Kinky Romance

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I just want to remind you that you should do me a favor and check out “Love & the Desert.

It’s the first in a trilogy of kinky romance novels. Featuring a strong female character, it highlights themes such as marriage not being the center of a woman’s life anymore, kink with vanilla people and how awkward it can get, and other important BDSM community concerns. It’s all set against the backdrop of a young girl’s struggle to live as a Millennial in the US.

The second book is also out:

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The second book in the trilogy, “Love & the Rose City,” is a fun exploration of the Portland kink scene and of nontraditional relationships.

The series has an accompanying blog, which offers the writers thoughts on both writing and kink. And of course, don’t worry about being caught up and left hanging, because the third and final book in the trilogy is promised out this summer.

The third book will be called “Hearth & Home,” and should be a nice wrap-up to the series.

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The Marketplace

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The Marketplace series is a set of books about a fictional world where “slaves” are trained and sold, much like Africans were in the early Colonial days. Of course, the 14 Amendment bans slavery, and the FBI is all over human trafficking. So real selling of people doesn’t happen (in spite of the fact that the book claims it’s “real.”) It’s a pure fantasy world for submissives who want to imagine living in a 24/7 “non-consent” scenario.

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I think the coming out stories are good for people new to the lifestyle, because it helps for them to hear how others discovered their kinks. There are lots of positive aspects to this series for new kinksters, and I would definitely recommend it.

In addition, it is well-written (much better than 50 Shades of Grey in terms of actual writing style.) The writing is engaging and it moves at a good pace.

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I think I would recommend this series to people who haven’t been too deep into kink for too long. If you have been in too long, you might find it frustrating because of the portrayal of slavery as “real” in our world. I know I found it hard, because I didn’t want people to get unrealistic expectations about the community. But obviously, my perspective is limited to my experiences (as is everyone’s.)

I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a flight into a fantasy world of kink.

The Taming of Trudi

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I read this book at the request of a friend. The Taming of Trudi is all-out smut, with very little in the way of a plot. It is not as well-written as something like Anne Rice’s Beauty Series, but it is ostensibly based in “real life.” (As in, not an invented story world.) The story does present some real facts, such as highlighting that women don’t orgasm from penetration. This is something many men seem to be clueless about, so it’s a good buy for a boyfriend who needs some direction.

As someone who is not a submissive, I feel like I can’t give it a fair review. The main character is not only very submissive, but also very into spanking. Since those are things I only have a mild interest in, I maybe didn’t enjoy it as much as someone whose kinks lined up better with the main character.

However, if you are looking for smut with some realistic information about female anatomy, this would be a good book to check out. It’s certainly good as a coming out story, for anyone new to kink and trying to discover themselves.

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The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty

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There are a lot of fantasy/role-play books with BDSM themes, and people often ask me what is something really fun to read and really kinky?

One book I always suggest is The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, which is the first in a trilogy.

I should admit first that I don’t actually like the beauty series (myself). I am not very good at getting lost in fantasy, and so the whole time I was reading these books I was completely horrified by the lack of consent.

The plot (very briefly): A princess is given to a prince (unwillingly) by her parents so she can learn discipline and humility by becoming a slave in his castle, used for sex as well as random punishment with paddles and whips and the like.

Even though I find the lack of consent unnerving, obviously it is a fictional story with fictional characters and no one at all as harmed except in Anne Rice‘s imagination. So it is very silly of me to find it hard to read.

My only explanation is that I have spent too long in the kink scene, and I have said “safe, sane, and consensual” too many times. It is part of who I am and there is no changing it now. Even in fantasy I want the characters to submit of their own free will if they do submit.

But I digress. If you are looking for a fantasy series about kink, then these are really good books for you. It doesn’t matter if you imagine yourself as the prince (if you are a Dom) or if you imagine yourself as the princess (if you are a Submissive). From either point of view the series explores a wide variety of interesting taboos and situations that your imagination will probably have fun playing with.

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50 Shades of Grey

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For the longest time I saw no point in reviewing this book. I saw no point in writing a blog about it, or even bringing it up. I didn’t even know what to say, and in any case, it has been written about over and over by so many people that one more voice didn’t seem like it would add much to the collective dialogue.

I mean, even Dave Barry wrote about 50 Shades of Grey! I definitely didn’t see that one coming. (But it was really funny and you should read it.)

My point is: everything that could be said had been said, and I didn’t know what I could possible add.

But a recent Google search for something kinky again pulled up more 50 Shades of Grey links and pictures, and I found myself miserable that a community I have been in for so long is associated with something so bad. I suddenly felt that this was an “if you see something, say something” situation like stopping men from harassing women or anyone from beating a child. I didn’t care if it had all been said. I was going to say it again!

So first, I have a reading list of good books related to kink that you can read. So you should know right away that there are excellent source materials out there that are not very bad erotic fiction written by someone clueless about kink.

Second, let’s talk about the BDSM slogan: “Safe, Sane, and Consensual.”

