With the influx of "guides to play" after 50 Shades of Grey went viral mainstream it was only a matter of time when I would be presented with one to review and give my opinion about. The Posh Girl's Guide to Play by Alexis Lass is one such guide. So, without mentioning that book again, let me dive into this book and let you know what I think!
Alexis is a former pro-Domme in the New York area where she would "act" the part of a Domme in a House of Pro-Dommes or clientele. She also had a Fetish film studio.
First, just thumbing through the book had me inspired. It had exercises and activities in it that I wanted to start doing before I had read the book. The appendix is nice too for a starter guide to role play. Alexis makes a point to call the BDSM she'll be talking about as Dominant/submissive role play (DSRP) - and delineates away from SM altogether saying that if you are interested in that - you won't find much in this book. She emphasizes that if DSRP is supposed to be fun and sexy and that much of what SM includes somehow isn't? Yeah, that's the impression I got in the first chapter.
The second chapter had my jaw on the floor and shaking my head. This chapter was on how to introduce the idea of DSRP to your partner. Her suggestions were nothing more than manipulation and nothing about clear communication. One paragraph said you should make your man jealous or tell them that you hate when they do something because the aggressive nature they will feel while being mad at you will produce steamy-hot makeup sex. WTF?! I don't know about you but that's not a good way to build a healthy relationship and add spice to your sexual play at all. I completely disagree with the way she went about bringing your idea to your partner. You don't want to force your partner to play, you want it to be a mutually exciting idea.
Further, in the book Alexis goes on to say that BDSM is only for pain hungry people who have no care for consent and that people who engage in SM behavior are not normal. I was horribly offended since she's talking about erotic D/s roleplay in the book for her to come out and say that SM is wrong and the people who participate are abnormal. So, I sent a request through her publicist to ask her some questions about this and how she can say what she does when she was a former pro-domme and had a fetish film studio. These are the two questions I sent to her:
Alexis, when you were a dominatrix did you specialize in sensual role play or did you participate in SM scenes with clients as well? In chapter 4 of your book you say that you agree with religious dissenters of BDSM that, in particular, SM is wrong and abusive and that sadists and masochists are just pain-hungry and negate consent. How does your background as a former pro-domme support or detract from this opinion?
In your book, you delineate DSRP as separate from BDSM. Why is this, when much of what you indicate as DSRP is a part of BDSM? Are you trying to intentionally alienate the BDSM public or is it that you feel mainstream readers of your book that came from "that book" won't like the idea of associating with BDSM? Is there something else to this?
Her publicist replied saying that Alexis wasn't comfortable answering these questions and declined further comment.
She won't address these questions and I feel that I can't comfortably finish reading the book. I believe that the author, with her failure to answer these questions to BDSM participants, was only writing a book to appeal to mainstream, vanilla people who read 50 Shades and wanted to try it themselves. I fear that she's muddying the water for those of us who participate safely in BDSM and D/s role play and feel this book will not help you seek anything more than a mediocre romp in the sack with someone who's not doing it for fun but because you forced them into it.
If she had clarified these things with me and perhaps said that she specialized in sensual role play and that SM activities were never a part of her consensual sex work and that she was intentionally writing a book for mainstream people who many be uncomfortable with the negative press that BDSM receives I would have continued to read this book and give it a fair chance. However, that will never be.
Sure she has some creative ideas on how to play out scenes, but she won't get my support for this book until she can clear up a few questions I have about the hypocritical view I see she has on what used to be a part of her every day as a professional and business woman associated with BDSM.
Don't buy this book if you value your relationship or want more than a role play idea book.
After the review went live I was contacted by Alexis with the answers to the questions I had asked for. I'm including them here with her permission. This does not change my opinion of the book but it does give some insight into the author's position.
1) Alexis, when you were a dominatrix did you specialize in sensual role play or did you participate in SM scenes with clients as well? In chapter 4 of your book you say that you agree with religious dissenters of BDSM that, in particular, SM is wrong and abusive and that sadists and masochists are just pain-hungry and negate consent. How does your background as a former pro-domme support or detract from this opinion?
