A Kinky Education List

Kinky Education List by TanglesTheRope

Where Do I Even Start???

Are you looking to expand your knowledge of kink? Are you bored at home on your day off? Look no farther! This is a list of some great educational resources for new folks and experienced folks alike!

This is not the “one true list” of good things to check out; there are many more wonderful resources out there.  And not every entry on this list is perfect; there will be stuff that just won’t be right for you.  But, this is a great place to get started, especially if you are new to the world of kink!

There are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.


This list was compiled by a friend of mine, Kari (TanglesTheRope), who, in her deepest core, is an avid researcher.  Each entry includes a detailed synopsis written by Kari after having personally read/watched/listened to it and having been impressed enough to write about it.  Each entry includes a link to where you can easily access the content.

This is a list of the great beginner guides for new folks entering the BDSM community! We know all too well the struggle of finding accurate, easy-to-read BDSM educational manuals for new folks. Everything in this list is nonfiction; these books are focused on explaining BDSM, our community, our culture, our history, and our love of the craft!


1.) Janet W. Hardy, “The New Bottoming Book” & “The New Topping Book”, Greenery Press (2001).

These two books cover all the bases of safety, intimacy, high & low protocol, social etiquette, history, science, and philosophy of Topping and bottoming. Many folks in the BDSM and Leather community consider these books to be the “kinky bible”! They are extremely well known in our community and almost universally enjoyed.

Hardy gives useful insights and ideas about how to be a successful, popular person in the community. The books are extremely well researched, thought-provoking, and are full of humorous stories from the author’s real lives. They make you feel proud to be a kinkster. They are my favorite BDSM nonfiction books; I can not recommend them strongly enough.

PS: If you like audiobooks, you are in luck. The audiobooks for both books are read by the authors. They are quite pleasant to listen to.

Buy the New Bottoming book or digital book here:
Buy the New Topping book or digital book here
Buy the New Bottoming audiobook here
Buy the New Topping audiobook here


2.) Steven Vogel, “Why Am I Kinky?”, Odd Light Bulb Press (2015).

This book tells readers about the psychological and biological science of BDSM while avoiding linking it to social mores or gender expectations. The demographic for this book leans heavily on the experienced and educated kinkster. Vogel focuses on peer-reviewed studies about sexual deviance from three different American universities. But, he also dives into a philosophical discussion of who we are and why we love kink!

Buy the book here
Buy the audiobook here: No audiobook available


3.) Steve Lenius, “Life, Leather and the Pursuit of Happiness: Life, History, and Culture in the Leather/BDSM/Fetish Community”, Nelson Borhek Press (2010).

Lenius’s fifteen years of publishing Leather Life columns come together to create a newly updated and annotated book. It’s a humorous, touching, revealing, and enlightening tour through the alternative sexual and social worlds of contemporary leather, BDSM, fetish, and kink.

Lenius talks about leather history, American freedom, and references classical philosophy, all in the context of finding personal fulfillment in the leather and BDSM community. This book will bring joy to the kinky historian in your heart! A good read!

Buy the book or digital book here
Buy the audiobook here: No audiobook available


4.) Molly Devon, “Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism” Mystic Rose Books; 1st edition (1995).

This book is light-hearted and fun to read, telling readers everything they need and want to know about sadomasochism. Deeply committed to the blend of trust, fantasy, and sensuality that makes S/M a deeply intimate experience, Devon offers everyone clear explanations, solid advice, safety measures, and steamy suggestions.

Also, it’s got over 225 photos and illustrations and includes a 30-page resources listing. There is some truly beautiful artwork in here; I found the pictures and illustrations to be the best part!

Buy the book here
Buy the audiobook here: No audiobook available


5.) Jay Wiseman, “SM101: A Realistic Introduction” (2nd Edition), Greenery Press (1996).

Wiseman gives an in-depth analysis of BDSM in the context of adult human sexuality. He covers a general understanding of BDSM culture, proper community etiquette, traditions, and history for the non-specialist general reader. He focuses on where the BDSM community started, and where it’s going in the future.

