The FAQ List

Part 3 of 3

My fantasies scare me. What if I get too into SM?

Sometimes people who are attracted by some aspects of SM worry that they will immediately go from enjoying spanking and light bondage to fisting and golden showers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

SM is a blanket term for a huge variety of alternative ways to make love. This FAQ list has outlined some of the possibilities. No one I know enjoys everything on this list; everyone has their own preferences and levels of tolerance. Some like bondage but dislike pain; some like latex but dislike leather; some enjoy piercing but not whipping; some like tickling and nothing else!

This means that negotiation is always important in SM; you never know what someone's tastes will be until you ask. It also means that whatever your level, however hard the play that you enjoy, there are people out there who share your tastes. Be a dabbler or be a life- styler, or be anywhere in between! And don't worry; the operative word with all of these practices is pleasure. If you don't like it, you won't enjoy it, and you won't do it!

Some people have fantasies about heavier SM trips than they would enjoy in real life. To those people, I say this: fantasies are not reality. It is well documented that many women have rape fantasies from time to time; this does not mean that those women want to be raped. SM can involve playing on the edge between fantasy and reality, using that fantasy energy to create something fantastically strong and passionate in the real world; but this does not mean that fantasies are anything but imagination, or that fantasies will become real without your choosing to make them so.

If you feel that doing SM might make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, or make it harder for you to maintain your sense of self-worth and pride, those are excellent reasons to avoid doing SM--or at the very least to only do those sorts of play that don't tear you down but instead build you up. SM is an intense form of relating, and not everyone is ready for that; if you don't think you are, don't do it that intensely--and if you're not sure, go slowly. What's the rush? Do what you honestly want to do, and what you feel ready for.

Some people getting into the scene almost have a mental checklist of stuff they want to try. They spend a year or two burning through the checklist, having a great time, always desperate for the next experience. Then they get to the end of the list, and suddenly they don't know what's next. This can be a very empty feeling. SM is not an end in itself, but a means to connect with others; it is ultimately about relating, and about developing yourself.

If you are worried about getting "too into SM", it means that you are sensitive to your spiritual and sexual development, which in itself means you have less to worry about. Trust your instincts. SM is nothing but opening up the the powerful energy within us all, and being willing to experience that energy with and through others; it is intimate and loving. Even a hard scene, involving ruthless domination and serious pain, is an act of love, and a very deep one at that; it takes a lot of trust and a strong connection between the people involved to create such a scene. The more aware of Sex Magick you are, the better a communicator and lover you will likely be--and you don't have to be a heavy player to understand Sex Magick.

People who think that all BDSM behaviors are unhealthy or destructive sometimes come out with a claim like, "Just you wait, you may start off by enjoying being spanked, but before long you'll be liking being bruised, dismembered, flayed, and murdered!" This is, simply, ridiculous. While many people do find their tolerance for pain increasing as they do BDSM, many others find no such effect, or even have no interest in experimenting. It seems that for most people, their internal "thermostat," the level of stimulus which makes them hot, is pretty much constant. And certainly I know of no one practicing consensual SM who perpetrates serious injury on their lovers. The SM scene is rife with information about how to inflict intense sensation without causing permanent or unintended damage of any kind. Recognize these kinds of alarmist claims about BDSM as the scaremongering that they are.

And finally, after all is said and done, you may still have some fantasies that you recognize as too intense or too contrary to your nature to actually perform in a real-life scene. This is quite common, as well; we all have desires which we recognize are not safely fulfillable. Do not do anything that you feel you should not or cannot do, even if the desire remains strong; or at least, if you do choose to explore that desire, go very carefully and be prepared to back off if you find your suspicions confirmed. If it hurts not to fulfill the desire, that's part of what maturity is about--rejecting desires that pull you into things that are no good for you, while choosing that which will affirm you. And in any case, the process of introspecting, of asking yourself what you want (and what you will permit yourself) and why, can be vital to your growth and your sense of yourself. Life is change, and every choice carries some risk... decide for yourself what path you want to walk.

I want to throw a play party; how can I go about it?

Occasionally on there is a flurry of email about some event that recently occurred (often in the SF Bay area) at which many net.folks were in attendance, and about the tremendously enjoyable things that transpired there. Then others around the country post, wishing they lived out here too. Well, you don't have to live out here to have a play party!

What is a play party? A party where your guests can (and hopefully will) play with each other! It can be as simple as a backrub circle which turns into more intimate activity, or it can be one person who gets clothespins applied to them while others watch and contribute energy before going off into their own scenes, or indeed anything at all. The idea is to enjoy each other, to communicate and share the pleasure that touching and playing can bring. If there is a common interest in SM, that's convenient, as lots of things can be initiated with a simple pair of handcuffs or a whip that looks like it'd feel good; also, if the guests have played with SM, they will understand the need for negotiation, and they will know what it is to respect another's limits.

Some tips: Don't encourage alcohol; make it BYOB. This makes the party safer, and the drunker you get the less likely you are to really be able to fully negotiate and communicate. Minimize video and loud music; this causes people to interact with each other, which is the whole point, rather than sit back and stay out of the action. (Good party music can help set the mood, though.) Keep condoms, dental dams, latex gloves, lube (water-based!), betadine (if piercers or cutters are present), bleach (for cleaning toys), and paper towels handy; this makes people aware that they can easily play safely--a matter of life and death--as well as expressing the hosts' concern for the guests.

If possible, have several playspaces (i.e. rooms where people can recline and play with each other); this lets the exhibitionists exhibit, while the more private ones can be more private, and the heavy players can play heavily (serious whippings, candles, etc.) without freaking out the folks with lighter tastes. Have some knowledgeable people take turns as safety monitors; if anything's going on that looks unsafe or nonconsensual, give those people authority to take action. Establish a party safeword (a great one is "Safeword!"). In general, make your place into a safe space, a haven where people can unwind and enjoy each other to whatever extent they want to, without feeling pressured or uncomfortable.

