The ABC's of BDSM Front Cover

Front Cover for The ABC’s of BDSM

By Dama deNoche
Published in 2012 by Phaze Books

Dama deNoche’s book The ABC’s of BDSM is an apparent attempt to write an introductory BDSM text in alphabetical encyclopedic form.  I say apparent because deNoche fails to include any sort of explanation of the format to explain her intent. The reader is left to his own devices to wade through the book and decide for himself.

The bulk of the book consists of a pseudo-alphabetical listing of some BDSM terms, which are used as entry headers, followed by a description of said terms. The rest of the book consists of similar sections devoted to common identities in BDSM and medical emergencies, and ends with an interview with the author.

Annoyingly, the terms are not presented in alphabetical order.  For example, the topic of CBT (Cock and Ball Torture) appears sandwiched between Conditioning and Chastity Devices. If you are wondering, yes, Chastity Devices follows CBT (Cock and Ball Torture).  Also, the sections Emotional Triggers, Endorphins, Electrical Play, and Enemas are presented in that order.  This haphazard listing was extremely distracting.

While the idea of an encyclopedic layout of BDSM terms might have some merit as a format for an introductory book, deNoche’s work fails miserably at the execution of this concept.  The writing in this book approaches being unreadable. Dama deNoche’s articles are extraordinarily biased, inadequate, factually incorrect, uninformative, and redundant.

deNoche commits so many crimes as a writer that determining which is the most egregious proved a daunting task.  However, after considerable thought, I have decided that the worst is her writer’s voice.  As I read a book I usually begin to form a picture of a writer inside my head.  As I read this book, the picture of the author that formed was that of a high school girl writing a report on a subject she was neither interested in nor knowledgeable about.  Worse still, the student in question struggles to earn Cs.

My other major complaint with deNoche’s writing is that she unabashedly plays the game “my kink is okay, but your kink is sick.”  I could almost overlook this if deNoche were forthright about this tendency, but she works to distance herself from her biases by couching them as health and safety concerns.

A good example of this sort of bias is found in her sections on Brown Showers (Scat) and Scat (Brown Showers). Setting aside the confounding fact that both sections earn their own separate explanation despite covering the same topic, her explanation for the former suggests that the play “…can be done with some safety as long as eating the feces is kept to a minimum. Presumably by the time she wrote the second entry she decided that scat play was too much for her as she advises “It is not recommended, even though many find it erotic, because many diseases are spread through scat.”

I initially considered that many of the books failings might be attributable to poor editing, but I have subsequently determined that cannot be the case.  For the book to be poorly edited would suggest it was edited at all, and there is no evidence in the text to suggest that any editing took place.  Individual entries are not only inconsistent with each other, they are inconsistent with themselves.

Worse still, the book confuses some terms and haphazardly combines their meanings with other unrelated ones.  For example, in her entry Gender Identification deNoche confuses gender identity and sexual orientation.  To her credit she does acknowledge that people identify with more than two genders.  Unfortunately, she immediately squanders that as the section that follows Genitorture, begins “This is a type of play that can be done on both genders.”  As I read this, I wanted to shout out loud, “make up your mind!”

The numerous errors and inconsistencies extend to the sections devoted to play.  In the section on Enemas for example, she says at one point, “Also limit the amount of fluid to be introduced to the bowel to 1,000 cc or one liter.” In the same article she later states, “…when you or the one receiving it is used to it, you can give up to two quarts.”  If I were attempting to use this book as an authoritative source for safety, I would be left to wonder whether one or two quarts of water is saf

I could go on and on about the errors and problems with this book. Suffice to say it is a complete and utter mess, and is without question the worst introductory BDSM book I have ever encountered.  Anyone using this book as their sole source for learning about BDSM is likely to come away more confused and less knowledgeable about the subject than they were before they started reading.  The only reason I can think of for owning a copy of this book is to help ensure that it doesn’t fall into impressionable hands.