Because it was written in 1996, its assessment of BDSM in the digital age is extremely out of date. But, it appears on this list because Wiseman’s historical analysis and philosophical perspectives on the leather lifestyle are very informative and interesting. The whole book is written in a very conversational tone.

Buy the book here
Buy the audiobook here: No audiobook available


6.) FRR Mallory, “Extreme Space: The Dominance and Submission Handbook”, Unbound Books (1998).

Mallory’s How-to guide for couples focuses mostly on how to bring BDSM culture and practices into their established vanilla relationship. Unlike some of the previous books on this list that focus on getting comfortable with your new environment, this book tackles issues of conflict, shame, and rejection coming from the vanilla world. Mallory tells readers how to do sub-space, top-space, and power exchange in the emotionally safest, healthiest way possible. This book is most helpful for couples, but it can be equally enjoyed by a single reader.

Buy the book here
Buy the audiobook here: No audiobook available


7.) Morpheous, “How to be Kinky: A Beginner’s Guide to BDSM”, Green Candy Press (2008).

Morpheous builds on his friend’s work in SM101, with a slightly more modern twist. The end of this book has some interesting content about navigating BDSM in the age of the internet. This book has community standard best practices for online relationships and also has content about safety and mental health in online communities.

It was written in 2008, so all the websites and forums listed are outdated. But, I argue that the basic ideas presented about proper online etiquette and internet safety are extremely resonant today. The picture on the cover is absolutely cringy and terrible, but the actual content of the book makes up for it. It’s a good and easy read!

Buy the book or digital book here
Buy the audiobook here: No audiobook available

This is a list of some great educational youtube channels for new folks entering the BDSM community! Youtube is a great place to learn, especially for younger people coming into kink. These channels are fun, relocatable, and super informational! They are a great and entertaining resource for kinksters of all experience levels! I recommend checking some of them out.


1.) Evie Lupine

Evie is a young, hip submissive. She is an experienced peer educator on all things related to BDSM, kink, and alternative lifestyles. She helps folks find their own personal truth as it relates to their sexuality, their desires, and their relationship needs. I like her because she gives a young and realistic perspective on the world of kink. WARNING: She really likes to ramble…. A lot. Her videos are can sometimes be 20-30 minutes long. I recommend viewing in manageable chunks.

Find Evie Lupine here


2.) Watts The Safeword

Watts The Safeword is a kink-friendly, sex education channel. Amp (Leather pup) and Christopher (his daddy) give a bad-pun and humor-filled exploration into the gay, west coast kink community. Watts The Safeword is about breaking down stigmas, answering questions, and traveling to places like BDSM conventions and kinky historical sites!

As part of the west coats gay-leather culture, they make HIV & STD education a priority. They do a good job of making sex less scary for the people on the internet! They strongly advocate playing safely, educating yourself, and always acting with consent.

Find Watts The Safeword here


3.) Morgan Thorne BDSM

Morgan Thorne is a dominant woman who has been living D/s and BDSM for most of her adult life. She started teaching kink shortly after she became a professional dominant – nearly a decade later, she branched out to Youtube. Her Chanel gives great how-to information on specific kinky skills, and great general education information for the new or vanilla viewer. Also, her hairstyle is dope!

Find Morgan Thorne BDSM here


4.) The Troy Spiral Show – BDSM Journey & Education

Troy educates his viewers on the BDSM lifestyle through a hippy-dippy, spiritual lens. He writes “[this Youtube channel is] my lifelong love letter to the spiritually minded, pro-social, BDSM community. The truly deep intimacy we can have in this lifestyle, be you an atheist or an agnostic is so touching.”

He’s not very widely known, but he has a unique perspective for newbies in the community. I don’t always agree with what he has to say, but I think that that’s all the more reason to include him on this list. If you want to get supernatural with your kink, Troy is your man!

Find The Troy Spiral Show here


5.) Desires Laid Bare

Want to explore kink and BDSM but don’t know WHERE or HOW to start? We’ve got you covered. This channel is dedicated to curious beginners! Desires Laid Bare has all the newbie fixings from “what is BDSM” to her deep analysis of the nuance of roles and labels. She is very popular. I HIGHLY recommend her. She is well organized, has strong production value, stays on topic, is clear to understand, and is super relocatable! Above all, she really knows her stuff.