Possibly the most helpful tip: if you can, try to get a group of people in your area together, and try to get activities planned between parties--lunches, group shopping trips to your local toy stores, movies, etcetera. It's hard to overcome the barriers to trusting someone enough to have sensual or sexual contact with them, especially in our pleasure-negative society; therefore, things may not get off to the rollicking start you could wish for at your first party. If there are a couple of exhibitionists to break the ice, though, it helps; and as people get to know each other better and get to be friends, it will increase the level of fun everyone will have!

I want to attend a play party; what is the etiquette?

The simplest way to fit in in a play party is to behave politely. There will be people right in front of you who are doing very sexual things. They are doing them for their pleasure, not for yours. Stay away from the action unless invited to participate-- and a glance in your direction does not constitute an invitation.

The people who really interfere with the energy of a party are the people who seemingly assume that just because the scene is taking place in a semi-public context means that comments from the audience are okay fine. They're NOT. The top in the scene is concentrating on the bottom's pleasure, and the bottom is almost certainly in a very private mental space. Neither the top nor the bottom will appreciate being yanked back to reality by a loud suggestion or greeting. If you want to compliment them on something, WAIT UNTIL THE SCENE IS OVER and they're circulating and being sociable again! Interfering with a scene in progress is inexcusably rude, and if I were dungeon-mastering I would throw you out of the party for doing it.

Once you understand that scenes are private even though they're taking place in public, the question then becomes, how can you watch without detracting from the energy of the scene?

There definitely are people who interfere just by watching. They've been dubbed "energy vampires" in the past. These people are watching the action as though it was a porno movie--as though the intense magic taking place in front of them was no more than a bad fuck flick where the actress is half asleep. They have no empathy, no sense of connection to what's going on; they might as well be in a movie theater.

If you have the ability to watch what is happening with an open heart, if you can pick up on the energy and send your own good wishes towards the participants in the scene, you will be much more valuable as a watcher. Public players never object to an enthusiastic audience which can appreciate the way they're playing! An audience which values the gift of being allowed to watch, and which contributes its goodwill towards the play, can be a delight; an audience which watches without giving and without connecting takes the life and spirit out of the scene. (And remember, a good audience does NOT make comments that the players can hear--an audience doesn't interfere with the performance!)

You can be a part of the magic without playing yourself. All it takes is an honest enjoyment of what's happening combined with politeness and tact.

If you do want to play, and there's someone you want to play with, you can ask--but be prepared to accept a "no, thanks" gracefully. If you are comfortable mingling and making small talk, you'll be more likely to find someone with compatible desires--after all, everyone else there has similar tastes! There often will be rooms for heavy play and rooms for hanging out and socializing; don't try to do one activity in the other activity's space.

(It helps if you dress sexily, even if you're not playing--the more leather and lace there is to look at, the better!)

What's the deal with this anonymity stuff?

There are many people who post to through the wizvax Anonymous Posting Service, and many others who post from pseudonymous accounts. The reasons are obvious; "kinky sex" in our society is stigmatized, and being openly interested in sexuality or alternate sexual practices can result in personal and professional consequences including losing one's job, losing one's friends, and if child custody is involved, losing one's children. Yes, in America today, you can lose custody of your child if it becomes known that you practice SM. (This is not merely anecdotal; people on the net have had these things happen to them.) Oral sex is a crime in some states! After reading this FAQ, it (hopefully) should be clear how twisted this situation is, when acts of love can be used as evidence of psychological damage.

This is why many choose to write and post anonymously. By using a pseudonym, they can say what they want to say, while remaining free of the nastiness that could ensue were their coworkers to discover their interests. Homosexuals know what it's like to be ostracized for their romantic and sexual preferences; SM devotees are, in some ways, in the same boat. It's a strange world, where love is perceived as evil, and beauty as ugliness....

Anonymous posters are not cowards. The consequences I have outlined are enough to make anyone question whether posting under their own name is worthwhile. Those who choose to do so are not necessarily so much courageous as lucky--lucky to be able to be out, to declare their lifestyles openly. (Note that pseudonyms are sometimes used in real- life situations, as well; there are many netters who go by their net names even at social functions.)

This means that it is rude to inquire as to someone's actual identity if they choose to use a pseudonym. It is also rude to tell others of their real name, if you somehow become privy to it, without first asking them; they have entrusted you with something that they don't want commonly known. DON'T OUT SOMEONE IF THEY DON'T WANT TO BE OUTED. You yourself may not need a; that doesn't mean you can take others' anonymity any less seriously than they themselves do. This goes for the net and for real life. If you meet someone at a party who you've known from the net, they'll probably still want to be known under their net name, and if you're writing about that party later, make sure you have their permission before describing them or scenes in which they participated (even if you use only their net name).

It is an open question whether the world would improve if everyone outed themselves. Some say that we need to get all kinky people out of the closet, so everyone'll realize how many of us there are (and there are many!). Others, myself included, believe that everyone should be free to choose how they want to live their life--including choosing to be anonymous.

Are SM people subjected to political or social harassment?

Like all alternate sexualities, SM is stigmatized in many ways by most of society. In extreme cases, SM players are prosecuted legally. or persecuted by people who would like to so prosecute them. This section of the FAQ describes some of these ongoing battles. (See question 22 for a brief mention of one recently-vanquished challenge.)

First, the most serious anti-SM action in years: the Spanner case. In Britain in 1992, sixteen men who had attended an SM party were convicted of assault, despite the fact that everything that happened at the party was fully consensual. The sentence was four to six years in prison.

The defendants appealed, and eventually reached the highest court in Britain, which issued a judgment rife with the worst and most inaccurate popular misconceptions about BDSM, ignoring everything that is now widely known about how it is safe and consensual. This judgment is a travesty of human rights, and flies blindly in the face of medical and psychological fact, in favor of prejudicial ignorance.

