This will be the first book on BDSM that I read. I know very little going into to this book so please take any of my opinions and ruminations on it with a grain of salt. A large one. Horse-choking size. Also, fair warning, if you are going to read this grab a drink and a chair, you'll be here a while.
I've liked this book from trhe first paragraph. Fulmen knows how to write, and, more importantly, knows what kind of writer he is and isn't ashamed of it. His tone is very conversational and if you are hoping for high-flung descriptives and such you will be disappointed. This is a serious book written to be accessible and with a sense of fun threaded into the tone of the narrative. Meat and potatoes with a slice of pie.
The introduction does it's job in that Fulmen lays out his definitions of various terms, why he chooses to define them that way and then, refreshingly, invites you to discard them if they don't suit the specifics of your relationship. The individuality of each participant, and each relationship, and the need for them to be defined under their own terms is a theme he returns to. It is, to me, one of the most appealing aspects of the book. Fulmen is an unabashed inclusivity fan.
While the introduction is a good and valuable read it is not why I decided to break with a tradition unfounded and write my thoughts on the chapter before I have finished reading it.
Earlier today a sub who I am very fond of showed me a screenshot of an introductory note from a pros
pective dom. It was titled, "Your Worthless" the text consisted of (as near as I can recall) "What will you do to be my slave" She was unthrilled.
I listen to the subs when they talk and I'm lucky enough to count a number as friends and I know that this approach is not rare. It is, in fact, depressingly common.
This note shot to mind as I read Fulmen say,
"Possibly the most common mistaken idea about dominance is that all there is to it is issuing orders and being obeyed. The most cartoonish example of this is the people whose first words to a potential submissive are something along the lines of, "Kneel, bitch," delivered with an expectation that anyone desiring of submission ought to be delighted to be given an order by any random stranger, and will fall to their knees at once."
He goes on to explain how this idea, in his opinion, develops and manifests in overt ways - like the note above - and less overt but equally barbaric ways. This mode of thinking can result in the dom reacting "to any inconvenience from their partners with anger, or sullen pouting, or punishment or, quite often, by dumping that partner and going to look for one that isn't defective."
Here is where I basically stopped because he had, in a page or so, perfectly described the worst of the treatment of subs I have seen and heard of and provided a cogent explanation for it - without judgement or condescension.
You can read the description, see yourself in it and feel like you've been given an insight not a scolding. Part of the reason for that sense is that he quite often uses his own past mistakes as examples. There, I think, is the hidden value of the book.
Fulmen insists that titles and dynamics, protocols and ritual need to take a backseat to the realization and acceptance that we are all human, humans are messy and nobody has this shit figured out lock-tight. We are all imperfect, the author included.
Accessibility, applicability and inherent humility are a powerful combination in a book meant to educate people who may have a tendency to think that they are naturals and may not react well to be being confronted with the possibility that there may be no such thing.
I'm going to enjoy this book.