Find Desires Laid Bare here

This is a list of some great educational podcasts for new folks entering the BDSM community! Are you falling asleep in rush-hour traffic? Are you home alone with housework to do? Keep life’s dull moments kinky and educational with this list of podcasts. They are a great and entertaining resource for kinksters of all experience levels!


1.) Kudrin’s Krypt

Master Kuldrin (the guy who runs the podcast) has over 20 years in the BDSM community and 25 years in the mental health field. I think he’s got a unique understanding and respect for our alternative lifestyle. He covers a lot of essential topics for the newbies. He has a more old-guard perspective on kink, but he is very respectful and socially unproblematic. Fair warning, though…. he’s a true slow-talking southerner. I recommend listening to the podcast at 1.5x speed.

Find Kudrin’s Krypt here


2.) Erotic Awakening

Every week, they interview a different international presenter or power exchange expert. Some of the episodes are “how-to” sessions by well-known instructors, others are interviews with highly regarded experts. This podcast focuses more equally on BDSM, Leather, Swinger, and Polyamory topics. Not to mention it’s hilarious!

Find Erotic Awakening here


3.) The People of Kink (TPOK)

These people do live interviews with real people of the BDSM lifestyle. They often go out to kinky conventions and events to find folks to interview. Real People, Real Kink. They give an open and honest talk about everything kinky. It can be very relocatable to hear perspectives from new folks and non-experts on the show. It’s fucking hilarious. I highly recommend it.

Find The People of Kink here


4.) Off the Cuffs: a kink and BDSM podcast, for those in the lifestyle and those who are curious.

Each week hosts Dick Wound and Minimus Maximus engage in free-form discussions with a wide variety of guests. They discuss their journey into kink, scenes they’ve been involved in, and the importance of consent and communication. Exploring everything from scene etiquette to managing relationships, the entire spectrum of kink is covered! From the sensual to the sadistic and the bizarre to vanilla, you’ll find the stories entertaining at the very least!

Find Off The Cuffs here

This is a list of some great informational websites about kink for folks new to the BDSM community! I know all too well the struggles of trudging through the swamp of misinformation online. I hope these resources help to give accurate information to those in search of kinky enlightenment!


1.) Fetlife & Fetlife Glossary

Fetlife is a free social network for the BDSM, Leather & Fetish Communities. It’s similar to Facebook and MySpace but run by kinksters for kinksters. This is the primary place where many groups across the world post events, update friends about fun things happening in the scene or in their lives life, and discuss their lifestyles. FetLife’s website design was not crafted to be used like kinky tinder, and so Fetlife is not best used as a hookup app.

Fetlife has a short glossary page of basic BDSM terms and roles with simple, quick definitions. This is a good resource if you are just starting out. It’s also great if you want to reexamine which role/title is a good fit for you or your friends.

Find Fetlife here
Find the Fetlife Glossary here


2.) National Coalition for Sexual Freedom

The NCSF is a 501C3 advocate organization that focuses on community education and legislative lobbying. They aim to advance the rights of- and advocate for- consenting adults in the BDSM, Leather, Fetish, Drag, Burlesque, Swing, and Polyamory Communities.

As of spring 2022, the NCSF Consent Counts Committee is currently working on an educational campaign to lobby MN state legislators about the new Model Penal Code on Sexual Assault’s Section 213:10: Explicit Prior Permission for consent to kink.

The NCSF has a registry of kink-aware licensed professionals in your area like doctors & nurses, law enforcement, lawyers, psychologists, therapists, and even real estate agents. You can use their directory to find kink-aware professionals near you who will help you meet your needs, treat you with dignity, and never pathologize your sexual/lifestyle preferences. As of spring 2022, the State of Minnesota alone has more than 50 participating companies/medical practices with kink-aware professionals in each.

Note: The Kink-aware professionals registry does not include recreational establishments, religious establishments, personal ads, or sex stores. This registry is only for kink-aware licensed professionals.

