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I bought SM 101: A Realistic Introduction (written by Jay Wiseman) forever ago and, to be honest, it sat on my bookshelf for a good long time. I referred to it every once in a while, when I needed to know more about a certain kind of crop for a story, or I was researching other ways of using safewords for a novella, or something like that. But for the most part, it was often passed over in favor of other sex books that I was more familiar with, or that had a broader scope of topics they covered.

And, yet, when I packed the six books that I could fit in my suitcase to bring to Scotland, this was one of the ones that went in. I’m not sure what I was thinking. Maybe that I’d use it for reference. Maybe that I’d hand it off to someone if they needed or wanted it.

Neither of those things happened. Instead, I read the book from cover-to-cover on a cold, dark, windy Scotland night. Now I’ll say this right up front: SM 101 isn’t terribly sexy or smutty — rather, it’s a hands-on, mind-on how-to book, filled with safety suggestions, how-to techniques for both doms and subs, and a great number of useful and intriguing ideas for SM play.

Of course, in my mind, it’s hard to go wrong with a book that starts with Shakespeare’s 57th Sonnet:

Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?

After that, the book looks at everything from the very basics of SM (or BDSM or however you want to define play that includes some sort of sub/dom/pain/punishment/pleasure/bondage/etc.) to pointers on how to give and receive erotic pain (which areas are good, which ones are dangerous), how to achieve bondage Nirvana,  how to use, buy and care for crops, clamps, lubes and whips of all sorts, how to set a scene and create trust, how to say yes, how to say no… the list goes on and on.

The book, while designed for beginners, also offers great reminders for those who’ve been in the scene for a while, and would also be beneficial for anyone who’s either in training, or training someone else (say, a dom training another dom or a dom who’s in a new relationship with someone who wants to try out being a sub). There are also tips at the back on finding play groups and resources, holding events and getting help with any problems.

Well organized, not terribly expensive ($25 in the U.S.) and chock-full of useful information, I’d say this book in nearly a must for the bookshelf of anyone interested in SM and the like. Like I said: It’s not terribly sexy, but it provides all the information you need in order to create a physical and mental space for a great deal of sexy (and safe) play.

RATINGS: (Rated on a scale of 1-5 ‘O’s):

Sexy Factor:            OO

Smutty Factor:       OO

Smart Factor:        OOOOO

Do You Want This? Yes, if SM is your kink. Or you’d like it to be your kink.

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Kiss kiss bang bang, s.

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