Luna Carruthers has been running Submissive Guide, a large website of resources for anyone identifying as a kinky submissive, in 2009. I actually found the website way back in the early days of my kinky explorations in my late teens and very early twenties. It’s been years since I visited the site, so getting reacquainted with it while reading Pain Play for Everyone and writing this review was a fun trip down memory lane!
Pain Play for Everyone by Luna Carruthers is a quick read at 102 pages in length. But there’s a lot of useful information packed into this slim volume.
A book for receivers rather than givers
If you want to be the person dishing out the pain in a kinky scene, this book is not going to teach you the practicalities or necessary safety tips on how to do that. There are great resources available that teach you how to do that, and I encourage you to check them out.
Pain Play for Everyone is very much geared towards the submissive or receiving partner. I liked that about it. So much BDSM content is written by and for Dominants, possibly due to the assumption that us submissives just lie there and get stuff done to us.
But I’ve long held that bottoming well is a skill, and one that deserves to be taught – and celebrated – as much as Topping. Therefore, I’m glad to see a book written by a submissive, for submissives.
However, though it’s aimed at submissives and bottoms, I actually think Dominants and Tops should read it, too. The hallmark of a great Dominant is being able to understand and empathise with their submissive’s experience. By understanding how masochists experience and process pain, sadists can become better, more empathic, and safer players.
Accessible and easy-reading
Luna uses accessible language throughout the book, making it easy to read and absorb the information. She simplifies complex concepts and brings them into the realm of real-life kinky play situations.
The book is well-structured with clear headers for each section that make it easy to find what you’re looking for.
Luna shares a number of practical strategies for increasing pain management and pain processing ability during kink play. The strategies are clearly described, making them easy to try out and implement. They won’t all work for you, because everyone is different. But by trying a few different options, you’re likely to find something that is helpful for you.
Experience-informed and well-researched
Luna uses her own experiences throughout the book to help explain the points she makes. By sharing her real-life experiences, she brings the content out of the abstract and into the real.
Pain Play for Everyone seems solidly researched and delves into a little of the neuroscience, psychology, and physiology of pain processing.
I would have liked to see a bibliography or footnotes referencing sources for some of the more science-heavy bits. But that’s because I’m a massive dork and want to go and read more. There are a couple of links to relevant studies and book suggestions included, but I would have liked to see a much more extensive list of sources.
Who is it for?
I’d definitely have found this book useful when was a new submissive and just starting to explore pain play. Most of it was stuff I already knew, given with my well-over-a-decade-at-this-point of experience.
I still got something out of it, though. I particularly found the descriptions of the various types of pain – beyond thud and sting – to be useful. It also gave me a couple of new ways of thinking about processing intense sensation during a scene. But as a broad generalisation, it’s more likely to be useful to newer kinksters than experienced players.
If you’re new to submission or being on the receiving end of sadomasochistic activity, there will be something for you in this book. In particular, you might find it useful if you are looking for ways to increase your pain tolerance or play at a higher level of intensity.
Where to buy it
You can get a free signed copy of Pain Play for Everyone (along with a host of other cool benefits) when you join the Devoted tier on their Patreon page. The book is also available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle edition, along with Luna’s other releases.
I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. If you enjoy my work, please consider supporting the blog – and my caffeine habit – by buying me a coffee.