I reviewed this book which was provided for free by the publisher. However, I do not receive any compensation for reviews. All book reviews are My personal and subjective opinion.
I was very anxious to get My hands on The Ultimate Guide to Bondage by Mistress Couple! It's an excellent primer for beginning bondage enthusiasts, and unlike any other bondage book that I've encountered before. When I first received the book, I was somewhat taken aback by its appearance; most bondage books are large to make room for their lavish illustrations. The Ultimate Guide to Bondage, however, is the size of a novel. Intrigued by this format, I dove right in. The difference from other books and reason for this layout was immediately obvious--it IS more like a novel than typical bondage books!
Many bondage books give a brief overview of the history of the type of bondage they're teaching, some safety tips, a supply list, and then get right to the fun part--tutorials. Mistress Couple takes a different approach, which I deeply appreciated. Rather than following the aforementioned form, Mistress Couple starts off reviewing terms and concepts assuring that we're all on the same page with the same level of information. She then begins to delve into the psychology and motivations of different types of bondage. Additionally, Mistress Couple writes to the "bottom" (the person being put in bondage), not just the "top" (the person tying the bondage) as many how-to-tie books do. I reached page 72 before we attempted to tie our first knot.
Rather than conveying different fashions of tying rope, Mistress Couple covers alternative methods of bondage such as Fetish bondage, Costume Bondage, Mental Bondage, and other such forms that don't immediately come to mind when one thinks of being restrained. These topics also aren't covered as frequently as rope bondage is in BDSM books or circles, and I for one looked forward to learning more about balloon and nylon stocking bondage.
Once the method is chosen and we actually start looking at the tutorials, Mistress Couple practices the art of leaving us wanting more. What we gain in the comprehensive overview and variety of bondage methods available, we lose in instruction on how to do it. For each method of bondage listed, there are only 1 to 3 techniques shown on how to accomplish it. Also, given the format of the book and type of paper it is printed on, the photographs are smaller and in black and white. Those looking for lush illustrations will be disappointed.
The tutorials provided have clear written instruction with enough visual aid to help you follow along; the most complicated task (the Somerville bowline) even suggests visiting the publisher's YouTube channel for comprehensive instruction on how to tie it. Mistress Couple emphasises safety throughout Her book, which is another good reason why She has not included more tutorials; advanced moves should be taught in person and She encourages you to find a mentor.
Though I do wish there were more tutorials, at almost 300 pages, The Ultimate Guide to Bondage is no small book! Were more tutorials included, it would turn into a "The Encyclopedia of Bondage" series and be cumbersome to read or work with. The current amount of offerings is an excellent start on your journey into bondage, providing a roadmap and letting you sample a variety of flavors so you can pursue your choice confidently. Additionally, Mistress Couple gives instructions on how to try different kinks affordably by making your own toys rather than investing in expensive equipment for something you may not enjoy. To help create a scene using the knowledge gleaned from these pages, Mistress Couple has provided erotic essays at the end of the book for inspiration on how to implement the bondage moves learned.
Honestly, this is the book that I wish I'd had when I first got started in kink, as bondage is what first drew me into the world of BDSM. When I first began tying with My husband, our scenes tended to be somewhat tense because we had different motivations and ideas of what we wanted the bondage to be, which led to miscommunications and frustration. Mistress Couple's teachings would have prevented all of that as She covers motivation first, even providing a lovely flow chart to help you determine the type of bondage experience you wish to have and therein methods to use.
I can definitely see a second volume of The Ultimate Guide to Bondage being written, as it would be easy to expand upon what's already written here. Should Mistress Couple grace us with more works of wisdom in the future, I would be quick to acquire them.
You can buy The Ultimate Guide to Bondage here.
About the Author
Mistress Couple is the Head Mistress of La Domaine Esemar, the world’s oldest BDSM training chateau, where she hosts and educates bondage practitioners from all over the globe. Best known for her psychological approach to BDSM, Mistress Couple has been interviewed as an authority in the field by media outlets including Cosmopolitan, VICE, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and Racked. To learn more about her, please visit www.ladomaine.com.