21 Books For Kink, BDSM, And Poly Beginners

If you’re diving into a new subculture, it’s always a good idea to do your research. If you want to become a Scientologist, you should probably start reading the works of L. Ron Hubbard and if you want to become a Furry, you’ll probably need to do some serious googling and join more than one online community. And just like an obscure religion or costume-based community, the kink, BDSM, and polyamorous communities all have some good go-to books and resources for people who are interested in getting involved.

You might be thinking: Why do I need books to figure out how to tie my girlfriend up? Well, friend, it's a bit more complicated than you think it is. When it comes to BDSM play, for example, there are a whole host of rules around negotiation, communication, and consent that you need to know before you break out the whips and chains. And they're there for a reason: To make sure that no one gets hurt in a bad way when you're hurting each other in a fun way.

My poly friends tell me that it's good to have a certain canon under your belt because, well, there are a lot of ways to "do" poly. We all know how to do monogamy, right? But polyamory is quite a bit more individualized and comes with a different set of complications. However, there are certain books that help guide people in their interactions in their polyamorous lives and give them tools to do it ethically. That's what I want to share with you today.

Vincent, 30, is a Vermont-based BDSM and poly educator who is all about sharing knowledge about alternative sexual choices far and wide. Because I myself am not really involved with any kink or BDSM or poly communities, I figured he was a good person to turn to for an expert opinion on what books and websites people who are interested in crafting their own BDSM 101 or Poly 101 course should turn to. Now, of course, this list is not exhaustive but does come from Vincent’s 12 years in the scene, a good portion of which he has spent as an educator. All that to say: You’re hearing from an expert here.

Books For Improving Your Communication Skills

1. Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton

Click here to buy.

2. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Click here to buy.

3. Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg and Arun Gandhi

Click here to buy.

4. Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward

Click here to buy.

Poly Relationship Books

1. The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy

Click here to buy.

2. Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino

Click here to buy.

3. Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan

Click here to buy.

4. Pagan Polyamory by Raven Kaldera

Click here to buy.

5. Group Marriage by Larry L. Constantine

6. Plural Loves: Designs For Bi And Poly Living by Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio

Click here to buy.

7. The Myth of Monogamy by David P. Barash Ph.D. and Judith Eve Lipton

Click here to buy.

D/S (Dom/Sub) Books

1. The New Topping Book by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy

Click here to buy.

2. The New Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy

Click here to buy.

3. Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns by Philip Miller and Molly Devon

Click here to buy.

Rope Books

1. Jay Wiseman's Erotic Bondage Handbook

Click here to buy.

2. Two Knotty Boys: Showing You The Ropes

Click here to buy.

3. Two Knotty Boys: Back on the Ropes

Click here to buy.

4. Complete Shibari: Land by Douglas Kent

Click here to buy.

5. Complete Shibari: Sky by Douglas Kent

Click here to buy.

6. Shibari You Can Use by Lee Harrington

Click here to buy.

7. Better Built Bondage by Douglas Kent

Click here to buy.

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Images: Patrick Mölley/Flickr; radicalhonesty.com; danielgoleman.info; Amazon(3); Openingup.net; Amazon(4); Macmillan; Amazon (3); twistedmonk.com; Amazon(2); completeshibari.com; Amazon(2)