The New Bottoming Book - erotic book by Greenery Press - review by P'Gell

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The New Bottoming Book; An Introduction and Short Definition of a Lifestyle

This well written book is one of the first “Overground Books” to discuss, in depth, the D/S, M/s, BDSM Play with no judgment. It defines commonly used terms and phrases used in Sensation and Rough Play and even goes into Sex Magic and introduces some Tantric Principles. It is not the end all or be all of this Lifestyle, but is a good introduction or useful as an “explanation” for those who misunderstand the reasons some choose this as part or all of their lives.
Published:
Pros:
Definition of terms, overview of emotional and physical effects, Gender inclusive
Cons:
Not enough on equipment, safety and toys, and little emphasis on long term relationships
Rating by reviewer:
4
extremely useful review

About author

The first edition “The Bottoming Book” had to be self published so it was much shorter. One of the authors also used a pseudonym in the First Edition. She uses her real name in this edition. The “New” includes more internet information (although now most of it is outdated) and more details that couldn’t be included in the first edition, due to space constraints in the first book. I, personally, wish they had gone further and included more. It’s a slim volume at 163 pages (not including the afterward and a poem) and even double this amount of pages couldn’t even scratch the surface of this most engaging and complicated Kink. That being said, they do well with the space they have used.

The authors of this book are well versed in the BDSM, Leather, M/s and D/s Lifestyle, living it themselves for many years. Both authors are women, Dossie identifies as “a dyke and queer” she is a Switch (using both Top and Bottom roles) and was an original member of the Society of Janus; a famous San Francisco based S/M support and education group. Janet identifies as “standard issue, California bisexual polyamorous Switch.” They have written a number of books on Kink, including the well lauded “The Ethical Slut.”
    • Engaging
    • Expert author
    • Very personal approach

Content / Style / Audience

The book’s authors focus much of their writing on multi partner Play. As both enjoy both female bodied and male bodied partners (and everything in between) and Switching, (when one individual may sometimes Top and other times Bottom, depending on the Scene or the partner) their focus seems heavily oriented towards “finding” Tops, attracting them, and often single encounter information. There is not a lot of info on long term or 24/7 M/s or D/S partnerships, which may indeed require a different book. Much is said about not only finding partners but Play Parties and Public Scenes. Less is said about Long Term, Dedicated relationships, which many of us find our Kink most comfortably expressible.

The authors make it clear this is NOT a “how to” book. It focuses on helping Bottoms “understand ourselves as Bottoms, how we hold our power, how we negotiate, how we stay safe, how we stay proud of what we do.” They also let us know that more detailed safety information, equipment and other details of the brass tacks of BDSM will be expressed and explained in other books. I with they had touched more on safety and equipment, but this book is more about the inner psychology and Psyche of the Bottom, which is rarely discussed in detail outside of rambling Tantric treatise.

This is more “why you are a Bottom” rather than all the details of “how to be a Bottom.”

This book is not persuasive; it won’t try to talk you into Bottoming or becoming Submissive if you don’t already want to. It assumes you have already come to that realization (or are already a Switch with Sub tendencies) and goes on from there.

The body of the book was well written, interesting, enlightening, accepting and sometimes perhaps for some, shocking reading. I found myself frequently nodding my head emphatically in agreement, sometimes tilting my head in confusion and only rarely thinking, “Oh, no! Not me!” They authors do seem to cover the terminology and different genres and proclivities of different types of Sub/Dom dynamics in a style few others have before.
  • Who / How / What
    [ ? ]
    Who might this product be best for? How is it best used? What are the best circumstances or situations for using this product?
    • Learning more about one's proclivites
  • General
    [ ? ]
    Other tags that are useful and descriptive for this product.
    • Bdsm
    • Instructional / educational
    • Non-fiction

Design

This book is a brown paperback, of good quality paper and binding. The cover is somewhat stark and not too revealing. There is a small drawing, of a person of indeterminate gender in bondage, but it is small and unobtrusive. Unless a bystander is familiar with the terminology "Bottoming" it is doubtful this book is too intense to display in public. It is small enough to place into a book cover to read, or behind other books on a shelf, if one feels the need to do this.

