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Let's Get You Started: Suggested Reading

By CAGE Staff​(staff)     August 17, 2023

General BDSM

Kink for the Curious: A BDSM Activity Book for Beginners

by Natasha Strange

If the idea of sifting through pages of reading sounds miserable, “Kink for the Curious” might be the right fit for you. While it still has pages of words and great information, the book breaks up the monotony of knowledge with fun activities like coloring pages, dress-up dolls, crosswords, word searches, and puzzles. Stepping your toes into the world of kink and understanding all of its intricacies can be overwhelming at first, but the fun activities of the book help make it a more enjoyable experience.

Carnal Knowledge: Sex Education You Didn't Get in School

by Zoë Ligon and Elizabeth Renstrom

For many, sex and kink go hand in hand. If that's you, “Carnal Knowledge” takes you back to the drawing board with comprehensive, inclusive sex education. If you've been sex nerding for years, you won't find much new here, but for people who want to expand their sexual knowledge base, this summary-style, visual book is an easy and enjoyable read.

Where I Am Led: A Service Exploration Workbook

by Christina Parker

If service is at the forefront of your dynamic, this journal-style book encourages the serving partner to reflect on themselves to provide the best, and most fulfilling, service possible. Complete with lines to write on, this exploratory workbook can help you both figure out what aspects of service are really important to strengthen your dynamic.

Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Navigating and Exploring the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities

by Lee Harrington and Mollena Williams

Want to get involved in kink communities but find yourself terrified of what is expected? While this book is a bit long for a casual read, it provides everything you'd need to know about finding your community with the best chance of fitting in. Learn the difference between a munch, play party, and slosh, and how their etiquette and “unwritten rules” will vary.

Relationship Dynamics

Tongue Tied: Untangling Communication in Sex, Kink, and Relationships

by Stella Harris

A must-read for anyone interested in good sexual communication, “Tongue Tied” gives easy-to- understand overviews of relationship expert recommended communication practices. With the unique demands of sexual and kink communication, having sex-specific tools under your belt can make it easier to ensure everyone is getting what they want in the bedroom.

The Ethical Slut

by Janet W. W. Hardy and Dossie Easton

If a conversation about polyamory comes up, “The Ethical Slut” will be one of the first books recommended to you – and that's for a good reason! For over 20 years (and now on its third, updated edition!) now, “The Ethical Slut” showcases what a polyamorous relationship can look like – and provides tips for people looking to explore it for themselves. Free of judgment and featuring interviews with polyamorous people, “The Ethical Slut” explores what polyamorous relationships can look like in the modern world – including safer sex practices, the intersection of kink, and how families might look with multiple parent households.

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships

by Tristan Taormino

If “The Ethical Slut” piqued your interest in designer relationships, “Opening Up” will give you the practical, step-by-step guides to making it happen. From self-reflection exercises to determine if you're ready to areas where caution might help you avoid problems, “Opening Up” offers becomes an encyclopedic “how to” book for anyone looking at ethical non-monogamy. Designer Relationships: A Guide to Happy Monogamy, Positive Polyamory, and Optimistic Open


by Mark Michaels

What ethical non-monogamy relationship styles are out there? What dynamic might make you happiest? If you've never really thought about your options, “Designer Relationships” breaks down some of the most common ENM options including sex-only options (like swinging) or committed polyamorous options. Especially if you aren't sure non-monogamous relationships are for you, the book also recognizes that it isn't for everyone and encourages cognizant, thoughtful choices about how to build the best relationship for yourself.

Impact Play

Spanking for Lovers

By Janet W. Hardy

If a spanking scene has been on your list of “wants”, this spanking book for beginners breaks it down without getting too lost in the details. It might be overkill for lovers who enjoy a swat here or there, but if you want to learn how to build out an enjoyable, safe spanking scene from beginning to end, this is a fantastic resource.

Flogging: Essential Guidebook for Lovers of the Lash

by Joseph W. Bean

Have you seen impact play with floggers – and wanted to learn for yourself? “Flogging” explores the world of floggers from the soft, massaging options all the way to painful sensations. Learn how to choose a flogger, how to handle it, and how to vary your patterns and strokes to match the feel you're going for!

For Bondage Lovers

Bondage Basics: Naughty Knots and Risque Restraints You Need to Know

by Lord Morpheous

If glossy pages and bright, vibrant photography are your ideal method to learn rope bondage, “Bondage Basics” is for you. While the text can occasionally be over-sexualized, readers will find the colorful, step-by-step photos approachable for learning basic ties and bondage information.

Two Knotty Boys Showing You the Ropes: A Step-by-Step, Illustrated Guide for Tying Sensual and Decorative Rope Bondage

by Two Knotty Boys

Despite being over a decade old, the Two Knotty Boys books are still one of the most-recommended books for learning rope bondage. Along with basic information, the book includes black and white, step-by-step pictures for learning a whole host of functional and decorative rope bondage ties.

