In a number of ways, this book is _soooooo_ not really for me. Easton and Liszt have a tone aimed straight at the, er, straights. Given my personal history, I kept chuckling at all the paragraphs where they encourage the reader to take a few deep breaths, think about how they really love the person they are learning about, and try to understand why the reader is having such a negative reaction. Also, the bits where they go, it's not nearly as bad as what you are imagining. (Honestly, that was the point where I wanted to reach in and go, hey, I'm _still_ having trouble with the chainsaw scene demo, and _I wasn't even there_. I would _never_ have imagined a chainsaw scene on my own. Ever.)
It's a great introduction to kink/a sex-positive perspective. It has a good resources guide at the end. It's written by highly respectable people (er, for suitable definitions of the term respectable). It covers, uh, all the, um, bases. The structure and organization of the book (welcome, how ya feeling, okay what exactly is this all about, how are we going to talk about it) is a very gentle way to introduce and then walk through sex-positive subcultures. The inclusion throughout the book of I-wish-I-had-the-guts-to-deliver-this coming out letters is interesting.
They include a helpful glossary at the end, which I think is the only spot I learned something completely new (I didn't realize some people used water sports to mean enemas. I knew people did enemas for play; didn't know they used that term for it). I don't think there's a single thing in the book that I disagree with. I really enjoyed Chapter 9 (A Special Chapter for Helping Professionals), which says something, altho I'm not entirely certain what.
I'm stuck with a couple questions, however, which I'm sure I'll get around to asking the person who bought me this present. One involves whether or not the edgier end of edge play has moved significantly in the 10 years since this book was published; I get the impression it has, but perhaps Easton and Liszt figured their hypothetical reader is all aquiver and might need smelling salts already -- best not to get into the stuff that might really squick them. And the second question I think revolves around the question of what proportion of people who engage in kink are tourists or chippers. That is, this book is depicting kink as an identity, like sexual or gender identity, and so the idea that someone could take it or leave it isn't really a part of the story. I could easily believe that to be the case where it order to get it at all requires a massive commitment. As kink comes out of the closet, how much is that changing? If the kink-identified have any hope of LTRs with the non-kink-identified, it would help a lot if chipping/tourism/etc. turns out to be widely possible. Given how cultural everything else about being human is, I suspect that will be the case.
But, then, that's exactly what I _would_ think, when I'm feeling all optimistic about humanity.