There are no photographs or drawings in the content of the book.
    • Soft cover
    • Somewhat discreet cover

Personal comments

The New Bottoming Book raises a stern tone for those who think Lifestyle Players have to adhere to predetermined activities or stereotypes, of who are “really” Subs, Doms, Tops, Bottoms etc, and try to eliminate some of the inherent Elitism in some BDSM subcultures where rules of identity are strict and who “is” or who “isn’t” “doing it right” are called out. They let us know that if one believes one is a particular role, than that is all that is necessary. Quote “Nobody else gets to vote, even though (someone else’s sexuality) may or may not look different than yours, they do not get a vote or get to devalue or change what you like to do.” (italics mine ) This is a freeing and very accepting tone, and it sets the entire book.

They talk about the absolute need for full consent, knowing what you are getting into, talking Scenes out ahead of time (if that’s the way you and your chosen partner work) learning how to let a prospective partner know where YOUR hard boundaries are. Even making lists of “Yes” (want to do) “No” (will not do, in any aspect) and “maybe” (depending on mood, scene and partner or for further exploration.) are suggested to be discussed with one’s Top, to avoid unpleasant surprises and to make Scenes and actions go much more smoothly. The Top is also encouraged to make up the same lists, so you will be on the same page.

Although the book is short a lot is included in it. Negotiating, when to do it, is stressed as important (after all, a Bottom needs caring and pleasure, too, that’s why we do it.) Whether and when to include actual Sex in a Scene is gone into. Some people need it, others wait until later or with different partners. How to never go along with an act ONLY to please a Top (some Bottoms may take issue with this) but the authors are more interested in being True to Oneself than selfless Service. Not that Service isn’t covered, but it is in terms as part of Negotiation. Quote “If you can’t Negotiate a Scene honestly, then you need not play.” I couldn’t agree more. Some may take exception to this, but the book covers Consent of Force in other ways. They talk about the fact of having no shame in having and using a Safeword and avoiding Tops who either try to admonish you for using it, or want to play without one. And the fact that one of the Responsibilities of a Top is to give Support and Affection when a Bottom needs to call Safeword, not to mock or cajole. They also talk about the fact that sometimes, Tops may need to Safeword Out, and that there is no shame in this.

They go into the Power of a Bottom and the sometime fragility and sensitivity of a Top; we are all, after all, all human. The authors give several unapologetic examples of their own use of use of Safewords.

Check Ins are discussed (The Top making sure, with speech or gestures that the Bottom is OK) and Aftercare is touched on, although, as this is a psychologically oriented book, I wish Aftercare had been gone into in more detail.

Catharsis and Spiritual States (some going briefly into Tantric Sex Magic) is briefly covered, and for many, it is the reason they seek out either side of Power Play. They warn to be aware that Catharsis may occur without warning or may surprise you, and you Top needs to be aware of this and support you, while you need to know when to go with the flow and when something is so intense and psychically painful that it would better be handled in Therapy.

Amazing “SubSpace” trippy, high near leaving one’s body states are also covered, which can happen in either role, but are of course, covered in more detail for the Bottom in this book. This alone is worth the price of the book. Some may be blown away at the Altered States that Intense Sensation Play can bring, and this book can at least in part explain why and how to enjoy it, and why your Top sometimes needs to bring you back down to Earth. You may have times where you don’t want to leave SubSpace.

Bondage, Sensory Deprivation, Dominance and Submission and Service and Discipline, Reward and Punishment are, of course, all discussed from both a new players viewpoint, as well as the psychological aspects of such acts. Although some vignettes from the authors own Play experiences are given as examples, these pages are not full “How to” instructions. They do assume you have already made up your mind to enter into a D/S or BDSM Space, and intricate instructions and all but the most basic safety warnings are not included.

The book also outlines how most scenes, particularly when new to this type of play or with an unfamiliar partner, are not going to be the “Perfect Scene” you may have been fantasizing about for a long time. After all, we are all human, and many fantasies disregard not only the laws of physics, but natural human behavior and emotions. (You are reminded Top is human, too.)

Whips, floggings, Body Modification, either permanent or temporary are discussed as are different types of Bottoms and Tops and their possible motivations. Discussions of “Surfing the Pain” may be an introduction for some readers, or come as second nature to others, but it is covered and wouldn’t be complete without it.

