Thursday, December 13, 2007

Book Reviews: Lucy Fairbourne's "Male Chastity: a guide for keyholders"

First published on Mistress160's Abode 22 October 2007

Male Chastity: a guide for keyholders
Lucy Fairbourne

Velluminous Press 2007

Male chastity ... orgasm denial ... *happy sigh* ... a lot of us are interested in this subject. Which makes it even more frustrating that so little published material exists, either from the kinky perspective or in terms of medical research studies. This is why I was really pleased to see Lucy Fairbourne's Male Chastity: a guide for keyholders appear earlier this year.

A bit strangely, the lack of information continued when I researched this review. I can't tell you a (personal) thing about this author. This appears to be her only publication, and it contains no author info.

I hadn't even heard of her publisher, although they at least have a website ("we are interested in the strong independent voices that are too often overlooked by a publishing industry obsessed with big names and guaranteed returns"). But weirdly, Lucy Fairbourne's book is not listed on it. Never mind, it's available through if you decide you want a copy. But don't look for any info on the page either. There is not a single review and only these words to promote the book:
"A non-threatening, female-friendly introduction to the topic of male chastity, ideal for nervous keyholders or as a love-offering from a would-be-chastened male"
That's actually a pretty good description, but you couldn't call it detailed, lol. Ah well, if you decide you want to buy the book, promise me you'll place a review on the page. We need to encourage Lucy Fairbourne to write more!


Male Chastity: a guide for keyholders
begins with a "Take Care, not Risks!" foreword, providing the usual kinky disclaimers ("This book is for consenting adults who recognize..." ... "Be sensible. Be safe"), followed by a page defining the terms male chastity:
"the practice of securing a consenting adult male by means of a lockable device such that the chastened male's sexual release can be achieved only with the keyholder's involvement and consent"
and keyholder ("the one who holds the above male's key").

The Contents page reveals the one hundred page book is set out in five parts, each part with a detailed list of sub headings. Part One ("Introduction and Orientation") is further divided into sub headings such as "What is Male Chastity?", "Why Male Chastity?", "What not Male Chastity?", "What's in it for You / Him" etc.

Part Two ("Practical Matters") examines choosing a device (including "What Type of Devices are Available?", "Making the Choice") and living with it ("Health, Hygiene and Safety", "Safe Duration of Chastity", etc). Part Three explores the erotic potential of chastity play ("Erotic play", "Fantasy and Reality"...). Part Four ("Going Forward or Going Back" documents and advises on possible problems. Part Five provides several appendices on online resources, further reading, etc.

I respect Lucy Fairbourne's writing skills because Part One - or specifically the Intro section of Part One - would have been really tricky to write. The author is trying hard to cover several viewpoints, as she explains:
"You might have picked this book up for any number of reasons:
  • You might have been given it by your husband or boyfriend
  • The cover, title or subject matter might have piqued your curiosity
  • You might have come across the idea of male chastity elsewhere, and be curious to learn more about how to spice up your love life and help you get more from your relationship"
As Lucy Fairbourne is quick to acknowledge, the vast majority of her readers will relate to the first point above:
"why is there such a high probability that he gave you this book? Believe me, with the vast majority of straight couples who decide to experiment with male chastity, the idea didn't originate with the woman....

"What you may not realize is that a surprisingly large number of apparently traditional men are submissive at heart. In particular, they are sexually submissive. When it comes to dealing with his own submissiveness, a man has three options:
  • He can go through life silent and shamed, keeping his submissive nature secret...
  • He can ... seek relief through internet porn, online chatrooms etc
  • He can come out to his wife or lover, trusting that she will appreciate his honesty, ...[and] accept him for who he is, perhaps even help him find what he needs
"If your man asked you to read this book, he has clearly chosen the third alternative. Good for him, and you! The nature of your relationship is such that your man is able to trust you, without feeling...

