Good sex is very much about sensations. The smell of your partners, the taste of their tongue, the feeling of their fingers on our skin, the sound of their voice and, of course, the look of their hot bod. But add a blindfold, and you become more attuned to your other senses. You can lie down, relax, and luxuriate in the wonderful things you can hear, smell, touch and taste.
For some, this is enough. But other kinksters like to push this even further: they engage in something called sensory deprivation play, an activity that involves removing one or more senses. The eyes are easy; so are the ears, with either earplugs or headphones with white noise. It's hard to take away smell, but you can block out other smells with a leather mask, for example. You can't remove the sense of taste either, but you can gag the person so they can't talk. For touch, people like to tape hands in a fist with bondage tape, or put them in specialized mitts.
OK, sounds kind of fun ... maybe. What's the point, though?
If you've ever been in a sensory deprivation tank, you'll have an idea of what this is all about. If you haven't tried it yet, think of it as a form of relaxation: when you remove stimuli coming from the outside world, it's easier to let go of anxiety, stress and automatic reactions. Many spas feature sensory deprivation tanks, or "floating tanks", with water at body temperature.
Sensory deprivation makes it easier to access your internal world: your thoughts, your feelings, and your imagination. Some people enjoy the meditative aspect of it because they can't use outside senses to distract themselves.
An Avenue of Power Play
Lots of kinksters do enjoy the meditative state that comes with sensory deprivation play. Yet, there's also power play involved: they become very dependent on their partner for everything. Moving and holding things becomes difficult without your eyes and hands to guide you. Without ears, knowing where your partner is becomes challenging.
Being deprived of our senses makes us very vulnerable, which strengthens the bond of trust between partners. Being at their absolute mercy also enhances erotic feelings, especially when extra bondage is involved. Tops can easily position bottoms for comfort (or not), for sexual activity, for impact play, or simply for their viewing pleasure.
The last time I participated in sensory deprivation play, I ended up on all fours in my living room, with my partner's feet on my back. I still had my ears, so I could listen to the TV show he watched while he used me as a footstool. I was blindfolded, gagged and had my hands taped shut.
After a few minutes, my mind started floating. I lost track of time and space. I focused on my breath, on the strength of my abdominals supporting my partner's feet, and on the feelings in my legs and arms. I could have stayed like this for hours, curiously observing how my body reacted to this endurance task, watching my thoughts flitter in and out of my consciousness.
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I'd only ever reached this state in my best moments of Zen meditation, after an hour sitting immobile on a cushion.
Getting Started with Sensory Deprivation
If you would like to try sensory deprivation, I suggest you start slowly. Begin with one sense at a time; being blindfolded is common. The next time, you can add a gag or earplugs. Earplugs come in different varieties; some let some sound through, while others block out almost everything. Giving away your hands is the most difficult step; at least it was for me.
Some people do not take well to having their senses removed, so it's best to tread lightly at first. Always have a safe signal if you are gagged so your partner can free you if something is wrong. Three shakes of the head or tapping with a fist work well.
Talk to your partner about their limits (and yours) to ensure that you're on the same page. And if you or your partner don't like it, no worries. There are plenty of other kinky things out there to try!