The men involved are now pushing to take the case to the European court of human rights. They need any and all assistance. An organization named Countdown on Spanner was formed to pursue the appeal as far as necessary. Countdown on Spanner can be reached via Snail Mail; C/O Central Station 37 Wharfdale Road London N1 Great Britain Please include a SAE. Or contact via e-mail:

Another situation demanding attention is the censorship being practiced by Canadian customs. Canada has no First Amendment, and Customs has been seizing gay and lesbian erotica, especially SM-related material, and preventing it from reaching bookstores in Canada. This arbitrary action has made it very difficult for many of these bookstores to survive. The Canadian government, via Customs, is silencing the voices of those who want to talk about their sexuality.

Little Sisters Bookstore in Vancouver is suing Customs, asserting that Customs should not have the right to seize books on suspicion of obscenity. If the case is won, obscenity will have to be determined by the courts, not by Customs. It is not at all certain that the case will be won; a recent Supreme Court decision in Canada used language from American anti-porn activist Catherine MacKinnon to define pornography as material that is "violent" or "degrading" to women. Such laws can be used to keep ANY SM-related material from ever being published--which is exactly the intent. MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin have repeatedly pushed for such legislation in the United States as well. The Canada case is thus very relevant for Americans into SM.

If you can contribute, please write to Little Sisters Defense Fund, 1221 Thurlow Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6E 1X4. The case will be expensive, and help is badly needed.

America has its share of official persecution of SM, though not so seriously as in the Spanner case. SM clubs are still associated by the media with unsafe sex, whether or not the club requires safe sex (as almost all do). Of course, the current ignorance of consensual SM in America leads to regular prosecution of people producing erotic material, whether videos, magazines, or pictures. Legal fees from obscenity proceedings brought by the government can put a small producer or publisher out of business before the case ever comes to trial. For example, movies involving bondage together with sex are essentially censored in this country, because of such government action. Self-righteous dictators such as the Rev. Donald Wildmon exploit untruths about SM to help them determine what may and may not be shown in the media.

Most of all, learn for yourself about the realities of SM, as opposed to the myths. And speak out against oppression born out of ignorance.

Why are there so many postings about {whipping/pain/slavery/gay sex/nonconsensuality/etc} on a.s.b? Doesn't that stuff belong somewhere else?

Every now and then, someone posts to a.s.b asking why there are so many postings about some topic that's not straightforward bondage. Wouldn't it be a good idea to split the group, so the {gays/heavy players/people into whipping} could go off and be by themselves? Wasn't created for the purpose of discussing bondage?

The answers are no and no. a.s.b was created in response to a joke that turned serious. The group has no explicit charter, and no set of guidelines as to what is and is not appropriate.

What a.s.b has evolved into (and actually has always been) is, as the intro to this FAQ states, a group for discussing "ways to have sex that are outside the mainstream". This is an awfully wide descrip- tion. There is room underneath it for discussing everything from "how do I tie someone up?" to "how can I play with razors safely?" to "what's it like to love someone of your sex?"

The inevitable consequence of this is that people sometimes get exposed to material that squicks them. That's life in the big net. There is no guarantee that everything on a.s.b will suit your personal interests. The general rule of the net applies here in spades: if you don't like it, hit "n" and ignore it. It's guaranteed that there are many many out there who do like it. Remember, limits are relative; many of the "heavy players" you read about started as novices them- selves, and the person who just described their intense whipping scene may be unable to handle even the lightest tickling... food for thought!

I just finished reading a few stories about nonconsensual rape and sadistic murder that were posted netwide. I personally disliked those stories. Do I think they're appropriate for a.s.b? Not really. Can I stop them from being posted? Nope. Can I ignore them? Hell yes. Remember, a story is a fantasy that someone bothered to write down... and fantasies can't hurt anybody--if you don't like it, ignore it! That is certainly more productive than flaming the person who wrote it.

Can the ferment of different topics and views on a.s.b degenerate into chaos? Yes, and it sometimes does. But more frequently, the mixing of interests and ideas generates a really wonderful dialogue out of which new knowledge and fantasy is born. Novices pipe up with questions that spark an insightful reply by an old-timer. Old-timers post about some experience that gets lurkers' juices flowing everywhere. Someone who knows a lot about one kind of play tries something new and posts about it. And the words flow on and on.

a.s.b works, like no other group I know of on the net. So don't be too hasty with that "n" key... you might learn something!

I'm sick of certain topics on a.s.b. How can I avoid them?

a.s.b, like all Usenet groups, has its share of flame wars. Many of them revolve around questions of whether particular BDSM activities are healthy or not (the usual answer: "They're risky, but it's possible to do them safely and beneficially, and many people do"), or whether is a heterosexist group or not (I'm not gonna tackle that one here, yet). One common feature of all, though, is that some people get burned out on reading all the hundreds of articles in the thread.

The solution? Most newsreading programs support a tool called a "kill file", which is a list of subjects and/or authors that you are NOT interested in and never want to look at. Different newsreaders have different ways of using killfiles. I use rn, so my example will refer to it. (If you use a different program, see the documentation for that program.

To add a particular subject (say, "FAQ List") to your killfile in rn, go to When you are reading the group, type ^K (control-K). This will put you into an editor which is editing your killfile for Type the following:

/FAQ List/h:j

then exit your editor. What that line says is "junk any articles which contain the text `FAQ List' in the header." Replace "FAQ List" with the subject you dislike or the user ID of the person you no longer wish to read, and presto, your blood pressure will be much happier.

I've been told the following about the "gnus" newsreader: "In gnus, from the subject buffer, on an article from the person you wish to kill: type meta-k [gnus-Subject-edit-local-kill], C-c C-k C-a [gnus-Kill-file-kill-by-author], C-c C-a [gnus-Kill-file-apply- buffer], C-c C-c [gnus-Kill-file-exit]." "C-a" stands for "control-A", and "meta-k" stands for "escape-K." The text in brackets isn't stuff you should type; it's just explanation of what each set of keystrokes means.

