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Showing 1-10 of 101 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 177 reviews
on September 9, 2011
This is a pretty good introduction for someone new to the BDSM scene, or someone on the outside who wants to know what all the fuss is about. The tone is casual, but professional, and Wiseman includes plenty of personal stories. I know anecdotal evidence isn't always the best, but it's a lot more effective to say "I personally know someone who was injured in this way," than to caution "If you do this wrong, such and such injuries might happen."

IMPORTANT: The book is several years out of date.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.
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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.
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on March 14, 2017
Complete and thorough info covering the topic. Good interviews of experienced people.
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on October 28, 2015
Lot's of great tips. I also recommend this book. I am Adam I am Eve Spirituality without God without without Religion without fear by Leonard Cascia.
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on August 6, 2015
Good informative book with detailed descriptions. I would recommend
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on December 10, 2010
very safety conscious
very detailed depictions of toys and tools and loads of tips on how to use em
(BUT almost all of the practical info is for doms, so I'm giving my copy to my domme girlfriend)

the author's tone is often completely obnoxious..
for instance when he's going on about 'the feminists' trying to ruin everyone's fun.. or when he's insisting that one kind of play 'is' SM and another 'isn't'. He really cares about some random rules that most of us could give a crap about...such as who wears a collar and what kind, or who addresses whom by what title.

** stuff like that gives SM the feel of a Ren Faire (and I don't mean that in a good way)

so take it for what it is, a well-meaning and respectful but pompous and priviledged hetero dude shares loads and loads of good info that's mostly helpful for doms. If you can overlook some of the preconcieved notions about gender and sexuality then you will get loads of fascinating info...

at its worst the book is heteronormative and rigidly conventional both in terms of gender roles and in terms of how it defines SM. The author can come off like a pompous jackass and is overly concerned with minutiae that seems (to me at least) irrelevant.

At best its a wealth of practical information, and very concerned with safety and respect. As a queer femme and feminist I was irked with some frequency by the tone of this book. Someone who spells women with an extra Y woulda been offended bigtime and near constantly. Homes needs to check his privilege hardcore.
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on August 25, 2005
I found this book very informative with just the right hint of humor and personality of the author to make it an easy read. I really have to say the author has a real thought for even the most minor detail which I found fascinating and extremely helpful for a novice.
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on April 22, 2014
There is some valuable information and recommendations in this book, if you can get past the pre-technology communication advice. It has some historic value as you can appreciate how difficult it was to be LGBT or kinky before the internet and more mainstream acceptance of some aspects of the lifestyle. Just couldn't get past how severely dated this "updated" version of the book was.
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on July 10, 2007
This book was an ok read. It is probably better for someone with a little bit of experience but if you have done more than just dabbled in BDSM, then this book is not for you. Not really for submissives either... This book is better for someone who is interested in being a dominant.
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on December 28, 2014
Great book, was suggested to me recently by someone who had read the first edition years ago when I was a beginner in a BDSM relationship with him. I had so many questions! The writer is knowledgeable & in depth about the world of SM, as well as professional and relatable in sharing the information. There's something for people at every level of interest and involvement.
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