May 18, 2019
This was my second time reading the story tonight, and I especially applaud Tamaki Yura for her depiction of BDSM.
Story (8/10): There was delicacy and care placed in the story. There was clearly research done on the sex toys and the various techniques that could be done. There was emphasis on communicating and understanding your partner, to provide them pleasure and the right amount of pain, without doing anything that they hate or do not consent to. A safe space was highly emphasized between all six friends.
I saw how the main couple, Marlon and Doug, developed a greater understanding of each other, through the encouragement
of their friends. We see some events after the couple is engaged, where they continuously cherished each other.
There was respect as well, including leaving the space whenever a couple was having their private time, and validating each other even when somebody was not your partner. This story had a positive message of accepting yourself and being open to explore yourself in a safe and supportive environment.
Art (8/10): I was conflicted whether to give the art a 7/10 or an 8/10. Since this was written from 1992 to 1998, the art style is understandably different from what we see today. However, I decided to give the art a higher rating because of the detail placed on the toys and it was usually clear where everyone was positioned. I applaud the leather especially, because it always looked shiny and was wrapped nicely around a character's muscles.
Character (9/10): I like that all the characters are consenting adults, so they know what they are agreeing to be a part of. There was care and patience. The point was not to hurt and abuse each other, but to arouse each other and for everyone in the room to have fun. There were also distinct character traits, like Charlie who is cheerful and amazing at cooking, and Lewis who is a calm and sensible doctor. Randy and Phil are the wilder members who know to respect the rules that the group established during playtime. Whether someone engages in BDSM or not, it was pleasing to see a group of people gather for a common passion and to share their knowledge and experiences with each other.
Enjoyment (10/10): I enjoyed this story better than I expected. I have read previous stories that attempt to demonstrate BDSM, but they off-screen many moments; characters are inexperienced and scenes end quickly; characters misunderstand BDSM for rape (no, the sadist is not supposed to force the masochist; the sadist should learn how to please the masochist's desires); characters have poor communication, including no safe word or do not stop altogether when they have gone too far. So, this story serves as a role model of how BDSM can be presented.
I liked how healthy this story was, and that everyone knew each other, so they did not hurt each other. Communication occurred in every single chapter, and everybody knew what the other person was doing. Without that group unity, playtime could have easily been very dangerous, which the characters prevented. Every person even had their health checked, so they knew everyone was HIV negative. Many stories do not show the characters getting checked, so clearly, the characters made sure everyone was safe and then engaged with each other safely.
Overall (10/10): It only takes me one hour to read this story. So, it's easy to engage with. It's light in terms of its length, and the sincerity of the characters. This story helped expand my knowledge on BDSM toys, and it showed me ways people can engage with each other. This story also helps to dismantle the misconceptions of BDSM’s only purposes are to hurt or control each other, for the sake of feeling powerful. This story presents that BDSM is one way where people can be true to themselves (if they desire it), and that it is perfectly okay to do so.
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