Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino

I’m a big reader – fiction, nonfiction, kinky, not kinky – give me a book, and I’m a happy girl. Starting a kinky book club for the Loving BDSM community wasn’t just for the benefit of members. It was also to give me more excuses to read more books (the truth is revealed). For August, the book club read The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino. The book was recommended by book club members and while not new to me, not one I’d read before. While we discussed it in the community forums, I wanted to share the book with everyone.

Even the newest kinkster figures out that BDSM can be complicated and filled with nuance. It’s why so many people think they’re doing it wrong. Those who don’t will soon figure it out. It was refreshing to read a book that embraced that complexity with a wide variety of topics. Even better, it celebrated BDSM with a wide variety of kinky voices.

About Ultimate Guide to Kink

book cover for ultimate guide to kinkFrom Goodreads: “The Ultimate Guide to Kink is the first major guide to BDSM in a generation—a bold and sexy collection of essays that run the gamut from expert how-to tutorials to provocative essays that delve into complex questions about desire, power, and pleasure. The book brings together diverse voices from the kink community in an unprecedented way: each chapter is written by a different sexuality/BDSM educator. Divided into two sections, the first section features thorough, thoughtful pieces—on everything from flogging to bondage—packed with techniques and beautifully illustrated with original images from artist Katie Diamond. The second section is dedicated to role-playing fantasies and personal manifestos. From age play to masochism, these chapters cover some of the edgiest, most taboo and controversial elements of kink in depth.

The Ultimate Guide to Kink features the expertise of renowned educators writing passionately on their favorite subjects, including Patrick Califia, Midori, Laura Antoniou, Barbara Carrellas, Lee Harrington, Jack Rinella, Lolita Wolf, Madison Young, Hardy Haberman, Felice Shays, Ignacio Rivera, Sarah Sloane, Mollena Williams, FifthAngel, and Edge. It will educate, inspire, and challenge both newcomers to the world of kink and experienced BDSM players.”

My Take on Ultimate Guide to Kink

I’m always a little nervous when I read a book that discusses a big picture view of BDSM and kink. Clearly I don’t know everything (we all have plenty to learn) but I wonder if I’ll be bored by the basics. Maybe I’ll find out something I believe to be true isn’t safe or a good idea. No one likes having their ideas challenged (for proof see: every political discussion ever). But I like to read these books because new perspectives are always good. And if I’m doing something wrong, I want to know about it.

The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino was a pleasant surprise. Yes, there’s a lot of good basic information in the beginning on what terms mean and how things work. If you’re an absolute beginner, you can read this book and have a good grasp of the technical part of BDSM. What I loved most were the essays.

Different Voices, Different Perspectives

The real problem with the world of BDSM and kink is that there’s always one person in a crowd who says, “This is the one ‘true way.’ Do it differently, and you’re wrong.” One day my eyes are going to roll completely out of my head when I hear it. Taormino’s book takes what’s beautiful about BDSM and kink – that we all do it differently – and highlights that fact in every chapter. With each chapter/essay written by a different kinkster, you hear a different perspective, a different voice.

I’ll admit I skimmed through a little bit. The chapter on needle play? Let’s move on before my stomach turns too much. The chapter on BDSM and Tantra? Fascinating until we got to the activities – and not something I’d consider “beginner” information. The thoughts and experiences shared on mind fucks, sadism, and taboo play were my favorites and gave me a few ideas to ask John Brownstone about. For me, the pleasure in reading this book wasn’t about learning something new – it was about seeing familiar kinks in a new light.

On Reading Ultimate Guide to Kink

For kinksters who feel they have a good grasp on the basics, it might be hard to pay for the few chapters that might intrigue you. I get it. As someone who paid her $9.99 for the Kindle version, I’m happy to have it in my kinky resource library, though. I can see myself referring back to it when I have questions about different ways to play.

Those new to the lifestyle or who have only focused on one part of BDSM (like D/s) who want to venture into bondage or sadism/masochism, The Ultimate Guide to Kink is a good resource. Nothing beats real, hands-on experience in BDSM, but it’s never a bad idea to start with a solid resource. That it also sheds light on the idea that we all have differing perspectives and no two kinksters play alike is absolutely refreshing.

Interested in getting a copy for yourself?

Check it out on Goodreads ♥ Buy your copy! (affiliate link)

7 Responses

  1. Thumper says:


    I’m trying to get Sir to read this book, I read it quite a few years ago and think it would help Him.

    Do you have any ideas on how I may encourage Him to? I think its the length of the book that is an issue, do you know of an audio copy?

    Thank you,
    Sheza xxx

    • Kayla Lords says:

      I’m not sure if there’s an audio book but you can check Amazon since they’re partnered with Audible. Another option might be to offer to read it to him – a chapter at a time. It would be a way of serving and helping him while also creating room for conversation about a given topic.

  2. rabbitheart says:

    There is an Audible version.

  3. Kal & Felicia says:

    Felicia reads me excerpts. We especially enjoyed the petplay chapter and the opening to the chapter on”Rough Sex: which captures it all in one emotional passionate nutshell.

  4. Subwise says:

    There is an audio version from Audible. Listen to the reader before buying. The narrators sing song voice earned her some serious negative reviews. I found it distracting but slogged my way through it.

  5. Kal & Felicia says:

    I prefer Felicia’s reading. She could read me the phone book and make me smile.

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