Smart as a Whip – by Jacky Donovan

Smart as a Whip‘ by Jacky Donovan – aka ‘Instant Whips and Dream Toppings’ – is an account – a rather extraordinary account – of one woman’s discovery of … what? Her joy of sex? Her initiation into dom rom? It is so many things, and such an interesting read, for so many reasons. Not the least of which is, I seem to have led a very sheltered life.

Jacky started out on what turned out to be a life adventure, by her own admission a fairly ordinary and unexceptionable character, a talented employee, but rather dowdy perhaps, not a woman I would give a second look to. (Though, being me, I probably would.) Then she met the character Max, who very gradually altered Jacky’s expectations and behaviour, until she was running one of the premier Dom/Sub sex businesses in London. I’m pleased that Jacky found her forte, but have very conflicted feelings about Max.

This may not be the place to say this – this is a book review, after all, not a character assessment – but Max, charming urbane and very good in bed, increasingly strikes me as a psychopathic character. Not because he is obviously abusive or cold, but because he expects Jacky, in the name of experimentation, titillation, perhaps, to do things that he never has to, such as, while driving on the motorway at eighty, to remove her knickers and make herself climax behind the wheel. Undoubtedly exciting, but, from where I’m sitting, also life threatening and – let’s face it – a no-risk free kick for Max, who only has to whisper soft endearments down the phone to turn on our long-suffering narrator. High octane sex is, in many ways, unbeatable for thrills. But there is also the “agreement” between them that Max will never, and should never expect to have to, leave his wife; behaviour indicative of an insecurity that feels pathological to me.

I’m very interested in the study that Jacky’s book offers, of the men in her life: her friends and clients, and Max. I find myself wondering, long after I’ve finished reading, about the thrills of vicarious sex, and why so many of her clients get a kick out of unusual turn-ons. Perhaps they are not so unusual.

A very interesting read, eye-opening, funny and compassionate.

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