03 Jul '12

A Nix Release Day Review – 31 Flavors of Kink (3.75 Stars)

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A traumatic past has left Sidney unable to enjoy sex. She doesn’t get aroused by the thought of traditional sex, no matter how hard she tries to please her husband. After five years of terrible sex, she finds something that pushes her buttons in an erotic novel; only question is will her husband be into it?
When Sidney approaches Nick to try to bring BDSM into their bedroom, he is all for trying anything to get her to enjoy sex. Tentatively they take baby-steps into the lifestyle, trying out many new techniques to find the ones that fit them. Through pain and bondage, Sidney finds a release she never thought she would get and begins to look forward to being intimate with her husband.
Whereas Sidney needs the pain and control to orgasm, Nick only participates because he wants to watch the woman he loves enjoy herself. Although being in control is fun, it takes a lot of work and sometimes it just seems too much.  As resentment starts to breed on both sides, it’s clear that the decision to foray into the world of kink has opened Pandora’s Box. No matter how much you try, those feelings won’t lie back down. Can their marriage survive the awakening of Sidney’s desires?
Confession time; I have read the first version of this book and then this one. The revisions have worked wonders for this book and I enjoyed most of the tale. The fact that it is based on a real story makes it hard to review; the decisions in this book are based on a real marriage and feature real people which makes it crazy hard to judge. The one thing I loved about the whole thing was the mantra that there is no one size fits all in regards to sex; there is a spectrum between Vanilla and a full BDSM relationship that can be filled by anyone. After reading tens of BDSM books, this is not a message that ever came across as fully as I thought it should; I loved the thought that your relationship could contain or omit as many rules as you wanted.
The thing that concerned me about the whole of this book was the fact that Sidney craved BDSM whereas Nick only dabbled for her. This was always going to be a test of who could bend more and unfortunately, I felt that Nick did all of the bending. It was clear that he started practicing with the bondage for her and only enjoyed it because she did; it was a novelty for him for her to crave him as much as he did her. He was bound to want down time and have normal sex; he was only playing at being a Dom and didn’t need to feel that element of control. My bug-bar was she wouldn’t even attempt compromise properly; instead she just flipped it back on him and laid out a massive guilt trip about making her feel like she was “work”. It was work to him. It didn’t come naturally and he didn’t enjoy the research; demanding sex from him constantly and then berating him when he wants her to bend for him was ridiculous. I pitied her character, but I’m not sure that I liked her for what she did to him. I enjoyed that she felt strong enough to ask for what she needed but I hated that she was so self-obsessed with her pain that she couldn’t give her man what he needed too.
Nick was always going to come out of this tale well to me. He was literally doing anything for the woman he loved. He used his words and his actions to prove to her how he loved her; the man was a fricking saint! I have no bad words to say about this man because he was real and he was lovely. He showed how real relationships aren’t based on love and lust, but constant work and compromise. It was only a shame that she was as unwilling to bend.

Look. We’re not Vanilla. And that’s okay. But we don’t have to be Rocky Road either. Baskin-Robbins alone has thirty-one flavors. We can be a combination of flavors or even make up our own.

The sex scenes were fabulously sexy and you could feel the care and love in each scene. He gave her what she wanted, but he did it whilst checking she was OK and not pushing. The scenes are hot and imaginative….I loved the Throbinator! BDSM enthusiasts will hate this because, really, Sidney is giving up very little control. She really does come across as if she doesn’t trust him enough to give him the freedom of her body. I couldn’t imagine how it would feel to have the person you love the most shrink away from you in fear, knowing that you put that look on her face.  I knew why she had that fear, but I wondered throughout if she was mentally healthy enough to be a fully functioning part of a relationship.
I don’t see this as a tale with a HEA; I see it as the first chapter in a work-in progress. Hopefully by the end Sidney will be in a place where she can be an equal in that relationship and that is a book I’d like to read.  I’m starring it based on the fact that I will read it again, if only for the Balloon scene J


Nix

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