Find the NCSF here
Find the NCSF’s Directory of Kink-Aware Professionals here


3.) The Eulenspiegel Society

TES is a nonprofit BDSM / Leather / Fetish organization dedicated to the social interaction, educational exchange, and ever-changing diversity of our community. TES is a 501C3 organization that focuses its efforts on teaching and nurturing the healthy expression of sexual diversity; they provide high-quality education and forums for discourse.

They host a very large and well-known annual educational sex-positive event on the East Coast. And, TES creates and operates The TES Center in the heart of NYC where our community and all like-minded individuals are welcome to practice and learn, together. Their website is chock full of useful information and resources.

Find The Eulenspiegel Society here


4.) BDSM Wiki

This is a fantastic website (arguably the master website) for all things definitions, basic information, philosophy of kink, and best practice suggestions. Just heard a kinky word you’ve never heard before? This is the place! It is well researched, ethical, politically neutral, and its content is very expansive.

I LOVE this site; it’s made learning easy and convenient! It functions almost identical to regular Wikipedia. Keep in mind that there are two BDSM Wiki websites by the same name. To find the correct BDSM Wiki website, make sure the background color of the page is black.

Find BDSM Wiki here

It can be so hard to find good kinky representation in today’s media. This is a list of some great pieces of fiction that depict some of the most accurate representations of the BDSM & Leather lifestyle.

Our community has a long and powerful history, a strong collection of cultural values, and a set of common experiences that we all share across sex, orientation, race, religion, and nationalities. This is a place to find good modern depictions of kink in media, and also to find some well-renowned classics from our shared history.


1.) Love and Leashes (Rated TV-14, Came out in 2022)

Love and Leashes is a very cheesy Korean drama about a budding D/s relationship between co-workers. Its consent modeling and depiction of BDSM play are very on-point! It’s honestly the first time we have seen such positive BDSM representation in mass media. Good news! It can be watched both subbed and dubbed in English

The story begins as one of a man’s female co-workers mistakenly opens a package of his, accidentally revealing one of his sexual fetishes. He passes it off as owning a pet. In secret, Ji Hoo and Ji Woo arrange a D/s contract; that begins a racy romance that indulges Ji Hoo’s fetish for slave/master fantasies. It’s great for a cheezy binge-watch!

You can see Love and Leashes on Netflix


2.) Original French: Pauline Reage, “The Story of O” Jean-Jacques Pauvert (1954).

Translated English: Sabine d’Estree (Translator) “The Story of O” Random House Publishing Group (2013).

The Story of O is an extremely famous piece of classic literature codified in the BDSM culture. For any BDSM and Leather history buff, this novel is an absolute must-read!

Pauline Reage weaves an extremely graphic, violent, and emotional story of a young slave girl named O. How far will a woman go to express her love? From the inner sanctum of a private club where willing women are schooled in the art of subjugation, O tests the outermost limits of pleasure. For as O discovers, true freedom lies in her pure and complete willingness to do anything for the man you trust.

This book is 1950s erotic fiction. It is not meant to be enjoyed as an example of healthy D/s relationships. In fact, I found the consent modeling of this book to be terrifyingly non-existent. But, it’s a classic and it’s a truly moving story. I cried reading porn… I cried a lot… so… GO READ IT! It’s deep!

Buy the book here
Buy the audiobook here


3.) The Secretary (Rated R, Came out in 2002)

The Secretary is another classic piece of fiction media in the BDSM and Leather culture. The Secretary is a 2002 movie about a young woman (recently released from a mental hospital) who gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer, where their employer-employee relationship turns into a sexual, sadomasochistic one.

The relationship between the characters is captivating from their first moments on screen together. And, the bath scene is one of the most touching and soft representations of aftercare ever shown in popular media.

Watch The Secretary on Amazon Prime

You don’t need to be polyamorous or even in an open relationship to explore and enjoy kink.  That said, it is quite common for kinksters to explore with different people.  But if this idea is new to you, it may be very uncomfortable.  Here are a few good books to help explain them and perhaps show them to you in a different light.


1.) Janet W. Hardy “The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures” Celestial Arts (2009).

