BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism

October 31st, 2016

One of my goals this year was to read more, and I’m poised to finish about three dozen books by the end of 2016, which is a number with which I am quite happy. Few of these books are “assigned” reading a la reviews, and most of them actually aren’t about sex. I wanted to branch out into hard science and nonerotic fiction, so few of the titles on my bookshelf or Kindle were related to sex.

As you can guess, BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism doesn’t break that mold, but it does stand apart from other books that I’ve read this year.

Now, I am no stranger to BDSM books. You can check out my reviews for As Kinky as You Wanna Be, Decoding Your Kink: Guide to Explore Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires, and S&M 101, among others. There are even a few in there that I forgot. BDSM: A Guide is not one that I will soon forget.

Part of this is because it’s a tome of a book. With over 600 pages, it might be the longest book I’ve read this year — or during the past several. There is a wealth of information provided by the author Ayzad.. if you’ve the time to peer between the pages. I do think this book could be intimidating to some because of its size and other reasons, which I will touch on later.

First, let me introduce you to Azad, an Italian and self-proclaimed pretentious European who wrote the first version of this book over a decade ago. Ayzad’s experience and connections have resulted in something that could be described as the ultimate BDSM textbook. If it’s not in this book, it’s either urban legend, frowned upon by conscientious kinksters or has been invented since this summer.

The original Italian book has been translated and updated for the world at large, and I was fortunate to review a copy on my Kindle. As you can imagine, a 500+ page book is one that could easily become overwhelming. I recommend the Kindle version not just for ease of searchability but also because it’s about half the price of the soft cover on Amazon and, I would imagine, a sure bit lighter!

I don’t normally comment on Kindle formatting, and there’s nothing terribly wrong with BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism, but a lack of numbered chapters — both within the table of contents and the pages themselves — makes it a bit hard to determine where you are in the book. A bit of tweaking with the different headings would also aid this, but it’s certainly not the biggest thing that would prevent someone from picking up this book.

BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism is, well, daunting. If you read the original, want a complete BDSM library or only want to read a single book on the subject ever, then this one is for you. On the other hand, I might recommend something a bit more specific to readers who are already well-versed in BDSM but wanted to learn more about a particular niche or something more accessible for those who are new to the subject or perhaps unsure whether BDSM is for them.

Ayzad doesn’t coddle his readers, and I must admit that I agree with when he describes himself as pretentious. Initially, this was offputting, but there is no doubt that the usefulness of this book overshadows that eventually.

As a resource, BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism stands head and shoulders above other BDSM publications and certainly above most things you’ll see online (where many people are seeking answers to specific BDSM questions). I’ve written guides myself, but this book delves far deeper than typical BDSM activities and terms, introducing the reader to ideas that they never knew they wanted to try (or perhaps never realized they wanted to avoid!).

Indeed, Ayzad lists potentially dangerous activities such as choking out of due diligence, even while advising against them. He goes beyond a quick warning not to flog a person’s kidneys and provides ample advice for dealing with a scene gone wrong. In short, Ayzad emphasizes safety and consent in such a manner that shames traditional sex education for a lack thereof.

Ayzad includes a level of detail that’s not merely impressive. It’s almost magnificent. You can see this in charts, which explain to the reader just how much weight certain body parts can hold, how to care for BDSM implements of different materials, the effect of electricity on the body, and how much saline solution you can inject into various body parts. You can easily learn basic knots and how to create rope harnesses (not to mention the difference between Eastern and Western rope bondage) from the words and photos in these pages despite the fact that it’s just one element of BDSM.

BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism isn’t dry, however. Stunning photos are peppered throughout the pages; although, positioning might be a little less than ideal if you use custom font sizes on your Kindle as I do.

The photos themselves are not the only thing that will arouse a reader’s mind. If you’re into any particular kink, this book will likely have your heart beating faster when you discover the section that’s closest to your deviant heart. For me, that was reading about needles, which I found particularly inspiring. Ayzad writes in a way that I imagine could inspire creativity in most readers who have a serious interest in BDSM. I found it difficult not to imagine myself shopping in a medical supply store looking for items that could be perverted for this very purpose.