The Ultimate Guide to Bondage: Creating Intimacy through the Art of Restraint

by Mistress Couple

If you’re interested in the world of bondage, restraint, and snug sensations without a lot of the other trappings (like power exchange, spanking, or anything that may cause pain), this book can be a fantastic option. It focuses, purely, on understanding the world of restraint and your options within it and leaves the rest of the relationship details out of it. The book even includes a few tutorials with step- by-step photos!

Tying and Flying: Bondage for Self-Suspension

by Shay Tiziano

The focus on bondage often includes two (or more!) people, but bondage and restraint can be done all by yourself! This guide on self-suspension gives you the basic tools to understand rope bondage safety and ties with a focus on staying safe while tying solo. The book covers techniques designed for suspension, but readers can take bondage at their pace (and choose to never suspend, if they prefer!)

Better Bondage for Every Body: With Rope Bondage Experts From Around the World

by Evie Vane

Don't feel like you fit into the “stereotypical” rope bondage molds? If so, “Better Bondage for Every Body” might be a great read for you. Specifically targeted at people (and those who tie them!) who are curvy, male, 40+, or gender-nonconforming, or you have a special physical condition like fibromyalgia, the book includes suggestions for modifying ties, warm-ups, pain processing, and anatomy.


The Sexually Dominant Woman: An Illustrated Guide

by Janet W. Hardy / Lady Green

If you've never given kink a second's thought and you're short on extra time to devote to reading an entire book, this illustrated guide might be the solution. Written by a woman for other women, this beginner-friendly book covers the basics of kink and femdom in illustration-forward, easy-to- understand snippets that you can read within an hour. We recommend following it up with further reading or training to fully understand how to do many of the activities safely, but this book broaches them in a quick, approachable manner.

Uniquely Rika

by Ms. Rika

If you think femdom is for you, “Uniquely Rika” walks you through how to set up a female-led relationship with in-the-bedroom and out-the-bedroom components. Written for non-kinky women who are a bit lost on where to start, “Uniquely Rika” breaks down the benefits that femdom relationships can have – and puts a lot of the onus on submissive partners to show up with their best service in the relationship.

Male Chastity: A Guide for Keyholders

by Lucy Fairbourne

A short and sweet read, “Male Chastity” is the perfect guide for dominant partners unfamiliar with the why's or how's of using a chastity cage on a penis. With gentle verbiage and an introduction as to why you'd even want to do this, this short book sheds light on the chastity kink with practical steps to explore it for yourselves.

Not Always in the Mood: The New Science of Men, Sex, and Relationships

by Sarah Hunter Murray

While this book sits outside the scope of BDSM, it encourages readers to rethink their stereotypical view of the male sex drive for more fulfilling relationships. While occasionally a bit heavy in research and findings, the book utilizes interviews and surveys to showcase how our simplistic view of male desire and arousal is hurting our relationships. We recommend this for femdoms who want to better understand their partners or men who are looking for points of self-reflection and words to explain themselves.

Fetish Specific Books

Enough to Make You Blush: Exploring Erotic Humiliation

by Princess Kali

Does humiliation hold a special place in your (or your partner's) heart? If so, “Enough to Make You Blush” is your ultimate primer. Exploring the concept of humiliation through 15 different lenses, Princess Kali broadens your idea of what humiliation is and offers new ways to explore it safely and enjoyably.

Manual Creation: Defining the Structure of an M/s Household

by Machele Kindle (Master Fire)

If gigantic, complicated, detailed BDSM contracts make you horny, this is about to be your new favorite book. The author walks you through crafting an entire BDSM manual (as opposed to contract) by using their own manual as a base. It gets into the weeds of the things you and your partner should be thinking about if a large, written book of relationship rules appeals to you both.

Help! There’s a Baby In My Bed!

by Rosalie Bent

Curious or mystified by the world of adult babies and diaper lovers? “There's a Baby in my Bed” is one of the few books on the subject with a focus on the why's and how's of age regression kinks. With a factual focus on real-life examples and case histories, Bent offers practical tips for including age regression within your dynamic while still nurturing the rest of your relationship.

The Human Pony

by Rebecca Wilcox

One of the only educational books about human pony play, this full-color book explores the beauty, complexity, and fun of pony play. Beautiful, elaborate photography rounds out this educational book for an approachable option that might have you looking into your first bit gag.

The Toybag Guide to Hot Wax and Temperature Play

by Spectrum

Short, simple, and to the point, this Toybag Guide explains the basic of wax play and temperature play. Learn how to explore this kink safely – even if you're a complete beginner to wax play.

Play Piercing

by Deborah Addington

One of the more surprising kinks out there, needle play has kinksters piercing their skin with sharp needles for the beauty, sensations, and thrill of it all. If that sounds interesting to you, this book by Addington explores the safety, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of needle play.