50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM

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

50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM, by author and educator Tristan Taormino, is a really great introductory book covering many different aspects of kinky sex play. After the international phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Grey, this is the book the world needed – a quality how-to guide and overview on the basics of BDSM.

The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (with all its controversy) may give some people ideas on new things to try in the bedroom, but is absolutely not a book that should be used as a kink reference or instruction manual; it is purely fiction and fantasy. For anyone interested in actually exploring what the world of kinky sex has to offer, toss the paperback romance aside and pick up a copy of 50 Shades of Kink.

Tristan’s book is not one of those dumbed down “kinky sex tips” books with vapid suggestions such as “write a naughty note and tuck it into your husband’s briefcase for him to find at work! TEE HEE!” – but rather a real, comprehensive manual to the basics of BDSM. The chapters are loaded with information: from bondage, domination and submission, roleplay, and spanking, all the way to fetish toys, power games, sensation play, and more. After reading this book, you’ll have a great foundation of general kink knowledge, and will be able to further explore these topics in more depth on your own through other books, workshops, or other research.

50 Shades of Kink goes over common kinky terms and vocabulary, the basics of safewords, how to negotiate kinky play with a partner, as well as an overview of “Yes-No-Maybe” checklists and BDSM contracts. The back of the book has a great reading list, encompassing suggestions for nonfiction kink books, as well as kink erotica anthologies. The chapters and topics are organized well; perfect for reading straight through, as well as ideal for skipping around to different sections.

50 Shades of Kink: Signed by Tristan Taormino

Tristan’s approach is very engaging and sex positive, never shaming the reader for what they may or may not know. She explains concepts and covers the basics clearly and thoroughly, with a solid emphasis on consent and safety (and without sounding like a Prop 65 warning sign). Tristan also debunks myths and misconceptions and about the BDSM lifestyle, talks about the importance of communication, and encourages readers to seek further education. She doesn’t make assumptions about the gender, sexual orientation, relationship status, or specific desires of her readers – this book is written for everyone.

50 Shades of Kink acknowledges and briefly discusses the Fifty Shades trilogy here and there, but otherwise the trilogy is not a major focus or strong theme throughout the book. This makes it very accessible to anyone curious about BDSM, whether or not you have any interest in the E.L. James novels.

If you are looking for a great, sex-positive, introductory manual focused on teaching Kink 101 and overviewing the basics of BDSM, 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM is a perfect addition to your library.

50 Shades of Kink is published by Cleis Press, independent publishers of fantastic books on sexuality, erotica, feminism, and LGBTQ studies.

  • Great thorough review Aerie!