Archive for the 'Review' Category

Review: The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino

by Jason Stotts

I recently got a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play, and the Erotic Edge edited by Tristan Taormino and after having read it cover to cover, I have to say that it’s up to Tristan’s usual standard of excellence. This book is a little different from other Tristan books in that it’s not written by Tristan herself, but rather is a collection essays from different experts on different subjects in kink.  The result is that you get a lot of good advice and opinions on a wide range of subjects. The book is split into two halves, the first half is practical sexual techniques like impact play (Ch. 2), vaginal fisting (Ch. 4), and CBT (Ch. 6), while the second half is more theoretical on subjects like feminine dominance (Ch. 13), submission (Ch. 14), and sadism (Ch. 16).

My three favorite essays:

1. “Making an Impact: Spanking, Caning, and Flogging” by Lolita Wolf.  I really liked how this author (I can’t talk seriously about an essay and call the author “Lolita”) intertwined a story about impact play and instruction on how to do it.  The effect was to see action in a story, then have it explained so you understood what had happened and how to do it yourself.  It was very well done and the information in the essay was very good.

2. “ForteFemme: The Art and Philosophy of Feminine Dominance” by Midori.  I really liked how Midori broke down the idea of feminine dominance into something that people could understand.  Sometimes the reason we can’t get started with something new is simply our own ignorance.  We don’t know what we don’t know and we don’t even know enough to ask the right questions.  By breaking the idea of feminine dominance down into understandable parts and then explaining how to build this into a “fortefemme” persona cuts right through the ignorance and will certainly be helpful to those wanting to learn more about female domination.  I particularly liked this line: “The ultimate power is that of persuasion.  To get the submissive or bottom to want to do for you what you command of them–that’s dominance.” (292) I think she’s right on the mark about this and this shows me she understands the essence of dominance.

3. “Enhancing Masochism: How to Expand Limits and Increase Desire” by Patrick Califia.  Patrick’s essay does a good job discussing terminology and drawing some clear lines to help people understand masochism and sadism.  The real gem in this essay is in the section called “consensual nonconsent,” where Patrick says: “I recommend a no-fault attitude for BDSM players.  As long as both partners respect each other, make a good-faith effort to abide by each other’s limits, and are open to feedback, I think that missteps ought to be understood as part of the price you pay for being on the edge.” (330) I totally agree with him.  To approach kink play, especially S/M, with reservations about accidentally hurting someone or going too far is to go about it all wrong.  You absolutely should be respectful of your partner and their limits, but if you’re going to engage in edge play, you can’t expect that nothing bad will ever happen.  You just have to try to prevent it, but not at the cost of enjoying yourself and your sexuality out of fear that something bad might happen.

Overall, Tristan delivers with another excellent book on sex and I recommend that you check it out if you’re interested in learning more about kink.


If you’re going to purchase The Ultimate Guide to Kink, please use the links provided here to support Erosophia with referral credit.

Review: Living Proof

by Jason Stotts

As a writer myself trying to get my first book published, I know how hard it is to get a book in front of a publisher, let alone get them to read it.  To actually take it all the way to publication is quite the achievement today, when publishers would much rather go with established writers, even if their work is trite, than to try something new.  So, my cynical side thought that this was going to be one of those books that was crap, but that got published anyway because Leonard Peikoff is Kira’s father and the publisher thought they could leverage that fact.

I was, thankfully, very wrong.

Living Proof is an excellent book and an amazing book for a first time author.  The writing is tight, the plot is motivated, and the story is gripping.  Living Proof is one of those books that you don’t want to put down until you’re finished.

The story is set in a dystopian future (is it dystopian if it’s nearly real now?) where the christian religion has taken control of much of government and has declared all fertilized eggs to be full legal persons and their death to be murder.  This complicates everything from miscarriage to in vitro fertilization.  The heroine, of course, is not happy with that state of affairs and has a very selfish reason to motivate her to want to work against the laws.  I dare not say too much more lest I give away interesting plot points, but if you’re looking for a good book and you want to support a great up and coming Objectivist author, go buy Living Proof!

Review: The Selfish Path to Romance

by Jason Stotts

I don’t do a lot of book reviews here on Erosophia, it’s not because I don’t read much, in fact I read several books a month, but rather that most books that I read while good, are either not worth putting the effort into reviewing or are so horribly mixed that it’s hard to recommend them.  Happily, this is not the case with the new book The Selfish Path to Romance: How to Love with Passion and Reason by Drs. Ellen Kenner and Ed Locke.

