This book needs to come bundled with every copy of 50 Shades that is ever sold. Seriously. It needs to be in the nightstands of every housewife in middle America, next to the fuzzy handcuffs and Ben Wa Balls bought from the sleezy sex shop down the road; and then they need to read it and throw away the fuzzy handcuffs.
This book is written for readers of 50 Shades of Grey, and as many involved in the kink scene know, 50 Shades is not the best representation of an actual kink relationship. For many, the mere mention of 50 Shades triggers a blind fury, and rants about consent, abuse, and poor communication; myself included. It can’t be denied though that 50 Shades was the gateway to the kink community for many people, and those people need to be educated, not shamed and rejected. Those are the people this book is for, and I am so glad that Tristan addresses the concerns about 50 Shades without completely attacking it and shaming those who enjoyed it.
One of the components of the Fifty Shades of Grey books that has been widely criticized is it’s inaccurate representation of kink practices. Many of the details simply don’t ring true for those of us who’ve practiced kink for many years, and additionally, the book portrays some unrealistic and unsafe activities. I realize that it’s a romance novel, fiction, and was never intended to be an instruction manual of any kind; however, based on media reports and a huge spike in kinky toy sales at sex retailers, lots of readers have been inspired to try out some of the fantasy material in real life. As an educator I know how important it is for people to have accurate, honest, and straightforward information about sexuality. It was pure luck and coincidence that my own book about kink, The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play, and the Erotic Edge, came out just a few months after Fifty Shades of Grey caught fire, and The Ultimate Guide has certainly benefited from the newfound popularity of kink. But I realized quickly that some people were searching for a more basic kinky education, so I wrote this book as a kind of how-to companion to the novels.
For myself, and I’m sure many of the people reading this blog, this book will be be pretty darn useless, but that’s okay because we are not the ones this book is written for. Tristan Taormino has already edited a book for those of us looking to get into the nitty gritty and really learn about kink, The Ultimate Guide to Kink is over 400 pages of kinky goodness. There is no way that she could fit that much content into 137 pages of the pocket sized 50 Shades of Kink, which is why she mentions the other book so often and includes a detailed further reading list. In fact, some derivative of the phrase “read more about [blank] in The Ultimate Guide to Kink” appears so many time in 50 Shades of Kink that it starts to sound like one big commercial for the larger book. Even that doesn’t bother me though, and doesn’t stop me from wanting to walk around with a stack of these in my pocket, handing them out to erotica readers everywhere.
The thing I love most about this book is that it is simple, only slightly more detailed than a glossary, and broken down into easy to digest pieces. It is the kind of book that teaches you just enough so that you know what you don’t know, if that makes sense. It gives readers the basics without overwhelming them, while also giving them ideas about what they need/want to research more. For example, you can read about flogging and learn what to look for in a flogger for beginners vs. advanced users, where on the body to safely flog, and what types of sensations a flogger can create. You will also learn that flogging someone properly is not easy to do so you may choose to attend a class or practice on a pillow the first few times.
You could also read about Role Play. You might learn why it is attractive to some people and how to incorporate a power dynamic (or not) into your role play. You will also read about some suggestions for possible role plays, but you may want to do further research on what role play scenarios turn you on or what accessories you can get for your role play.
There is also a fantastic glossary of terms, a section busting the myths of kink, a section on consent that I love, and a whole lot of talk of communication. There is literally so much I love about this book that I can’t say it all without just transcribing the whole thing. For many of you, this will just be fluff, but for the uninitiated it will be a holy grail of knowledge and safety. It will be the book they will look back on and think “what would have happened if I didn’t read that?” The one book that started it all. Now it is just my mission to get this book into the hands of every baby kinkster everywhere, I want it to be the “Our Bodies Ourselves” of the kink world. “Here you go sweetie, I know you just read 50 Shades and may start having some thoughts you don’t quite understand, read this, it will explain everything.”
50 Shades of Kink is available on Amazon Kindle and recently became available as a softcover, pick it up for your favorite newbie!
***Many thanks to Cleis Press for sending me 50 Shades of Kink in exchange for a fair and honest review.***