As Kinky as You Wanna Be: Your Guide to Safe, Sane and Smart BDSM

August 11th, 2015

What makes As Kinky as You Wanna Be stand out among the myriad of other instructional BDSM books? For starters, it’s not so much a “how to” as some of those books, and Shanna quickly discusses this in the beginning. There are plenty of books that offer this type of information. Off the top of my head, I’d suggest SM101 by Jay Wiseman. He writes about the nitty gritty of bondage and safety, knots and other practical skills. There are books by the likes of 2 Knotty Boys, who also have YouTube videos, to get you started on the right foot, too.

The second difference between this book is how it’s arranged. Each chapter/section has a theme. Shanna discusses the theme, then follows an interview with someone who is especially knowledgable and experienced with that specific subject matter. In fact, Wiseman is one of those people! Then, you’ll have an erotica story or two surrounding the chapter’s theme.

I find the erotica helps to break up the instruction, but it also helps illustrate the subject that’s being discussed in a tangible yet fantastic way that can help a reader who may not be so familiar with certain concepts surrounding BDSM. For example, the section on consent and safewords includes two erotic pieces where couples are exploring their kinky sides and boundaries, each party looking for feedback that their exploration hasn’t crossed into unwanted territory.

Before these stories, Shanna discusses her own experiences surrounding consent, where she and her partner would ask what the other wanted. Well before she was thinking about the idea of consent or even what it means to be kinky, Ms. Germain was engaging in explicitly consented activities.  She goes on to detail SSC and RACK and delves into negotiation, highlighting how it doesn’t always happen at the beginning of a relationship or activities. She describes safewords as a way of removing consent, which I quite like.

Like every other chapter in the book, this is followed with some actionable tips for people who want to put the advice into practice. The repeated format is great because you always know what’s coming, even though the table of contents appears quite long because each of the eight chapters has at least two subsections.

The book is really quite short at 183 words, including the afterword, glossary, resources and author bios. And the progression of the chapters from discovery to discusses to to consent to toys to ettiquette to health to safety and, finally, through “handling rough terrain” makes perfect sense. It also allows the reader to choose the chapters that are most useful to them.

Shanna Germain discusses all of this with a conversational tone that’s approachable. She talks about her own experience and kinky identity, and she manages to do it all in a way that puts the reader at ease, which I think it important with texts like these. Ms. Germain is an open-minded person, and she knows she’s likely to continue growing as a person. This flexibility is, perhaps, missing from some discussion and resources about BDSM and kinky interests. It’s refreshing.

Although As Kinky as You Wanna Be didn’t introduce me to much new — even many of the contributors were quite familiar to me as a kinky reader and sex blogger — I do feel like it’s a great introductory book to anyone who might be wondering if they’re kinky or who may know they are but not sure where to go from there.


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