Ultimate Sarah

Sarah Jameson has just released her magnum opus Be Careful What You Wish For: The Ultimate Guide to Male Chastity (270 pages, according to my PDF reader). Very typically Sarah, that title. The ultimate guide. It’s one of the things you either like or hate about her, I suppose. She’s not very often in doubt. Also available is an MP3 of Sarah reading the book which, if you’ve got a thing for British accents, could prove to be entertaining in its own right.

As a fellow marketing weasel, I knew she was building up to some kind of payoff event like this. Mind you, I don’t begrudge her the chance to make a buck (or a pound or a pence or whatever) at all. Good for her. It’s the American Way (so to speak). You could just see, though, with the way her site’s designed and the manner in which she cross promotes the email and the blog and the upcoming book, replete with yellow highlighter styling on the really important text, that she was either going to try to sell us something at some point or start a series of seminars we could attend at the local Airport Marriott (maybe both, who knows). The tactics are well known. But who cares? Someone’s got to do it and why shouldn’t they be rewarded for their effort?

I like the tone of the thing. Very Sarah, if you know what I mean. I like that she sets up male chastity as something like a marital aid. That’s what it is, really. A way to bring passion back to a relationship. I totally agree. Her writing is characteristically straightforward and confident. If you have any questions on how to proceed with the chastity lifestyle, I have a hard time imagining you won’t appreciate her guidance. It’s also interesting to me to see the parallels between how she and John progressed and how Belle and I have. I have no idea if enforced male chastity really is picking up new adherents en masse, but it seems like it’s at least proving to be a reliable and even fun way to bring a spark back to an old married couple. She does a wonderful job of capturing that quality.

It’s not all sunshine and pixie dust, though. I entirely disagree with her characterization of submissive men. She says on page 13, in the “How I Discovered Male Chastity” section, “I like my men to be confident, masculine and in control…and most definitely not submissive, obedient, fawning and following me around like little puppy-dogs!” followed on page 16 with, “John, like many men with a desire to be kept in male chastity is not a submissive man in any respect…Like all the men I’ve known, I like him to be a man, just the way he is: strong, assertive, confident, protective and…well…100% masculine.” Of course, submissive men can be (and often are) strong, assertive, confident and, if not 100% masculine, at least above 75%. She’s obviously not enamored of the other kind (and neither am I, really). I just wish she wouldn’t lump us all together. She ends up perpetuating a stereotype (replete with French Maid’s outfits and “sissy clitties”) that is the only black mark on an otherwise outstanding guide to the lifestyle.

Bottom line advice: Buy the book. Especially if you’re just starting out or are thinking of approaching your partner for the first time. Her advice is very, very good.

15 thoughts on “Ultimate Sarah

  1. Hi,

    I too enjoyed watching the marketing build up on her blog and in her newsletter and also around the web. In the end though I decided not to buy the book as I am very much not part of her target audience. I can’t deny that I was tempted out of curiosity but on balance I decided against.

    It is a shame she still holds the views she does about submission and has apparently chosen to include them in her book. When I read her characterisations, misconceptions and opinions concerning submission on her blog I see no correspondence between them and the reality of the submissive men and women I have met over the decades. Sadly I’ve come to the conclusion that in this area she simply lacks real life experience and, perhaps, has had some negative experience or experiences in the past. I’m glad to hear the rest is good. I hope it does well with her target audience.

    Michael

  2. I agree with michael. For a start there are too many ‘ultimate guides’. So many are either full of misconceptions, or are a good ultimate guide for one style of the lifestyle. That is Sarah. 

    What’s more I find her somewhat lacking in self knowledge. Her claim not to be a domme? She likes being in charge of many aspects of their life including their sex life. She is in most peoples vernacular a domme, albeit not a full blown control everything one. Her husband is submissive. Maybe not in all areas or even most but handing over power to your cock and sex life is an inherently submissive act. Regardless of how macho he is elsewhere in his life in that respect he is in most peoples definition submissive. Her dislike of the image of sub and Dom in her mind blinds her badly and that comes across in her writing. 

    Spare us from physciatrists who project on to us their own flaws. They are not good teachers. 

    I would be curious about maymay’s view. 

