Tag Archives: BDSM

Book Review – Firebird by Annabel Joseph

Ballet and bondage.  It seems to be a striking juxtaposition at first blush, but to my mind they’re a perfect match.  Both require discipline, and often call for enduring discomfort for a greater cause.  Ballerinas appear to be delicate, but are quite strong and to me this combination echoes the way that submissives in general are often seen as weak while . . . well, if you think that you clearly haven’t met many of us!

But let me tell you about this book. It has ballet and bondage and romance:

It also has a gorgeously sexy cover.  Aw, yeah . . .

It also has a gorgeously sexy cover. Aw, yeah . . .

Prosper is a dancer in the corps de ballet, hardworking but full of neurosis from her past.  Jackson, the demanding choreographer, sees her potential and casts her as the titular Firebird in a sensual new production of the classic ballet.  One day Prosper is looking through the fetish personals – not looking for a date, just out of curiosity (has anyone not done that? I thought so!), when she finds one that sounds like it is describing her.

As she is drawn into a “no strings attached” D/s relationship, Prosper is pushed closer and closer to confronting her drive to be perfect and its unhealthy roots.  As she explores her needs as a submissive, she is pushed to greater expression on stage.  Finally, she learns to be honest with her own desires.

One of the scenes I especially loved in this book was Prosper and Jackson’s first night together.  A lot of people think of the pushy and shouty style of dominance as being How It Is Done, but this is a great example of slow and sensual power.  There is something so hot about the Dom who can be all calm and quiet because he’s just absolutely sure he’s in charge.  The slow-burn style of domination involves Prosper being tied and, since it’s the first night, just touched.  It sounds so simple.  Even boring.  Who would do that?  A really mean sadist, that’s who!  This scene plays out with so much tension and desire.  I was thoroughly pulled in.

The contrast of the demands of ballet and those of Prosper’s new relationship is also beautifully rendered.  I think a lot of submissives tend to drive themselves to be perfect, as Prosper does, and part of Jackson’s role is to make sure she is not neglecting her own well-being.  This really gets into the safety and nurturing that a good relationship can offer us.  I’ve read other books by Annabel Joseph before this one, and one thing she really gets and is able to portray in her characters is how deep trauma can lie, and how having the support of the right relationship and having one’s needs met can help so immensely in healing.

I would recommend Firebird to anyone who enjoys a love story as much as they enjoy searing hot erotica.  If you want a heroine who has faced challenges and endured hurt, but finds a better life waiting at the end of it, this is a book to check out.  Finally, this is the sort of book that walks that fine line: it’s not a sanitized “everything is great all the time!” version of kink, nor is it a “kink is evil and weird!” sort of book.  That middle ground is hard to find in fiction, but it always reads true to me since it comes off as being more real.

Review – Tantus Fantasy Gag

This is much bigger than it looks.  I have huge hands.

Behold! The Gaggy Goodness!

So many things about this gag make me happy.

It is phallic (think I already covered that one).  It is made from pure, smooth silicone.  As anyone who has ever had a sub-par gag shoved in their mouth will know, this means a lot.  I once had someone use a nasty cheap ball gag on me, which left not only a gross taste but also made my lips and tongue slightly numb.  Who knows what chemicals were in that thing, but they certainly were not body-safe and I do not remember this person stating “chemical burns – giving” as one of their kinks.

Silicone is ideal for toys that are going to be inserted anywhere, including the mouth.  I am much more careful these days, since I now know that I have some chemical sensitivities but really, NO ONE should be putting toys of unknown composition into any orifices.  When you choose silicone you are choosing something that can be sanitized by boiling, putting through the dishwasher, or cleansing with a bleach solution.  This is particularly important if you are sharing toys or if you are using toys in different holes (for example, a dildo you use in your anus and your vagina).

I originally got this as a Christmas gift from Master.  I thought, “Aw, what a cute little wee cock.”  I was surprised by how NOT-little it felt after it had been in my mouth just a short time.  The insertable part measures 3″ long and about 5 1/4″ around at its widest point.  That is plenty of length and girth for my mouth!

Like, I cant buy hats.  Seriously.

Oh, and also? I have a HUGE head.

The density of the silicone has a nice rubbery give to it.  It feels flexible when I suck on it, but is resilient to moderate biting.  This is relevant if you are doing any kind of heavier impact or pain play while you are wearing it.  I, for one, tend to bite down reflexively if I am wearing a gag during heavier punishment scenes.  If you bite REALLY hard, it is possible to leave faint tooth marks, but that’s about it.  I’ve already had this over a year and it’s held up well.

I tend to drool a lot with gags in general, which is pretty common according to my informal survey of people I know.  If you or your partner find drool a turn-on, this is a GREAT gag for you.  Saliva everywhere!

As filling as I find this, it does not muffle sound much at all.  It does, however, make it impossible to speak, since it is filling enough to get in the way of my tongue.  If you want to make someone scream and moan but take away their ability to say anything, again, this is an excellent choice.  Since the person wearing it won’t be able to use words, it is best to set up a safe signal (rather than a safe word) before you begin.

The strap snaps off for cleaning, and fastens with Velcro.  I do like that the strap is removable, since that makes sanitizing the gag much easier.  But the velcro itself is my only complaint.  I just don’t like it.  It gets caught on hair and fabric if I am not careful, and I prefer buckles.  That could be easily fixed by just  . . . putting a new strap on it.  Most leather workers could do that.  This is a personal preference of mine, and I realize it is a minor complaint.  And to be fair. velcro does have its advantages.  In the event that it needs to be taken off fast due to any kind of breathing issues, gagging (not the good kind), or if the person wearing it is suddenly NOT OKAY, velcro is a good safety choice.  And no matter how “light” the bondage you are using seems, safety still needs to be something you consider before any play happens.

That said, this gag probably not a good choice for anyone with a sensitive gag reflex.  In my mouth, it barely reaches the soft palate, but I do have a big mouth.  People who have an easily stimulated gag reflex, or who are new to gags and are not sure, would probably be best off starting with a bit gag or a ball gag, since neither of those fill up the mouth as deeply.

Long-term wear might also be difficult for anyone with TMJ.  I suggest trying a bit gag if you have any issues with your jaw, since it won’t stretch it as much.  My own jaw does get tired and start to lock up, but only when we get close to the hour mark.

As a final note, as vain as it may sound, I have never liked the way my face looks WIN_20150331_104520when I am wearing a ball gag.  This gag does stretch my mouth open quite a lot, but since most of the gag is hidden away inside the appearance of it is surprisingly demure.

The funny thing is, I never knew what it looked like while I was wearing it until I went to take some pictures for this review!  Even though Master has used it many times since He got it, I have never been near a mirror, and looking at it has always been the furthest thing from my mind when we are using this gag.  I just took these today and was all, “Huh, that does look better!”

The verWIN_20150331_104555sion I have of this is in the “Cocoa” color Tantus offers, but when I went to check their site it looks like right now this is only available in black.   Which is great, it goes with everything!

If you love phallic objects, silicone, and gagging your partner/being gagged by your partner, I wholeheartedly recommend this one.  It’s a favorite of mine, and will be seeing plenty of use in years to come.