If you use nn, track down a post written by the victim to be killfiled, and just hit 'K' (capital-K). Follow the somewhat cryptic prompts, and respond according to your needs. For example:

    nn gives you                              you respond
    ------------                              -----------

   AUTO (k)ill or (s)elect [...]                   k
   AUTO KILL on (s)ubject or (n)ame [...]          n
   KILL Name: (=/)                                 /
   KILL Name (regexp):                             FAQ List
   KILL in (g)roup '' or
          in (a)ll groups                          a
   Lifetime of entry in days (p)ermanent [...]     p  [or 21915 to 25568]
   CONFIRM KILL Name perm regexp: FAQ List         y
If you use tin, you can either hand-edit .tin/kill (instructions should be given in that file), or you can hit control-K while reading any article. This will toss a nice menu on the screen. Just follow the prompts. For example:

    tin gives you                       you respond
    -------------                       -----------
    Kill type: Kill                     [return/enter]
    Kill text pattern:                  FAQ List [return/enter]
    Apply pattern to:                   [spacebar until "Subject: & From: 
                                               lines" appears, then hit
    Kill Subject [...]: No              [return/enter]
    Kill From [...]: No                 [return/enter]
    Kill pattern scope:                 [spacebar until appropriate
                                               choice appears, then
                                               hit return]

Two pieces of jargon related to kill files: Sometimes you will see someone responding to something egregiously stupid (in the responder's opinion) said by someone else. The response may look like, "Ho, hum. " What is plonk? Plonk is the sound of someone being dropped into a kill file; the respondent is announcing that they are permanently killfiling the original poster. Other times, a poster may be annoying lots and lots of people on a.s.b, and someone will post something like "Everyone PISS on this guy!" PISS stands for Passive Intentional Silence Strike, and basically means that everyone should just ignore the poster, rather than arguing and/or flaming. The idea is that if the person can't get a rise out of anyone, they will get bored and leave. It very often works, too... or at least it reduces the wasted bandwidth.

I don't have access to; what can I do to get information about the scene?

A question I've been getting more and more often as my FAQ spreads outwards into the world is, "I can't read, but the stuff you talk about in your FAQ sounds really interesting. Are there any ways for me to access, or do you know of any SM groups or BBS'es near me?"

First off: unless you have access to a system which gets USENET news, and in particular, there is no way for you to read There are no mailing-list gateways or FTP archives of There may be public-access net sites in your area which you could use to access a.s.b.

Second: I don't track very many local SM organizations, beyond the ones I mention at the end of this FAQ. So please don't ask me for information beyond what's contained here.

However: There is a way you can get answers to your questions! If you have email access to the Internet, you can use an "anonymous posting service". A posting service is a program running on some Internet-connected computer. You can send email to the service, and it will remove your userid from the email, append a newly-generated anonymous userid, and post your email to! Anyone can send you mail in response, and the service will forward it to you. So if you have questions about SM resources in your area, use an anonymous posting service to send your question to a.s.b (for example, "I can't read, but I'd like to know whether there are any SM groups in Vancouver. Please reply by email"). You will definitely get more responses than you would any other way.

(Of course, if you can read a.s.b but don't want to post under your real name, you can use a posting service for that; that's what they're mainly for.)

Anonymous posting services come and go, but here is the big one (as of September 1994): "" "???WIZVAX???". Send mail to this address for more information. You can apparently post articles non-anonymously by sending them via email to or (or just about any other group for that least the ones that are common/current).

What are some books/magazines/organizations/stores/news archives where I can get SM information or toys, or meet people in the scene?

First off, I don't have the time to track electronic resources-- archive servers, FTP sites, etc.--since they come and go on an almost daily basis. If you want to reach any archive servers or suchlike, you'll need to post to a.s.b (anonymously, if you wish) to ask where they are this week.

That said, read on to find out where you can get SM stuff or learn SM tricks or meet SM people!

This list is (permanently and congenitally) incomplete and needs all the entries it can find--address corrections especially appreciated.

Other groups that are in some ways related to a.s.b are spanking (for folks who are into that in particular), fashion (for lovers of sexy clothes), (often there are SM-related stories posted there), and so forth.

Nonfiction books:

If you liked this FAQ, you will very likely enjoy these books. These describe consensual SM as I have been using the term in this FAQ, and are all excellent resources for learning.

Pat Califia, Sensuous Magic (New York, Masquerade Books, 1993). ISBN 1-56333-131-4, softcover. Pat Califia is a legendary writer about SM behavior and SM fantasy. This is her latest book and I recommend it unhesitatingly. It is in my opinion hands-down the best how-to book about SM, combining fictional vignettes with sincere, quality information delivered as effectively as possible. If you are into SM, you will learn from this book; and if you liked this FAQ but want more details, this is THE BOOK for you. Order it from Good Vibrations (see the store list below).

Different Loving, by Gloria G. Brame, William D. Brame, and Jon Jacobs (Villard Books, New York, 1993, ISBN 0-679-40873-8), is a thorough, non-judgmental work describing all aspects of SM sexuality. There are hundreds of interviews and lots and lots of accurate information. If you ever wondered whether there was anyone out there as kinky as you, buy this book, and know you're not alone. It's a survey, not a how-to, but there's lots of safety information in it anyway. 539 pages! The more of it I read, the more impressed I've become.

A brief and excellent introduction to safe SM is The Lesbian S/M Safety Guide, edited by Pat Califia and published by Lace Publications (an imprint of Alyson Publications). There is information in here on everything from physical safety to emotional issues to negotiating with bottoms to consensual slave contracts. It's written about lesbians, but very little of the information is actually gender-specific. Excellent.

