Tired of Fifty Shades of Grey? But, you know, hankering a little for something a bit risqué? Jane Boon comes to the rescue with Edge Play, a can’t-put-it-down novel on the ins and outs of BDSM. Boon knows whereof she speaks, as this reviewer’s copy arrived bound in pink roped (erotic Japanese) Kinbaku knots — expertly tied by the rather brilliant and mysterious authoress herself. The plot is classic — a 21st century Jane Eyre — though this bildungsroman involves big money and dungeons to the max. Will investment banker Amy, mercilessly pinballed around by mendacious Wall Street dudes, ever Have It All? — and preferably with her very own Mr. Rochester in tow.
Edge Play is a voyeuristic peephole into insider Wall Street and the mega rich guys who frequent the BDSM scene — where they go to unwind and practice mindfulness. And there’s a mega tip here too for the single girl: forget online dating sites. If you want to meet your billionaire, then suck in your abs, tie on a leather corset, and find yourself a dominatrix gig. Dungeons, apparently, the place for meaningful bonding and sharing deepest secrets. Note you’ll need to learn how to graciously accept fat envelopes of cash that keep getting pushed in your direction. An unsentimental education if there ever was one — appropriate for our unsentimental age.
What’s on your nightstand?
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel and The Paladin by David Ignatius.
Hotel you return to?
I’m a hotel slut. I like to always try something new. But I go to Cal-a-Vie Health Spa near San Diego for a week every year or two. It’s where I get reacquainted with fitness. In the mornings, instructors crack the whip in spinning and yoga classes, while afternoons are spent getting pampered and massaged.
City with the most robust BDSM culture?
It’s a toss-up between San Francisco and Berlin. SF is home to the Queer and leather culture and its annual Folsom Street Fair. My friend Midori teaches bondage seminars there, when she’s not creating her art. Berlin has a history of decadence — the Weimar Republic for example — and they’re more tolerant. In fact, the BDSM dungeons opened up ahead of the brothels, when some Covid restrictions were lifted.
Your novel has Wall Street titans constantly patronizing dungeons. What is it with these alpha males running to get spanked and dominated?
First all, BDSM is a very common fantasy, but this is particularly true among those whose lives are imbued with a lot of power and control. To have billions of dollars and large workforces as your responsibility, can be depleting and exhausting. Having power comes at a cost. The flip side, is that it can be exhilarating to cede control for an hour or two and let someone else call the shots. To be sure, not all titans crave BDSM, but for those who do, what a vacation! These are men who live in their heads to a great degree, and it may require a commitment of a few hours in a dedicated and outrageous environment, for them to get into a place where they can just receive sensation and clear their heads of all those responsibilities. The other thing is that these are guys who understand risk in a way that is both visceral and intellectual. They are driven to get what they want, and they are methodical in figuring out how to achieve their goals. To them, BDSM is a high-stakes, extreme sport, but one with a lot of drama and the potential for orgasms.
Favorite BDSM club in the U.S.?
When I’m in the US, I don’t generally visit BDSM clubs. If I’m looking for an eyeful, I attend Skirt Club events instead. These are roving sex parties for bisexual and straight women, and they’re a blast. I’ve been to a few of their soirees in NYC, and it’s always a lively time.
Most beloved city?
Paris because it’s stylish. Even the kink is chic — like the club Cris et Chuchotements (Cries and Whispers) in the stone basement of a nondescript building in Pigalle near Le Moulin Rouge, which means it’s located in the city’s traditional red light district. The club is in a stone-walled basement with vaulted ceilings. There are traditional pieces of BDSM equipment in every corner and lots of people playing. But there’s also a civilized bar, where you can buy a glass of wine and discuss where to get the most delicious tartare in Paris.