There is such a wealth of information that Ayzad frequently refers the reader to his website to learn more (you’d be hard-pressed to find a more comprehensive list of BDSM websites than in the resources section), and I often found myself performing quick searches when I would discover something new (such as what a tawse is). I must admit humility upon learning how much there was yet to know about BDSM. In fact, he tries to introduce the reader to the Internet and the role it plays in learning about BDSM and finding like-minded individuals and partners. This is a worthy cause but seems a little futile to me given how frequently the Internet changes. The best place to

This is a worthy cause but seems a little futile to me given how frequently the Internet changes. The best place to read about using the Internet is simply online. These final pages seemed rush and lacking in the detailed information found previously in the book probably because of these the ever-changing nature of the Internet.

I’ll wrap this review up because, while nowhere near the length of BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism, it’s certainly lengthy. There is little this book doesn’t touch on that falls under the umbrella of bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism. If you’re all at all familiar, some of the content may be redundant, which is why I recommend the Kindle version for ease of use.

For those people who are unsure about BDSM or need a friendlier tone, I might recommend As Kinky As You Wanna Be to pique your interest and quell any worries you have about consensual BDSM.. before eventually adding BDSM: A Guide for Explorers of Extreme Eroticism to your collection if it felt lacking.

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8 Beginner Bondage Toys That Will Transform Your Sex Life

July 11th, 2015

In recent years, we’ve fallen head over heels for anything bondage. Whips, cuffs, floggers – you name it, we’re buying it. Could this be the Fifty Shades effect?It seems that as soon as it hit the shelves, we realised how much fun we could be having in the bedroom. So whether you’re trying to emulate what Christian and Anastasia get up to or you’re doing things at your own pace, there are a multitude of toys out there. To help you out, we’ve picked ten of our favourites.

Quickie Cuffs

Handcuffs are a staple of any bondage toy collection, and the Quickie Cuffs are extra special. Made from stretchy silicone, they’re incredible easy to slip on and off. If you’re nervous about using cuffs, then these are a great starting point. Being extra light and flexible means that you can pop them into your overnight bag too.

Fetish Fantasy Butterfly Nipple Clamps

The Butterfly Nipple Clamps by Fetish Fantasy are just as delightful as they sound. Pretty as well as functional, the dangling butterflies provide extra stimulation when they move. Adjusted by simply turning the screw, they’re simple enough for even complete beginners to get to grips with.

Check out this review of other Pipedream nipple clamps.

Frisky Take Me Thigh Cuffs

For a different take on restraint, why not try the Frisky Take Me Thigh Cuffs? Made from soft and durable fabric, the cuffs are attached to bands worn on the thigh. As well as being comfortable, this allows wearers to use these cuffs anywhere – there’s no need to worry about attaching them to something else.

Frisky Paw Me Silicone Foot Crop
Crops are a favourite of bondage enthusiasts, and this one is great for beginners. The little silicone foot at the end is firm enough to leave a ‘paw print’ behind, but soft enough to not be too overwhelming. In sexy red and black and at an impressive 16” long, it’s one of our favourite crops ever.

Rimba Electrical Sex Dildo

If you’re feeling adventurous, the Rimba Electrical Sex Dildo is the ideal gift. Working just like a normal vibrator, it also delivers small electric shocks to your deepest pleasure spots. Build up confidence using just the vibrating function, then for mind blowing orgasms, try using both together.

Silicone Cockcage And Ring

If you’re new to cock cages, then the Silicone Cockcage And Ring is perfect for you. Flexible silicone means that it’s easy to get on and off, while the three cock rings in varying sizes allow you to choose just how tight you want to go.

House Of Eros Leather Old School Ruler

House Of Eros Leather Old School Ruler

House Of Eros Leather Old School Ruler

Go back to school with the House Of Eros Leather Old School Ruler. Great for teacher and pupil role play, it’s the best way of dishing out a little bit of disciple in the bedroom. The supple leather feels so good, you’ll be behaving badly on purpose!

The Amazing Bondage Sex Toy Kit

The Amazing Bondage Sex Toy Kit is for those who just can’t choose. The kit contains a whip, eye mask, cuffs, collar, rope, whip and a ball gag. Either choose one piece or use a few together for sex that’s out of this world. For us, that sounds like the perfect night in!

Your sex life can only get better

Sex toys make sex more interesting, offer us more ways of achieving orgasm and improve the bond between partners when used in a loving, caring environment.

