Review: Domination & Submission: The BDSM Relationship Handbook

Domination & Submission: The BDSM Relationship HandbookDomination & Submission: The BDSM Relationship Handbook by Michael Makai

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is a must read book for those starting into the BDSM lifestyle.  It's also great for those who have been around for a while. For those who are interested in learning about more than just the terminology, Mr. Makai will provide it.  This book is set up easy to read by covering the main types of "categories" of people in the lifestyle.  He then further breaks it down and explains the different types, both good and bad.  The later part of the book covers the many popular techniques of a BDSM scene.  What really makes this book so powerful is his own perspective.  Ever chapter contents his "own 2 cents".  It's interesting to note that Mr. Makai shied away from this at first because he's a private man.  To share this much detail can be discomforting.  Yet he does it with such grace and humility that it is clear, Mr. Makai is experienced in the lifestyle.  He's learned from his mistakes and he wishes to pass it on to others so they don't have to learn the hard way.  For this, I wish the book came out twenty years ago!

I generally devour a book.  Non fiction does take me much longer to get through because I love to highlight and take notes.  At one point, there was a deal offered to have both a hardcopy and eBook at a discounted price.  Those who took advantage of that deal definitely won.  There are many gems in this book.  I've only highlighted the ones that caught my attention.  Bear with me as I go through them.  This is a book which should be read with others and discussed.  It's that damn good.

The types of dominants really spoke to me.  I have come across many of these types and find this book to be dead on.  I encourage every new person to read this section.

The Class III Sexual Sadist is someone who acts out his sexually sadistic impulses with non-consenting individuals, but does not want to seriously injure or kill them. Sure, he’s a predator and rapist but, apparently, he’s the Care Bear kind. (p. 29) 

Ooh, I like this this kind of sadist. 


The Collector is typically an adolescent male in his teens or early twenties who has recently stumbled upon D/s in an online chat room or lifestyle-related website. He is agog and obsessed with the thought that he can actually acquire slaves online the same way he shops for Pokemon cards. He typically doesn’t understand the difference between a submissive and a slave and may, in fact, be completely ignorant of the meaning of the term submissive. For the Collector, it’s all about slaves and more is always better. To absolutely no one’s surprise but his own, he soon learns that keeping them is an entirely a different matter - a matter to which he hasn’t given an iota of thought.

Luckily for the Collector, there is always an endless supply of naive teens willing to role play “slave for a day.” The important thing, for the Collector, is to be able to boast, “You have a slave? Hah! That’s nothing! I have twenty-seven of them!” (p. 34)


Oh dear lord.  I've been lucky and never interacted with this type.  But I've seen them and crossed paths.  They don't have to be young males in their teens.  They can be older and female too.  Not to spill other people's business, but a friend of mine has unfortunately run across one of these collector females. 

Dogs are eager to please. They are not only willing to alter their appearance and behavior to please their partners, they live for it. The dog person derives a tremendous amount of joy and fulfillment from the approval that comes from her mate as the result of any change in her wardrobe or hair color, the success of her diet, or progress in overcoming bad habits. If you fit into this latter category; if you’ve ever found yourself asking your partner what you should wear, how you should eat, or whether you should quit smoking, then there’s a very good chance that you might be a submissive. (47)

Er, I'm a dog?  I always thought I was more feline.  I do admit I like when my DH controls my clothing options. 

The internet abounds with web site tutorials for frustrated Dominants on “How to Train Your Bratty Submissive.” Unfortunately, most of them miss the point entirely and should, instead, be tutorials on “How to Spot and Avoid a Phony Submissive.” (p.55)

AH HAH!  I liked this point.  What I find interesting is that when this is mentioned, some people scream, "THERE IS NO WONE TWUUE WAY!".  True.  But there are also phonies.  Just like there are phony twenty dollar bills…

Gorean tradition can best be summed up by this proverb from John Norman’s writings: “There are only two sorts of women – slaves, and slaves.” If feminism and the empowerment of women are among your primary guiding principles, it’s a pretty fair bet that kajira training is just going to piss you off. (p. 58)

This was a problem for me.  Here I am, a militant feminist and yet I read a Gorean book and was all aroused.  What was wrong with me?  It's clear, I wasn't cut out to be a femi-nazi militant feminist.  I guess I squeak, not roar.

