The Ultimate Guide to Kink is edited by Tristan Taormino, a well-known author, sex educator and director of pornographic films. Essays by several other sex educators are included on a number of aspects of kink.
If you skipped over the contents page and just read the introduction and first couple of chapters, you might get the impression that this is a book for beginners. Meanings of the various roles and acronyms are explored, as are the basics of things like consent, safety and impact play, all which experienced kinksters are likely to be well aware of. The further you get into the book, the more you wonder who the intended audience is. There are many types of play featured that require quite a lot of care and experience to do safely and/or are likely to “squick” newbies and the less open-minded. I’m talking about things like fisting (vaginal and anal), needle play and mind fucks and taboo forms of roleplay. I have no problem with these things and in fact rather like that they are included. It means that the book covers topics that many other kink books only mention briefly or shy away from altogether. The age play chapter was particularly of interest to me because it focused on sexual age play, something that I had difficulty finding information on elsewhere. I just have to hope that their inclusion in a book that beginners may well be likely pick up doesn’t put some people off kink entirely.
Each chapter is written by a different author, which certainly provides a range of perspectives and writing styles but the book is somewhat disjointed and repetitive as a result. The authors usually include safety information about the topic they’re writing about. Instead of focusing only on that topic, precautions that relate to a number of aspects of kink are often stated as well. Safety is of course important, but reading “oh and make sure to give the bottom a cuddle afterwards” over and over gets annoying. It does however mean that you can just read the chapters that interest you and not miss out on anything too important.
This book is likely of more limited use to those who practice D/s without S&M, but otherwise it is inclusive of most types of kinksters. Many chapters are useful to both tops and bottoms. Other chapters are specific to one type of role, but dominants, submissives, sadists and masochists are all represented in these.
This isn’t likely to be a book you’ll read from cover to cover. Many topics are included. Some will interest you, others won’t. It doesn’t cover everything (naturally), but it’s certainly nice to see the inclusion of types of play that don’t usually get much of a mention in kink books. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to beginners due to some of the more “extreme” types of play covered. It seems like Taormino’s other book, 50 Shades of Kink, might be a better option for those newer to kink but I can’t comment on it as I haven’t read it.
I try to read as much about kink as I can and still feel that The Ultimate Guide to Kink was able to provide me with a lot of interesting information.