So there’s no excuse not to treat yourself to something a little kinky! All of the above fun toys can be purchased from the Adult Sex Toys store.

It’s important that you keep your toys clean and used a water-based lubricant for comfort and safety. As long as you do that, sex toys will improve your love life greatly.

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The Big Book of Domination Review + Giveaway

March 5th, 2015

Perhaps the single most noticeable way that The Big Book of Domination differs from The big Book of Submission is the number of stories. At over 200 pages, this book could have dozens of stories, but it actually only contains 25 stories. With 69 stories in The Big Book of Submission, each story was shorter on average.

When it comes to what I like in erotica, this isn’t actually a boon. I love sudden fiction. I love sultry sex in 2000 words or less. I like reading it. I like writing it. I don’t need the flowery descriptions that add to word count. I’m not a huge fan to a ton of buildup. Show me the main event.

It just seems like the point where I would end the story introduces another scene, and I can’t keep myself glued to the pages. Perhaps I get off too quickly, but this isn’t really conducive to how I use erotica.

I also found it hard to keep my attention rapt through the first three stories, which involved male domination. Fortunately, the fourth ushers in a domme, but the first three could, perhaps, been broken up in a different order. While most of the stories do seem to pair a male dominant with a female submissive, I do like how several of them play with BDSM roles. Several stories involve submissive experiment with holding the metaphorical whip.

There are other themes that I noted in The Big Book of Domination. These include power exchanges that are surprising and somewhat sudden, either between strangers or from the point of a view of a submissive discovering another’s dominant tendencies.

Because so many of these stories seem to be from the submissive’s view point, The Big Book of Domination isn’t as different from The Big Book of Submission as I think it could be. It’s more of a general BDSM collection in my opinion. With that said, the stories happen in many different and sometimes unusual settings. There is an overall lack of cliche, even if that means I sometimes am turned off by something such as manly boot licking.

This isn’t to say that I hated the book. I didn’t. There were a few stories I found particularly enjoyable, especially the last story, “Little Angel” by Evan Mora. It was one of the many stories where someone who typically identifies as a submissive experiments with dominance and finds it thrilling!

Now, this might not be the perfect book for me but I feel confident that many people will like it. In fact, some people specifically like erotica that’s a little longer than most sudden fiction. If you liked The Big Book of Submission but thought the stories should be longer or even if you didn’t like it because each piece wasn’t long enough, I would suggest you check out The Big Book of Domination.

One lucky reader of OSAL will get their chance to read the book thanks to the folks at Cleis Press, who are sponsoring a giveaway. One American winner will get their hands on this anthology, and you can determine whether or not this book is two thumbs up.

Enter using the giveaway widget below. Remember to check back daily to earn more entries and increase your chance of winning!

Good luck!

The Big Book of Domination

Ends March 26.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales

January 3rd, 2015

There’s something to be said for a good book that you can’t put down after a story/chapter or two. That’s the case with the Big Book of Submission.  I would intend to read a dozen pages, and I would finally put it down some 60 or 70 pages later. I was thoroughly enthralled and aroused, but this typically meant it took time away from sleeping or working or what-else-have-you that I should have been doing.

This meant that it took only a few sittings to get through this book, which boasts an impressive 69 stories. But because I knew I couldn’t put it down, I stretched them out for when I had time to read that much.

The Big Book of Submission is wonderful in terms of variety. There are (ignoring D/s), m/m, m/f and f/f roles. There’s a few trans stories to be found and all sorts of ambiguity around gender and gender roles. In short, it’s not heteronormative. But I think this big tome really goes one step further than that. I was really impressed at how The Big Book of Submission deal with the roles of top/dom and bottom/sub in regards to traditonal gender (roles). Not every man is the dom, nor is every butch. And through the words of the characters — almost, if not all of the stories are written in first person — we understand the implications and the intimacy of turning those roles in their heads.

Aside from variety in roles, there’s a variety in content and even in how most of the characters experience submission. For example, at least two stories dealt with a masochistic dominant and how their sub obeyed by providing sensation. The editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel, contributed one of those particular tales, entitled “Reverse Psychology.”

With 69 stories, you might think that some of them would be a little redundant, but I didn’t find this to be the case at all, even though there’s obviously similarly to the feelings that submissive feel when serving, obeying or worshiping their dominants. Each of them experiences their submission, scene and relationship in a unique way. There’s brand-new experiences, established relationships, breaking of limits and twists and turns that were crafted masterfully.