Role Playing, Authority Scenes (who doesn’t like a nice, adult game of Cop and Prisoner?) and Gender Play are all covered. These are the Bread and Butter of many people’s Play Life. Regression and Age Play is also covered, with some warnings and caveats. I find that perhaps not enough warnings for this type of play were covered, but that could be my own bias showing through. (I personally find Regression Play terrifying, and unpleasant and is on my “NO” list at all times.) The authors do say “Nowhere is it more important to know your limits than in regression play, and nowhere is it more challenging.” No kidding. They do mention bringing these issues into therapy, instead of the Dungeon for some, and it is the best advice for many.

They also touch on other common Play Genres, “Beasties” (also known now days as Furries) Humiliation and “Verbal Abuse” (although I prefer the term “Dirty Talk” myself) and the often Verboten “Cultural Trauma.” (Things like Antebellum Master Slave scenes, or history heavy Interrogation Scenes.)

They, and with good reason, talk about Public Play and the issue of NonConsent of bystanders, and suggest Public Play is best (and most legally) incorporated and acted out during Play Parties, rather than in actual Public.

Experience

While much of the information in the book was good, virtually ignoring the fact that many are involved in monogamous or near monogamous, dedicated relationships, (whether the Top/Bottom role is only during sex or all the time) leaves some of us feeling we have been a bit left out. Much of the information, however, is pertinent to anyone interested in The Lifestyle, but more focus on Long Term Partnerships (aside from a short chapter on Contracts) would have been helpful.

Perhaps author or authors who actually live this form of the Lifestyle while IN a long term dedicated relationship may attempt a book about this side of the Scene.

I liked the chapters on Sexual Spirituality, Kundalini and the Chakras (Eastern and Hindu Sex Magic) and Conscious Ritual and the importance of grounding oneself both before and after Scenes and acts. These bring up more than just the “fun” of sex and Rough Play. Sex is Spiritual (at least some of the time) and addressing this can be healing, a good growth experience and may help one not only deal with past trauma, but become a more well rounded person outside of the bedroom, dungeon or Play Place. Communion, Transcendence and Transformation are often an outcome of Strong Heavy Sex Play. Accepting these emotional and spiritual actions and eventual changes in oneself may not have been the reason many started with heavy sex play, but is often the outcome, and eventually may become one of Myriad, yet most important reasons people Play Hard.

This book is really only an introduction to D/S, M/s and BDSM Lifestyles and Play. It cannot cover all the intricacies nor every corner of the Genre of sexual play. I do wish that it had more information on long term relationships in this area, but perhaps other authors are the best to cover this ground.

This book may not be a tell all “How To” to all the ins and outs of Alternative Lifestyles and interesting sexual Kinks, but it is a good introduction and the information on Spirituality and Altered States is worth the price of the book alone.

Subs or Bottoms may learn something about themselves when reading this book, and Dom(mes) or Tops may also want to read it to get into the mind of their partners. Switches may read it to get into SubSpace more fully, and perhaps to gel an alternating identity or simply be comfortable with what they are already happy playing with. The same authors have also written a companion book titled The New Topping Book which would make a good pair, if one's partner was interested or if, as a Sub, one was interested in the opposite side of the coin and how Tops' minds work.

A most engaging and thought provoking read. I would suggest it even for those not involved in the Scene, simply to promote Tolerance and to shed the idea that Subs or Bottoms are whiny, weak, infantile clingers, who can’t think for themselves (in a healthy Bottom, inner strength is necessary to even acknowledge ones’ Sub Identity) or the myth that Tops are all full time Sadists with no Empathy. Again, nothing could be further from the truth, and reading this book will help anyone of any sexual identification understand their own roles and limits and strengths even better. And the lucky will learn a new thing or two about themselves.
    • Engaging
    • Learning experience for inner self
    • Thought provoking
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Comments
  • Sangsara
    Sangsara  
    im definitely a switch so this book may be good for me
  • Jewlickah
    Jewlickah  
    Great review!!!
  • Izzaba
    Izzaba  
    Good review another book for me to read
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