  3. Ugh. I just. I felt it in my gut. And not in a good way. I feel bad for all the guys (and gals) out there, who buy into that. It’s too much the true way talk, too hypocritical to base a blog and then start advertising stuff under the false pretense of sharing. It makes me want to cry. But I’m a starving artist. What do I know about the laws of commerce. I just wouldn’t want to take into account a person’s experience if it’s not shared freely.

    Thank you, Thumper, for keeping your site clean. (Or is it my filter? G!) I take you seriously for it.

    1. I wonder if this was part of her plan from the very beginning. Maybe it was. However, as I said above, I don’t find fault with someone trying to make a few bucks (but that’s probably because I *have* a few bucks). I also don’t think it’s accurate to say she’s still not giving away great advice even though some of it’s behind a checkout page. I’m pretty sure I recognized a few passages from the blog in the book, so she’s not hiding all the good stuff away.

      1. I know I know. I’m probably taking it too seriously. But I can’t help it. I take exchange of money very seriously, doubtingly, vigilantly – probably because I won’t trade integrity for it in the same field, and I don’t really think you can have both. I wrote more about it in my blog. I suspected this from the first passages I read from her, and dispite her great advice (too), I always felt there was something really wrong. iT left a bad taste in my mouth. Just the way I am, I guess, always suspecting people’s motives, always ready to defend the helpless. It’s not so much the money itself I guess, but the not being straightforward about it from the start.

        (but that’s probably because I *have* a few bucks)

        Believe me, Thumper, I’ve noticed.

  4. I for one am not in the least unhappy that Sarah is seeking to make a commercial success of writing a book. She was pretty up front about planning a book very early on. Good for her that she has put time and effort into preparing a market for it. It’s not as if it wasn’t plain to see all along that as a person who, apparently, makes money as a writer that she was going to charge for her work. Why not? She gives away enough free writing with her mini-guide.

    Anything that makes chastity play more mainstream, less weird looking, etc, is surely to the benefit of all who enjoy such play.

    I do think her take on submission within a relationship is very different from mine and most others who have first hand knowledge and experience of it. For me a reasonable definition of submission might well be surrendering control to another. Such might well be limited to certain areas of life, certain times, certain activities and so forth but that would simply mean it wasn’t (by my definition) an M/s dynamic, not that it wasn’t submission. For Sarah it seems to be more about a collection of other kinky activities like cross dressing, forced-fem, small penis humiliation and the like.

    I think she does herself a disservice here. If I was a guy looking for a book to give my SO and was otherwise strictly vanilla with no other kinks then a section knocking other kinks and relationship models wouldn’t faze me. However if I was maybe hoping to start playing chastity games but leaving the door open to perhaps exploring beyond that in the future if the chastity worked out well then I might fear shooting myself in the foot.

    Also if I was writing a chapter about submission I’d probably go with dictionary definitions of the language along with current usage in the BDSM scene or simply leave the topic alone other than to say that some people into chastity play are also into x, y, and/or z but many are not.

    Ultimately if Sarah says her and John’s chastity play is not about dominance and submission, and she does, and one reads that in the context of how she describes and views what dominance and submission are then I have to agree with her that she and John are not doing D/s.

    It’s so easy to speculate beyond the evidence. For example, one might argue that since chastity was raised and introduced into their relationship by John that he has done an excellent job of getting her involved and being a great service top keyholder, etc, and in reality is the dom here. Because frankly we have very limited information such that one can pretty well argue anything in a situation where all we have to go on is what people tell us over the internet. Again I’m going to agree with Sarah we simply don’t and can’t know enough about their relationship to start telling her or them what it is or isn’t.

    The one area I strongly disagree with Sarah on is her failure to embrace YKINMKBYKIOK (your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay). Prejudice on the basis of sex, gender, colour or kink doesn’t float my boat. Except occasionally as part of a heavy SM scene but that’s different. Alas it probably means that her book won’t sell quite so well to those who are interested in chastity and also x,y, and/or z which is probably quite a big sector of the market.

    For completeness. The other area I disagree with is her belief that since she can prove enforced chastity isn’t rational she has proved it isn’t real and therefore does not exist. Philosophy 101, what is rational and what is real are not identical, heck, they are not even related. cf Kant.

    I hope Sarah makes a lot of money from her hard work and that it brings more people into playing and enjoying chastity games and play.

