When I was approached about this book and asked if I wanted to do a review, I was hesitant because my experience with other submissive workbooks has been hit and miss. But, I hate to make snap judgements so I accepted and wanted to give it a good chance. I’m pleasantly surprised and I wanted to share with you what I thought about The Big Workbook for Submissives by Rebecca E. Blanton. This book was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
The book is broken into a series of chapters that could be placed under 4 topics. You’ll first cover the preconceptions of what ideal submission is and what it might look like, then move into building a foundation of what you are looking to achieve as a submissive. The third topic is on activities and BDSM, service and sexual play. The final topic is about your partner, the Dominant. All in all it’s a nice progression of ideas and there’s decent coverage of each topic to make the reader not feel like something is incomplete. Every topic has a bit of writing or a few essays and an activity or set of questions to help guide the reader through the topic.
The first few chapters walk the reader through developing an ideal submissive and while that’s not always a good way to go since ideals are often not attainable or unrealistic, I can hope that the reader uses it in a way to help them build their own vision of submission that they can pull from. Each time I went through the workbook I had a different feeling in these chapters, from positive inspiration to hesitant misrepresentation of what submission is “in the real world.” Your mileage will vary! The author does touch in this fact within the book, so if you intend to fill out those chapters, keep an open mind on what is fantasy and what is reality.
In the next section of the book, you’ll move in to tell your story of submission, from how it manifested, what your first forays into it looked like and where you stand on things like submission as a gift and service. It’s a decent look at who you are now, before you want to push yourself further and deepen your bond with submission.
What follows is discussion on limits, boundaries and play activities. It’s true that a lot of submission focuses on the physical acts so make sure you go through this section carefully if BDSM is a part of your submissive preferences. If BDSM is not something that interests you and you are using this workbook for the relationship power dynamics only, focus on those chapters and you’ll still gain some insights!
Rebecca spends a lot of time talking about sub space, so if you’ve wanted an in-depth focus on sub space, getting this book would be a great starting point!
The final section is about Dominants, specifically what you want in your Dominant, from the idealized version to setting realistic expectations. It has an essay on abuse in BDSM relationships and a fun and interesting little partner quiz so you can learn more about your partner and deepen your relationship.
What I Liked
There are a lot of questions that are quite helpful for finding your way in submission, with whatever direction your submission takes. I really like how open ended most of them are to help with journaling and self reflection. This, I think is the strong suit for the entire workbook. If you enjoy journal prompts or questions that require you to delve deep into yourself, this book has what you need to do just that.
I enjoyed the broad range of topics covered in the workbook, too. This book isn’t just for service submissives, or people who are submissive during play only. No matter what type of submissive you identify as you can find value in the activities and thought-provoking questions.
What Could Be Improved
The essays included are a nice addition, but they weigh heavily on the author’s personal opinions such as submission as a gift and service submission which are usually highly opinionated discussions and yet the author doesn’t do a great job showing the many sides so that people can make up their own minds where they stand in these topics. I feel a workbook should be non-sided and leave it open to the reader to make the
A lot of the questions in the activities make assumptions that the reader already knows a bit about submission even though the first topic is about building up what someone might believe a submissive is. Questions on knowing when BDSM has crossed into abuse, figuring out the difference between pushing boundaries or breaking trust and even what is and isn’t service are all very common questions I get from novice submissives. I feel the workbook should have provided a bit of definition and expansion before asking the reader to reflect on these things.
And that’s always a catch-22 for any workbook, so it’s not a terrible flaw, by any means. Book authors always have to figure out what level of knowledge will they assume their intended audience already knows and how much they will provide within their book. Re-reading the introduction of the workbook though, indicates this book is intended primarily for submissives new to power exchange so their working knowledge would be far less than someone who’s got a few years experience.
There is a heavier than normal emphasis on service and while it does show up in a lot of submissive’s lives, it’s not something a lot of people embrace as a part of their submission. It’s a niche group of submissives, really. If you are not into service as a part of your submission, feel free to skip this section of the workbook.
Is It Worth Buying?
If you are looking for some guidance and enjoy self reflection, this workbook could be the perfect resource for you. People that are brand new to BDSM in general might want to gain some basic vocabulary first, as this book makes some assumptions that you understand a few things first but that’s not always an issue if you are actively searching for answers, it can be fun to explore new topics and build your opinions on things.
Give it a try, your personal enrichment is never a waste of money. Go check out The Big Workbook for Submissives by Rebecca Blanton today.