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Sensuous Magic 2 Ed: A Guide to S/M for Adventurous Couples Paperback – January 9, 2002
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Need help with your riding-crop technique? Wonder how to wrap your husband like a mummy? Or maybe you caught your girlfriend wistfully eyeing a pair of handcuffs in a shop window and simply want to know how to bring up the subject with her. Sensuous Magic has the answers. Writer, therapist, and sex radical Patrick Califia-Rice has updated his classic introduction to S/M and power play to embrace couples of all persuasions and at every stage of experience. Although not a comprehensive technical guide (you will need a book on rope bondage, for instance, if you want to learn appropriate knots and techniques), Califia-Rice's text offers insightful warnings, advice, and commentary, the kind of guidance you might expect from a seasoned mentor. It is especially well-suited to daring beginners, who can learn the basics on safety and communication, while being titillated by more advanced topics like whip selection and master/slave contracts. --Regina Marler
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I came to know Califia's work through essays in other books - his piece "Jessie," in Coming to Power: Writing and Graphics on Lesbian S/M, 2nd Revised and Updated Edition, was one of my absolute favorites from that book, and his essays on fisting and masochism in The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge were hot, funny, and dead-on accurate.
So, our boy nails it yet again, so to speak. Here's what's awesome about Sensuous Magic: IT'S ACTUALLY WRITTEN FOR BEGINNERS but doesn't treat 'em like they're stupid, either. It contains information about BDSM based on how people actually do it, and how you'll probably actually do it. And the interludes of fantasy/erotica are an absolutely brilliant touch - definitely inspiring.
I have read many, many books on BDSM, and this is absolutely, without a doubt, the first one I would hand to someone who I wanted to educate about that particular lifestyle. It literally could not have been done any better.
The content in the book is ok. I would have expected something a bit more in depth since it was originally written for married couples (in LTR). I do like some of the step by step instructions (how to talk to your mate to discuss wants and needs). So for a couple that is looking for a little kink, this would be good. Keep in mind, a little bit of kink. For this the content gets 3 stars.
I was seriously expecting the resources to be updated to find more info. Some books are out of print, some are not available, and some, there are better books out there than the 'old' ones he is referencing. I'm very disappointed.
Califia also takes a realistic attitude about doing SM throughout the book, pointing out for example that what may really hot in your mind (like a full on 24/7 D/s relationship) may not be practical when it comes to things like doing shopping or picking up the dry cleaning, or holding down a 9 to 5 job every day. Or that your Top may have a bad day or not be perfect at all times. Reality rears its ugly head.
Califia even includes a glossary of terms in the back, a resource guide, and further reading material. While the book is aimed primarily toward people new to BDSM, there's enough material here that even so-called "veteran" SM players will enjoy reading. Califia is a long time community member and his experience shows in the writing of this book.
I've checked out lots of other books on the market, gotta say most of them, and I would recommend this one the most for those people who are starting out. It's not overwhelming with information and presents things in a straightforward manner. Once you have a handle on things you can delve into the other books but I find some one them don't get to the soul of the experience, or throw too much info at you and it's difficult to wrap you head around what's going on.
Once you have an idea of the idea and foundation of BDSM then pick up one of the technique books. This isn't really one of them, though it has lots of good resources in the back. This is a good resource book about the lifestyle and what to expect.