The writing in this BDSM anthology was pretty top-notch. All the authors were great at capturing the feelings evoked during a scene or in a BDSM relationship, along with the imagery that goes with it. Themes of trust and sometimes fear, hesitation and excitement, growth and pushing the boundaries are touched on time and again in this anthology. Although I am more able to identify some submissiveness in myself, this book might have the most hardened dom consider submitting a time or two!

Was there anything that I didn’t like? Sure, some stories are more forgettable. One in particular involved feet fetish, and that’s reaaalllly not my thing, so once it got to that part, I skipped to the next story. But I enjoyed more than I didn’t.

I especially enjoyed “The Problem Is, I’m a Bitch”, in which Corrine Arundo writes as a stubborn submissive who mocks a “cartoonishly” dress domme.  “Teddy Bare,” is a sexy yet sweet story about two men who wait until their first night of marriage to have sex and how they incorporate power play into their relationship. Another particularly touching story revolves around a submissive whose once-beautiful body had succumbed to illness and surgery and how her dominant helps remind her of her beauty through a public scene. Teresa Roberts penned “Beautiful,” which is one of the stories that truly stands out for me.

The one stand out story was one that managed to be both surprising, sentimental and sexy.  It’s another story by Corrin Arundo, whose work I obviously need to become more familiar with, entitled “Unanchored.” It was thoroughly titillating, like many of the other stories, but it struck an emotional chord with its solemn and sad ending that left me, quite literally, sobbing and perhaps even decimated. There is no snippet that can do the beauty of this story justice.

Just like there is no single story in this erotica collection that sums up the experience that is The Big Book of Submission. You need to dive in and read it all. Perhaps not in order, but there’s no single way to describe the experience.

A sincerely “Thank you!” to Cleis Press, the company that pretty much made my year, for the opportunity to review this book!

 

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2014: The Best Of

December 29th, 2014

Another year. Another couple dozen reviews of sex toys. There were fewer this year than the last. This might be due to me having more sex. Or perhaps there were fewer toys that I really loved.

In fact, while populating this list, I worried I wouldn’t have enough best-ofs. I suppose that’s bound to happen, and I might accept the blame of trying out some toys that wouldn’t work well for me if I had looked past the shiny and read the small print. Oops.

But, there’s definitely some toys I would recommend, so here they are!

Vibrator

Svakom is an up-and-coming company. I had a hit-or-miss relationship with the toys they send to review, but Leslie is a self-heating vibrator with respectable power output.

Minna’s Limon took me quite by surprise, quickly becoming one of the most intuitve vibrators I’ve ever used.

I also quite like Ora 2, but it’s the stuff it does besides vibrating that does it for me.

ceramix 5 and 6

Ceramix 5 (right) left a surprising impression

Dildo

2014 was light on dildos. I only tried a couple, and both of those were from Pipedream’s Ceramix line. Ultimately, I preferred #5!

Erotica

Move over 50 Shades of Grey. Wrapped Around Your Finger is actually a book worth reading, and there are more in the series!

Sexual Non-Fiction

I’m technically a year behind and I didn’t even write a review for Best Sex Writing 2012 (I did write a review for the next year’s). But I think it might be the best in the series and you’re missing out if you don’t check it out.

BDSM

The Bettie Page Spanking Paddle is manufacturer by Lovehoney and full of the details you’d want while offering a sexy spanking.

Lingerie

Designed Intimates sent me quite a lot of lingerie to review. I especially enjoyed the Charming chemise and thong.

Bath and Body Product

SheVibe let me try the Flirty Little Secret Pink Caviar Scrub With Pheromones. It’s slippery but smells great and works well. It’s been a nice addition to my shower routine!

Storage

Lovehoney is rocking 2014’s list. They also made the Deluxe Sex Toy Case, which is probably my all-time favorite option for sex toy storage!

As always, I recommend the best toys from years past. Check out my list of 5-star sex toys!

Don’t forget to let us know about what you loved in the comments.

Have a good new year. I plan to!

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Why You Should Design Your Own Bondage Accessories

November 4th, 2014

Wearing collars, cuffs or ankle restraints is often an expression of your style and personality if you’re into the bondage scene. Not everyone wants to wear spikes or plain black leather, however; some wearers like different colors or ornaments that reflect their personality or even make a comment about their BDSM relationship.

Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with leather or metalworking skills to customize their leather goods. Purchasing these personal accessories generally means taking whatever happens to be in vogue or available, new or used, even if those items don’t necessarily reflect their personal style.

Fortunately, there are other options when it comes to custom leather gear. Many people want personalized gear that they have personally designed.  Traditionally, craftspeople often accepted custom orders like this, but costs can be prohibitive and quality varies widely among merchants. Refunds or replacements are often hard to obtain from craft fair merchants, leaving customers wondering where quality merchandise can be found, if ever.

Merchants specializing in custom orders and guaranteeing professional quality do exist, however. Designing your own restraints using a company like thecollarshop.com gives you the freedom to choose exactly what you want. For example, you can choose from several different widths, colors, materials, linings, decorations and so on for your leather gear. Professional artisans produce exactly what you request and ship it directly to you discreetly.

The company produces a variety of leather goods, including collars, cuffs, leashes and belts. They also offer advice on the various types of items you may need and the appropriate settings for them if you’re new to bondage. The company has beautiful stock accessories for customers not looking for custom work at the moment. Stock pieces make great gifts for your special friend(s).

This post brought to you by a partner with Of Sex and Love who wants to provide you customized yet affordable bondage gear!

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Wrapped Around Your Finger

October 16th, 2014

I don’t know that I’ve ever reviewed a full-length piece of erotica before. I tend to stick to anthologies, and most of those stories are quite short indeed. I’ve avoided 50 Shades of Grey for reasons of sanity.  I’ve read the first book in the Sleeping Beauty series, but it’s not very long at all. In comparison the approximately 225 pages of Wrapped Around Your Finger seems like a Tolkien tome. However, it’s really not that long. I read this cover to cover in 3 or 4 sittings, and in one of those I consumed at least half of the book.

Wrapped Around Your Finger is actually the third in a series about a BDSM relationship by Alison Tyler. It’s part fiction and part memoir, and I don’t personally know where the line is drawn, but I don’t think I want to know. That’s part of this illusion.  While this is the third in the series, you certainly don’t need to have read the first two. It might help clarify a few things, but it’s not necessary.

I started this book knowing nothing about submissive Samantha and her dominant partner, Jack, but it didn’t take long to get to know them and the dynamics of their relationships, which is 24/7 power exchange. Samantha is young, perhaps in a cliche, but Alison Tyler’s writes a character who is aware of this and what her well-to-do partner’s status means in regards to her youth and perhaps naivete.

In spite of that all, Samantha and Jack manage to pull off a relationships that allows them both to grow through power exchange and the introduction of Jack’s assistant Alex. Samantha isn’t blind or abused. She’s intelligent. In fact, she’s a sex writer in the story, and this plays out in her interactions with Jack.

Because of Jack’s money and status, the couple is afforded a somewhat more lavish life, which Samantha isn’t accustomed to, but it’s not limitless. Jack has connections, but he’s not magical. He has power and dominant characteristics, but this isn’t all he is. As the characters learn more about one another and themselves, we understand how intricate these relationships — any relationships — can be, and how that can both be damning and a blessing. This, folks, is good storytelling.

With the impending 50 Shades of Grey movie and a miniseries featuring Sleeping Beauty in all her erotic glory, I could see Samantha on screen. Not only do I think it would make a better movie, but I think that Ms. Tyler’s descriptive writing would work well in live action, especially when it comes to Samantha’s intricate outfits.

I cannot help but compare this to 50 Shades of Grey. There are obvious similarities, but skilled writing, more three-dimensional characters and general forethought on the part of the author  makes this read both more interesting and more sexy. In fact, I can say that I am not a fan of Samantha’s personality or even her relationship with Jack as a whole, and I still found Wrapped Around Your Finger to be rather enjoyable. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a more realistic view of BDSM or simply a sexy story that’s decently written.

You can buy it from Cleis Press or any of the retailers that stock books from the publisher.

You can also enter to win this giveaway if you’re from the US. I’ll be leaving this giveaway open for two weeks. It expires on November 1.

Use the form below to get in your initial entries, then share for bonus entries. Come back daily to tweet and such to increase your chances of winning.

Good luck!
Wrapped Around Your Finger

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