Larry Townsend's The Leatherman's Handbook II. This is fairly widely available, and is by all accounts the best resource for gay male SM information. I personally have never read it, but it's widely known. (The first edition is still available, but II contains more information about AIDS and safer sex, so it's probably what you want.)

On the Safe Edge: A Manual For SM Play, by Trevor Jacques, with Dr. Dale, Michael Hamilton, and Sniffer. ISBN: 1-895857-05-8 (pbk.) This new book comes recommended by many reputable and knowledgeable people in the scene. It's a how-to with lots and lots of safety information. To order directly, call WholeSM Publishing (SAN S1196111) at: (416) 962 1040 (after October 17th.) or you can reach the authors at

Coming to Power, by SAMOIS, published by Alyson Press. This is a book about lesbian SM, written by a former Bay Area women's collective. It has a huge spectrum of pieces from hot fantasy to personal history to political pronouncement. Very worthwhile for all who are interested in SM, lesbian or otherwise.

Mark Thompson (editor), Leatherfolk, Alyson Press. An EXCELLENT anthology about the SM scene in America, from the 1930s through the present. Focuses mainly on the gay and lesbian SM communities, but contains much worthwhile material for anyone interested in any aspects of SM.

Learning the Ropes: A Basic Guide to Safe and Fun S/M Lovemaking, by Race Bannon, Daedalus Publishing Co., 4470-107 Sunset Blvd., Suite 375, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Available by mail from the publisher @ $12.95 + $2.50 s/h (CA residents add 8.25% sales tax). Race is a well- known figure in the SM scene, and by all accounts this book is quite comprehensive, describing all aspects of safe SM from the physical to the spiritual. If you liked this FAQ, I'd guess you'd like this book.

SM 101, published by Jay Wiseman, PO Box 1261, Berkeley, CA 94701. $19.95 will get you this book, which is one of the most thorough and in-depth explorations of SM safety and SM practice I have had the pleasure to read. I would consider this book very valuable for anyone who is wondering "how do I get started?"--Jay has many relatively specific examples and tips on how to make your scenes delightful and memorable. He's an opinionated guy, but then aren't we all?

Jack Morin, Anal Pleasure and Health, Down There Press, Burlingame, CA. This book has the complete lowdown on all aspects of anal sex-- safety, hygiene, emotional issues, you name it. Extremely valuable information, well presented.

Robert J. Stoller, Pain and passion: a psychoanalyst explores the world of S&M, 1991, New York et al.: Plenum, X, 306 pp. ISBN 0-306-43770-8. I've heard that this book does an excellent job of revisiting (and refuting) the common Freudian biases against SM, in spite of several far-from-objective judgmental sections.

Two other psychoanalytic books dealing with SM (neither of which I've read) are Dark Eros by Thomas Moore and Masochism by Lyn Cowan.

Sadomasochism in Everday Life: The Dynamics of Power and Powerlessness, Lynn S. Chancer, 1992, publisher momentarily unknown (but soon to be added), ISBN 0-8135-1808-3. Chancer's book takes a long, hard look at the many social contexts in which one group exercises power abusively over another. It's a fascinating perspective from which to analyze racism, sexism, etc., and there is a fair amount of material about BDSM in the sense it's been described in this FAQ.

Ties that Bind: The SM/Leather/Fetish Erotic Style by Guy Baldwin, M.S. I'm lacking complete bibliographic information for this book, which is too bad, as it's a standout. Baldwin is a therapist who sees many people in the SM community. He has a unique healer's perspective on many of the emotional and psychological issues that arise for people in the scene. If you are doing a lot of thinking about whether SM is right for you, or if you're working on your SM with your partner and you want another point of view, do yourself a COLOSSAL favor and buy this book. (You can order it from Mr. S Leathers, or from QSM.)

The Sexually Dominant Woman, A Workbook for Nervous Beginners, by Lady Green. (Lady Green's book is supposed to be very good for those who barely know where to begin.)

Fiction books:

Not all of the scenarios in these books are what I would call consensual SM, but as stated earlier, fantasies are not reality, and neither are erotic stories. Don't take these books as seriously as you would the ones above. Hopefully everyone is now thinking, "Well, duh! Obviously!"

Anne Rice has written a number of books with SM themes. As A. N. Roquelaure, she released the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment, and Beauty's Release, in which the hero and heroine are subjected to all kinds of wonderfully sensual torments. Something for just about everyone. Also widely available is Exit to Eden, under the name Ann Rampling; the first part of the book is the most SM-y.

Anything written by Pat Califia (Macho Sluts, Doc and Fluff, Sapphistry, and her new book Melting Point). Alyson Publications (40 Plympton St., Boston, MA 02118, (800) 8-ALYSON) publishes her stuff. She's very well known in the scene and she is a hot (as in boiling-glowing-volcanic-nuclear-SUPERHOT) writer. Be warned, though; Doc and Fluff in particular is not for the faint of heart! If what you want is SM erotica, Macho Sluts or Melting Point are the ticket.

Leatherwomen, edited by Laura Antoniou, Rosebud Press, ISBN 1-563-33095-4. $4.95 at most book stores or direct order from (800)458-9640. This new paperback is an anthology of S/M fiction by women. It's very very hot stuff! Some of the fiction in this book rivals Pat Califia's work, which is high praise indeed. Get it.

The Slave, Sara Adamson, Rhinoceros Press, 1994, ISBN 1-56333-173-X. A surprisingly straightforward look at a woman's search for--and discovery of--a dream life of servitude. I enjoyed it greatly, and not only was it hot, it made me think. Recommended. Her earlier book in the trilogy, The Marketplace, is also excellent.

