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Different Loving: The World of Sexual Dominance and Submission Paperback – January 13, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Although the authors insist this tome "is not an apologia for sadomasochism," it often reads like one. Rejecting theories that explain S&M in terms of low self-esteem or regressed sexuality, they portray sexual dominants, submissives and fetishists "as they see themselves: loving and compassionate individuals" for whom pain is pleasure and physical bondage is psychologically liberating. However, it is hard to reconcile this formula with the interviewees' graphic accounts of whipping, spanking, "golden showers" (urination), the use of hot wax and clothespins, depersonalization fantasies (being treated like an animal or a chair) and so forth. The wife-husband Brames (she is a poet, he a novelist) and freelance writer Jacobs also devote sections to genital piercing, scarification (cutting one's body with a knife), tattooing, female wrestling and transvestites and transsexuals who engage in S&M. Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Few books come with warning labels, but this one does: ``Readers should not attempt any of the activities described in these pages.'' Why not? Because the outr sexual practices described by the Brames (she: a former therapist; he: a former archaeologist) and Jacobs (a freelance writer) in this bold report carry psychological and, often, physical risks--though that hasn't stopped the two-hundred-odd practitioners whom the authors interviewed, nor the millions who share their passion for sexual dominance and submission (D&S). All D&S, the authors explain, involves a ``power exchange'' in which one partner ``tops,'' or dominates, and the other ``bottoms,'' or submits--whether through bondage, wrestling, whipping, body-piercing, etc. After running through the history of D&S scholarship--with expected nods at Krafft-Ebbing and Havelock Ellis--the Brames and Jacob present an overview of the practices themselves, which range from infantilism (the bottom often wears a diaper and sucks on a bottle) and depersonalization (the bottom may act like an object, perhaps a footstool, or an animal, most often a pony) to spanking, cross-dressing, foot fetishes, enemas, branding, and so on. The authors discuss the methods, psychological bases, and historical backgrounds of the practices, each of which is illuminated by interviews with practitioners who speak with great seriousness (``Deliberate, ritualized infliction of what we call pain can change the relationship of the body and that which lives in the body,'' says Fakir Musafar, who likes to dangle from trees by way of ``fleshhooks''). And as for the risks, nearly all of these sexual outlaws identify with the ``Scene'' (the vast D&S underground that's highly self-aware: Two thousand infantilists, for example, belong to a ``Diaper Pail Fraternity'') and with its credo of ``Safe, Sane, and Consensual.'' The definitive guide to the sexual styles of those who walk on the wild side. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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DIFFERENT LOVING does something incredibly valuable in compliling about two-hundred testimonials from BDSM enthusiasts that cover the gamut of interests and involvement. The common thread through these diverse testimonials is the desire on the part of the interviewee to take themselves and what they do seriously, an honor conferred upon them by virtue of the cooperation of the authors and the publishers to treat BDSM behavior as better than a novelty or a joke.
I have not read this book from cover nor do I confess any inclination to but on multiple occasions I have taken this book from the shelf and opened to a page where some degree of personal reassurance has been found.
Better than any movie, pornographic or otherwise, DIFFERENT LOVING is a dignified way to share interest in the subject, to start a conversation or simply to display an willingness to be accepting of unusual practices.
I take the people who contributed to this book at their word regarding the private revelations that they make. For all I know they may be as fabricated as the fantasy letters published in Penthouse but thusfar I have not found any harm in assigning credibility to what I have read.
(Five out of five stars)
Although the authors are experienced players themselves (despite the "Don't try this at home"-type opening disclaimer), their approach is journalistic and even scholarly, letting the facts speak for themselves. Although much of the book is devoted to first-person accounts, the authors never lose sight of the fact that every experience is individual and none can be considered somehow "ideal" or "typical." No matter who you are or what your own perspective is, you'll find some things here you agree with and some you disagree with vehemently - but the point here is to show, not to tell, and certainly not to persuade.
Although this is a book that will appeal to sociologists and psychologists, with statistics and footnotes galore, it also proves accessible to the ordinary reader. The authors' language is straightforward, and the unobtrusively-edited interviews are full of swagger, emotion, and colorful anecdotes. I would especially recommend this book to those outside the BDSM community looking to understand "what it's all about," and to those within the community who wish to gain insight into activities that don't appeal to them personally while still falling under the general "heading" of BDSM.
Although the subtitle proclaims this to be a look into "The World of Sexual Dominance and Submission," the scope of this book goes far beyond dominance and submission per se. Many of the interviewees enjoy sadomasochistic play with few or no D/s overtones. Some subjects, such as body modification and "dressing for pleasure," are explored in depth that goes far beyond their D/s connections. Some topics, such as foot fetishism, seem more generally kinky than D/s-specific, and I don't know that a chapter on transgenderism (outside the context of D/s genderplay) belongs here at all. However, I can appreciate the authors' desire to be as broad as possible in their treatment of the subject, and although I would have liked to read more about dominance and submission specifically because that's my area of particular interest, I did find the more peripheral subjects intriguing in a purely "nil humani me alienum puto" sort of way.
Informative books on the BDSM world are rare, let alone books of this length and depth and breadth and readability. Whether or not you identify as kinky, if you want to come to a greater understanding of human sexuality in all its surprising variety, this book will fascinate and enlighten you.