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Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  1,071 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns will tell you all about sadomasochism. We made it light-hearted and fun to read because SM is fun to do. That's why we do it. But fun is only SM's overture; for those who grasp its message, SM is sexual magic. The right blend of trust, fantasy, and sensuality creates an intensely erotic and deeply intimate stew. We take away our lovers' ...more
Paperback, 277 pages
Published July 1st 1995 by Mystic Rose Books (first published July 1st 1988)
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Domination & Submission by Michael MakaiScrew the Roses, Send Me the Thorns by Philip MillerSM 101 by Jay WisemanThe Loving Dominant by John  WarrenDifferent Loving by Gloria G. Brame
Best BDSM non-fiction
2nd out of 74 books — 69 voters
Domination & Submission by Michael MakaiSM 101 by Jay WisemanScrew the Roses, Send Me the Thorns by Philip MillerThe Ethical Slut by Dossie EastonDifferent Loving by Gloria G. Brame
Helpful BDSM Non-Fiction
3rd out of 129 books — 46 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,872)
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Dr. Ruth Neustifter
May 31, 2009 Dr. Ruth Neustifter rated it did not like it
Shelves: sex-nerdery
This book chaps my ass in a bad way. Considering the subject of the text, I felt I had to specify that. It receives rave reviews everywhere I go, yet I have never recommended it to a single client or friend. True, it offers solid beginner's information in an upbeat way, but it does a poor job at the effort. Not only is the humor tedious and sometimes even offensive, but the images are also cheaply done. Worse yet, it seems to assume that every reader is interested in a power-exchange relationshi ...more
Aug 30, 2010 Korri rated it it was ok
The illustrations are crappy, there's a major heterosexual bias (written by a couple: man is dominant, woman is submissive) which can be a bit uncomfortable & some of the jokes in this text are so bad (Phil's Phlogging?). But those things aside, it's a good book to read, if not buy, for an intro to the mechanics/emotions of BDSM.
Oct 20, 2011 Jonesy rated it really liked it
This is a really great book for those seeking an introduction to SM. That’s not to say that a more experienced practitioner will not glean some useful information from this book, but the book is most definitely written with newcomers in mind. In particular, the book’s frequent stabs at humor feel like they are meant to put a possibly nervous person curious about SM at ease, while their effect on non-newbies would probably not be as effective. Some people seem upset about the fact that the book o ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Exquisition rated it it was amazing
This was a great introduction to bondage and some of the gentler aspects of s/m. The warm style of writing kept it interesting and I appreciated the personal insights to be found throughout the book, especially the ones from Phillip's point of view. There is an emphasis throughout the book on the power of the mind and imagination which I found very insightful. For anybody interested in BDSM, this is one of the most informative and easy to read books on the subject I have read yet. The portrayal ...more
Kyle Wendy Skultety (
Funny, entertaining and educational! Anyone curious about BDSM should read this first, to get an insight into the psychological mindset of its practitioners. Good diagrams of the body, showing where pressure points are and where NOT to smack your sub. From previous reviews, it seems like you either love this book or hate this book. I'm a member of the former--I loved it!
Kathy Orr
Aug 27, 2012 Kathy Orr rated it liked it
It might not seem like it but back in '95 people who actually had real experience in D/s or S&M were just starting to write books that people not in the scene could understand. If Phillip had lived, I'm sure there would have been updated versions as well.
Kate Smith
May 07, 2010 Kate Smith rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kate by: Amazon
Shelves: favorites
This is one of the few non-fiction books that have made it to my favorites list. It is a complete overview of sadomasochism.

It reads a lot like someone is talking to you about their favorite topic - diary/journal writing style. It's co-written by a man and woman who give you their different viewpoints on why they are into sadomasochism and the specifics of what they like.

It looks at the psychology behind such desires and even has a section on tips on how to be a good Sub and/or Dom. It covers
Mar 18, 2009 Taka rated it liked it

Anyone who raises their brows on hearing S&M should read this for their edification and broadening of the mind. It pretty much tells you everything you need to get started and enjoy the deeply paradoxical and yet tremendously enjoyable experience of sadomasochism: tools, toys, techniques of spanking, whipping, paddling, bonding, torturing, and other wonderful activities, and a method of introducing your partner into it.

