You learned something.

If you are clicking away on a cell phone texting your playdate who is late and occupying what is probably precious play space, then be prepared to learn something. And probably not pleasantly.

Yes, a dungeon is a play space. But it it also a sanctuary. Some people go to a lot of events, both locally and nationally, every year. But many others only go to one or two. That’s all they can afford both financially and time-wise. They don’t get to play on fancy equipment all the time or be in that uniquely charged atmosphere. So why bring the maddening aspects of modern life inside with you? Can you leave it at the door for a couple hours?

–Ivy_Leigh

The New Bottoming Book

The sheer glee on the bottom's face slays me.

The sheer glee on the bottom’s face slays me.

Like The New Topping Book, this is an updated version of a previous book (this time it was The Bottoming Book: How to Get Terrible Things Done to You by Wonderful People). The edition I read was published in 2001, roughly ten years after the original. Both books are by BDSM veterans Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy.

This was similar to The New Topping Book in that it was a good primer for people new to the lifestyle, though there were fewer anecdotes and personal scenes, and a lot was repeated between books. As most people aren’t going to read both that’s a minor quibble.

One book is not a substitute for the other–there is very specific information for each side of the top/bottom equation in each book. Reading both was enlightening in terms of how two people can experience the same extreme situation differently.

For someone with an intellectual curiosity about but no personal interest in BDSM, I would recommend reading both books. They provide a good deal of information in a short span and are easily accessible.

The New Bottoming Book covers basic information about a wide variety of bottoming scenes and techniques without being a particularly long read so I’d definitely recommend it for new subs or people who think they might be submissives or bottoms. 5/5 stars.

The New Topping Book

New Topping Book

The original version (The Topping Book) was published in 1994. The edition I read(The New Topping Book) was published ten years later. Amazon lists another edition that was published in 2011, which may be more current in terms of terminology regarding the internet (or the ‘Net as they say in the second edition).

I’m a sub, obviously, but I’m also new to the BDSM scene and want to learn as much as I can. This is my first non-fiction reading in book form (I’ve read a good amount on FetLife and other BDSM blogs and websites) and it covered a wide range of basic information but also had much that was geared toward advanced players.

As the title would suggest, the content is geared mostly towards Tops or Dominants, it’s a useful read for bottoms/subs, as well.

Easton and Hardy are open-minded switches and have decades of experience to share.

Well-written, amusing and with anecdotes from their lives, as well as their friends, I’d recommend this one for newcomers to the scene. It’s laid out with the most basic information first, with more sophisticated and controversial play later in the book, so more experienced players may learn a few things, too.

This should go in a list of must-read books for those interested in BDSM. 5/5 stars