Some guest recommendations:

"Masochism (New York: Zone Books, 1991). This book consists of a translation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs, prefaced by a long essay, 'Coldness and Cruelty,' by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. To quote the dust jacket: 'Deleuze's stunning essay is an attempt to restore to Masoch's work the rigorous and informed philosophical examination that is due it.'.... I think Deleuze shows that Masoch has a lot more to say to the BDSM community than Sade does."

"Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality (Carol Vance, ed.) The Scholar and Feminist Conference at Barnard in 1982 was almost ripped apart when politically correct feminists tried to suppress feminists who wanted the freedom to enjoy power exchange. This is a collection of papers and talks from this watershed of the Woman's Movement.

"S&M: Studies in Sadomasochism (Thomas Weinberg and G.W. Kamel, eds) This is a collection of essays on the nature, origin and development of what they call sadomasochism. Some are decent; some have points of interest; a number are so far off the mark as to be laughable.

"A Taste for Pain: On Masochism and Female Sexuality (Maria Marcus) The author, a self-admitted masochist, explores the existing literature on sadomasochism from a very personal, insightful point of view."

Three sources for people who are into spanking in particular:

CF Publications, PO Box 713, E Setauket, NY 11733. Newsletters, stories, fiction.

CD Publishing Corp., 213 Valley St, Ste 228, South Orange, NJ 07079 Information, newsletters, personal ads.

Shadow Lane, PO Box 1910, Studio City, CA One of the best, with lots of materials, videos, et al.


Safe, Sane, Consensual SM is a documentary consisting of interviews with 20 experienced SM players, discussing their experiences and viewpoints. I know several of the people interviewed, and what they have to say is very worth hearing. $49.95 + $5 S&H; California residents add applicable sales tax. You must state that you are over 21. B&D Video Production and Distribution Company, 2215-R Market Street #214, San Francisco, CA 94114, (415) 863-0199 (call for quantity discounts).

Jay Edwards Collection/Close-Up Productions/John Floyd Productions, P.O. Box 691658, Los Angeles, CA 90069. These companies release various heterosexual bondage videos, mostly with women as the bottoms. Very popular.

Learning the Ropes, Ona Zee Productions, P.O. Box 9951, Marina Del Rey, CA 90295. Ona and her husband Frank have put together seven (going on eight) instructional videos about BDSM, on topics from bondage to dildoes to whips and hot wax. I've heard they're very worth getting.

Act quick and get in on this: "We (Corporation for Multicultural Arts and Entertainment Broadcasting, a new non profit orginization) are currently producing a television program called Alien Death Squad. It features bondage/fetish gear from around the world, bondage/fetish mags i.e <<O>>, Skin Two ect.., Bondage fetish clubs from around the world, Anime, Live Action, Computer animations and demo's, music video's, and other cyberculture items. If you have any video footage , magazines, periodicals, news, or info we would like to see it and possibly air it. Also if you would like to join the Alien Death Squad send us email to to keep up to date on the TV show, plus other special offers. Video formats we accept are 3/4 inch, VHS, SVHS. Printed material will be scanned and put into computer slide show."


Sandmutopia Guardian, by Desmodus, Inc., P. O. Box 410390, San Francisco, CA 94141-0390, (415) 252-1195. $24 for six issues (US/Canada). A very good how-to magazine, focusing on the basics of SM play (lots of reader articles and B&W pictures), with lots of listings of clubs around the US. The magazine was having trouble for a while, but a new editor (Pat Califia) is once again making it into a factual, detailed reference magazine like no other. Get all the back issues you possibly can.

Skin Two, Freepost, 23 Grand Union Centre, Kensal Rd, London W10 5BR. A VERY classy magazine, all glossy with excellent articles and photos, with lots of emphasis on latex but good material for anyone into SM, as well as a HUGE section of magazine, book, and store listings in the back of every issue. They take credit card orders at 081 968 9692. Highly recommended.

Brat Attack, P.O. Box 40754, San Francisco, ,CA 94140-0754. A magazine by SM dykes, and mostly for SM dykes, though the writing is smart and funny no matter what your crotch looks like. Subs are 10 bucks/3 issues. Fish, the founder, was looking to sell it, last I heard.

Body Play and Modern Primitives Quarterly, Insight Books, P.O. Box 2575, Menlo Park, CA 94026-2575. This magazine, published and edited by the celebrated Fakir Musafar, has monthly articles on subjects from corseting and wasit training to tattoos, piercings, and intense SM practices. Very well produced. Subs are $45/4 issues. [May be defunct.]

Frighten the Horses, Heat Seeking Publishing, 41 Sutter St. #1108, San Francisco, CA 94104. FtH has only gotten bigger and more inter- esting with every issue; each has a good balance of non-fiction (quite often actively political) pieces, sexy fiction for ALL kinds of tastes, and news and reviews of the sexual revolution. Subs are $16/4 issues. Unfortunately spotty publication record recently.

Bad Attitude, P.O. Box 39110, Cambridge, MA 02139. Bigger than Brat Attack, and mostly fiction, again by SM dykes. Some very strong and gripping stuff. $24/6 issues.

<<O>>, c/o Dream Dresser, Inc., 1042 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20007. <<O>> is for those who love latex. Some of the most beautiful fetish photography I've ever seen. Subs are $150 for six (legal-size, full-color glossy, 80-page) issues.

Venus Infers, 2215-R Market Street, Suite 294, San Francisco, CA 94114. $8/issue. This is a new, smart, hot S/M magazine by lesbians for (mostly) lesbians. It's got art, it's got writing, it's got good design. It's got what it takes. Recommended.


First of all, people who read a.s.b or other SM mailing lists often form social groups in local areas. Sometimes these groups have meetings which are open to anyone who wants to swing by. The best way to find out about these is to post to a.s.b (see question 31 if need be) and ask whether there's one in your area.

Science fiction cons also often have play parties, which are usually announced on the net beforehand, and sometimes discreetly advertised at the con. This is another reasonable way to meet people in the scene.

