Diving Into Erotic Hypnosis and Its Overwhelmingly Kinky Contexts
*Neural Nets got into erotic hypnosis in the 90s. He was in his twenties, dating a woman deeply tranced in D/S (dominance and submission) play.
“She claimed she wanted to quiet her mind,” says the 46-year-old Baltimore resident. “I had her do ‘memory sessions.’ I wrote 100 degrading phrases for her to memorize on flashcards. She memorized them in order. In a memory session, she’d recite her mantras while naked and partially bound in front of a mirror. If she got the right answer, she’d get her clit stroked. If she got the wrong answer, she’d get the crop and start over. After one of these sessions, she kept mouthing her mantras well after we concluded and moved onto other games.”
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At the time, Nets was a debate coach that had just moved to the mid-Atlantic to work for Georgetown. His experience led him down a rabbit hole where a burgeoning erotic hypnosis scene allowed him to explore the act of consensual control.
“I circulated my work only in private kink circles in the 90s,” he continues. “It later leaked, and it was used as the background for a lot of PornHub videos. It was really the equivalent of a leaked sex tape.”
After some negotiating, Nets was able to get credit for his work, leading to a successful Tumblr presence.
By now, you might be wondering: What exactly is erotic hypnosis? And even if you feel like you have a slight inclination, what you think you know about erotic hypnosis is likely wrong. Consider it to be an extension of a consensual kink as opposed to a manipulation tool.
Nets wants people to move away from the idea of erotic hypnosis as a trick.
“The public conceives of erotic hypnosis as a magic D&D spell,” he notes, “[while] actual practitioners see it as a consensual and mutual activity. Trying to hypnotize someone into exceeding their own preferences and boundaries isn’t ethical or even that possible.”
Nets is one of 50,000 members of r/EroticHypnosis, a subreddit “to discuss hypnosis used in erotic, sexy, and kinky contexts.” It’s a place where amateurs interested in the art of hypnosis can learn about the intricacies of heightened focus and concentration while indulging their own sexual interests by sharing content with one another.
For user Nathan H., erotic hypnosis is used as a means to connect with his partner and explore his own limits.
“One of the attractions to hypnosis is often the feeling of being in someone else’s control, just like with bondage play,” he explains. “That feeling of vulnerability can be very thrilling. In any sexual encounter, however, we need to keep our libido from overwhelming our good sense. As an in-person amateur hypnotist, I think the best thing you can do for yourself is to engage with people who talk about consent, limits, expectations, and rules.”
Like many subreddits, r/EroticHypnsis is extremely far from perfect.
“I think the largest problem is the view that hypnosis is, by definition, coercion,” notes Nathan. “We all need to be aware of coercive people in our lives and relationships, and take steps to protect ourselves against those influences. That includes not putting yourself in vulnerable positions with people you aren’t sure you can trust, in all areas. If we let someone we just meet handcuff us to the bed, we are not making good decisions or following the BDSM community’s rule of ‘safe, sane, consensual’ play.”
Nets, on the other hand, thinks the problem lies within the actual community as opposed to people misinterpreting erotic hypnosis as a concept.
“The erotic hypnosis community is a dumpster fire,” he states. “It’s genuinely impossible to screen out the constant influx of people pursuing the kink for the wrong reasons. Some people want to seduce and manipulate without adequate consent. Some people want hypnosis to fix them, and the community is fairly bad at maintaining the dividing line between therapy and eroticism. Some people just have overall magical expectations. Some people think that doing erotic hypnosis is a route to rapid recognition or an income boost for sex work.”
Nets believes the community needs to “attract and retain skeptics” to function normally.
“Most people outside of the community can recognize how alarming and implausible the overclaims are,” he continues. “Erotic hypnosis cannot physically kill you, create the Manson family, make you into a sexual Manchurian candidate, change your sexual orientation, or alter your physique. You wouldn’t know that by scrolling a community forum, though. There’s no check on bullshit and grifters, and it’s really ruined most of the community spaces.”
While the community is nothing short of frustrating for seasoned professionals like Nets and Nathan, r/EroticHypnosis is a wonderful spot for the curious. There are plenty of introductory posts for those who have no idea what they’re doing: how to get into a trance, suggestions for newcomers feeling frustrated by the limits of hypnosis, and no shortage of fan favorites.
“When you’ve decided to allow someone (or a video or audio file) to hypnotize you, find a relaxing place and time when things are not expected of you,” says Nathan. “Try to listen to what’s being said and how, instead of thinking about your feelings or expectations about the experience.”
Nathan believes erotic hypnosis should be treated as an exercise in mindfulness. Do and think about what you’re instructed to do and think about, without judging or waiting to see what’s going to happen. He says one should always keep in mind that erotic hypnosis is something you want to do.
“I’m a content creator, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend myself,” says Nets. “If you’re a first-timer, demand more from your content creators. Don’t settle for someone droning awkwardly too much bass. Don’t buy into this as if it’s religion. You don’t have to suspend disbelief and play along for days and weeks. That’s a grifty myth. If you listen and you think it’s boring garbage, it probably is. There are plenty of good actors and producers out there. You should be empowered to expect better.”
*An alias used to protect their privacy.
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