I love living in books. It makes it so easy for me to try on new worlds and give them a test drive to see if I like them. Another plus? I can submerge myself in the world of D/s (Dominance and submission) and not actually have to look for someone who would be open and honest with me about it. Which, in the world of everyone looking up everything in cyberspace, we can never be sure of what is real and what is not.
Julian Masters published an extended version of Training To Pleasure after he received several letters and questions from readers of the original version. It is the story of a woman who, after thirty years of living the "vanilla" lifestyle, decides to follow some of her more primal urges into the world of D/s. She questions other submissive females, and some of the dominants in the e-group, and waits to see what may strike her fancy.
Kate would never use terms such as submissive, desperate, or even unhappy to describe herself. She is happy in her job, has her friends and a good life. But the missing part of her is in her sex life. The men she should have liked left her unfulfilled and unhappy. And the "bad boy" that she shouldn't even consider dating, is what always did it for her. Novels she borrows from friends give her more pleasure than a flesh-and-blood relationship. It is from these books that she learns of D/s, and, upon consideration, tries her hand at it.
James is unhappy with the relationships he has had. He cannot be anything other than a Dominant; it is as much a part of him as his love of martial arts and the joy he derives from a book. You cannot change yourself at such a deep, almost genetic level. He met Kate in an Internet chat room, and while there was nothing in their first sharing of words, the next morning there was an e-mail from her in his inbox. Kate tells him how nervous she is of writing him, and that while she is interested in learning about the lifestyle, she is not sure that she would mark herself as a submissive woman.
This novel is definitely not for the faint of heart. I had palpitations a few times during the reading! While I'm not sure how much I know about the actual lifestyle of D/s, this book certainly taught me a few new things I'd like to try out as soon as possible. Mr. Masters also stresses the importance of treating it with respect, and also being very careful whom you trust.
Training To Pleasure is explicit to the point of nothing being left to imagination and it will set your pulse racing. But it is also a love story at the basic level. Aside from a few shocking moments, this book gives a "warm fuzzy feeling" in the pit of your stomach akin to a warm drink. But, unlike coffee or tea, this won't keep you up all night. Well, it might, but for entirely different reasons than caffeine overload.
Reviewed By Marissa
© February 2005