"The ball is now in your court. How will you respond?"
One gets the feeling that this is the main reason for the book's publication - to provide a resource for men to approach their vanilla partners. And there's nothing wrong with that approach, its absolutely to be commended. Still, the author is wise to quickly add:
"None of this is to discount the possibility that you are a dominant woman who has picked up the book with a view to introducing its ideas to your submissive male partner. If that's you, then you'll find plenty of guidance in the pages to come"
I also smiled at the author's comment to men reading the book:
"if you hope to pursuade your wife or girlfriend to take over your chastity - then ... hand over this book straight away ... the most you'll get from reading it is a hard-on. Do yourself a favor and wait until its the proper time to learn what your lover has in store for you"
This constant juggling of vanilla / kinky viewpoints is present throughout much of the book. Reassurance is constant:
"rather than depriving him of liberty and threating him crually, you are providing something that he wants and needs: the feeling of being controlled, teased, aroused and frustrated by the device, and by you"
Again this is a good thing, if you are a "nervous keyholder" in need of reassurance. If you are not, when you read the book, simply focus on the viewpoint that is most relevant to you personally and ignore the other threads.

The "Practical Matters" section of the book is well set out. Lucy Fairbourne is up front about the costs involved with chastity devices, and the problems a badly fitted device can cause. She's honest about suggesting "[you] do as much research as you can, before committing yourself and your cash", and is good at sharing other sources of information ("online chastity forums are also excellent sources of current reviews from users who have tried various alternatives"). Each style and type of device is carefully explained ("Belt Type Devices", "Tube Type Devices", "Measuring for the Ring", "Tube Attachment", "Piercing Variants", "Handcuff Based Variants"), etc. Its a pity there are no photos or illustrations. What I'd suggest with this section is that you go online at the same time you read it, so that you can look up each of the different device styles the author mentions.

The section on "Living with the Device" is a mixture of practicalities and psychological advice:
"The most significant change to the 'grown up' aspects of your relationship will probably be your man's renewed desire to please you and earn your approval. You will certainly find your relationship becomes more erotically charged..."
Health, hygiene and safety are discussed at length:
"It's essential your man be able to remove the device in an emergency ... you must provide an "emergency exit", a way for him to remove the device if he has to, without permitting him to do so anytime he likes..."
As is the safety of extended orgasm denial.

Part Four looks at various problems and how to solve them: what to do if he decides he no longer wishes to play with chastity, what to do if you decide you don't want to continue ("try [this] experiment to see if you can make things better..."). The reading list at the end includes a great section on books "concerned with educating the male" (such as Ian Kerner's She comes first: a thinking man's guide to pleasuring a woman). The online resources list includes links for manufacturers (divided by device style) and for forums / information portals.

Sol's and my one real criticism of the book is that it completely lacks examples of any real life experiences. I know from the feedback I receive about my own BDSM For Beginners series that it is the quotes I include, featuring the thoughts and experiences of others, that bring those posts most alive, and help readers understand their own kinks. In the case of this book, sol and I would both have appreciated hearing from those other voices - as well as from the author, who doesn't mention her own male chastity experiences either.

Should we buy it, Ms160?

If you are looking for an introductory guide to male chastity, then definitely.

There's very little published on this topic, and Lucy Fairbourne does a great job of introducing it. I think the book is especially worth getting if you want to introduce your partner to the subject.

I'd really recommend getting your partner to read the book, then go online with her - not only to check out the various sites the author suggests (to see what kind of device will best suit you) but also to interact in the forums and chat rooms with others who enjoy this particular kink. Lucy Fairbourne's book will provide the reassurance that will encourage your partner to join you in this adventure, but it is the other practitioners she will meet online, who will bring male chastity alive for her.

References and resources:

Velluminous Press (published this book, but no mention on website)


Since I published this a few people have contacted me requesting a male chastity / teasing + orgasm denial reference list, especially online groups. Let me direct you all to may may's site, he has a terrific, up to date list on his Kink on Tap 6: Sexual Teasing and Denial post. And while you are there, you might like to have a listen to that podcast. Oh and why not check out Kink on Tap 7 where Eileen and may may interview
Tom Allen from the Edge of Vanilla about his chastity interests:
"Tom shares a lot about his own reasons for enjoying chastity, the way in which this kind of sexual power play developed in the relationship with his (very blessed) wife, and of course why this kink in particular is often thought of as being very “vanilla.” I couldn’t help but share some of my own opinions and experiences as well, and Eileen does the same"
(Photo: cover:

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