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PARTNERS IN POWER Paperback – February 25, 2015
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Chapters 1-4: BDSM 101-type introduction, with plenty of sweeping generalizations thrown in for good measure.
Chapters 5-9: Generic relationship advice that could apply to anyone, with references to BDSM thrown in for flavor. This is also where the author's unbearably pretentious analysis of Jungian psychobabble begins to predominate.
Chapter 10: Some interesting leather history in here. Not bad.
Chapter 11: Supposedly about problems in relationships, really a lot of whining and dating advice.
Chapter 12 + 13: Here is where I really thought the author had lost his mind. I think he was trying to write about the spirituality/religious aspects of BDSM, but it goes in a weird direction fast. Be careful if you're in subspace or bad things will get you. Cast a circle of protection before you scene. Tantra will allow you to transcend the bounds of our mortal universe and become one with Skynet. If a fluffy bunny pagan dropped acid right before an impact scene, this is the kind of stuff they'd write.
If you enjoy reading BDSM literature and want a step up from the 101 writing, this ain't it. If you want to listen to Holden Caufield-esque whining about "posers" and have a pseudo-philosopher bore the pants off of you, it's your lucky day. And hey, some of you are masochistic enough to want exactly that.
Since this book applies to leather relationships, most chapters are devoted to topics relating to these kinds of relationships. From the beginning chapter on "leather vocabulary," to the chapter called "Archetypes of SM relationships," to chapters on "knowing yourself" and "knowing what you want" in a SM partner. And he devotes a separate chapter to looking for partners. There's a lot of advice he offers that a lot of us don't always follow but should. There are also chapters that discuss the pros and cons of monogamy versus polygamy, the concept of "clubs" and "leather families," and relationship problems (he calls them "elephants in the room").
Jack offers his thoughts in a well thought out manner and raises points all of us in SM relationships should consider either before we enter into one or how to deal with issues once we are in one. An excellent book overall.
This book, like all of Rinella's books thus far, is supposed to make you think; it is not a how-to. He looks briefly at the history of kink, focuses on the community itself, then really gets to his goal: healthy relationships that are kinky. The advice is realistic and honest. It reassuring for many of us to known that a well respected and well-known gay leatherman of the last decade and a half has seen ups and downs in his own relationships and those of others around him. Doing Ds does not have to be just a fantasy nor does it mean living up to an ideal; it means embracing your desires and needs together as partners regardless of the role.