It is not safe to date someone who stalks you. It is not safe to date someone who forces you away from your friends and insists on you keeping things a secret. Those are the behaviors of abusers, and you need to stay away from abusive men and women. No one should ever try to isolate you from loved ones like your friends and family, and no one should ever come to your home after you tell them to leave you alone. It’s not healthy to break boundaries that are set by your partner, and is not sane behavior to stalk someone.

And remember that consent is a really big deal. I totally make people fill out consent forms. I have them fill out checklists over tea. I do intense scene negotiations to make sure I am clear on what someone is okay with. And that is how BDSM is supposed to be.

The relationship in 50 Shades of Grey is super unhealthy, as plenty of people before me have said.

I read the book because of a friend of mine named Doctor Xtreme who makes interesting sex toys. He lives in Denver Colorado, and he reported to me that the book store near his house had a pallet of the first 50 Shades book brought in each day and sold out by nightfall. Of course, he was in no way implying that it was a good book. Only that it was a popular book.

Why does that matter? Well, as many have said, it reflects upon the community.

And the truth is, this unhealthy relationship between Ana and Christian reflects very poorly on our community. It will bring new people to our munches and fetish proms who are looking for abusive relationships; coming to us with horrible standards for what they think BDSM is.

It was also pretty awful writing. As an avid reader my entire life, I think I can say that. It was very hard to get through already for ideological reasons, but then I also had to force myself to keep reading (the way I do with a dull textbook for a college course that I’m not into.)

And now they are going to make a movie of the first book, and when that goes well, I bet they make the whole set. I am dreading it. It’ll bring it all out into the public eye again where we all have to discuss it some more, and that won’t be any fun at all.

Anyway, I just wanted to add my voice to those arguing for safe and consensual sex. I hope in the future, more people will come to realize that the BDSM community is a wonderful place, and that 50 Shades of Grey is not representative of us.

Opening Up

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I was recently read a book called Opening Up but Tristan Taormino.

If you are in an open relationship, or if you want to be in one, I think this book is an excellent choice for reading up on how to do it. There is some very useful information on effective communication, as well as some balance sheets that (if you really think about your answers) can help you decide if an open relationship is for you or not.

Obviously in theory it sounds great to be able to have sex with different people. We’re all curious and we have all had that moment of attraction with a stranger that makes us desire to be daring and try something new.

And of course, as I have mentioned before, cheating in “monogamous” relationships is a real problem, which is one of the many reasons the book gives for considering an open relationship.

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However, the author also covers the many reasons it may not work for your relationship. There are lots of things to consider, such as how your are affected by jealousy, and how willing you are to own your feelings (rather than blaming a partner for them.)

It is rare to find a discussion of a topic such as this which is sex positive and overall well thought out. I must say this book contains both of those things in spades. It really is a useful tool to help anyone determine how they feel about an open relationship. and how to make it work.

A lot of us in the kink/sex-positive community struggle to define boundaries and to make the rules as we go along. When you step out of the traditional paradigm, suddenly it can be hard to know where to go from there and how to know what is “normal” any more.

This book gives guidelines and points to ponder that will help you find your way, and help you cope with a situation outside of the comfort of clearly defined boundaries and social conventions.

It is a worthy addition to my bookshelf, and I hope you’ll all consider reading it.

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The Ethical Slut

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Recently I read a book called The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy. I’d been told that I should read it, and I have to admit that it was a good read.

The information in this book is laid out very well. I’ve been trying to explain these same things through various blog posts for ages, but the authors of this book put in more effort to explain the same ideas than I ever have.

For example: “A good slut is not measured by their amount of partners, but by the respect and care with which they treat each.”

Obviously I do sleep with a lot of people. But they are quality people. They are people I have exchanged STD tests with, or at the very least talked with extensively and gone through a scene negotiation with. They are people willing to use protection when we have sex, and who are interested in the same kinks as me.

Each partner should be chosen with care, because sex gets better the more you know someone. Make sure your partners are people that you can get to know, and that you want to get to know.

The book also covers a lot of information about poly relationships and how to make them work. I am often asked about this, and I have written several posts about it.

My favorite quote was about how a relationship with 3 people is way more complicated than a relationship with 2 people. After all, there is the relationship with A&B, the relationship with A&C, and the relationship with B&C. Plus the interaction is different with all three people together.


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There is also a lot of good discussion in the book about boundaries, which are very important to negotiate and to respect. And also some helpful tips about managing jealousy.

I can’t say I agree with every single thing in the book, because kink and sluthood and the Poly lifestyle are different for every single person.

However, I would advocate that anyone who is new to the lifestyle read this book. I wish I had read it 10 years ago, because it would have been really helpful for me. Learning to manage all the feelings I had on my own was hard, and this book has very good discussions about that.

So if you haven’t read The Ethical Slut yet, definitely go out and buy it. It’s well worth the price, and it’s a great way to study the basics.

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