The Loving BDSM Podcast

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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 it on Amazon (affiliate link)

Coasting in Your D/s Relationship LB097

In episode 97, we bare our souls a bit to share how we started coasting along in our D/s relationship only to find we’d coasted in separate directions. We caught it in time, but not everyone does. Hopefully, our struggles with not paying enough attention will help someone else help your own D/s relationship.

In this episode:

  • We’re on YouTube and Fetlife now! Expect short video content soon.
  • With help from Godemiche, our current giveaway bumped up from $25 in Loving BDSM merchandise to $50 for the winner. Plus, they’re sponsoring our 100th episode giveaway!
  • If you’ve heard of Godemiche and it hasn’t been good, we briefly discuss their recent controversies so that everyone is informed and can make a decision that’s right for you.
  • Enter our current giveaway!
  • We coasted through our relationship for several weeks and drifted apart on a D/s level.
  • Both of us had things on our mind but neither talked about it.
  • We were both dissatisfied with what we were doing and not doing – and neither of us talked about it.
  • Nothing major happened, we just let things ride because it seemed easier or because we were worried about stressing the other one out.
  • The fix has been being more mindful of how we behave plus long conversations, plans for changes, and time to implement them.

Links from the show:

Loving BDSM giveaway


Loving BDSM on Fetlife

Loving BDSM on YouTube

How to Start Communicating Again and Reset Your D/s Relationship

How to Help Reconnect in Your D/s Relationship (Episode 28)

When Vanilla Life Interferes With Your D/s Relationship (Episode 38)

Feeling More Vanilla Than D/s (Episode 66)

Support the show

Postcard Project

Kayla Lords on Fetlife

John Brownstone on Fetlife

Contact us!

Listen to the show:


Google Play

Your favorite podcast app!

How to Start Communicating Again and Reset Your D/s Relationship

Most relationships don’t explode in a blaze of glory because of a single thing. When you see relationship drama unfold on your social media feed, it’s easy to keep watching and be grateful that’s not you It’s almost comforting. You know that’s not your relationship. You and your partner are good. Right?

Remember one thing: The big screaming match in the proverbial front yard of Facebook isn’t how most relationships (kinky or otherwise) implode.

The death knell of some of the best, seemingly most solid kinky or vanilla relationships is when you stop communicating with each other. You let small things slide. You tell yourself whatever bothers you is no big deal. At the same time, your partner is going through their own version of the same thing.

It happens to the best of us – ask us how we know – but it doesn’t have to kill something beautiful and wonderful. Here’s how to start communicating again.

Don’t Freak Out

We’ve talked (a lot) about how vanilla life gets in the way of kink and D/s, and sometimes you have to let it. Certain aspects of your life can’t be ignored. But it not only puts a damper on the sexy, fun times you want, it can also interfere with how you interact, behave, and even think about your D/s. If you’re reading this and realizing things have gotten off course and you haven’t had a real conversation with your partner in weeks or months, do not panic. Don’t freak out. The relationship isn’t over. You just need to get back on track.

Think About Your Reality

It’s easy to get upset that life got in the way of being the best Dominant or submissive you can be, but it’s important to practice forgiveness – of yourself and your partner. Job stressors, sick kids, aging parents, death, money, mental health crises – these are all just a few of the things that derail you. Did something (or several things) demand your attention? Do you still love and care for your partner as much as before? Assuming everything is genuinely good – only slightly off – go easy on yourself. And, most importantly, try to remember that nothing lasts forever, including the crap in your life right now.

Figure Out How You Feel

Sometimes life gets in the way temporarily but instead of getting back to your kinky version of normal, you let things slide. Tasks don’t get done and there’s no follow-up or discipline. Needs aren’t expressed and the tone of voice you use with each other changes. Once you realize how off things are, it can make your head spin. How are you actually feeling? Do you have something you need to express but you’re nervous? Have vanilla stresses bruised your confidence in D/s? Sit with your own feelings for a while to figure out what’s going on in your own head.

Set a Time to Talk

If your relationship is mostly healthy and you developed good communication skills before this setback, there’s a good chance your partner has noticed something is off, too. Broach the topic with them. I say things like, “We feel off” and if John Brownstone agrees, I know it’s not all in my head. Even if your partner is kind of oblivious, say something anyway. “Feeling off” is only one way to express it, but get the words out. Once you have your partner’s attention, set a time to talk. Make sure it’s a time when you can both focus on the conversation and each other.

Don’t Hold Back

I’m a big believer in weighing my words carefully before I speak; others are much more blunt than I am. However you communicate, though, this isn’t the time to hold back. It’s also not the time to hurl accusations. Things have gone either a little or a lot off the rails, and you both want to set it right again. Be honest. Say what’s on your mind. But also remember that you’re both on the same team and you both want a good outcome. And if it’s gotten to this point, no one person is completely at fault. You both created the situation you’re in.

