SM 101: A Realistic Introduction 2nd Edition
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About the Author
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People who should read this book include those who have recently discovered a new side of themselves, found a new partner who happens to be kinky, or have been in a relationship for along time, and would like to spice up their sex life.
The information in this book is thorough, and covers useful topics such as how to form romantic relationships, find a good partner (not necessarily a kinky one), the major types of BDSM play (bondage, flagellation, humiliation, dom and sub relationships, etc), and the sociological and psychological aspects of BDSM. There is a nice assortment of these general topics. The information isn't meant to be comprehensive because there is *so much* going on in the BDSM world, but it gives plenty of info to get started on. There are other books out there that focus on more specific BDSM topics, most notably bondage, because there are so many techniques, patterns, and knots out there. Readers can shop for and purchase more specific books after this one, when they figure out what they are most interested in.
The author (Jay Wiseman) is fairly old (66 as of when this review was written), and he wrote this book in 1992, with this edition being originally written in 1996. The major consequence of the book being this old is that the information and commentary on HIV (AIDS) in this book is outdated. HIV/AIDS back in the mid-90s was still somewhat mysterious, and the medical treatment for it was far less effective than today. Things have changed now, with AIDS no longer being a death sentence, so the discussion and comments about these things isn't so useful or relevant anymore. But the other info in the book will still be plenty useful. Just look for info on AIDS and AIDS safety from other more up to date sources, and ignore the comments in this book.
AIDS aside, this book does benefit a lot from Jay Wiseman's history of being a professional EMT for years. He is super conscious of safety concerns, and painstakingly explains all of the health and safety risks of BDSM. He explains why breath play is very dangerous, and how bondage and flagellation should be conducted to avoid acute and chronic injury, while having as much kinky fun as possible.
One more big thing that has changed since this book was published is that we have *really really good* internet now compared to back in the mid-90s. This means that finding kinky organizations and events isn't really hard anymore, and the addresses of the organizations in the back are less useful than a google search or some website names would be now. This doesn't really ruin the book, it is just outdated information in the Appendices in the back that isn't really useful anymore.
In terms of organization and writing, this book is very well assembled, contains few or no grammatical errors, and is concisely written. It also has fun/funny quotes of things that Jay Wiseman heard at BDSM meetings in the margins, and these make things fun for the reader.
In summary, I'm giving this four stars instead of five because a few sections of the book are outdated. Everything else about it is excellent. I would recommend that people new to BDSM try this book first, and then move onto more specific texts as their interests suit them. If you like this book, and want a second opinion about roughly the same subjects, try Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns by Miller and Devon.
There is relevant information in this book, particularly many things that folks would consider to be "common sense", but the book is almost painfully out of date and hard to read through to get to that information.
Side note, the Kindle version of this book is almost unreadable due to spelling and grammar errors. I had a friend cross reference the issues I had with their physical copy and the errors were not present in the physical text.
IMPORTANT: The book is several years out of date. Most of his advice is still good- paddles will still bruise less than canes, bound submissives are likely to fall on stairs, that sort of thing. HOWEVER: Wiseman frequently plays up the wonders of the spermicide nonoxynol-9, encouraging its use with anyone who isn't outright allergic to it. Nonoxynol-9 was believed to help limit the spread of STDs. This is the opposite of true. Nonoxynol-9 is irritating even if you aren't allergic, and the tiny lesions it causes may increase your chances of catching STDs, especially HIV. It's strictly for contraceptive use only.
The other key advancement made since the publishing of this book is silicone lubricant. Wiseman discusses the difference between water-based and oil-based, but now if you walk into your friendly neighborhood sex shop, you're more likely to find only water-based and silicone-based. Read up on the pros and cons of silicone- it's great stuff, but it does have some drawbacks- and definitely doublecheck whether or not it will stain any props you're using.
Lastly, this book is very much from the point of view of a straight man, and will be most useful (and least offensive) in the hands of other straight men and women. Wiseman seems to think Those Lucky Queers have got off easy with BDSM acceptance, and the Poor Unfortunate Heteros have to work much harder. He also considers bisexuality an alternative lifestyle, and blames over-the-top feminism for making women uncomfortable with submission (personally, I blame the vastly gender-disproportionate rates of sexual assault and abuse).
TL,DR version: overall, it's still a good book, but make sure you get up-to-date information on sexual health. The human body and psyche still work the same way, but the props available are a little different.
For a beginner this is a bible and you need to have it on your shelves. Its one of the few books that discusses etiquette and protocol something that seems to be seriously lacking sometimes. He also discusses safety...lots of safety...and personal responsibility so several more reasons why this should be on every players bookshelf.
Regardless of what your role is you should own this book. Even the most experienced play can learn something from it.
Top international reviews
if you're interested in the lifestyle, this should be required reading. If you're in the lifestyle, you should read this to get tips on how to talk to newbies about the lifestyle.
I credit this book with teaching me the Dos as well as the Don'ts ... and the Don'ts are much more important