There are various regional organizations which continually fluc- tuate. Look in the back of the _Sandmutopia Guardian_ or _Skin Two_; they generally include a list in every issue. And look up your local adult toy store or leather store; they may have leads on any SM groups near you. Look around--there are lots of people out there who like this stuff! Here are some of the best-known and most-established SM organizations:

QSM, PO Box 882242, SF CA 94188. QSM is the best organization in the world for learning about SM. QSM holds many different classes and workshops on all aspects of SM. Write to them to get on their mailing list or to preregister for classes--they also have an extensive list of books and magazines available by mail order (all the books and magazines listed above, and then some!).

The Southbay Leather and Uniform Group (SLUG) is an omnisexual club whose purpose is to promote educational, social, and charitable activities among people with an interest in Levis, leather, and uniforms--and all that usually goes with them! The address is SLUG, Billy De Frank Center, 175 Stockton Avenue, San Jose, CA 95126, (408) 929-SLUG.

The Eulenspiegel Society, PO Box 2783, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-2783, 212-388-7022. A long-running club for SMers on the right coast. Well known. They put out a quarterly 64-page newsletter, as well as another magazine for leatherfolk of color. Weekly meetings.

The Society of Janus, PO Box 426794, San Francisco, CA 94142. Organization in the SF Bay Area, open to all genders and persuasions. Janus is a very safe organization for novices to join. They are aware of anonymity issues, and hold a variety of workshops and social events, as well as publish a monthly newsletter.

Threshold, 2554 Lincoln Blvd, Suite 381, Marina Del Rey, CA 90291, (310) 371-6504. This LA-area group is the best-known pansexual SM organization in Southern California, and holds a variety of events from educational to social to political.

C-Space Educational Forum, PO Box 28021, Seattle WA 98118, (206) 292-8764 (New number. Please note!) Where the C stands for Consensual. Probably the best resource to start learning about SM in the Puget Sound area. Pansexual and very helpful. I encourage you to use this resource if you're looking for the S/M community of Seattle.

BackDrop Club,PO Box 390486, Mountain View, CA 94039-0486. Office: 415-965-4499, BBS: 415-964-3100, FAX: 415-964-3879. A 4,000-member club, with their own large clubhouse, BBS, and reference library. They say they are open to people of all sexes and sexualities who share an interest in SM; play parties, social events, support and discussion all take place through BackDrop.

The Black Rose, in the Washington DC area. (301) 369-7667 (voicemail number with address information). A pansexual SM support group with meetings every Tuesday night. They hold a social event once a month, open to those who've attended at least two weekly meetings. There are also subgroups (one is women-only).

Chicagoland Discussion Group, 3023 N. Clark St #806, Chicago, IL 60657-5205, 24-hour info-line 312-281-1097. A pansexual SM/fetish group, with events, a newsletter, parties, and outreach. A wide variety of interests are represented.

LUXURIA, PO BOX 53063, Ottawa, ON, K1N 1C5; (613)567-9033. A pan-sexual-orientation & kink group whose main focus is networking and info exchange. There's a magazine, phone line, and BBS echo dedicated to it.

APEX, the Arizona Power Exchange, 5821 North 67th Avenue, Suite 103-276, Glendale, Arizona 85301. We are a pansexual, panfetish support and social group, for people with dominant/submissive desires, treating the S/M, B&D and fetish experience with acceptance, respect and dignity. For meeting locations, please call (602) 906-0851.

The National Leather Association, 584 Castro Street #444, San Fran- cisco, CA 94114-2500, (415) 863-2444. A nationwide group open to everyone into leather/SM. The NLA has many local chapters; there's probably one in your area! They hold social events, support groups, political rallies, and lots more besides. If you want to meet other like-minded people, the NLA's a fine place to start.

San Francisco Sex Information, (415) 621-7300. SFSI is a volunteer information and referral service for all aspects of human sexuality-- SM included! If you have a question about some scene you've done or are considering doing, and you want to talk to someone who can answer your questions anonymously and nonjudgmentally, give us a call! (I'm a volunteer, and it's really great!) In fact, if you have a question about ANY aspect of human sexuality, we can help. The lines are open 3 to 9 p.m. Pacific time, Monday through Friday, and from 3 to 9 most Sundays as well.

Atlanta S/M Solidarity, P.O. Box 8361, Atlanta, GA 31106. A Georgia group of SM enthusiasts, with workshops, socials, etc.

The D&S Society of Baltimore,, P.O. Box 20248, Towson, MD 21284-0248. Information line (410) 385-3331. A Pansexual BDSM support group with events and meetings the first 2 Friday's of the month and a members only Social on the 3rd Friday of the month; also a newsletter.

Mail-order houses:

Most of these places require you to state that you're 21 or over when ordering. (This list in particular could use all the expansion it can get, since I know little about toy stores outside the SF Bay Area. Send me your favorite local shops' addresses, and I'll put 'em in here!)

As I mentioned above, QSM does mail-order of books and magazines.

Good Vibrations, 1210 Valencia, San Francisco, CA 94110, (800) BUY-VIBE (289-9423), (yes, they are on the Internet!). An excellent non-sleazy erotica store, woman-owned, with lots of good books and magazines about sex and a nice selection of basic sex toys. If you want to order any of the books in this FAQ, you could likely get them from here--and if not from here, from QSM. Not an SM store, but a good one nonetheless. Send them $5 for first-class-mailed catalogs of their books and toys.

Mr. S Leathers, 310 7th St., San Francisco, CA 94103, (415) 863-7764. Possibly the best-stocked store for SM equipment in the world. Lots and lots of really well-made bondage gear, including metal shackles and leather straightjackets, and a HUGE handcuff selection, not to mention amazing amounts of leather and rubber clothing. They have just completed a two-volume 160-page gorgeously-photographed catalog of all of their wares; it's available for $15.

