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Representations of consensual sadomasochism range from the dark, seedy undergrounds of crime thrillers to the fetishized pornographic images of sitcoms and erotica. In this pathbreaking audiobook, ethnographer Staci Newmahr delves into the social space of a public, pansexual SM community to understand sadomasochism from the inside out. 

Based on four years of in-depth and immersive participant observation, she juxtaposes her experiences in the field with the life stories of community members, providing a richly detailed portrait of SM as a social space in which experiences of "violence" intersect with experiences of the erotic. She shows that SM is a recreational and deeply gendered risk-taking endeavor through which participants negotiate boundaries between chaos and order. 

Playing on the Edge challenges our assumptions about sadomasochism, sexuality, eroticism, and emotional experience, exploring what we mean by intimacy and how, exactly, we achieve it.

©2011 Staci Newmahr (P)2019 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic reviews

“This is a very good book and a first-class example of what ethnographic research can and should look like.” (Criminal Justice Review)

“A ground-breaking book...captivating and ethnographically dense.” (Ethnos

Playing on the an exciting sociological contribution to academic explorations of SM, providing an empirically rich window into a rarely seen SM community.” (Sexualities

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  • Britt
  • 21-06-19

Excellent information for beginners and experienced.

Narrated well with in depth information. I’ve listened to it a couple of times now. I’ve listened to other titles and this one gives the best perspective of them all. I definitely recommend this audio book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-03-21

Worth the Listen!

Newmahr's close, personal look at the SM scene will grab your attention quicly complicated variation of emotion--a rare and important feat. She treats pain play not like a pathology but as a fascinating and meaningful expression of the human condition. The narrator did a good job throughout. Defiantly worth the listen.