from 150 Shades of Play

The following is just a very small taste of what 150 Shades of Play has to offer (there are many more entries for each letter of the alphabet). Bolded words signify individual entries that appear elsewhere in the A-to-Z section of the book. Anything with a tie icon   indicates an activity or prop mentioned in the Fifty Shades series (symbolic of the famous woven tie Christian Grey uses to restrain Anastasia Steele). The idea being: look up something you’re interested in and, from there, make it a choose-your-own-adventure book by following any bolded words that pique your interest to their own dedicated entry. Or just start at A and don’t stop ‘til you get to Z—or ‘til you’re compelled to try something out with your partner, whichever comes first!


Anastasia Steele

The heroine/reluctant sub/damsel in distress (D.i.D.) of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, who falls hard (literally) for romantic, bad-boy, billionaire dom, Christian Grey. She has two imaginary friends: her snarky, cartwheel-twirling Inner Goddess and her finger-drumming Subconscious (yes, yes, if this character were truly subconscious, then Ana wouldn’t be aware of her, but let’s not let literary accuracy get in the way of a good time, shall we?). All three appear to be virgins at the start of the series—and none of them ever met an adverb she didn’t like. By the end (spoiler alert!), they’re all on board for a little BDSM play in a custom-designed Red Room of Pain with now hubby/baby-daddy Christian.



The only kink accessory guaranteed to make it past judgmental cleaning ladies, visiting parents, and airport security (hell, the airline might even give you a blindfold for free if it’s an overnight flight!). It’s also a must-have for beginners: If you’re having trouble embracing your inner kinkster, making your partner don a blindfold will make everything seem less, well, silly.

Not sure that a latex catsuit is “you”? Then blindfold your partner and make them guess what you’re wearing with their hands. Afraid that your paddle action is lackluster and limp-wristed? Keep your victim in the dark while you work on your swing. Does eye contact keep taking you out of the moment whenever you try to role-play? It’s much easier to stay in character (and avoid the giggles) if only one of you can see. Basically, when your partner wears a blindfold, your inhibitions are lowered, much like having sex on tequila—but without the raging hangover or diminished hand-eye coordination (and five minutes with this book should tell you that many of the activities described herein require advanced hand-eye coordination…sloppy cock and ball torture, anyone?).

And when you wear the blindfold? It’s a legitimate excuse to just lie back, relax and be attended to—simply enjoying the heightened sense of touch that results from another one of your senses (in this case sight) being restricted.  See also sensory deprivation.



If it’s a uniform of some sort that’s tight, revealing, and made of latex, there’s a 99.99% chance it’s a fetish outfit. However, you can certainly go for more realistic costumes by using things lying around the house (D.I.Y.-style), renting one from a non-fetish costume shop, or getting your hands on an authentic uniform (try eBay or industry supply shops). The idea is to get into character and find your motivation for a little role-playing, or at least for feeling like someone you’re not: There’s nothing like a naughty nurse’s outfit to give you the confidence to finally poke your boyfriend with a lubed, latex-gloved, index finger.

Other popular costumes (most of which come in handy latex versions) include: doctor, patient, priest, nun, military personnel, interrogator, vampire, Victorian, school marm, (Catholic) school girl/boy, cheerleader, governess, little kid/baby, police officer, Canadian mountie—basically anything that helps create or emphasize a certain sexual power dynamic.

If you’re feeling less than adventurous, know that wearing something just a little more sensuous than usual can help get you in the right mood for play (remember, Ana swapped her big T-shirts for some nice silk numbers). See also wigs.

cuffs, ankle and wrist 

If restraining someone by their wrists and ankles is the meat-and-potatoes of bondage, then made-for-play cuffs (sold at any sex toy store) are bondage’s Hungry-Man frozen dinners: quick, easy, and surprisingly satisfying. Bondage cuffs are way safer than handcuffs and provide instant gratification—unlike rope, with its pain-in-the-ass learning curve. Most cuffs are made of either leather or nylon (for kinky vegans, e.g. Super Cuffs) and are often lined with faux fur, etc. (for comfort even during marathon seshes). And before you complain that faux fur is “not me” or “so last season,” just try writhing around in a pair of police-issue handcuffs first. For real-world restraints that aren’t a pain in the wrist, check out the surprisingly attractive institutional cuffs at MedicalToys.com. And for something a little more in line with the high-end Fifty Shades aesthetic, check out LELO’s Etherea Silk Cuffs and Sutra Chainlink Cuffs.

