This is another of the books I purchased from Amazon towards the end of 2011 when they were still available as Amazon Digital Editions. Unfortunately, you can no longer buy it in that format, so I'm sharing more than I would have otherwise.While there is a dearth of similar books written more recently, even though the information is dated, "Ties that Bind" makes a valuable resource for those wanting to gain a better understanding of the scene if writing about it. Especially if you're trying for a more realistic picture rather than the stereotypical fantasy version.One of the biggest lightbulb moments for me was understanding participants not simply as Dom and sub but a combination of the three types:Dominant / Vanilla / SubmissiveSadist / Vanilla / MasochistAgressive / Neutral / PassiveThis is a good way to explain the Pushy Bottom so often characterised in m/m romances, but it also demonstrates the different Tops that may be around and also the relationship the couple will have.Adversarial SM is the stuff that happens between aggressive sadists and aggressive masochists who are both dominant.Sterotypical Top and bottoms are a combination of all on the left or all on the right, but Most folks are various configurations of these themes, and, importantly, they usually change from day to day or even moment to moment. This changing is very healthy from a psychological point of view, because it allows for flexible responses to changing situations.There is also a great section on how to make relationship triads/menages work although he admits that the effort to keep them stable can be exhausting. This bit puts it well:At their most basic level, relationships happen between two people or entities at a time. This means that when three become involved, there are really a total of six different relationships: the three between each of the three pairs, and three more between any individual and each of the other pairs. Not included in this list is the relationship one has with one's self.Another pertinent part of this chapter is true for all relationships:As you might guess, this can be a complicated process to manage, and will require great commitment and effort on everyone's part. But it can be done if everyone has the ability to tell the truth to one's self and others, to listen carefully, and to say what they mean and mean what they say.He also feels that the imbalance between the number of Tops and bottoms in reality (figures of 10 to 15:1 quoted) are because:For a while now, I have suspected that the reason more men don't let their dominance manifest itself in a more directly erotic way has to do with the fear and guilt they feel when they come face to face with the magnitude of their needs to be sadistic, their urges to control, and to dominate. It is as though they sense the presence of some anarchic, lusty beast within themselves who could run wild and destroy everyone and everything in its path if released.Being a qualified psychotherapist, Baldwin has seen people who have been adversely affected (both physically and mentally by the scene). While there is the typical submissive who has been abused by greedy, insensitive Tops, he is just as concerned by the number of Tops burnt out by "castrating" bottoms, who use passive aggressiveness to deal their own form of damage.Guy believes that the Top's needs are often not met, discussed or examined. He portrays the way a submissive can be encouraged by steady escalation of sensation to reach his endorphin high. But what about the Top in all this? He maintains thatThis delicate balancing act on the razor's edge between the urge to rape, pillage and destroy and the need for self-restraint is a battle that takes place behind the steely eyes of the sadist, the dominant. The tension created by this battle releases a flood of endorphin driven ecstatic pleasure that is unequaled. As stated at the beginning of this review, the material within is dated. According to Baldwin in a paper addressed to The Los Angeles Leather Weekend in 2004 and posted on The Palm Springs Gay Mens Health site: http://www.psgaymenshealth.com/leather_radsex1.htm Old Guard is leather is dead. To Baldwin, this is a natural progression as it evolved from the experiences of the men who created it. The rigid protocols (many of which stemmed from their military background) became irrelevant. However, the need for a group to feel safe where the core values can be expressed will never disappear.Reading books like "The Ties that Bind" and text of his recent lectures show that despite the changes, men (and society) need to understand the benefits (apart from the great sex) that can result from exploring (and supporting others as they explore) the true nature of themselves.Integrated honesty was one term that resonated.Baldwin also stresses that men with a kink shouldn't deny this aspect of their personality and likens denial to the damage caused by not admitting your sexuality: "...while he continues to deny himself that kink, he has one part of himself at war with the rest and can never therefore be a fully integrated person. All the parts of oneself should fit together and mesh smoothly with all the other parts. No part of the self is exiled. All parts of the self must welcome all the other parts and none of the parts of the self are at war with the other parts."