Monday, May 14, 2012

The Ultimate Guide to Kink (1)

What's even better than being offered a book to review?
Being offered a book you've already decided to buy.

I really wanted a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge, edited by Tristan Taormino. My order was placed on Amazon, but hadn't shipped yet as there was a delay on some of the other items. (Yes. I feel guilty about ordering on Amazon. I'd really rather buy directly from the author or publisher, or from that rare creature, the local independent bookstore. But I'm so disgustingly broke from my happily-ended second extended bout of unemployment that any money savings counter that other guilt from buying anything at all. Ah, yes. Hypocrisy.)

I'd heard about the book from Laura Antoniou, whom I met with her wife in a non-BDSM setting. She is smart and funny and incisive, and has a chapter in the book, which seemed a good enough reason to add to my hopeless accumulation of debt.

That's one of the big attractions of The Ultimate Guide to Kink. No, not my debt. The chapters. Each chapter has a different author, and the sections are meditations on the topic at hand (or on the hand smacking your butt) as well as directions, hints, suggestions, and warnings. For a further peek inside the experience, personal observations from additional people are scattered throughout the pages.

Up to now, I've only skimmed, but already there are little colored flags marking notable quotes and sections I want to contemplate further. For example, consider this, from Madison Young's chapter "Submissive: A Personal Manifesto": an internal stillness that exists only in absolute surrender. I've known that stillness, the perfection of it, the purity that is almost holy in nature. This is far more than saying: "Hey folks, this is hot, you should try it to spice up your sex life!" Not to say the latter isn't a valid approach. But there's more than that. There can be more than that. So much of what BDSM has to offer is mental. Emotional. I would never claim it's for everyone. But Tristan and her team of authors are doing a service by letting readers know what they might find if they let themselves explore.

Now remember.
All I've done is skimmed.
This little essay, the first in a series, can't stand as a proper review.
But I'm looking forward to reading further.
With focus.
Particularly because of this little phrase in Tristan's introduction.
On the very first page.

She's talking about the people for whom the book is meant. And tucked in among talk of erotic horizons and power and pain and the like is this:

For the people who . . . cultivate consciousness in sex and relationships.

I think that is what gives BDSM its power to be extraordinary.
The consciousness.
Of each other.
Of yourself.
Of who you are and how you relate and what you can discover.

I think it's that need for a special consciousness that leads to the deep, exquisite, piercing intimacy that can come from the pure vulnerability of an honest BDSM relationship.

See what just skimming inspired?

Two final notes for now.

The first is that I know that my own experiences have given me what some might see as a rarefied perspective on BDSM. I don't go out in the community. I don't play in public. In fact, I've been known to say more than once "I don't play." I can be horribly serious about who I am and what we do and all that stuff. I'm sure it can be pretty annoying at times. But at least I'm fierce about insisting there is no One Right Way. No One True Religion of BDSM. So I'm vowing to remember that as I read and discuss The Ultimate Guide to Kink. (Do you think I should refer to it as TUG Kink?) I promise I will try not to act superior to people who are into any of the variations on BDSM just for the hot sex. There is nothing wrong with hot sex. It was S-- who taught me about sex as a recreational activity. S--, who is a skilled, gentle, and considerate lover. He's not at all into inflicting pain. (Not of the physical kind, anyway, and he has apologized a number of times for how he hurt my emotions in the past. Bruised feelings don't heal as fast as the welts from a cane. Oops. Sorry for the detour.)

The second is that there was a little slip-up. About a week after my copy of TUG Kink arrived, just in time for me to take it with on my trip north to see my parents, a second copy arrived. Now I could have offered to my faithful readers in some sort of contest, in thanks to those of you who have stuck around during these relatively silent months. But instead, I decided to maximize the benefit.

I offered the extra copy to my Master.

So, as time permits, he will be reading it as well and offering comments, which I hope he'll allow me to share. He'll take a special look at passages I direct him to. (Me! Directing my Daddy! What a concept!) I'm particularly looking forward to what he has to say about the chapter on sadism.

And you?
Consider buying the book.

The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge

That book.
And join the discussion here.
Even if you haven't read the book.
You can still weigh in on the issues.

Remember that my comments so far are based only on samples. But if I had seen those samples as I browsed in a book store (remember book stores?), I would have snatched up a copy and slapped my worn-out Visa card on the counter. Especially after stumbling on a passage such as this one, which brings us back to Laura Antoniou and my belief that there is no One True Religion of BDSM. It comes from her chapter on "How to Train Your Sex Slave":
Training, like the rest of our kinky relationship styles, is above all personal. Never try to use someone else's training program! What do they know about your preferences, your style, your relationship, your lovers? Nada, zilch, zip. using their training would be like using their underwear; it might look like it fits, but wouldn't you rather have your own?
So consider getting your own.
Copy of the book, I meant.
Not underwear.
Though underwear's ok, too.
If you're allowed to wear it.
And then - let's talk.


Anonymous said...

I'll be curious to hear your reaction to my chapter on Mindfuck, but that's just because I am an attention whore.


oatmeal girl said...

I think we're all attention whores, Edge, whichever side of the power spectrum we're on.

As for your chapter, I did skim it... it's scary - particularly because I know how very subject to suggestion I am. I'm looking forward to reading it thoroughly. Albeit cautiously...