Consider this one a draft for now. This was written in a single evening, so I’ll probably be editing and revisiting, but enough here I’d like to go ahead and post it.
Hypnosis carries unique risks, with one in particular I feel isn’t discussed enough: Just how freaking good hypnosis is at creating connected emotions through kink, even just casual play! I feel this writing is relevant to many kinks and pick-up play, but especially prominent in hypnosis. Think of this as both a hypnosis-flavored general kink resource!
I’ve said before that I don’t want to write thoroughly on topics that I feel there’s already great resources out there for, and I’d rather use my time writing resources I haven’t seen or think we need much more of. Hypnosis is in an interesting spot there–there’s tons of great resources (https://www.learnhypnokink.com/index is pretty solid!). So, this writing isn’t about hypnosis, as much as communication in kink.
Connection is a good thing. It’s usually talked about in a positive way, and it most certainly is positive. It also carries risk.
To me, self-awareness of this risk is an absolutely critical part of deciding to hypno top someone or not. This is what makes the difference between if I “trust” someone or not. This might not be representative of all hypnotists, but it certainly is to me any many that I know. I’d confidently say that knowing about this risk makes you more likely to find hypnotists that want to play with you.
Let’s start by talking about what the risk is: Hypnosis creates a very strong, sometimes transitory, sometimes lasting, feeling of connectiveness. Engaging with hypnosis without knowing this isn’t only a possibility but is likely to happen is dangerous.
Dependency and intense feelings
- Strong, deeply connective feelings can be formed, very quickly, through casual hypnosis sessions. These may be undesirable, or make someone uncomfortable.
- While this isn’t truly unique to hypnosis, hypnosis brings out a strong intensity of it, and has that connection as a basic requirement for play!
- To be clear, I’m not saying this all high-and-mighty as if I’m immune to this effect–I’m not, and I have to be aware of it and manage it, too, in times that I’m the subject.
Wait, risk? Isn’t connecting with people through kink a really good thing?
- This writing is mostly in the context of casual and/or pick-up play. Of course within relationships and friendships building deep connections is extremely good!
- Connection and intimacy are great, and kink is a great way to build it and have dynamics, relationships, or friendships develop naturally! With many of my closest friends and loved ones, my first interaction with them was kink!
- But the effect a single hypnosis session can have is quite a bit beyond the usual in casual kink and play. Dependency is not so good.
- And that opens-up all sorts of ways for harm to occur–not reciprocating romantic feelings, feeling dependent, addiction, obsession, not respecting boundaries, or just really, really bad subdrop because hypnosis is so intimate.
- Basically, I believe that one reason there isn’t tons of hypnosis pick-up play at parties and such are these risks making hypnotists hesitant to play casually. I want more potential subjects to be aware of this risk, so I and other hypnotists can feel more comfortable playing with them!
Isn’t this just saying tops don’t need to take responsibility for their partners or something?
- Hypnotists should absolutely be aware of these risks, and do what they can to help navigate them with their subjects. Provide and discuss aftercare at length. Learn how to communicate and debrief. Recognize this is a risk of doing hypnosis with someone, and it isn’t the subject’s “fault” if they are struggling with emotions like those described here.
- But, a hypnotist playing with a subject at a party is not them making a permanent relationship commitment. Hypnotists are allowed to have boundaries.
- …We’re also allowed to decide not to engage. Be as picky about who you’ll top as you want, but if you do engage, and you decide to hypno top someone, accept responsibility and show-up and help your subject as you can.
Brains are weird.
- While everyone’s is different, there’s been quite a few studies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6121038/ , https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14608360/) showing that simply looking into someone’s eyes for an extended period of time can make you feel affection for one another.
- It’s also a significant cause of arousal (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01262/full).
- Disclaimer: with sweeping, nearly globally applicable findings about the human social experience like this, it’s important to approach with some skepticism. I’m adding this here because I think it’s valuable to share that this does go beyond anecdotal experiences and into the realm of mainstream scientific study.
- Disclaimer 2: It’s also important to look at it with more than just a neurotypical perspective, and most studies have not. Ones that have, or reviews of literature (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01262/full) seem to indicate more that social eye contact norms are difficult, rather than eye contact not having an effect. But everyone is different. While some may not experience deeper connection by focusing intensely on someone, most people do, so this remains a risk to be aware of.
Hypnosis is very intimate
- All the above and disclaimers in mind, I think it can be said pretty uncontroversially that hypnosis is an extremely intimate, connected experience:
- Focusing on the hypnotist is worked into even some of the most basic inductions no matter what type of induction (“listen to my voice,” “focus on my voice,” “look into my eyes,” “look at this thing I’m holding”).
- Rapport is discussed at length as part of hypnosis–the idea that you need to create comfort with one another, and connection, for hypnosis to “work better” and be more comfortable.
- Many people say you should discuss potential trauma or types of imagery that may be irrelevant private details in other kink, but part of the creative process or metaphors frequently used by hypnotists.
- To a lot of people, they see it as very vulnerable, intimate, “letting someone into their mind.” The connection is the point of the experience.
- And, many hypnotists, myself included, often trance too while they speak and in watching and responding to the subject, in many ways, I’m as focused on them as they are on me.
D/s and control
- A lot of hypnosis involves mention of, either vague or explicit, D/s or “control” or power dynamics.
