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“Sexual Outsiders: Understanding BDSM Sexualities and Communities delves into the unique experiences of individuals in BDSM communities. While misunderstandings surrounding these communities prevail, BDSM sexuality cuts across race, gender, nationality, and sexual orientation. BDSM describes forms of sexuality that incorporate restraint, pressure, sensation, training, and elements of both erotic and non-erotic power exchange between the engaged parties. Some BDSM “scenes” include role-playing, spanking, blindfolds, ropes, and erotic costuming…

In terms of challenges faced by BDSM communities, the most significant is living with a stigmatized sexuality shame, prejudice, discrimination, isolation, depression, and a lack of adequate, competent mental health care. Issues such as coming out as a sexual minority, finding community and partners, and dealing with scenes and relationships that go wrong are some the common experiences shared by members of BDSM communities. Sexual Outsiders employs common sense, good humor, and vivid anecdotes while incorporating basic ideas about human behavior, psychology, philosophy, interviews, history, and clinical case studies to illustrate the real lives and experiences of men and women in BDSM communities. Anyone wanting to learn more about this unique, and more-common-than-you-think expression of sexuality, will find in these pages insight into the various challenges BDSM practitioners face, and the many strengths that people in the BDSM communities have developed in the face of social stigma and prejudice.”

I picked up this book based on the title alone and didn’t even know what it was about until I had started reading it. I was not let down, for the most part. The book started with the idea that BDSM was not inherently bad or good. This was a first for that idea in all that I have read on the subject. The book allowed for the community to define the community and that was also something new that I greatly appreciated (this is something that I have been pushing for in research).

The book was not hard to follow and at times overly simplistic. This was not a bad thing, but it made this book very much an introductory book to BDSM. It wasn’t an in-depth look like I was hoping for. Instead of taking a great deal of time talking about the communities or about the practices the authors did stories about their patients or even included erotica at one point. Though this made the identities more human, it was not needed for an intellectual review of the current research on the subject or on what is actually happening in the community. This book was more a case study and the author’s tooting their own horns than a hard core science book. However when one is focusing on psychoanalytic psychology and Jungian psychology, no wonder there was a lack of a science feel to the book. These are the types of psychology that other psychologies make fun of.

I was hoping from more for the authors since they have many years of experience between them when it comes to the BDSM community. If they instead focused on stories or on the research they would have a stronger book. Though this book was a wonderful read and one I would push on many people to explain why I am so fascinated with sexuality. I would have enjoyed this in a basic health class in high school or even a basic sexuality class in college. It wasn’t a hardcore book, but it was one that was every bit worth reading.

The authors were very knowledgeable and were able to define the terms and ideas in very simple terms. This made it so even parts of the community I wasn’t knowledgeable about I was able to follow. I really look forward to more that these authors put out and I suggest that if you have any interest in sexuality or want to learn some basics in sexualities that aren’t often discussed then this is a great book for you. The authors defined the word “squick” which I was so amused about and I loved it. It seemed like a word that wouldn’t need to be defined, but instead it was defined as it is defined in the community. There was great respect from the authors to the community. It was wonderful and very necessary.


5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book to everyone!

You can buy this book here.