If you've been around the BDSM and D/s scene at all there is one of many books that always comes up in conversation as a good book to read when you are new to the whole lifestyle. This book is Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism by Philip Miller and Molly Devon. It comes as recommended reading for anyone curious about BDSM and wants a primer for what SM is all about. This was the first book I purchased when I as first learning and is still the go to guide for helping me explain to novices certain aspects of safety and loving play that I may not have the right words for.

This book is written in the male Dominant/female submissive interactions, but it's easily translatable into valuable advice for any relationship configuration.  "Screw the Roses enthusiastically covers all the basics and even some of the not-so-basics--bondage, negotiation, sex, endorphins, dominance and submission, toys, safety, S/M community, and beyond." --Cheryl Trooskin

The first few chapters are dedicated to introducing the basics, safety and recognizing abuse in BDSM relationships. The information is provided in a clear and concise manner that even the most novice of users can understand and get on board with. The book ascribes to Safe, Sane and Conensual form of safety which I also recommend for new explorers into BDSM. It's a great help for further into the book that these terms are defined so that understanding comes easier.

Once the basics are down the Philip and Molly take you into relationships. How to find a partner, exploring the roles and basic etiquette are the bulk of these chapters. I love that etiquette is covered as so many seem to forget their manners once they enter into a kinky relationship. Lewd is rude, no matter the situation. You can pick up information on negotiation and setting limits. There is also an interesting chart for the different roles.

The bulk of the book is dedicated to teaching safe basic technique. You can pick up information on bondage and other forms of play with detailed explanations. There is also a few chapters on flogging and impact play for those looking to dive right into the fun stuff. This area is not only good for the novice, but an experienced player could pick up a few tips and tricks. This is definitely a book that should be in every BDSM library.

Near the end, the authors cover endorphins and subpace as well as the psychological effects of play.Mindfucks, forced exhibitionism, verbal abuse, and public play are not for everyone and play that involves a person's mind and emotions can be dangerous and should be explored slowly and consensually.

No primer would be complete without a glimpse into the dungeon equipment and tools that are used during a kinky encounter. There is also an appendix to stores, support groups, and communities that can help the newcomer step out into the world. The photos are a nice touch and help to display what Philip and Molly are talking about throughout the book.  It has an excellent table of contents to find things quickly and a useful appendix for things to help anyone get started.

All in all, there is no wonder why so many people recommend this book as one of the first books for someone just starting out in BDSM. It has everything you could wish for in a complete overview of BDSM book.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Mystic Rose Books; 1st Ed edition (July 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964596008
  • luna's Rating: 9/10

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