For 20 years The Ethical Slut has been widely known as the “Poly Bible”. It is well known and well-loved. The ethical slut is provocatively named, it has an extremely healthy message. It dispels myths and shows curious readers how to maintain a successful polyamorous lifestyle through open communication, emotional honesty, and safer sex practices.

The third edition of this timeless guide to the ethics of relationships, communication, and sex has been revised to include: Interviews with poly millennials, tributes to polyamory pioneers, tools for conflict resolution and instructions on how to improve interpersonal dynamics, and new sidebars on topics such as asexuality, sex workers, LGBTQ terminology, and ways polys can connect and thrive.

PS: If you like audiobooks, you are in luck. The audiobook is read by the author. It is quite pleasant to listen to.

Buy the book or digital book here
Buy the audiobook here


2.) Jessica Fern “Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Non-Monogamy” Thorntree Press (2020).

Polysecure is a deep dive into the human psychology of attachment and polyamory. It is a fairly dry scientific read. But it also has some excellent advice about jealousy, guilt, and time management in poly relationships. If you are a biology nerd, you’ll love this book!

Attachment theory has entered the mainstream, but most discussions focus on how we can cultivate secure monogamous relationships. Polyamorous psychotherapist Jessica Fern breaks new ground by extending attachment theory into the realm of consensual non-monogamy. Using her nested model of attachment and trauma, she expands our understanding of how emotional experiences can influence our relationships. Then, she sets out six specific strategies to help you move toward secure attachments in your multiple relationships.

Buy the book or digital book here
Buy the audiobook here


3.) Franklin Veaux “More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory” Thorntree Press (2014).

This book has it all from Ancient Greece through the many dynasties of China to current practices of non-monogamy. This wide-ranging resource explores the often-complex world of living polyamorously: the nuances (no, this isn’t swinging), the relationship options (do you suit a V, an N, an open network?), the myths (don’t count on wild orgies and endless sex) and the expectations (communication, transparency, and trust are paramount). “More Than Two” is non-judgmental and peppered with a good dose of humor. If you like kinky anthropology, Greek myths, and a looooooong explanation of kinky hierarchy structures, then you’ll love this book!

Buy the book or digital book here
Buy the audiobook here

The kink world has always held a fascination for many.  There is a growing body of academic research on the subject that may be helpful.


1.) Wuyts, Elise, and Manuel Morrens. “The biology of BDSM: a systematic review.” The journal of sexual medicine (2022).

Wuyts did some extremely in-depth research into the neuroscience and physiological effects of BDSM activities. If you want to know the biology behind why BDSM feels SOOO good, this is the place to learn! It’s honestly a fantastic and informative read. I can’t recommend it enough!

I could tell you all about it, but I’ll let his results speak for themselves. This is the stuff I thought was most interesting:

Research into changes in hormone levels related to BDSM activity suggests:

  • “There is evidence for cortisol changes in submissives as a result of a BDSM interaction, suggesting an involvement of the physiological stress system.”
  • “Endocannabinoid changes implicate the pleasure and reward system. In dominants, this biologically measured pleasure seemed to be dependent on power play rather than pain play.”
  • “Testosterone and oxytocin are also implicated in BDSM, though their role is less evident.”
    Research into brain region activity patterns related to BDSM interest suggests:
  • “[There is a role for] the parietal operculum and ventral striatum in the context of the pleasure and reward system.”
  • “[There is a role for] the primary and secondary somatosensory cortex in the context of pain perception.”
  • “[There is a role for] empathy-related circuits such as the anterior insula anterior midcingulate cortex and sensorimotor cortex.”
  • “[There is a role for] the left frontal cortex in the context of social and sexual interactions.”
  • “Pain thresholds are shown to be higher in submissive individuals, and a BDSM interaction may cause pain thresholds to rise in submissives as well.”

Read it for free here


2.) Schori, Anouk, Christian Jackowski, and Corinna A. Schön. “How safe is BDSM? A literature review on fatal outcomes in BDSM play.” International Journal of Legal Medicine (2021).

