Poor Dom Unique friends! They came to Italy specifically to attend a party, and between the car block, the snow, the misunderstandings, the fatigue and the allergies, they barely managed to taste our local restaurants. But in front of a great chocolate fondue we did the following interview…
BDSM – A NEW ITALIAN GUIDE
by The Secretary
I met Ayzad in Milan and had a chance to talk to him about his book, his dreams and his plans for the future.
The Secretary: Thank you for answering my questions Ayzad.
Ayzad: Thank you for your continuing support, dear!
S: First of all, why did you decide to write this book?
A: Out of passion, really. But also because, after almost twenty year of BDSM playing, I had become more and more the one person people referred to when they had questions or doubts about a technique, a toy or whatever. So I guessed it was the time to turn an old dream of mine into reality, and actually set to write my “ultimate manual” for pervies everywhere.
S: Is it a book for beginners or can people with lots of experience also learn something from it?
A: One of the reasons for the book being so huge, at almost 800 pages, is that I tried to be as complete as possible, and to gently guide the readers from the “did you ever hear of this ‘sadomasochism’ thing?” level to uber-gurus heights – one step at a time. And, since BDSM is such a vast world, I guess everybody can find something new between its pages. I mean, in the research phase I learned lots of new things myself!
S: Please tell us about the research you had to do for this book.
A: There was lots of it, and I mean it! We could say that my lifelong curiosity about everything domination was a good start, but of course not even a pervert like me can actually enjoy all the declinations of BDSM, so I had to study hard those topics I really don’t go practicing about. But seriously: I spent all the time very scared of the possibility of giving out imprecise or partial informations, and having readers putting the blame on me for their possible accidents. Thus I double-checked every single information, in every damn field, with multiple sources before putting them down on paper. I became so paranoid that I even doubted my direct knowledge of things I had been doing for over a decade… so it was a tour de force on books, encyclopedias, professionals in many different fields, and so on and on…
S: How did you discover BDSM?
A: I’m afraid the answer’s quite silly: that was Penelope Pitstop’s (the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character) fault! I clearly remember that the first time I had a hint that tying up and torturing nice girls was fun was around age seven, watching a now-banned series called The Perils of Penelope. She was a heiress, and her tutor secretly was a sadistic madman always trying to kill her in bizarre ways to get to her riches, you see… Ahem. Seriously. I started “playing torture”, and through sensorial exploration with myself, I got my confirmation that it was fun indeed, for both roles. That, and lots of pseudo-historical movies with people whipped at the post and tormented some way or another. I loved television, you know.
S: What does BDSM mean to you?
A: It’s a lifestyle, really. Not about running around with whips, but about exploring the possibilities of our senses and emotions with an open mind, paying no attention to so-called social manners. To me it’s a way of living and loving to the fullest.
S: How long did it take you to write it?
A: The book, you mean. Just a little over one year.
S: Is it only about BDSM or do you cover fetishism too?
A: One of the early chapters is about fetish and feticisms. The latter are discussed in a somewhat intellectual way, which unfortunately is the only way to grasp the common elements and mechanisms of the so many different facets of the same phenomena.
S: What have personally learned from writing this book?
A: More than I thought possible before starting it. Apart from the many scientific notions involved in the different physiological and psychological aspects of our pastimes; apart from the weird trivia (did you know that latex was actually discovered by one of Torquemada’s cousins?), I think I really learned to accept and love diversity. When you have to really understand the motivations and feelings of people doing things you’d never do yourself, for it’s the only way to be able to summarize them for the average reader, you really appreciate how wonderfully flexible the human mind is.
S: Was it more difficult than you expected?
A: Well, this is actually my tenth book and I do love the topic, so I was quite prepared for the hideous and bloody massacre this job turned out to be. What I really underestimate was the broadness of it all. It’s one thing to say “and then we’ll have a chapter on bondage…” and actually having to mention all of the dozens toys, tools and techniques involved into it. And then realize that you’ll have to do the same for “that small section about the different types of whips”, and on and on… The original plan called for a 230 pages book: it came out triple than that! The truth is that I knew that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance, so I just didn’t have the heart to leave something out.
S: I noticed you had some other people (like Xandra and Nicky) putting in their view, was it difficult to get people to participate?
A: Each chapter in the book ends with a comment from a scene player, and all of the friends who wrote those pages were actually very gracious and nice. What really surprised me were the reactions from those who didn’t accept: for some of them saying no wasn’t enough, and they showed a real ferocity against my job. If you check the Italian websites, in example, you’ll notice that a couple of them are deliberately ignoring my book, going even to the lenghts of censoring those members talking about it. I guess they felt somewhat threatened… but I just can’t understand why.
S: What do you think people can gain from reading this book?
A: My phylosophy is that it’s always better to have access to any information and choose not to use it, than living in ignorance because the information simply isn’t there. I think that the real value of the book is to give everyone a serious, documented opportunity to discover and experience a kind of erotism which requires as much brains as much gonads to be fully enjoyed. And then there’s that thing of embracing diversity I rambled about before, of course.
S: Can reading this book substitute real experience?
A: I don’t think so, especially for many physical skills. You just have to get bruised a number of times before learning how to handle a bullwhip, in example – there’s no escaping it. If you really trusted my words you could probably learn more than a few psychological and attitude lessons from its pages, but even in this case nobody ever followed an old bastard’s advice before, so I wouldn’t expect it happening too much again. And that’s a shame, really, for the worst blunders are often emotional ones.
S: Was it difficult to find a publisher?
A: Yes and no, really. I repeatedly slammed against concrete walls whenever I tried to sell the concept of this book to mainstream publishers, but I expected that. Not that expecting it helped much, mind you. At the same time, I always knew Castelvecchi was the right publisher: the man himself became rich and famous over ten years ago with a couple of books titled “Extreme Sex”, which allowed him to set up his current business. It was a natural, you see. Unfortunately this is also a somewhat small publishing house, which can’t provide me with extensive promotion, nor reasonable royalties.
S: What kind of feedback have you had so far?
A: The national media jumped on the news, incredulous they could make me their laughing stock. Yet, among the age-old jokes about sadomasochists, I received many very positive reviews both off- and online. I guess I occupied a small editorial niche in the most decent way allowed by current society.
S: How many books have you sold so far?
A: The publisher is about to run the second reprint, so that would mean about 5-6.000 copies. Not too bad for a country not used to read counterculture essays – and we expect the book to be a sleeper, selling a few copies each week for a very long time. Of course my dream would be to break into the International market, with foreign translations and such. I guess DU members could just help spreading the word about the book, what do you think?