15 Books Every Kinky Person Should Read

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Apr 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

These are my BDSM / Leather / Kink “classics” … the ones I loan to others to read, the ones I still pick up to answer questions or to find inspiration. These books all came out either before I came into the leather community, or during my first few years…and while they certainly aren’t everyone’s “must read” list, they are my personal favorites. If you haven’t gotten to some of these titles, pick them up – they will round out your “basic” knowledge of the foundations of the alternative sexuality community. And while not everything that you will read here is as advanced or perhaps as relevant today as it was at the time of it’s writing, it’s helpful to a full understanding of where the community has traveled in the past half decade.

Basic Physical Technique:

Screw The Roses, Send Me The Thorns – Phillip Miller & Molly Devon

Learning The Ropes – Race Bannon

The Topping Book & The Bottoming Book – Janet Hardy & Dossie Easton

SM 101 – Jay Wiseman


The Slave (and the rest of the Marketplace Series), Laura Antoniou

The Sleeping Beauty Novels, Anne Rice (writing as A. N. Roquelaure)

History / Sociology

Leatherfolk – Radical Sex, People, Power & Practice – Mark Thompson

Coming to Power: Writing & Graphics on Lesbian S/M – SAMOIS

Different Loving – Gloria Brame

Urban Aboriginals – Geoff Mains

Relationships / Advice:

The Leatherman’s Handbook – Larry Townsend & John Preston

The Loving Dominant – John Warren & Libby Warren

The Sexually Dominant Woman – Lady Green

Miss Abernathy’s Concise Slave Training Manual – Christina Abernathy

(Note: these are linked to my Amazon affiliate account; if you choose to order through this, I will get a few cents commission. However, I *highly* recommend that you shop at your local bookshop, your favorite sex positive store, or your preferred BDSM book & merchandise vendor – without your support, these stores won’t exist, and as a community we need to keep them flourishing!)


Walk with me in Chicago on June 25!

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Apr 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Image from Simax105 on Flickr

I’ve decided, as part of my efforts to get my body moving more often, to do my first 5K walk on June 25 in Chicago. It’s called “Proud to Run 2011“, and includes both a 5K & 10K run as well as a 5K walk; it benefits the Pride Youth Program of LINKS as well as the Gerber/Hart Library. Registration is $25 – $30 depending on what course you plan to take, and registrants get a commemorative teeshirt (yay for teeshirts!).

I’d love to walk with a group of other kink positive folks – perhaps with everyone wearing a black teeshirt, or a leather pride flag… If anyone is interested, drop me an email or comment here and let me know. If there are enough people that want to, I’ll figure out a way to coordinate & meet up that Saturday morning.

I think it’s important that all of us who identify as a part of a sex positive community – whether it’s leather, kink, poly, or whatever – stand together to help raise funds for charities that seek to help other communities succeed. Whether you are able to participate in this event or not – please look for ways that you can support other parts of our alternative sexuality communities, and do so proudly!

(As a disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with this run, or any of the beneficiaries – it just looked like a great way to break my “organized walk” cherry along with being able to get funds to some worthwhile organizations)


Spreading herpes without symptoms – some hard numbers

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Apr 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

So, for years, we’ve heard that it’s possible to spread Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (aka Genital Herpes) without being symptomatic – but a sizable number of attendees at my classes (as well as people who email me) have asked what the real risk of transmission is between HSV-2 positive people who have outbreaks and those who don’t. Researchers at the University of Washington just published the results of a study that clarifies just that. In short:

“Long, tough-to-tell story short, people with herpes that manifested with sores were twice as likely to shed contagious amounts of virus particles as infected people without symptoms. But in the study, which lasted about two months for each person, genital herpes virus was detected at least once in 68 percent of those free of symptoms. For symptomatic people the figure was 83 percent.”

Note that these people did not take Valacyclovir (a medication which helps prevent outbreaks for people who test positive for HSV-2), which will minimize transmission even further. And since the viral shedding was determined from genital swabs, and not by actual transmission, it does not take condom use into consideration. So, in a sense, they tested people who knew they were HSV-2 positive but were not on a medical regimen for treatment.

