Monday, March 21, 2011

Kink Monday: Sensory Deprivation

Sensory Deprivation is one of those kinks that can range from slightly-more-than-vanilla to extreme-kink-with-lots-of-safety-warnings.

At it's simplest, sensory deprivation usually means a blindfold or simply being instructed to keep your eyes closed. Probably the best known movie scene for this is the food play in Nine and a Half Weeks.

That scene isn't about sex. Or, it doesn't start out that way, anyway. This scene is about power exchange and sensory deprivation. Elizabeth has no idea of the texture or temperature or taste of something until it hits her tongue. Some things, like the jello, taste as soon as they hit her tongue. Some fruits won't taste until she bites into them. Can you tell the difference between a grape and a cherry tomato until you've bitten into it? Do you know whether to expect sweet or bitter or sour? Whatever is going in her mouth is an unknown until she accepts it into her mouth, and even then, some things remain an unknown until she bites into it.

Sensory Deprivation often means being bound, but it doesn't have to. When not bound it gives a different flavor to the power exchange, it's more about the submissive giving the power away, as opposed to having it taken away. In the clip above, Elizabeth is an active participant in her sensory deprivation.

When you don't have your sight, other senses get turned up more -- you hear more, you are more attuned to temperature changes, and sometimes even feel someone's breath as they get near you. You feel more.

The next step on the road to sensory deprivation often involves the loss of sight and hearing. This can be accomplished by using hearing protection created for shooters, but it can also be accomplished with a combination of ear plugs covered by noise canceling headphones that are playing either white noise or whatever music the Dom has chosen.

Being deprived of sight and hearing can be overwhelming and can send some people into a panic. It is very important the Top pay close attention and provide lots of reassuring touch until the bottom figures out how to anchor to reality without sight or hearing.

Once your other senses are turned up to compensate for loss of sight and hearing, then whatever happens is magnified. Whether it be an orange slice in your mouth or your partner's mouth on your breast, you feel it more, and somehow sense more of it than you ever have before. If biting into a simple orange slice can become so much more, then imagine what sensory deprivation can do to BDSM activities. A spanking is exponentially more intense when it's the only sensation your body is processing.

At its most intense, sensory deprivation can mean being placed in a special sensory deprivation tank where you float in water the same temperature as your skin, and breathe air that doesn't smell. And, of course, no light or sound can penetrate the tank. There are no anchors to reality in such a tank - there is no sight, no smell, no hearing, and none of the nerve endings in your skin can feel anything, either. If someone is placed in such a tank with a vibrating butt plug, for instance, then that will quite literally be the only sensation their brain can focus on.

For people without a sensory deprivation tank, the most intense BDSM scene generally involves loss of sight and sound, being bound by multiple points so you can't really feel any one point as being restrained more than another, being gagged, and being spread out so you can't feel your own body with any other part of your body. This can mean that even your fingers are spread out in some way.

My most intense sensory deprivation scenes have involved loss of sight and sound while bound. In a very memorable scene, I was not gagged, but given instructions the only sound I was allowed to make was a safeword. Any other sound, even a grunt or moan, resulted in a tens unit that was attached to my delicate parts being turned way up for a short time. The level of trust involved for that kind of scene is immense.

But I also have some quite memorable scenes that involved no more sensory deprivation than a simple blindfold. You don't have to make it complicated.

Have you experimented around with any kind of sensory deprivation? Did you enjoy it?

1 comment:

  1. I hope the author reads this so I'm not writing to nobody. This blog seems to have been abandoned since 2013. I found this page because I've been researching sensory deprivation and it's something I want to experiment with. I wish I had a sensory deprivation tank/could afford one. I don't have any experiences with sensory deprivation. I've yet to try it. Probably in the "just above vanilla" mode, without sex, and probably just with somebody leading me around without me knowing where I'm going.

    Side note: Why do you use the term submissive in the article instead of bottom? If you're receiving sensory deprivation that doesn't make you a submissive in my mind. If I'm allowing myself to be subjected to something for the sake of my own experience and not out of a desire to please/serve someone else then isn't that different from submissiveness? If you're allowing yourself to be dehumanized because you want the experience of being dehumanized I don't think that automatically makes you a submissive. You could also be a submissive but you don't have to be.

    That's just what other people have told me and what makes sense. I'm curious about your use of the term because it's different from the way I've had it explained to me.