    Michael

  5. I am not quite sure why you’re validating a keyholder’s perspective over the chastised one’s – Thumper’s already done chastity play a huge service. I am a proof of that. I don’t really understand what’s that about, and I surely wouldn’t want to read a DIY “book” if I could read a blog about real life experiences, unshaded, if narcissism doesn’t count. (I don’t mean that in a bad way Thumper.) If I was trying to find out about DS, which I was at some point, the last place I would look would be somewhere with stone graved sweeping generalisations about myself and all those who share my kink.

  6. Long time listener, first time caller, as it were. But for what it’s worth, my two cents:

    It doesn’t bother me, particularly, that Sarah wants to make a few bucks writing a book — I hope she makes it hand over fist. I’m a good bourgeois, and always had two illusions about myself: that I could run the coolest cafe in whatever town I’m in, period; and that I had at least one book in me. Sarah’s proved the latter, and good on her. I used to be a super indie kid, and would get in long, boozy debates about “selling out” — and I think a lot of the same dynamic that was at play in those debates is at play here, just in kinkier context. Her sincerity shouldn’t get questioned just because she wants to sell something; we can still appreciate the refreshingly non-commercial perspectives of certain other artists without knocking the ones who make bank (though for what it’s worth, while I really enjoy her newsletter, I don’t enjoy that blog as much as this one).

  7. The relentless plugging of product is wearisome to me, and the entirely commercial aspect of her “blog” (it’s actually an informercial) causes me to suspect the impulses behind it.

    1. Well, it’s her right to do whatever she wants, of course, but I admit the value of the blog as a stand-alone enterprise is diminished when seemingly every paragraph is laced with self-referential plugs for the product. I feel like there was a balance struck earlier on that’s been lost lately.

  8. I too am finding the changes that have taken place on her blog irritating but then I am not part of her target market as a potential customer. With John’s occupation being marketing one presumes she knows what she is doing and that what she is doing is driving sales up.

    Still I’m surprised. It is not the sort of approach I would use. Then again I mostly prefer subtle and understated.

    One consequence seems to be a reduction in comments on her blog which is a shame but hardly surprising.

    In its early days her blog did a great job of myth busting and showing that chastity play could stand alone as a game without it having to be linked in with femdom, sissy’s, small penis humiliation, cuckolding, FLR, etc. Not that any of those cause me problems even though they are not my cup of tea. Such wasn’t new but it was rare to see it put forth by a purportedly vanilla woman.

    She also did a great job of convincing me, and presumably others, that no matter what the superficial outward appearances her relationship is not femdom and thus clearly help in dispelling the most common myth that chastised=submissive. In fact from what she has posted over time one gets the impression that their relationship is more likely a fairly vanilla male dominated one. Hey, another use for chastity play – reducing the inequality of power in such a relationship, or at least giving the semblance of such.

    Sadly I fear the move to overly heavy advertising surrounding and overlaying her posts, and frequent plugs for her book along with the slightly grandiose descriptions of positive comments to her in emails as critical reviews detract from her original messages. They also lower, in my opinion, her credibility. If a vanilla guy wanting to engage in chastity games showed his partner Sarah’s site their partner would be quite justified in dismissing it as commercial and discounting all she says as self serving in the pursuit of sales.

    Of course like AL Enterprises and others what one would love to know are the sales figures. How many CB-x000 have they sold. How many books has she sold and are sales increasing or have they trickled off as her market has been saturated. Will her keyholding service bring in the money. Will she ever find takers for her hell weekends. Who knows? Well Sarah and John obviously.

    Engage tongue in cheek mode. Currently I can’t help but think of the early stages of a condition that dom’s can suffer (http://www.the-firm.org/dt.htm) and wonder if there is a related condition that can infect bloggers. Disengage TIT mode.

    Michael

    1. It seems like most people in the blogosphere are in it for reasons other than profit. Some want to share their experience, some are just exhibitionists, some are looking for advice. I guess I’m a mix of all three. I don’t think Sarah started with the idea of turning her blog into a money-making enterprise, but as you mention, online marketing is John’s bailiwick and I think they soon recognized the potential of the audience.

      The problem isn’t making money, it’s that the tactics she’s employing take away from the value of her message, IMO. It seems to be ALL about buying the book now. Most of the “good stuff” is happening the book owner’s Google group, not out in the open. The blog is all about capturing new customers, not sharing information.

      Like I said, it’s her choice. She owes the larger community nothing. Fish gotta swim, bird’s gotta eat, so to speak. I still recommend her book, but her blog less so.

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