- These are hot. They’re very much the point to many people. Hypnosis is one great way to play with power exchange as a scene, rather than as a dynamic.
- …But if you’re doing it as a scene and it’s not part of a negotiated dynamic, and you haven’t discussed otherwise, the D/s and power exchange ends when the scene ends. D/s dynamics can of course develop naturally over time and through play. But if you haven’t discussed it, don’t do things like use titles that were mentioned in trance or act super subby towards a hypnotist you’ve played with in a power-exchange way. Some may like that, or like that from the right people (I know I do!). But talk about it!
This all effects subjects, hard
- Feeling a strong connection can be emotionally draining. You may not want it.
- Subdrop can hit hard from hypnosis because of just how connective and intimate it can feel. You get a lot of very personal attention from the hypnotist, and then the scene’s over.
- Aftercare is important, but feeling “off” can last for days with hypnosis. Hypnotists should be checking-in.
So that’s why I’m picky about who I hypno top (paid work aside)
- I need to either be in a relationship with them so that the intense formation of intimate feelings is fine, or know the subject is aware of this risk and has ways they plan to manage it. If hypnosis is engaged with without being aware of this risk, it often ends with harm done.
- Again, I’m not saying I’m somehow immune to what I’m describing here; but being aware of it so you can catch yourself if you’re having out of proportion social feelings after a scene is extremely important.
Heck, paid work not aside!
- I’ve had some very uncomfortable experiences before as a content creator. I ask that people I work with as a pro also respect the boundaries of the dynamic we form.
- That’s not to say I don’t enjoy my work or genuinely enjoy the subjects I’ve worked with as a pro, I do! I’ve met some incredibly cool people who have helped inspire me to make great files for them and to share with everyone.
- …But I’m not in a relationship with people I work with, or who buy and listen to my files, and those that approach me as if we are make me uncomfortable. I think this all applies to just about any content creator, hypnotist or otherwise.
There’s plenty of connective experiences like this in BDSM, but hypnosis is entirely focused around that connection. Where simple pickup-play involves a level of connection often only found between frequent partners. So, let’s move on to talking about how to navigate this. This is hypnosis-themed advice, but it has wide application in all casual kink and pickup-play.
What does awareness look like?
- Staying aware of context. Tops are not kink vending machines. If you do a pickup-play scene with someone, you shouldn’t expect they have to do it with you more. This goes largely uncontested when talking about things like flogging someone on a cross, or even having intimate sex. But, for all the aforementioned reasons, hypnosis can feel differently.
- Staying aware of scope of your feelings. A hypnotist playing with you is not making a lasting commitment, but they’re extremely likely to stick in your head and be someone you feel more connected to. That’s good! Connection is good! But not when it becomes pressuring someone into more kink or when you as the subject don’t even want to feel that connection to them.
What does preparation look like?
- Go into a session excited to have it, and enjoy it. Don’t place expectations for more onto a hypnotist before you even play.
- Keep it in perspective that this is a scene like any other scene. The activity is different, but you should treat it like any other scene. If it’d be out of scope for a different type of play, it still is here.
- If you are in a space in life where you are struggling with other dependence or addiction, consider not engaging in hypnosis.
- Don’t imagine hypnosis as a solution to any problem. It’s not. This is an extremely unhealthy pressure to put onto a hypnotist.
- Have aftercare plans, especially if they can be social ones! Go out with friends, or play a video game with online friends. Having other social connection can help with keeping feelings in perspective.
Awareness during negotiation?
- Describe past experiences with hypnosis, and how they’ve effected you. Both what you enjoyed or didn’t, and how you felt after.
- If you’re inclined towards power exchange and D/s in hypnosis: “Hey, so I know that hypnosis can create a lot of connected feelings, and we were talking about D/s stuff like you calling me ‘good girl’ and describing having power over me as part of the trance. I’ll assume that dynamic ends when the scene ends–is that OK with you?”
- Have aftercare plans, and communicate them. “I’ll check in tomorrow and let you know how I’m feeling, and you can do the same. I have <insert aftercare activity planned>, too!”
What about after a session?
- Don’t treat the subject, or the hypnotist, differently in a kink sense. They are not your submissive/dominant now (of course, scenes and play can become much more sometimes! But you shouldn’t treat that as the rule.)
- If you’re hit with strong feelings, consider if you’re feeling attraction to the person, or the trance. There aren’t that many hypnotists out there. Many people have the feelings of connection strengthened by it being a rare experience they don’t get to have a lot. It’s healthy and OK to want more, and you deserve all your hypno fantasies to be fulfilled! But, is that desire for the hypnosis itself or the person?
- Check-in. Debrief! Say what you enjoyed, what you didn’t, and if you want to do it again some time you certainly can say so! But…
- Don’t smother your hypnotist or subject. If you engage to check-in, wait, let them engage back, then judge their response. If they’re super-enthusiastic, and you feel the same, feel welcome to be enthusiastic back!
- Be aware that the risk of developing strong connected feelings from just a single hypnosis scene exists.
- That’s super cool, yay for making connections through kink! …But it’s also a risk of that connection being too consuming, or unwanted.
- Being aware of all of this will make most hypnotists a lot more likely to want to engage with you.
- Talk about it!