There’s a fetish for nearly everything, from animated characters to furry costumes, from hypnosis to personality transformations. But what if the hypnosis fetish isn’t really a fetish? What if it’s (gasp) totally normal?
Hypnofetishists, I believe, are attracted to a natural aspect of sex that has yet to be widely recognized, let alone understood or accepted.
Shared Mental/Emotional States
Watch this scene from Dracula Has Risen From The Grave. Notice that Dracula isn’t just hypnotizing Maria. He’s making an empathic connection. This connection synchronizes their mental states, which creates the trance. The connection enables her to feel his desire for her. His desire then becomes their shared desire, and that is erotically intoxicating.
The hypnosis fetish is an attraction to this synchronized mental state and shared desire. Dominant hypnotists don’t want mindless sex dolls. We could buy those from any mail-order catalog. No. Dominants want to see and feel our influence on our subjects. We want to share our desire with them and see them reciprocate it. We literally want see our submissive fall into sync with our desire for them.
Submissives want the reciprocal of this feeling. They want to feel influenced by this shared mental state (i.e., subspace). They want to feel the hypnotist’s desires influencing their own thoughts. And they want to feel this influence ignite sexual feelings throughout their bodies.
The evidence for this is easily seen in the multitude of seduction and ‘forced’ fantasies, i.e., forced arousal, forced chastity, forced feminization, etc.
Forced arousal fantasies are surprisingly common.1,2 One study found that as many as 57% of women fantasize about being raped.3 But these fantasies may be less surprising when you think of them as being about synchronized mental states or emotional spaces. One woman described a fantasy where she initially resisted a rapist, but eventually surrendered and began to enjoy it.4 Another described a fantasy where men found her so irresistible that they’d lose control and ravish her. These fantasies share an important element: during sex, the women enter a mental state where their attacker’s desire become a shared desire.
Men also enjoy forced arousal fantasies. Cock control, forced masturbation, forced chastity, and forced feminization are common in the online hypnosis communities. Although forced feminization may be more common outside the hypnosis communities.5 In cock control scenes, a domme employs hypnotic conditioning to force a man to get erect on command. In forced masturbation and chastity scenes, the domme controls when and how the man masturbates. In feminization fantasies, the dominatrix forces a man to dress and act like a woman. Why do men want to feel forced to do something they already want to do? It’s because they want to feel the empathic connection and share the dominatrix’s emotional space. They essentially want to feel the dominatrix’s desire become their own desire. (Read more about consensual non-consent in hypnotic domination.)
The desire to be influenced and sexually controlled may sound bizarre to some people. But it’s a natural extension of the desire for sexual rapport.
What is Rapport?
Rapport is harmonious (i.e., two-way) emotional communication that results in shared or coordinated emotions. It’s a connection you build and deepen through continual mutual attentiveness and empathy. In other words, a shared emotional space. And it’s important to every type of relationship. The first rapport infants experience is with their parents. When parents use positive emotions to encourage learning, the infants are able to share the parent’s emotions. This sharing releases oxytocin and dopamine. So the infant learns to associate that emotional sharing with joy and pleasure. This builds the infant’s ability to empathize with other people and engenders (in most people) a life-long desire for emotional rapport.
We seek rapport in all of our relationships, from teachers to coworkers, from friendships to lovers. Rapport helps us communicate, which makes people more comfortable interacting. It helps people learn and work together. But it’s especially important in romantic and sexual relationships. Here we aim to build rapport deep enough to create emotional intimacy. And for this reason, rapport is an important element of sexual attraction. The hypno-fetishist just takes this one step further.
Where most people consider the process of establishing rapport and the sensation of being in that shared mental/emotional space mere preludes to intimacy, hypno-fetishists see them as intrinsically erotic.
But does that make it a fetish? Not necessarily.
Why the Hypnosis Fetish May Not Be a Fetish
Many people use the word ‘fetish’ to mean anything that sexually excites them.6 Those are kinks. But scholars and sexologists define the term more narrowly. To sexologists, a fetish is a nonsexual thing that ignites sexual desires in a person and that is absolutely necessary for that person’s sexual arousal and satisfaction.
Handcuffs were originally designed to restrain criminals and prisoners. So handcuffs are non-sexual things, unless they’re covered with pink fur. For the people who enjoy bondage, the thought of being handcuffed can ignite sexual desire. That’s still just a kink, unless they become dependent on the handcuffs for sexual arousal. Then it becomes a fetish.
Hypnosis has a much more complicated history. And it has been subjected to a wide range of interpretations. When Anton Mesmer introduced the world to mesmerism, he attributed its effects to animal magnetism. James Braid described it as an agitated form of sleep. Fiction authors have described it as a supernatural power. Therapists describe it as a way to communicate with the subconscious. And I’ve offered my own interpretation of how hypnosis works.
Many fiction authors often portray hypnosis with erotic undertones. Others portray it as a way to turn people into mindless puppets. And therapists have continually fought these interpretations to help the public see hypnosis is a safe, non-sexual therapeutic tool. But recent research has shown that trance is an essential element of sexual arousal.7 Which means it’s natural to see hypnosis, which induces trance, as intrinsically sexual.
Hence the hypnosis fetish isn’t a fetish at all. It’s perfectly normal.
Some people think ‘normal’ is bad word.8 They believe the term marginalizes people who don’t conform to a narrow range of socially accepted behaviors. But ‘normal’ evolves. Scientists discover new information every day. This information reshapes our understanding of human sexuality. And many things that society once considered perversions become more commonly (if not universally) accepted.
Erotic literature was once considered a perversion. Napoleon Bonaparte had The Marque de Sade imprisoned for writing Justine.9 But today psychiatrists consider writing erotica to be both healthy and normal. Anton Mesmer was publicly condemned and driven into exile. But we’ve recently learned that hypnosis can help married couples communicate better, enjoy deeper intimacy and better sex. And now it is perfectly acceptable (in some communities) for couples to seek a hypnotist’s help to improve their sexual rapport.
Will the world ever recognize hypnosis as a natural part of sex? Probably not. Fiction authors will continue portraying hypnosis as way to control people. And hypnotherapists will continue fighting this interpretation. And frankly, a lot of people take pride in being outside ‘the norm’. But those of us with this ‘fetish’ could benefit by understanding how and why we see hypnosis as intrinsically erotic.
- Matthew Huttson (2008) Why Do Women Have Erotic Rape Fantasies?, Psychology Today.
- Michael Castleman (2015) Why Do Women have Rape Fantasies?, Psychology Today.
- Critelli & Bivona (2008) Women’s erotic rape fantasies: an evaluation of theory and research, Journal of Sex Research.
- Scott (2017) Why do half of women have fantasies about being raped?, Metro.co.uk.
- Borresen (2018) 6 Of The Most Common Sexual Fantasies, According To Sex Workers, Huffpost.com.
- Saint Thomas (2017) 11 of the Most Common Sexual Fetishes, Allure.com
- Northwestern University (2016) Getting into the flow: Sexual pleasure is a kind of trance, ScienceDaily.com
- Donaghue (2015) Sex Outside the Lines
- Marquis de Sade Imprisonment fo his writings, Wikipidia.com