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The Control Book
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on August 24, 2010
A few weeks ago my girlfriend, was at a New York City diner after a TES function chatting with some of her fellow kinksters and one of them had a well loved, dog eared, and annotated copy of a little paper back called The Control Book sitting on the table. She asked to have a look at it, read a quick section and thought it was something I would like. That night over skype she recommended it to me. She was right. I love it!

The Control Book by Peter Masters is not your typical book on dominance and submission. In my experience the typical kink book spends the bulk of its time on the what and the why of bondage and SM. They look on D/S as almost an afterthought, or a product of the other things that we do, as though if you spank them it will come. The control book is different. It is fundamentally about control: having it, giving it, sharing it, and being aware of it.

Over my kink education (short as it has been) I've been exposed to many discussion and debates about what seperates tops from dominants. This discussion is everywhere: in print, in dungeons, and online. It seems like one of those things that people just seem to know, but no one can clearly articulate. This is an area where Masters really comes through, communicating this difference more clearly and more succinctly than I've heard it put before. The difference is control sensitivity.

The Control Book doesn't spend time talking about why someone might be a control sensitive dominant or submissive. It doesn't waste pages on personal anecdotes, or colorful fluff. What is left is all meat.

The beauty of The Control Book is its codification of what happens when someone takes control. Every time we take control of our submissives, regardless of what we're controlling or how we're acquiring that control, the process contains the same distinct elements or steps. It's easy to hear steps and think this book is a "How to" of dominance. Well, it is and it isn't. Its not cookbook dominance, its not take one dash hair pulling add one cup firm tone of voice and... voila submissive. Rather Masters simply identifies that in each transaction control will be offered, taken, recieved, and excersized. Each of those elements takes countless forms but Masters postulates (and I agree), that they're always present. I expect that being aware of these steps will change the way I approach dominance.

The other gem in The Control Book is the time it spends on communication. Everyone knows that communication is more than the words we say. It's also all of the other signals we send, and how we recieve the signals sent by others. Where Masters goes one step further is the delineation of the conscious, subconcious, and unconscious minds. All of these effect both the signals we send and how we recieve signals from others. The real insight is that each element of the mind speaks best to its own counterpart. For example, in reading I realized that my own submissive's unconcious mind is very receptive to unconscious dominant signals, while her conscious mind might be hesitant. Therefore while trying to take control by first giving orders (an act of the conscious mind) is likely to meet resistance. If I instead initiate with a more unconcious signal, like invading her personal space and taking her by the scruff of the neck I can be more successful, and bypass resistance of one mind by speaking to another.

I could go on but I'm going to end here. I heartily recommend the book for anyyone who finds themselves sensitive to the ebb and flow of control within thier relationships.

Love and Kink.
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on October 14, 2013
While I liked his clean organization of the chapters, most of the things he covered were so obvious they were barely worth writing. I would get excited for the topic of the chapters only to discover that he doesn't really go much beyond detailed description, for instance he offers "4 steps" of the process of control. The is first is "submissive offers control," two, "dominant takes control," three, "Submissive gives up control," and four "dominate accepts and asserts control." Well Duh! The problem is he doesn't really go into much detail beyond vague abstract examples. Also many of his examples are clearly aimed a very domestic kind of BDSM relationship in which one person controls the other's life via who their friends are, where they go, taking care of their finances, etc. I realize people build relationships like this, but as a Domme I am not interested in controlling someone beyond how they behave in my home. This book also only uses the "he" pronouns for dominates and "she" for submissives, which is stupid and out dated. Reading this book, I feel like my basketball couch from the 80's sat down and told me everything about how he controls his wife.
I also disagree with his chapter on Safewords. He gives examples of basically how to circumnavigate really using safewords so that the Dominant can stay in control. He gives the example of "advisory words" which are like safewords, except when "red" is called by the subby, the dom considers stopping, but ultimately doesn't have to. I don't think this a great thing to put out there in the world, safewords are for safety and consent purposes, when you negate their effectiveness, you're negating your own consensual play. Personally, I've never known a sub to safeword unless something is happening that isn't supposed to happen, like they're getting pinched badly by rope, or can't breath. I was hoping the author would offer ways of non-verbal safewording for when a gag is in place, but he doesn't.
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on April 22, 2015
I have been in the BD/SM Lifestyle for a long time, and in all my years I've read a lot of books, gone to a lot of workshops, and had my fair share of experiences and listened to a lot of people's thoughts and advice. But to be able to learn so much in a single book about control to help me learn both as a Dominant and as a submissive, in a book is not typical. But in here he really takes more of a neutral point of view and explains "Control" itself and what it really means to have control, or release control.

