Saturday, April 12, 2014

REVIEW: Slap, Tickle & Tie by Peter Birch

***This book was originally reviewed for My Secret Romance.***


A fetish, the OED tells us, is an irrational and often obsessive reverence for a principle or thing, or in the erotic sense when a non-sexual part of the body, an object or behaviour becomes a focus for sexual desire. Most of the time, when people say they have a fetish all they mean is that they like something, boobs or bums included. But it can go much further than that, through ever stronger levels of desire, right up to a need so powerful that it becomes impossible to achieve orgasm without it, or even to enjoy sexual pleasure any other way. This collection features eight articles covering many of his favourite fetishes, each one the product of years of depraved behaviour.


As an anthology, a fairly short one at that, there is no real point of reference for me to measure this against, nor do I particularly know what kind of rating to give it. What I can do is share my assessment and reactions to what’s within its pages. First and foremost, let me say that this was a truly enlightening read. A lot of us have a general idea of fetishes when the subject comes up or when a reference is made, but here we have detailed accounts from some people that live these fetishes and descriptions from a man who’s experimented with just about every sexual activity out there. If you’ve ever wondered about the taboo sexual practices, but never knew where to look (safely anyway – you never know where Google will take you with a search like that HA!), here’s a book for you.

First article is called “What is a Fetish?”. Right from the start I knew this was going to be an interesting book. Peter Birch gives us the textbook definition of a fetish, and how it translates to sexual terms. What’s neat about it is that he includes real confessions from people that live some of these fetishes. Now, call me juvenile, but when talking about sex or sexual situations, I blush and giggle. Maybe some of the men and women in these examples did also, but it’s presented in a fashion that lends itself to be taken seriously with maturity.

“Beauty in Blue Jeans”, “What, No Knickers!?”, and “Erotica Victoriana” all delve into the world of certain clothing fetishes. He even goes into the history of blue jeans, the different implications of going commando that a partner can infer, and the eroticism of the clothing from the Victorian era as a whole. He admits to Daisy Duke being the reason he loves denim in the form of short cutoff shorts, that he likes knickers mostly because they can be pulled down, and all the heavy and layered clothes in the Victorian days only made you value what’s beneath that much more.

“Ten Top Tips for Bondage”, “The UK’s Top 20 Spanking Positions”, “Aftercare, Or The Fine Art Of Tending To A Smacked Bottom”, and “Harness Made To Your Own Design” are all informative or how-to guides. The tips are important things to keep in mind during bondage play, from the types of restraints, the ties and knots, and the state of your partner. The spanking positions is pretty much exactly what it looks like – a rundown of the top 20 spanking positions, though a few are very similar and a couple aren’t fully explained so I can’t fully picture it. Aftercare recommendations are aimed mostly at the mind frame of the partner that was spanked. The harness portion is literally a DIY guide to making your own pony-girl bridle, from the materials you’ll need, the factors to take into consideration for your design, and the step-by-step instructions.

“Oh Those Kinky Clowns!” is the cherry on top for this expedition into the fetish world. I’m an open-minded individual and I feel everyone is entitled to whatever floats their boat (with the exception of things like underage porn etc. – you get the idea), but I definitely have to file this one under the weird category. Women dressed up in clown costumes, well ok, mostly paint actually, and doing naughty things with custard…to each their own!

I think the most important thing about this book is the overall message found inside. The obvious message is that everyone has different tastes and that’s okay! It’s natural, it’s fun, and should be explored openly without judgment. The other big message is that there should always be respect, even affection, for your partner (or partners) in any given situation. I think this is exemplified best in the aftermath section as he says that there should at minimum be a hug and a kiss. I agree most with the next part though: “Extended cuddles are better still”.

Overall the entire collection of articles feels more educational than erotic despite the subject matter, terminology, and context, and the author does on occasion get overly verbose on a particular topic making it feel like it drags on a bit. However this isn’t a bad thing! For one, there are some pictures included as examples, and come on, who doesn’t like pictures? There are times when the author seems to get enthusiastic in a subject, which adds a level of excitement for the reader as well, such as when he’s talking about knickers: “Who would want to receive a present without any wrapping paper?”. In context this creates a very specific imagery in the reader’s mind that is all kinds of powerful. There are moments when he’s just plain funny, such as when he discusses the aftermath of spanking and says that you should never just stop there, unless you’re deliberately depriving your partner of emotional comfort, “or perhaps when an inconvenient husband has just walked in on you and you have no choice.” I guess the bottom line is just that it was an endlessly fascinating read!

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