Ask the Doctors: Kink for Beginners?

I’m wondering if you’d be willing to part with some of your wisdom.  I’ve got a friend who is just discovering his kink side. He’s married and his wife is pretty open but fairly vanilla. He’s discovering he’s a bottom and is into all kinds of fun things. She’s willing to play along but doesn’t have the interest herself. He feels unmet and would like to explore it further but doesn’t want to stray from his commitment to her. He’s into bondage, d/s, chastity and some spanking flogging stuff. I suspect he’s more into the psychological stuff instead of the heavy s/m stuff.

Two questions: Firstly do you know of any educators who are discreet, brilliant, and can help him/them navigate through making s/m d/s a part of their lives in a way that would work for both their interests? They live near Seattle.

Secondly, are there any books on the matter that you’d recommend? Especially about how to get your partner interested in developing a play relationship. I’ve been out of the loop for so long that I’m not sure I’d be able to direct them appropriately. Any current or older books on relationship and kink are welcome too.

–Wants to Help

Here are some resources for your friend.

First, books:

I’d recommend Lady Green (aka Janet Hardy)’s The Sexually Dominant Woman — it’s for beginners and is very accessible. So are the New Topping Book and the New Bottoming Book.

Then Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of BDSM by Philip Miller and Molly Devon. Sm 101: A Realistic Introduction is also a great guide.

Then Sensuous Magic by Pat(rick) Califia.

It’s possible his partner might also benefit from reading When Someone You Love Is Kinky by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton.

Now then, people who might work with them. I don’t have Seattle contacts whose work with couples I know well. But Cleo Dubois, who specializes in helping couples get into kinky play, does Skype sessions. She is at They might also want to check out — on-demand classes.

Seattle does have a lively kink community, and it is possible that your friend’s partner is open to meeting other folks who are into BDSM so that she will have peers to confer with and learn from. The kink community center that used to be known as the Wet Spot is now the Center for Sex-Positive Culture (no direct relation to the Center for Sex & Culture — unfortunately similar name). I would not recommend that your friends attend their parties, necessarily (Yelp reviews of this establishment give a feel for what they’d encounter, and I think a mostly-vanilla wife trying to play more friskily with her husband might find it too much at first: ). But the workshops they host there might be another matter.

If she begins to play and has questions, please feel free to pass my email address along. Best of luck to them!

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Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at

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