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The Courage of Her Submissions   by Greta Christina

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Reviewer Greta Christina has worked in and around the sex industry for over a decade writing about it, editing books about it, and living it. She edited Paying For It, a collection of articles by all kinds of sex workers: dommes, escorts, peep show girls, T-girls. Her novella called Bending is out in Susie Bright's book Three Kinds of Asking For It (published by Simon & Schuster and can be found at In response to overwhelming member requests for reviews of sex toys, sexy films, and other sex whatnots, Ms. Christina brings her girl-about-sex wisdom twice monthly to AdultFriendFinder. You can check out Ms. Christina on her web site,

The Pleasure’s All Mine: The Memoir of a Professional Submissive by Joan Kelly

Publisher: Carroll & Graf
Price: $14.95
Available at Good Vibrations,
and at Last Gasp,

Damn. Sexual insight and stroke material, all in one book.

Sometimes you just get lucky.

The title of this book is very much self-explanatory. It’s the memoir of a professional submissive. The author is a woman who gets paid (rather well, at that) to be spanked, caned, bound, exhibited, fondled, and otherwise sexually tormented/dominated/used, in an entertaining assortment of ways.

And the pleasure really is hers. She actively seeks out this line of work... not merely to make a living, but to get her masochistic rocks off.

There are oodles of ideas and insights about sex to be gained from this book. Even with all the sex-worker memoirs in the bookstores right now, there hasn’t been much written about professional submission -- it’s just not a very common line of work. So you get a unique look at a side of sex work you don’t often see.

But perhaps even better than that, you get a unique -- and extremely arousing -- look at a women who’s powerfully driven by sex. The author, Joan Kelly, pursues her submissive sexual desires with a devotion and persistence that is truly astonishing. And her memoir makes for a read that gave me both inspiration and a very wet pussy.

As the book begins, Joan has recently left an unsatisfying first kinky relationship. She’s beginning to navigate the SM singles/dating scene, but is finding it dispiriting -- not to mention annoying as hell. A chance remark from a lousy date clues her in to the world of professional domination and submission... and in two weeks, she’s sitting in the waiting room of a pro dungeon, waiting for her first client to arrive.

And almost immediately, she knows she’s found the job for her. The SM dating scene had been a frustrating mess -- but in a very short time, her work at the dungeon was fulfilling many of her most cherished submissive dreams... and filling her with experiences she’d never imagined. To use her own words, “All that money, and more sexual release than I had felt in years in just a few hours’ time. I didn’t know if I could stand to wait a whole week before I came back.”

After that promising beginning, the adventures come thick and fast. Joan’s work as a pro submissive leads her into a stirring assortment of sexual experiences, in directions she never anticipated. There are men who spank her until she comes, and men who spank her until she loses her heart.
Photo: David Naz

There are men she tells quite firmly to keep their hands off her pussy, and men she spreads her legs for and begs to fuck her. There are women, too -- mostly other pros -- colleagues taking pleasure in teaching her the trade, or just horny dyke dommes dying to get their wicked hands and toys on her compliant flesh. She tries new things -- like peeing in a bowl -- that baffle and amuse her, and she tries new things -- like getting caned -- that terrify her beforehand and make her quiver for more afterwards. And she quickly moves from the safe but limited world of the dungeon to a riskier but more satisfying position as an independent, finding and booking her own clients.

Now, while there are heaps and loads of explicit sexy bits in the book, you should be aware that this isn’t porn per se. It isn’t wall-to-wall sex, and the “good parts” aren’t the book’s sole reason for being. And while Joan’s memoir is certainly loaded with “good parts” -- sex scenes that are vivid and filthy, scenes that grabbed my hand firmly and ordered me to shove it in my pants at once -- it’s also got plenty of sex scenes that go south, sometimes amusingly, sometimes unhappily. This is not a cherished sexual fantasy polished to perfection -- it’s a real memoir of a real sex life, with both the highs and the lows.

But the reality of it is a huge part of what makes this book so hot. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer porn that’s realistic. If a sex scene (in a book, a video, a photo, a dirty comic book, whatever) seems like it could actually be happening, it’s much easier for me to feel like I’m there, to get into the characters’ skins and immerse myself in the scene. So real-life sex stories -- assuming they’re hot and well-written -- can be the hottest of all. There’s no wondering, “Is this plausible? Could this really happen?” Of course it could really happen. It did really happen. And the fact that it really happened adds a jolt of immediacy that makes my clit sit up and beg.

That’s not the best thing about this book, though. For me, the best thing about this book is how inspiring it is. Joan Kelly has tremendous sexual courage, a willingness to follow her bliss and trust her sexual instincts in the face of naysaying friends and colleagues who told her she wasn’t being wise or safe. She listened to her clit and her heart when she went into the pro sub business in the first place, despite being told by some nitwit “experienced player” that it would “ruin” her as a submissive. And she listened to her clit and heart again when she ignored the advice of her colleagues at the dungeon and went into business for herself. She wanted what she wanted, and by God she was going to get it. And what she wanted was to be spanked and sexually controlled -- often -- by people who knew what they were doing.

So reading Joan’s book filled me with both envy and admiration for her sexual chutzpah. The envy may seem strange; it’s not like I haven’t had my own sexual adventures, and it’s not like I’m not planning to have more. But my own past adventures don’t seem all that adventurous to me anymore.They just seem normal now, just stuff I’ve done, part of my life and my history. Reading about other people’s adventures -- especially ones like Joan’s, ones I love to fantasize about and would never in a hundred years want to actually do myself -- is an inspiring reminder of the doors that sexual adventure can open up. It’s an inspiring reminder of what you can gain when you speak up, take chances, and -- at least sometimes -- let the little head do the thinking.

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