Hello, these are great questions. I’m going to just dive in. My specialty was corporal punishment. Ok, let's everyone take a breath here and pause the tape. For every major religion I Googled, searching the viewpoints on BDSM, I found commentary saying that, within their faith, it was 100% accepted between married partners. (Obviously, I part ways with them over the ring-on-the-finger part.) Not one, however, found acceptable the mutilation or excessive physical harm to the body. And, yes, I agree with the strictures of curbing physical punishment that does serious and permanent corporal damage.As an active participant in the NYC “BDSM” scene, I’ve witnessed some pain fetishists administer/receive extreme punishing treatment, which I consider to be unhealthy and not representative of “BDSM” play as a practice, i.e., one sub wanted me to slice his tongue with a razor blade; a ball busting sub friend of mine from the video biz got so addicted to ball-busting that ultimately he had to ratchet up the pain ante to the point that his testicles were blood red and the size of grapefruits, necessitating the application of ice packs and Chinese icy balms and ingesting painkillers. Not cool. Still, he begged me to full-force kick his tender, injured testicles with a steel tip boot. I refused, politely and sympathetically, and instead talked him out of continuing the exercise until his testicles fully healed. As a sub physician later told me, that sub was in serious peril of suffering a blood clot if he didn’t give his testicles ample time to heal before requesting more brutal kicks. This I submit in explanation of what I mean when I say that it's possible to form unhealthy pain addictions in the fetish scene, though I hasten to add that I've witnessed similar extreme behavior by yoga practitioners, who bend to the breaking point, and by jogger junkies, who push it to the point that they require knee replacements. I’m not supportive of addiction in any scene, practice, play or area. Who is? Some people consider addiction a choice. I suppose that it is, but I will tell them that I see it as an unenlightened choice.Now, addressing my cringe to the label "S&M" for the fetish scene. My feeling is as follows: I take offense to the rusty terms Sadist and Masochists, al la the Marquis de Sade’s un-consensual torture chambers, and I refer here not to the tame prose of Justine but to the wickedness of the long-banned 120 Days of Sodom, which the author himself described as "the most impure tale that has ever been told since our world began." (Believe it!) The definition of a sadist is one who delights in inflicting pain--physically or emotionally--to another, with or without consent. I have never met one top-tier pro domme who enjoyed causing pain to an unconsenting submissive. In fact, that is against the TES society’s mantra, as it should be. A Masochist is someone who enjoys being hurt, with or without set limits. That behavior, too, is against the Safe, Sane, and Consensual mantra. I never insulted my subs by calling them masochists; as a rule, I found them healthy, balanced, self-loving men and women who simply enjoyed D/S role play. I should think the scene would be pleased to have a new and more accurate term attached to the fetish scene, and that would be DSRP or Dominant Submissive Role Play. Healthy individuals with empathy and self-respect who love to engage in dominant and submissive role play should be off the hook these days; even the new (5th edition) of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders depathologized kinky sex. But, women still get their children taken away, continue to be fired from their jobs, for engaging in “S&M” activities, with the tabloids calling them “sadist/masochistic freaks.” So let’s abandon the psychopath term sadist and the concomitant victim term “masochist” as a way to uplift the scene’s image in society, yes?
2) In your book, you delineate DSRP as separate from BDSM. Why is this, when much of what you indicate as DSRP is a part of BDSM? Are you trying to intentionally alienate the BDSM public or is it that you feel mainstream readers of your book that came from "that book" won't like the idea of associating with BDSM? Is there something else to this?
See above. Thank you for giving me the rare opportunity to address my viewpoints. I value the pursuit of kink and encourage everyone to explore and adopt whatever Über-kinky attracts and suits, to try dominate and submissive role play at their own comfort level, and to banish the term “normal” from their superegos. Kink is the new normal, I say. Thank you for these hearty and fascinating questions.
- lunaKM's Rating: 2/10
- File Size: 591 KB
- Print Length: 272 pages
- Publisher: Seal Press (October 8, 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00E2580HY