A few weeks ago my girlfriend, was at a New York City diner after a TES function chatting with some of her fellow kinksters and one of them had a well loved, dog eared, and annotated copy of a little paper back called The Control Book sitting on the table. She asked to have a look at it, read a quick section and thought it was something I would like. That night over skype she recommended it to me. She was right. I love it!
The Control Book by Peter Masters is not your typical book on dominance and submission. In my experience the typical kink book spends the bulk of its time on the what and the why of bondage and SM. They look on D/S as almost an afterthought, or a product of the other things that we do, as though if you spank them it will come. The control book is different. It is fundamentally about control: having it, giving it, sharing it, and being aware of it.
Over my kink education (short as it has been) I've been exposed to many discussion and debates about what seperates tops from dominants. This discussion is everywhere: in print, in dungeons, and online. It seems like one of those things that people just seem to know, but no one can clearly articulate. This is an area where Masters really comes through, communicating this difference more clearly and more succinctly than I've heard it put before. The difference is control sensitivity.
The Control Book doesn't spend time talking about why someone might be a control sensitive dominant or submissive. It doesn't waste pages on personal anecdotes, or colorful fluff. What is left is all meat.
The beauty of The Control Book is its codification of what happens when someone takes control. Every time we take control of our submissives, regardless of what we're controlling or how we're acquiring that control, the process contains the same distinct elements or steps. It's easy to hear steps and think this book is a "How to" of dominance. Well, it is and it isn't. Its not cookbook dominance, its not take one dash hair pulling add one cup firm tone of voice and... voila submissive. Rather Masters simply identifies that in each transaction control will be offered, taken, recieved, and excersized. Each of those elements takes countless forms but Masters postulates (and I agree), that they're always present. I expect that being aware of these steps will change the way I approach dominance.
The other gem in The Control Book is the time it spends on communication. Everyone knows that communication is more than the words we say. It's also all of the other signals we send, and how we recieve the signals sent by others. Where Masters goes one step further is the delineation of the conscious, subconcious, and unconscious minds. All of these effect both the signals we send and how we recieve signals from others. The real insight is that each element of the mind speaks best to its own counterpart. For example, in reading I realized that my own submissive's unconcious mind is very receptive to unconscious dominant signals, while her conscious mind might be hesitant. Therefore while trying to take control by first giving orders (an act of the conscious mind) is likely to meet resistance. If I instead initiate with a more unconcious signal, like invading her personal space and taking her by the scruff of the neck I can be more successful, and bypass resistance of one mind by speaking to another.
I could go on but I'm going to end here. I heartily recommend the book for anyyone who finds themselves sensitive to the ebb and flow of control within thier relationships.
Love and Kink.