We all know that BDSM can be extremely dangerous. But exactly how dangerous is it? Fatal outcomes while participating in BDSM activities can and do occur. The aim of this literature review is to give a better insight into potentially dangerous BDSM play by summarizing published data on BDSM fatalities.

That is to say, this review summarizes the most common ways people have died doing BDSM. Here are some of their most important results:

  • “Strangulation in the course of erotic asphyxiation was the most common cause of death (88.2%)”.
  • “Drugs or alcohol was involved in 64.3% of fatal BDSM play”.
  • “In 52.9% of cases, the level of experience in BDMS activity of the deceased and the partner was described, and in all of them, the deceased and the partner were not new to BDSM play.”
  • “Fatal outcomes of BDSM plays are rarer than autoerotic fatalities and natural deaths related to sexual activities. “
  • “Safeguards and education on medical aspects exist in the BDSM communities. If they are followed by the practitioners, the risks of BDSM play can be reduced.”
  • “Cases of non-natural death connected to BDSM are rare incidents and can be prevented.”

Read it for free here


3.) Herbitter, Cara, Michelle D. Vaughan, and David W. Pantalone. “Mental health provider bias and clinical competence in addressing asexuality, consensual non-monogamy, and BDSM” The Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy (2021).

Most of us already know that being open about being kinky can set you up for all kind of discrimination. But, how likely are you to get treated differently when you go to the doctor? This article analysis rates of bias and discrimination toward sexually stigmatized groups (including BDSM) by medical professionals and therapists.

This is the stuff I thought was most interesting:

  • “75% of physicians surveyed agreed that sexual orientation and alternative lifestyles should be covered more often during training.”
  • “Almost 40% of physicians responding reported that they had no formal training regarding sexually stigmatized groups (including BDSM) in medical school or residency.”
  • “15% of responding physicians had witnessed discriminatory care for sexually stigmatized patients.”
  • “Nearly 20% of physicians surveyed said they had witnessed disrespect toward the partner of a sexually stigmatized patient.”

Herbitter also campairs patient outcomes from providers who with no perceived bias to providers who pathologize these sexual minorities.

This study finds that “patients who worked with an affirming mental health professional self-report better outcomes than patients who had their sexual preferences pathologized.”

Read for free here


4.) Pitagora, Dulcinea. “No pain, no gain? Therapeutic and relational benefits of subspace in BDSM contexts.” The Journal of Positive Sexuality (2017).

We all know subspace is fucking fantastic, but what the hell is it? And, how can it affect us later in life? This article reviews social science literature on BDSM interactions. Pitagora examines the neuroscience of subspace and reports her assessment about the physiological impact. She also analyzes the on-going social and emotional impact of subspace on individuals in the long term.

This is the stuff I thought was most interesting:

  • “In some patients, engaging in intense BDSM activities can induce a release of chemical endorphins in the brain. [Colloquially, this phenomenon has been described by practitioners as “subspace”].”
  • “These endorphins act as analgesics, binding with neurological receptors that reduce the perception of pain. This process may also invoke a physiological response that is perceived as a natural sedative.”
  • “Endorphins may also trigger positive feelings in the body, similar to that of morphine.”
  • “These endorphins and neurotransmitters bind-to the same neuron receptors as some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins has not been shown to lead to addiction or dependence.”
  • “From an analysis of the literature, I conclude that achieving subspace during consensual BDSM interactions might result in a reduction of physical and emotional stress in the submissive partner, as well as heightened intimacy between participants.”

Read it for free here


5.)Holvoet, Lien, et al. “Fifty shades of Belgian gray: The prevalence of BDSM-related fantasies and activities in the general population.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine (2017).

Here’s a question: how many people are actually kinky? Amongst the whole population, how many of us engage in BDSM, and how many more of us have BDSM fantasies? The aim of this article is to determine the prevalence of BDSM fantasies and behavioral involvement from four different age groups of the general population (this study was done in Belgium).

The data was collected using a self reported survey. 1,027 people completed the survey. Here is what I thought was most interesting:

  • Most common: Well educated, hetrosexual women
  • Lease Common: Poorly educated, LGBT+ men
  • More likely: between 35-48 years old

Read it for free here

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