Reset Your D/s Relationship

Recently, John Brownstone and I realized we’d stopped fully communicating with each other. Nothing major had happened. We just stopped paying attention. It didn’t help that we’d both wanted to change a few things about our dynamic and wondered how the other would take it. Instead of talking to each other, we let things slide. Bad move. To get back on course and make the changes we want, we’ve hit a kind of reset on our D/s relationship. What does that mean? It’s primarily about getting back to basics. I’m remembering my manners and thinking of his comfort and care more often. He’s being more stern and demanding (in a sexy, kinky way I like).

Communication isn’t just about how we talk to each other, it’s also about how we interact. Our D/s got away from us. But it was our willingness to talk about everything and then act on our conversation that helped us. If you find yourself in the same position, start communicating and then reset your D/s relationship. Getting back on track might be easier than you realize.

Do All Submissives Go Commando?

Think of one of the sexiest things you can imagine in D/s. Does it involve a distinct lack of underwear? In public? It does for us, but for other kinksters, going commando is a hard limit. They want to, need to, or have to wear underwear. One day, maybe, we’ll get to a point where certain things don’t have to be said, but until that day, here’s another one:

Not every kinkster goes commando, and not every D/s relationship makes it part of their play.

And yes, some of us really love the no-underwear thing.

Commando Allows Total Access

I can’t be the only submissive who’s heart (and other parts) flutter a bit when my Dominant says, “I want access to all of you whenever I want.” For many of us (please tell me I’m not alone) hearing that is sexy and erotic as hell. My body belongs to John Brownstone. He can touch me when he wants. When I go commando, he often does. Rawr. Thinking about it is enough to make me want to hump his leg right now.

It goes the other way, though. Submissives aren’t the only ones offering total access to their sensitive bits. Dominants can grant total access if they want. John Brownstone does more often than you might think. When we’re hanging out at home in comfy clothes, sometimes I can slip my hand up his shorts and find hidden treasure. The difference is that he controls whether I’m allowed to touch him or not (spoiler alert:  I mostly can). But imagine the amount of teasing that can happen when you know your Dominant partner is bare, available, and waiting to be touched, and they deny both of you.

Makes me glad I’m also a masochist, I’ll say that.

Do All Submissives Go Commando?

Uhhh, no. Some don’t want to. Others can’t for health or other reasons. And frankly, it doesn’t turn all people on. All submissives don’t do a damn thing. Some submissives in some D/s relationships where that works for both people sometimes go commando. It’s like anything else we do as human beings. What works for one doesn’t work for everyone.

You shouldn’t look at a submissive and assume they’re not wearing underwear. A Dominant should never just assume their submissive won’t. You have to talk about it. And yes, going commando is something to be negotiated. People have strong feelings about all kinds of things, and wearing underwear is one of them.

How to Talk About It

How you broach a topic depends on which side of the slash you’re on. That means, before anyone thinks I’ve lost my mind, that submissives tend to have better results when they respectfully talk about a thing they want. Of course, that depends on your dynamic. If the bratty, sassy innuendo works for you, go for it. From one sassy submissive to any others out there, make sure it’s what you really want or you just might get it.

Dominants, you can ask that your submissive go commando but be prepared for a conversation about it. If your submissive isn’t comfortable with it, doesn’t don’t to or it’s a hard limit, they are allowed to say that. Give them time to think about it, ask questions, and decide if it works for them. They may have work, home, or health reasons why it’s not a good idea. If that’s not an option, I assure you, there are a million and one other kinky things you can do together.

We’re joining in with Kink of the Week (because it’s fun!), and this week’s topic is about going commando. While we love it, it’s not for everyone and it doesn’t have to be. Click the button below to find out what other people think about not wearing underwear.

When the Submissive Leads the Transition from Vanilla to D/s LB096

In episode 96, we talk about transitioning your relationship from vanilla to kink when the submissive leads their Dominant partner – at least in the beginning as they’re learning.

In this episode:

  • Enter our 2 Year Anniversary giveaway!
  • What does it mean when the submissive leads the transition to D/s
  • Leading is not topping from the bottom
  • You must be patient
  • Consider the way you share information, point in the right direction, and communicate as a way of serving your Dom
  • Not every relationship is meant to transition. Your partner might not be a Dominant or want to go in that path.

Links from the show:

Loving BDSM giveaway

5 Ways Submissives Can Support Their Dominants Who are New to D/s

Making the Switch from Vanilla to D/s (Episode 16)

Kink of the Week Entry: Kinky Titles are Different for All of Us

Support the show

Postcard Project

Kayla Lords on Fetlife

John Brownstone on Fetlife

Contact us!

Listen to the show:


Google Play

Your favorite podcast app!

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