Whether you like to dominate or be dominated, this book will teach y
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 30, 2008 Mehgun rated it it was amazing
This is a great book to someone new to the scene, or experienced. It goes over the psychology, history, and practice of Sadomasochism, as well as how to practice safely on your own. It offers advice on how to set up a good scene, what to watch out for (in terms of safety), and what to look for in good equipment. Even better, it shows how to make your own equipment! At the back is a resource guide, with addresses of established stores and centers for the kinky soul. An amazing resource.
Hope McCormick
Feb 17, 2010 Hope McCormick rated it liked it
Shelves: relationships
Surprisingly easy to read. It's conversational, funny and informative. Does a good job of explaining something very foreign to me in ways I can understand (mostly). I enjoyed the discussion of the psychology behind this lifestyle, the dominance and submission part in particular. And I like that the authors go to great lengths to stress physical and mental safety. Excellent crash course on the subject if you're curious.
Jul 21, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in S&M
If your even the slightest bit interested in S&M this is the perfect book. It explains the different types of fetishes, how to do most of the acts properly, the psychological effects of S&M on your partners and yourself, and what and the types of people to watch out for. It is overall one of my favorite books.
Jan 20, 2011 Blue rated it did not like it
Ugh. I know this is the supposed be-all and end-all of intro manuals to the world of BDSM, but, seriously, avoid this tripe. Full of idiotic, misogynistic humor, male white privilege, and embarrassing combinations of porn pictures and dumb cartoons. There are much better resources out there.
May 03, 2011 Molly rated it liked it
Shelves: sex
I was fortunate to know the author before he passed away. This book is much loved by its own niche demographic, encouraging responsible and compassionate sado-masochistic relationships. My copy is signed: "To Molly: our eternal innocent, with love, Philip Miller"
Kristina Kopnisky
Jul 30, 2009 Kristina Kopnisky rated it really liked it
A good primer for those interested in exploring BDSM. Laid out very well. Not too wordy. More like a manual than any other power exchange guide I have read. Hilarious in parts. This book uses humor to drive home some very valid points about "the lifestyle".
Jan 08, 2009 Robb rated it really liked it
For those in the Lifestyle or just interested in an accurate representation of what it's about, this makes for a good read. At times titillating, this book takes you by the hand for a serious (and not so serious) walk thru the world of S&M.
Autumn Jean
Dec 30, 2012 Autumn Jean rated it it was amazing
Fantastic MUST HAVE book on BDSM. If you're curious about the lifestyle AT ALL, this is a book you will want to OWN. Ours is dogeared and loved and read more often than any book I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying :)
Shannon McMillan
May 23, 2014 Shannon McMillan rated it really liked it
Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns gives an in-depth realistic look at the world of sadomasochism. Phillip and Molly approach the topic in a chatty, carefree way that allows the average reader to explore the world of sadomasochism without being too terribly uncomfortable. After all, they consider it to be fun and strive to make it sound fun to others. While it might not be for everyone, it definitely does give a much clearer look than other books on the topic and even provides photos and refere ...more
Jo * Smut-Dickted *
Jan 09, 2012 Jo * Smut-Dickted * rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-the-dtb, bdsm
Still the best, hands down, on the subject. Lively conversational style. Non threatening. Great info. A REALLY great book!
Ironman Ninetytwo
Apr 12, 2013 Ironman Ninetytwo rated it really liked it
Shelves: sexuality
Somewhat goofy tone, but plenty of good information. A few erotic passages for good measure.
Liz DeMarco
Sep 19, 2011 Liz DeMarco rated it really liked it
Although a rehash for me...still liked the information in this.
Sep 26, 2013 Kimmy rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Excellent resource for anyone--those interested in doing, writing about, reading about, or simply imagining!

I liked their inclusive, open-minded words, despite being disappointed that the majority of the book is written from a male-dom female-sub position. Which, as the writers' state, is what they know best, so I understand why they chose that method. It was just slightly alienating. Their generous, inclusive words certainly let me set my personal disappointment aside and allowed for
B.B. Blaque
Jun 29, 2014 B.B. Blaque rated it really liked it
This is a great book for beginners...mostly.

The only thing I didn't care for as I learned about the lifestyle, is that a lot of what is said seemed absolute. I will have to go back and re-read to give specifics because there may have been things that were read differently in the mind of a then novice.

My recollection is of it being BDSM-lite and seeming to say that it was just the way things really are.

It is a good addition to a Lifestyle library as long as it's read with an open mind.
Jun 15, 2014 B.b. rated it really liked it
This is a great book for beginners...mostly.

The only thing I didn't care for as I learned about the lifestyle, is that a lot of what is said seemed absolute. I will have to go back and re-read to give specifics because there may have been things that were read differently in the mind of a then novice.

My recollection is of it being BDSM-lite and seeming to say that it was just the way things really are.

It is a good addition to a Lifestyle library as long as it's read with an open mind.
Jun 17, 2015 D rated it really liked it
A quite interesting, informative, and enjoyable book about sadomasochism. Perhaps could be considered a classic. It is written from the perspective of a male dominant and a female submissive. I really liked it and found it a rather quick read. Would love to experience the ecstasy and rapture of complete submission to a strong dom. Please take me and make me your submissive slave:)
Sienna Stone
Nov 15, 2015 Sienna Stone rated it really liked it
A classic introduction to BDSM, this book remains a great way of showing that kinky sex can be light-hearted and fun. There's also a good emphasis on safety throughout the book. While it's overdue for an update - the illustrations could certainly be improved - this book is still the one I point folks too who are curious but nervous about BDSM.
David Oren
Jul 11, 2015 David Oren rated it liked it
wtf lol, this book is just something else. Didn't read it just saw the pics, I'd rather stay away for now and would probably try in in the future I guess.
Oct 15, 2015 John rated it it was ok
Everything you wanted to know but can't ask anyone really...
Sep 25, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it
Really informative. I just wish the images were in color.
Mar 12, 2013 Roewoof rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was funny, the material was easy to understand. It's very good for people who are beginning or are thinking about dipping their toes into the BDSM pool. It did take me several months to finish reading it, but that's only because I was also reading other books at the same time. I find that while helpful, a lot of the information is more for Dominants than for submissives. With that being said, it's very important for submissives to know what a good, responsible Domi ...more
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