Leather Masters, 969 Park Avenue, San Jose, CA 95126, (408) 293-7660. Leather Masters is a toy store featuring custom leather, cleaning and alterations, novelties and cards, body piercing, B&D equipment, videos, and latex. Mail order catalog and newsletter are available.

Northbound Leather, 19 St. Nicholas St., Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1W5. +1 416 972-1037. This is an up-and-coming leather store with an excellent reputation for quality and for unusual latex and leather good. Two *very* nice catalogues (one clothing, one toys) at $10 each, applicable towards purchase. Fit guaranteed for mail order if their (very detailed) measurement instructions are followed.

Slimwear of America, P.O. Box 997, Eastsound, WA 98245, (206)376-5213 (machine), (206)376-5231 (fax). A widely-known supplier of rubber- wear and assorted latexery. Clothes catalog $17.50, hood/gag listing $6.00, both $22.00 postpaid.

Heartwood Whips of Passion, 412 N. Coast Hwy. #210, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. Some of the best leather whips and floggers to be found, anywhere. Jeanne's whips are works of art, whether they're being used or not.

Bondage, James Bondage, Inc. 7926 Woodvale Cir., Tampa, FL 33615, (813) 443-3658. Purveyors of assorted bondage gear, videos, and magazines, I believe.

JT Toys, Inc., (800) 755-TOYS, JT (Joel Tucker by name) has an excellent selection of quality SM equipment and prices lower than any. Plus he's a great guy to do business with.

Cecilia Tan, a long-time presence on a.s.b, now has a business: Circlet Press Mail Order Books, P.O. Box 15143, Boston, MA 02215. She says they carry all manner of kinky and erotic fiction and nonfiction, specializing in leather/fetishes/SM. A catalog is free with a 29-cent SASE or by email (she's

Constance Enterprises Ltd., PO Box 43079, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043. Also Dressing for Pleasure, 590 Valley Road, Upper Montclair, NJ, (201) 746-5466. An upscale business, selling fashions and toys for people into BDSM.

Il Bolero, 6846-6842 St-Hubert St., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2S 2M6, (514) 270-6065. Don't know much about this store except that it's got a lot of Northbound Leather's stuff.

Bon-Vue Enterprise, Inc., owned and operated by Bill and Debbie Majors (who sometimes post to a.s.b), produces B&D videos, magazines, comics, art portfolios, pocket books, and other products; most of their stuff is male dom/female sub. They also operate the Hedonism BBS at (310) 631-7697. A catalog is $5.00 and can be obtained from: Bon-Vue Enterprises, Inc., P.O. Box 92889, Long Beach, CA 90803. They offer a total satisfaction guarantee policy that is "unique in the adult industry". Phone: (310) 631-1600.

BR Creations in Mountain View makes custom-made corsets--P.O. Box 4201, Mountain View, CA 94040, catalog $5. Excellent quality.

Mark I. Chester makes spandex body bags and hoods; he's at P. O. Box |42501, SF, CA 94101, (415) 621-6294.

For a sharp touch, get some Vampire Gloves from Leonard at Lucifer's Armory. Contact, Box 808, 874 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.

ASLAN LEATHER by Carrie, 363 Sorauren Ave. Box 58, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6R 2G5, (416) 538-9759. Carrie makes non-leather bondage equipment, for vegans who eschew animal products in their toys. (She also makes leather stuff for the rest of us.)

I'm told that you can call (800) 305-5525 for a catalog of modern chastity belts.

The classic magazines of "love bondage" (i.e. pretty women posing in lingerie and bondage) are available from Harmony Concepts, Box 69976, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

A wide variety of sexy spandex bondage gear is available from Noelle Nielson Softwear, Box 69826, Los Angeles, CA 90069. Write for information.

Here's a rather hot ad I recently received: "JG Leathers is a manufacturer of custom, specialized, leather and rubber discipline harnesses. Types include pony- girl or pony-boy full-body harnesses, with separate bridle and bit, cow-girl or cow-boy milking discipline harnesses. All harnesses designed and manufactured to be suspension- capable, and when used in conjunction with speciallY modified gas masks can also be used for sensory-deprivation, breathe control, and electrical 'aversion therapy' techniques. Standard toys are also made to the customer's specifications. Catalogue costs $5.00 usd/$6.50 cad. The address is JG Leathers, 5324 10A Avenue, Delta, B.C., Canada V4M 1Y6."

The Naughty Victorian (2315-B Forest Drive, Suite 68, Annapolis, MD 21401; Tel.: 1-800-778-7428; Fax: 410-626-1879). Offering "the finest body of literature, clothing, implements and accessories" for "the practice of adult domestic discipline." Catalog available for $5.

For those who enjoy making their own toys, I'm told that a great source for leather hides and tools is the M. Siegel Company, Inc., 120 Pond Street (Route 126), Ashland, MA 01721. Phone (508)881-5200, fax (508)881-5203, orders only (800)932-8956. They keep odd hours and have certain minimum-order sizes, so call first.

(If you're in San Francisco, stop by Stormy Leather, 1158 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94103, (415) 626-1672. A woman-owned store with an excellent selection of sexy leather and latex clothes, good basic bondage gear, and a wonderful magazine and book section. They cater to both men and women, so they'll have toys to fit you; they also do custom orders. They have unfortunately stopped doing mail orders.)

Hope you learned something! Remember, your sexuality is wonderful; treasure it and nourish it! (And see parts 1 and 2 if you haven't already!)

Contents copyright (c) 1994 by Rob Jellinghaus. Redistribution of this FAQ from to any BBS or other electronic forum, or to the newsletter or membership of any BDSM organization, requires permission of the author. Copies for individual use are OK. (This clause is mainly so I can keep some track of where my words are going, rather than because I like to litigate. Thanks for spreading the knowledge.)

Rob Jellinghaus

Converted into HTML format by E. Lloyd Olson, Esq.