#HumpDayReviews 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino

You know, it’s funny: I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey yet – and have no intention of doing so, due to its famously tortured prose (although since I’ve learned it’s been one of the Most Banned books of the year, right up there with Captain Underpants, I may read it just to spite the book burners of the world). I have, however, read a lot of book with the words “50 Shades” in them, cashing in on the success of the original and doing it one (or two, or a million) better.

50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM is another title to add to the list of “What to Read Instead of 50 Shades of Grey.” But it should definitely be the first one you pick up if you’ve never tried BDSM and want to know what it’s really all about.

Tristan Taormino has been around the block and back, so she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to kink. Along with Dan Savage and Susie Bright (and a VIP nod to Annie Sprinkle), I’d consider her part of the Holey Trinity of sex educators that introduced all things wild, wacky and wonderful to my sexual vocabulary.

This book is decidedly for beginners, explaining all the common terminology from Aftercare to Zippers (or is it the other way around?), including the reasons for the all-important safe word and just where on earth you’re supposed to put those Ben-Wa balls, anyway.

I love all of the sidebars in this book, with information on everything from sexy videos featuring well-informed kinksters to a sample BDSM contract that both dommes and subs can sign to express their deepest desires on paper. The sections on how to approach opening your relationship up to BDSM play and exploration were also spot-on, with good suggestions for approaching even the most vanilla of lovers, along with a sample checklist to suss out exactly what you and your lover are curious about exploring, with “Yes,” “No” and “Maybe” options.

The “kinky novels and fiction anthologies” section also gave me a number of items to add to my reading list, including Stephen Elliott’s My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up (one I’d heard about before, but keep forgetting to add to my Goodreads “Smut” shelf), and a series called “The Marketplace” by Laura Antoniou.

Even if you’re already well-versed in the kink community, 50 Shades of Kink is worth picking up for its concise yet encyclopedic approach. A slim 141-page volume, it’s perfect for slipping into your purse when meeting up for play parties with newcomers to the scene, for educating your vanilla friends and lovers, or for passing to strangers you see reading that other book on the bus.

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