SM 101: A Realistic Introduction by Jay Wiseman


12/07/2012 by Basia Rose

I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but for some reason I loved this book. It goes over a lot of information BDSMers already know, (hence the 101), but I found it was written in a way that I enjoyed revisiting the basics.

What you need to know before buying it:

  • In some ways it is wildly out of date. The first edition was released in 1992, and “the scene” has changed hugely since then…
  • …Because of one major thing: The Internet…
  • …My absolute favourite quote of the whole book (from the 1997 Internet Update section at the back):

“A third benefit is the ability to put up what’s called a “web page” that describes yourself, your interests, your company or other matters.”

  • I bought the Kindle version, and the transition from paper to digital hasn’t exactly gone smoothly. What I imagine are funny anecdotes that dot the pages of the paper book, have become bizarre out of place sentences that occasionally turn up in the middle of a chapter. And there’re some weird typos, but anybody with a decent grasp of English will be able to translate!

I saw one review complaining the information about some products (like lube) was now incorrect, but surely nobody much is reading a book like this to learn about that… I never bother with sections like that anyway, as it’s always US-specific, and I live on the other side of world.

Truly, what I loved best about SM 101 was the fact it was a little dated. To think it was that recently that the term BDSM wasn’t even used. Wiseman mentions the acronym at one point, in amongst a bunch of others that had “recently” been suggested as terms that could be used for the lifestyle. (That he mentions it as the one he likes best shows he is either a clever guy, or could see the future.)

The other thing I found fascinating was how bloody hard it was to find likeminded people back before the internet had taken over the world – especially for male Doms. Woo boy! There’re tips on setting up a PO Box for letters from prospective Doms to be sent to. There’re tips about what kind of bookshops to visit in order to find noticeboard advertisements for kink-oriented social events. There’s advice on what types of women you’re likely to find by placing print ads in sex magazines.

There was even a section telling you how to form your own BDSM community.

I was sitting there, shaking my head, and thinking, “Poor guys. Wait a few years and you’ll have FetLife!”

At least in the States (or the UK or Germany) things were easier back then than they were here. There’re a heap of BDSM clubs to choose from. In Australia, it’s more a case of every man for himself.

While this is fascinating in an out-of-date way, there is a lot of good information for people now too. The basics never change, and Wiseman knows his stuff. You’re not going to get a detailed education of the more experimental of fetishes, but the book covers everything you’ll ever need to know about protocols and popular toys, and basic bondage. There’s plenty about health concerns before, during and after scenes.

The most common criticism of the book (from the minority who dislike it) is how it can be preachy, and how there’re too many details about everything. I didn’t find that at all, but I also think that if it is the case, that would be because he wrote it in a time when people needed a book to tell them how things worked. Unless you were already in the BDSM community, how else were you going to learn the basics? There was no Google to rely on!

So – I can definitely see why the reviews for this book are becoming more and more mixed as the years go on, but I still found it to be a worthwhile read.

4 thoughts on “SM 101: A Realistic Introduction by Jay Wiseman

  1. Been looking forward to your review. Thanks!

  2. Hi Basia!

    You always have good info on your blog. I didn’t find your review long…it’s informative.

    • Basia Rose says:

      I put it up on Goodreads, and it didn’t look so long there!
      Even though I already know most of what’s in these books, I really like reading them for some reason.

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