So what can we learn from this study? In short, knowing your status is key, because medication & barrier use can reduce the potential for transmitting it to others. If you are HSV-2 positive, talk with your doctor and take care of your body; Valacyclovir, coupled with stress reduction and overall health improvement, can better help your body deal with the virus. If you have a partner with HSV-2, encourage them to seek out medical treatment if appropriate, and take general precautions to avoid transmission. And know that even though many people feel shame (which is also reflected in most of the social information that we get about herpes), having HSV-2 is not a shameful state of being – simply one that requires that we evaluate our health, and negotiate with our lovers, from a point of strength and knowledge.

(The above quote was taken directly from Scott Hensley’s article for National Public Radio)


Manners for community leaders

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Apr 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

1. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you – don’t talk shit in social media or mass emails about events, shops, or people that want you to work with them.  Even if you think they’re out of their noggins, or they have iffy ethics, you’re better off not bitching about them publicly unless it’s a need for a community alert – in which case, you’re best off gathering your allies (and proof) before you put it out there.

2. Don’t ask someone else for their work in order to help you make a buck, unless you’re willing to pay them for it. This is like Microsoft asking Apple to give them their source code for one part of their OS without offering anything in exchange. Many people are happy to give out information to colleagues for free – but be mindful of what it means to ask for someone to share their work with you.

3. If you can’t find at least one positive thing to say about someone, keep your mouth shut.

4. Get beyond your own bias as much as possible. Stop using terms & concepts* that reinforce sexism, racism, ableism, gender & orientation judgments, and negativity towards people based on their sexual activities (or lack thereof). If you don’t know whether your words may be problematic, ask. If you’re corrected, accept it graciously & adjust your future behavior.

5. Just because someone is active in some part of the sex industry or is engaged in alternative relationships doesn’t mean that they’re interested in doing anything physical with you. Please use the same consideration & tact when communicating with them that you’d want someone to use with your younger sibling.

6. Stop begging for stuff for yourself. It gets old. Likewise, stop guilting your social network into donating money to a charity or political cause. And if you want to support a cause, check them out carefully before you add your name to the effort; you may be very surprised at what you find. Not every sex positive charity is doing good work in the world.

7. If your name is in the forefront, work in the background sometimes. It’s a great reminder of what the real work in the community is; activism is just as much (if not more so) about taking out the trash after an event as it is about giving the keynote.

8. If you’re going to try to speak for any part of any community, you’d best have a background in that community first. If you want to be a leader, spend some time learning the ropes. If you want to be an educator, you need to learn as much as you can and remain teachable. Anything else is a disservice to the people whose lives you’ll be touching – not to mention to yourself.

9. Cultural appropriation is real. Ask yourself where the symbols & techniques you’re using originated, and who used them before you found out about them. If you don’t know, then find out before you go out & use that technique or symbol again.

10. Honor your forebears. Give credit to the people that you learned from. Nobody got to where they are without help; remembering those that helped us and being grateful for it keeps us humble.

*Some of these terms that I’ve heard (and in some cases, been called out about thoughtlessly using) in the past few years: breeders, chicks with dicks, clean (as opposed to “STI negative”), crazy, fags, girls, hos, vanillas. While some problematic terms such as “slut” or “queer” are sometimes used in the sense of reclaiming them, be aware that the context & audience is most of what determines whether it’s positive or negative.


Revisiting the Reality Pool

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Apr 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

Back in ’99, an essay entitled “Take a Dip in the Reality Pool” started making the rounds on the internet – and I, the impressionable cynic that I am, leapt for joy. I was fortunate to have seen this about the time that I realized that something about the concept of  “twoo submission” rankled, and I am grateful that Screamer Girl wrote it & shared it. I’ve checked around in the bit of spare time that I have, looking for a current website for this article – but haven’t found it. I wanted to post the whole thing here, with her copyright intact, but since she starts it off with “Don’t even think about using this without my written permission”, I won’t. I will, however,  give you a brief teaser from the article; I highly recommend giving it a read on this older site (yes, it’s in comic sans, and yes, you’ll have to highlight it to read it, but it’s worth it).

“14. You really don’t need another flogger. What you need is a new microwaves and a pair of hundred dollar tennis shoes for your teenager. Know when to say when to the toy bag.

30. Sometimes, a fuck is just a fuck. A beating is just a beating. And a kiss is just a kiss. Enjoy it, remember it, and move along.”

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