Sometimes there seems to be a bit of confusion between a submissive and a Dominant, because they can talk about the same topic and yet seem to have two different perspectives of what it means regarding the power exchange of that level of control. In reading this book it really helped open my eyes to better equip me towards being able to have more precise and accurate levels of explaining what I am asking for or willing to give up. Another big point I saw in reading this book was how we all know that really good submissive or Dominant, and you can outline all the things which makes you feel that way about them, but you don't really see beyond those points. Well this book helped me see more of the underlying currents which help define that good Dom/sub and puts more of what it takes to be that into more of a perspective that you can now pursue.

I like how he takes the deep psychological aspects of control and really puts it into a deep and meaningful set of easy to read simple words to convey the point for everyone who takes the time to read it. It truly rates up there as one of the best top-5 BD/SM books I've ever enjoyed reading and have gathered an amazing amount of very helpful knowledge from, a must have for Doms/subs alike who are both new and skilled who want to really take their relationship to the next level and really get more out of it by truly having a greater and better understanding of what defines a BD/SM relationship as it pertains to the degrees they wish to exchange the power and control.
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on December 21, 2010
I received this book a week ago...and though it has interesting information there was nothing new in this book.

This book is great for someone just starting to play with control in the basic bdsm relation ship.

Having enjoyed the femdom life style for the last several years and owning a slave for the last year, I was hoping for stimulating ideas that would be new and interesting. Though there were play senarios...it wasn't edgy enough for me.

As I said if you are a beginner this is a must read, but if you've lived the lifestyle for a while I would only suggest this book as a refresher course in control.
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on December 7, 2007
This book was a great read! Lots of useful information for someone still trying to grasp all the control-related levels of being a Dominant. Concepts are explained using simple language that gets the point across in a manner with which most (if not all) readers can connect. Lots of examples drive these concepts to the core. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of the book is the Discussion topics provided both at the conclusion of each section and the end of the book; an entire chapter listing nothing but topics left to the reader for consideration. I recommend this title for those Dominants new to the lifestyle aspect of D/s. Especially those who have already read some of "staple" titles (Different Loving, Masters Manual, etc) but are still left with foggy ideas about the details of the *psychological* aspect of control, having control and maintaining control.
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on April 5, 2010
Peter Masters gets inside the conscious, subconscious and the unconscious of us all as he deconstructs, and reconstructs what it is about control that for some of us is an immensely delicious turn-on. Within the context of BDSM play, the book delves into the whys and wherefores of control and the power exchange. The book steps back and analyzes the steps, thought processes, results and possible ramifications of the use/exchange of control. This is an especially refreshing read in the BDSM realm which is deluged with too many (some are quite anemic) how-to books on the mechanics of the lifestyle. Each chapter leaves you to ponder questions you must answer within yourself. A great read for the serious player, or a novice who wants to take a walk on the psychological side of the lifestyle. My only complaint is that it should have been a bigger book, as I think this subject could be examined further.
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on June 26, 2014
Very detailed and delves into the conscious, un-conscious and sub-conscious effects of taking and giving control to another. Will have to read it a 2nd time to fully understand and absorb all the information given.
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on June 29, 2015
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on November 11, 2013
Considering the subject matter, I thought this could be chilling. But the author's tone is surprisingly generous and positive, nothing mean spirited whatsoever. This is my husband's book, purchased shortly after we agreed to alter our withering marriage to one where I am now 'taken in hand'. It was very helpful to him in gaining confidence in his taking control without feeling like a bully (which he never has been). Definitely helped him to assert himself more firmly in a way that enhances every aspect of our now very amorous union. I also found certain sections comforting in discovering that my own confusing reactions to some of his control were normal and to be expected. It's a big adjustment when control and submission become an authentic way of life 24/7, especially for a feminist such as myself. Useful even if you're not especially into the BDSM game scene, as we are not. A useful tutorial, well researched, very readable.
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on October 5, 2010
I enjoyed reading this book. It had some good information, but much of it I was already aware of. It is funny at some points and the author aims to make the subject amusing. The book is like a synopsis of what control is, how to get it, and how to avoid losing it. It specifically targets dominants controlling submissives.

The book has many typos and grammatical errors. In todays world of sophisticated word processing, this should not happen. It was also too general. It could have used some examples to clarify the topics. I liked the questions at the end of the sections. They were meant to stimulate thought as to how you would use this information in your life.

So... Overall, not bad as an introduction.
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