One of the down-sides of Daddy Dom/Little relationships is the unfortunate fact that they reward childish behavior. Because the dynamic can mask naiveté and places more emphasis on cuteness than
common sense, these online venues also tend to attract people who are actually mind-numbingly immature or under-aged. Imagine how you might feel to learn that your exciting new online friend, who just happens to be awfully good at playing the role of a naughty twelve year-old, isn’t acting. This, my friend, is what nightmares are made of. (p.59-60)


Oh dear lord, this one had me cringing yet laughing. 

but there are three principles which I believe can make that journey safer, quicker, and
tremendously more fulfilling. The first is quite simply this: Time is your friend. Don’t be in such a
hurry to find, submit, or commit to a Dominant. He isn’t a carton of milk. There’s no expiration date stamped on his ass. (p. 61)

The second principle would be: Consider a collar, if one is involved, as symbolic of your mutual commitment.

The third principle is crucial, and often much more difficult than the first two. Here it is, in a nutshell: If you have serious trust issues, don’t bother. Don’t even think about jumping into a D/s relationship. The bedrock and foundation of every D/s relationship is trust. Entering into or even considering a D/s relationship knowing that you cannot trust is a little like skydiving without a parachute. It may start out great, but it doesn’t end well.

WTF?  This third principle should be first!  Although, I kind of want to check male dominants' asses now to see if there is an expiration stamp.

Deluded Undisciplined Masochists & Bottoms Earnestly Living the Lifestyle in Error as Submissives
It would be abbreviated as DUMBELLES. (p.64)

Is it wrong I agree?

Typically, the pseudo-sub is someone who may be fairly new to the lifestyle and doesn’t quite understand that just because she is a ropebunny, spankophile, masochist, or bottom, that this doesn’t necessarily make her a submissive. She usually isn’t trying to deceive anyone; it’s all simply the unfortunate but predictable result of erroneously assuming that because she is a bottom, she must also be a submissive. (64)



A pseudo-sub is never wrong. She’s just learning life lessons on her own, the hard way. (65)

A pseudo-sub thinks the rules only apply to all those other submissives. She’s special.(65)

A pseudo-sub thinks that having a Dom will magically fix whatever is wrong with her.

A pseudo-sub has years of experience at being told what to do by her former Dominant. The fact that she didn’t actually do any of those things is completely irrelevant. (66)


GAH!  I've met a couple of these. 

I can’t make good decisions, if they’re based on bad information. Please don’t ever tell me something just because you think that’s what I want to hear. There’s no way that can ever end well.” (67)
THIS!!  Seriously, this is more than just in the BDSM lifestyle.  W.T.F?  Why do people do this?

At best, anyone who has had very little lifestyle experience to speak of and just a few serious D/s relationships might be more accurately described as a provisional Switch. In other words, he or she may be a Switch, subject to change.  (p.73)
Is this what I am?  Hmm.  It took me years to figure out I was I switch.  I always thought I was a bad submissive.

He carefully observes, stalks, tracks, hunts, chases, and takes down his prey and relishes every moment of it. If he classifies you as a predator yourself, you can expect a Primal to steer a wide path around you, preferring to seek out prey, instead. (p. 88)
Is it just me, or does this not cause you to feel aroused?  I'm aroused.  I have no problems running and being prey.

What comes as a surprise to many who may not be familiar with Primals is the fact that they typically do not identify or connect themselves with the Furry subculture. Furries, for the benefit of anyone who may have been living in a cave for the past few decades, are people who role-play
anthropomorphic animal characters with human characteristics. A furry may look like a dog, or cat, or fox, or skunk, but he walks and talks and acts just like a human being in most respects. In other words, a furry is, in practically every way that counts, the exact opposite of a Primal. A Primal is a human who instinctively thinks, acts, and perceives the word in an animalistic way. He considers his Primalism a core personality trait, rather than a role, and will often view himself as a human-animal hybrid, or humanimal. A furry, by contrast, is a role-player who is part of a fandom, rather than a lifestyle. His fascination is with looking the part of an animal, while maintaining most or all of the characteristics of
humanity. (p. 91)


In all honesty, I've read of Primals before.  I'm not sure if I've ever interacted with one.  But it sounds so very intense and exciting.  It makes me wet thinking about it.  Furries are cute.  They don't arouse, but they do make me want to pet them.

Now, there is a lot more but this isn't an exam and there are no more Cliff Notes from me.  Buy this book and you will enjoy it.  It is not dry.  Mr. Makai does an excellent job of keeping it light with his humour, even when he is discussing serious matters.  Highly recommend this book for BDSM education.

*I received this book as a review copy from the BDSM Group's R2R in return for an honest review



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