Bondage cuffs feature either buckles or Velcro (the former gives a stronger hold, the latter a quicker release and a sexy sound) and are fairly wide (at least two to three inches) to ward off the nerve damage that is a risk of traditional handcuffs. Speaking of risks: As with any form of bondage, the bottom should speak up as soon as he or she notices any numbness or tingling, and the top should allow for at least one finger’s width between cuff and skin. And regular bondage cuffs should never be used for any kind of suspension—you need special equipment for that sort of advanced play (although you should never suspend someone from the wrists, no matter the gear). Bondage cuffs typically feature D-rings so that they can be tethered to each other, to bed posts, to chair legs, etc. And if you’re still sleeping on your college futon? Most sex toy shops sell “Under the Bed” tethers that serve as makeshift bedposts. Another option is to attach the ankle or wrist cuffs to a spreader bar. For more self-contained bondage, just attach wrist to wrist and ankle to ankle. You can even attach bound wrists to bound ankles (either in front or back) for an instant hogtie! See also bondage safety, collars, cuffs (grip), cuffs (rope), door jamb cuffs, and handcuffs.



The pom pom of the BDSM world. (“Give me a W! Give me an H! Give me an I! Give me a P!”) A popular flagellation tool, a flogger consists of a fairly stout handle and several “tails” of equal length (from one- to three-feet long) made of leather, suede, nylon, pleather, rubber, or even ribbon. Depending on the number of tails, their length, their material, and whether they have knots or beads at their ends, the sensation a flogger provides can be anywhere from soft to holy-fucking-shit.

Beginners should go with a well-made, small, light-impact flogger: they’ll evoke more giggles than actual cries of pain. Avoid heavy-leather, braided, beaded, or knotted tails in the beginning. As with most BDSM equipment, you don’t want to scrimp: A cheaply made flogger won’t be balanced correctly (making it harder and heavier to wield), its tails won’t land in the same spot (what you want), and/or the edges of the tails will be sharp (what you don’t want). Try companies that specialize in making floggers, like Bare Leatherworks—with their Midsize Cowhide Flogger, the handle feels great, you can give your partner a good whack without it hurting them, and it makes your victim’s butt jiggle, too! For the kind of posh flogger you might find in the Red Room of Pain, there’s LELO’s Sensua Suede Whip (available in red!).

To make sure you’ve got good aim, practice on inanimate objects first. Work on your different strokes: twirling, backhand, infinity symbol. Don’t graduate to animate objects—that have of course given you their consent—until you’ve got the eye and aim of a national darts champion. The ends of the tails should be hitting only the safe zones: lower buttocks, thighs, and upper back (not the spine or neck!). As a beginner, it’s a good idea to protect areas you don’t want to hit with clothing, a towel, blanket, or pillow, just in case you accidentally let the tails “wrap” around the body beyond these safe zones—the epitome of poor form. (Another good reason to have your bottom lying down if you’re a beginner.) See flagellation for more important safety info. A.k.a. cats. Mini-floggers for genitorture are called flails, pussywhips (ha!), or ballwhips.


gimp suits

Kinky onesies made out of leather, pleather, rubber, PVC, etc., and typically worn by a (male) submissive. Some have attached hoods, while others are combined with a bondage hood or mask. Made famous by the 1994 Quentin Tarantino movie Pulp Fiction; made sexy by FX’s 2011 TV show, “American Horror Story.” Please note: Saying “Bring out the gimp” at a kink club will not go over as well as you might imagine.


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