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Effective BDSM Primer
on August 23, 2015
This book should be regarded as the "original authority" or "an old classic" concerning BDSM.
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 The major consequence of the book being this old is that the information and commentary on HIV (AIDS) in this book is outdated.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.