Reference Desk: 50 Sh…ut up, that book is terrible.
By now we all know that 50 shades of grey, its sequels, and its movie adaptation are all the worst, and have no redeeming value, literary, moral, or otherwise, beside maybe helping a bunch of people get their rocks off. But, everyone is reading it! And that’s not nothing!
No amount of reading of it will change the fact that the kink, sex, and relationship described therein are abusive and dangerous (when not physically impossible), as well as….kind of boring, actually. Fear not! Turns out there’s a great big world of delightful dirty sex out there! It’s clear that E.L. James has never dipped her toes into that world, which at its best is one where consent and communication and safety are as important as pleasure (for some meaning of pleasure). And maybe you, my dear librarians, never have either, which might leave you at a loss should a patron request further resources after reading or watching 50 shades.
There are actually a lot of really excellent kink resources out there, if you know where to look. And this being the blog in which we’re willing to go there, I’ve assembled a list below, so that you don’t have to. Rejoice!, librarians, from here on out fewer of your patrons are going to end up with wrist injuries from handcuffs or ER bills for removal of objects from body cavities (srsly, ppl, flared bases).
[Assume the below links to be, to various extents, NSFW.]
Let’s start with Wikipedia’s article on RACK, a generally accepted minimum safety standard, BECAUSE THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT.
- The ultimate guide to kink : BDSM, role play and the erotic edge, by Tristan Taormino.
- The new topping book, by Dossie Easton & Janet Hardy.
- The new bottoming book, by Dossie Easton & Janet Hardy.
- (Easton & Hardy are best known for their book about non-monogamy, The ethical slut, which was the first easily obtained English-language book on the subject; many readers interested in kink might also be interested in non-monogamy. Tristan Taormino has a book on the same topic called Opening up.)
- Playing on the edge : sadomasochism, risk, and intimacy, by Staci Newmahr.
- Techniques of pleasure : BDSM and the circuits of sexuality, by Margot Weiss.
- Showing you the ropes, by Two Knotty Boys.
- Back on the ropes, by Two Knotty Boys.
- Shibari you can use : Japanese rope bondage and erotic macramé, by Lee Harrington.
- More shibari you can use : passionate rope bondage and intimate connection, by Lee Harrington.
- Fetlife. Fetlife is a social networking site, not a dating site; think more like Facebook and less like OKCupid. Users have profile pages, can post photos and writings, message each other, take part in group discussions, and view event listings.
- The Yes Means Yes Blog. Jumping off from the book Yes means yes, by Jaclyn Friedman & Jessica Valenti, the Yes Means Yes blog contains writing on the same theme of consent. Most of the recent posts, by Thomas Macaulay Millar, are about consent issues in kink contexts. In particular, he wrote a series called “There’s a War On,” and “Domism,” a post about sexism.
- Oh Joy Sextoy. Sex toy reviews in comic strip form? Yup! Drawn by Erika Moen, it also depicts & discusses all sorts of other sexy stuff.
- Two Knotty Boys. Aside from the books above, there’s VIDEO INSTURCTION.
- Sugarbutch, by Sinclair Sexsmith. I’ll let Sinclair say it themself: “I’m a queer butch, feminist dominant, identity theorist, strap-on expert, and a poet. Since 2006, I’ve been writing here about power dynamics, kink, personal empowerment, and activism. I love the intricacies of reconciling feminism and BDSM practices, and of getting and keeping a really satisfying sex life. No—not just satisfying, but mind-blowing. Oh, and I write lots of dirty erotica, too.”
- Quickies in New York. Short erotica by Guy New York & photography by The Dirty Gentleman. Guy New York has also written some longer-form erotica, including the novel Disgusting, beautiful, immoral.
IRL Groups, Orgs & Events:
- National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. “The NCSF is committed to creating a political, legal and social environment in the US that advances equal rights for consenting adults who engage in alternative sexual and relationship expressions.”
- TNG. Yes, it stands for what you think it stands for. TNG groups are for kinksters between the ages of 18 and 35. They host munches (get-togethers at restaurants), parties, workshops, etc. There are tons and tons of TNG groups, usually organized around geographic areas, for example, NYC, Western Mass, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, or Colorado.
- TES. It stands for The Eulenspiegel Society, but don’t worry about that; it’s pronounced “tess.” They’re an org in NYC that’s been around since 1971 — “a not-for-profit BDSM / Leather / Fetish group dedicated to the social interaction, educational exchange, and ever-changing diversity of our community.” They have an extensive calendar of classes and social events.
- The Carter/Johnson Leather Library. A library and archives that “consists of a traveling collection of thousands of books, magazines, posters, art, club and event pins, newspapers, event programs and ephemera showing leather, fetish, S/M erotic history.”
- The Leather Archives & Museum. Located in Chicago, it “is dedicated to the compilation, preservation, and maintenance of leather, kink, and fetish lifestyles. Our museum galleries serve to present educational and historical material to an adult audience. Our reading library and archive serve to support researchers and community members in accessing materials and documentation relevant to the history and culture of leather.“
- NELA. The New England Leather Alliance, which hosts the Fetish Fair Fleamarkets in New England. There are also Fleas in Atlanta, Houston, and the Carolinas.
- Folsom Street Fair. Since 1984, a yearly San Francisco event that has become quite famous for offending all the vanillas everywhere. On the east coast, there’s New York’s Folsom Street East, held in Chelsea near the Eagle, a gay leather bar. Folsom East didn’t happen in 2013, due to, at root, rapid gentrification of the neighborhood, but it made a comeback at a new spot in 2014.
- Campus orgs. Columbia has Conversio Virium (“Ann Coulter doesn’t like it.”) & Rutgers has the brand new RUKS (Rutgers University Kink Society).
Kinksters, please leave links to further resources in the comments. If anyone has questions, maybe someone will know the answer; only respectful comments will be allowed. And, remember, we take anonymous questions at the reference desk.