I have read a lot of books about love and relationships and it is no exaggeration for me to say that The Selfish Path to Romance is by far the best book I have ever read on these topics.  In most books that I read on relationships and love, I always end up feeling like I’m reading with a hodge-podge of disconnected platitudes and random case study vignettes that seem, at best, tangentially relevant to the author’s points. But that’s very much not the case with The Selfish Path to Romance, which I found to be very consistent and well integrated. It was quite a breath of fresh air to read.

In it, the authors argue that if one doesn’t adopt the rational egoist position in regards to love, sex, and relationships, then  one will end up doing very poorly in these indeed.  Moreover, that by adopting this position, many of the common intractable relationship problems will either not arise or will be easily dealt with.  Ultimately they argue, and I completely agree, that if one wants to live the best kind of life possible, that one must adopt the rational egoist position and think about one’s love life.

If you want to learn more about The Selfish Path to Romance, please check out my interview with authors Dr. Ed Locke and Dr. Ellen Kenner that appears in this edition of The Objective Standard (subscription required).  Also, if you want to help support Erosophia, please use the Amazon links to buy the book so that Erosophia gets the referral credit.  And I do heartily recommend that you buy the book!

Review: Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Advanced Anal Sex

by Jason Stotts

Tristan Taormino just recently released her newest movie, the “Expert Guide to Advanced Anal Sex” and was kind enough to send me a review copy of it.  Unsurprisingly, Tristan does not disappoint in the movie.  This is my first review of an adult product here on Erosophia and I must say that it was rather exciting to get an advanced review copy directly from Vivid, for free no less, on a subject that I’m very interested in.

I should start by saying that I was disposed to like the movie before I ever watched it.  I’ve read several of Tristan’s books and they’ve all been very well written (for example, The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and Opening Up) and I saw her speak live in LA and her presentation was very good.  The only book that I think is better than Tristan’s on anal sex is Jack Morin’s Anal Pleasure and Health and it’s a very different kind (more medical) of book.  Nonetheless, I think Tristan does a fabulous job on pretty much every subject I’ve seen her cover.

The DVD starts with a review of anal sex basics and anatomy.  You should pay attention in this part, but if you haven’t mastered the basics, you should probably not be jumping right into advanced anal.  She talks about anal preparation, addressing concerns about cleanliness and enemas.  She then discusses lubes and their necessity for anal (and they are very, very necessary).  She does a good job emphasizing the importance of warming up your ass before anal play (again, very important).  She finishes up her part discussing more advanced positions for anal and some more advanced techniques.

After that, there are various anal sex scenes (porn) where we can see anal sex in practice.  However, before the scenes, you get to listen to the performers talk about their feelings about anal sex and whether they real like it, etc. I thought this was refreshing to give the performers a voice and I thought it made the movie feel more complete somehow.

I really liked that they had a section on strap-on sex, enemas, and safer sex.  I really, really, liked that they showed male anal play and they didn’t make a big deal out of it.  To see a guy having his ass played with (and even pegged!) in straight porn is all too rare.  I hope that it will go a long way to helping to dispel the taboo that if a straight guy enjoys anal sex, then he’s really gay.  That’s just nonsense.

A few criticisms.  I know this is part of the Vivid Ed series and Vivid is a porn company, but the movie felt a little light on the info (compared to Tristan’s books) and a little heavy on the porn.  This may be what a lot of consumers want, but it’s not what those of us who are into learning about anal sex want. Anal porn is easy and free on the internet, whereas good information is much harder to find.  If I’m going to pay for a movie, I want it overflowing with information and I don’t really care if there’s sex in it at all.  My other criticism is that the movie included a section on choking.  Let me say that I am emphatically against choking as the risk of death is all too real and many people do die from erotic asphyxiation and auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Finally, it was a nice treat to see Nina Hartley in the film  It seemed to me to be a kind of passing of the torch type film (Nina has been making good instructional videos for a long time now) and I liked the fact that they were working together.

All in all, I’d highly recommend this video to anyone who had some experience with anal and had already mastered the basics.  For the rest of you, I’m sure you’ll still learn something, but you may want to start elsewhere.

(Tristan and I at a talk she did in LA)


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