Thoughts on Blindfolds

To See or Not To See

Why a Blindfold should be in every BDSM toy cupboard

Often, Masters and Mistresses never experience what their sub does when a blindfold is used, which is a pity because understanding more about your senses and emotions when you can’t see can really help improve the whole game for both parties…

Being Blindfolded – Tips for the Dominant

Being blindfolded during fetish or BDSM play is one of those things that often gets taken for granted. Like being tied up or being gagged. It’s just one of those things you do to make it more fun, more exciting, more sexy, isn’t it?

Well, not really. Unlike being bound or gagged, blindfolding does one very special thing: it takes away our primary protective sense.

Ask any optician and, if you’re really unlucky, they’ll entertain you for hours on the complex structure of the eye, how different parts see detail and movement, how colour is seen and is unique to each of us, and… oh, lots more. Our eyes give most of the information we consciously use as we go about our daily lives. Think for a moment on the rapid decisions you make every day based on what you can see, from crossing the street to putting milk in your coffee.

So what does ‘not seeing’ actually deprive us of?

Facial expressions are a big loss when you’re wearing a blindfold and cannot see. If you’re tied to the frame and you can’t see your Master’s face you can’t see his expression, and that makes it difficult to judge his emotional state. Is he angry? Is he pleased with you? Has he calmed down? Facial cues are an important part of communicating which we take for granted. As the popularity of emailing increased in the ‘nineties, one thing which became very clear was that words by themselves were not enough to convey emotion. Statements could be easily misunderstood because the facial cues which support a normal conversation were missing. To rectify this we use tags such as ‘lol’ and ‘lmao’ to make sure there is no such uncertainty, but in the bedroom things are very different indeed.

As well as not being able to read your Master’s face, you can’t see what he’s doing, or, more importantly, what he’s about to do.

The ability to anticipate an imminent event is central to our ‘fight or flight’ responses. Even if you’re strapped down and cannot move an inch, being able to see it coming still gives us the chance to try to protect ourselves (futile though it may be) or at least scrunch up our eyes and mentally prepare for the arrival of the pain.

Alone in our own head

Basically, being blindfolded leaves us inside our own head with all the attendant fears and projections that dwell in there. And that’s scary.

Once the blindfold goes on, the sub will try to imagine what’s going on around them. They will try to picture the scene based on what they last saw: the flogger, the tweezers, the bed, their Master, their Mistress, the cuffs, the riding crop.

This scene will be coloured by their projections: those parts of our psyche which we superimpose on the world and people around us but seldom consciously acknowledge as our own. Cruelty, Sadism, Unrelenting Punishment. The unforgiving nature of her Master.

Our projections might also include kindness and mercy, but not here, not in this place. Not for me. The sub will be all to aware of her sin, her wrongdoing, and knows she needs to be punished. She projects this onto her Master and now anticipates not on the evidence of her eyes but on the strength of her imagination. Her fears and desires have become unshackled by her blindfold and are running wantonly through her mind.

While this is going on our other senses try to compensate for her sightlessness. What we hear, what we touch, the sensations on our skin. Is that the cold making her hair rise on her neck, or is He coming closer? Is that the gentle swish of something? She is straining her hearing when the sound of the cane slashing the air comes just a fraction of a second before a line of fire cuts across her cheeks.

woman sitting on floor wearing a blindfold. Dominant man stands above her

The Dominance of Sound

Hearing becomes the dominant sense when the sight is denied and the skin has little to distract it. Sound becomes the erotic medium and the use of the voice, spoken from the other side of the room one moment, whispered unexpectedly into the ear the next, is the weapon of choice for the discerning Master or Mistress.

Using the voice to create the scene in the sub’s mind, to change the images and shape the emotions she feels as the session progresses gives the Dominant an ineffable power. You can lie to the mind’s eye and it will willingly collude if the deceit fits with the sub’s fears and beliefs. This is how torturers and gaolers inflict the most terrible mental cruelties on their captors so be warned: Do not go too far and never leave the boundaries of the game.

Touch Sensations

Touch becomes very heightened when blindfolded and so the use of physical teasing can be very thrilling. Wax play can be very effective, particularly if you alternate it with ice play. Wash your sub’s buttocks or breasts with iced water for a minute or so and then dry her off. Wait a few seconds and then drip wax onto her and watch the response. You can use well-crushed or shaved ice which will have an interesting effect on warmed skin. Take a look at our wax play article for more on this.

Buying Suggestions
LoveHoney Blindfolds – UK
UberKinky – UK
Stockroom – USA : Our own favourite range of blindfolds

Once the blindfold goes on, the sub will try to imagine what’s going on around them. They will try to picture the scene based on what they last saw: the flogger, the tweezers, the bed, their Master, their Mistress, the cuffs, the riding crop.

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Mark Tomblesen

About the Author … Mark Tomblesen is a Creative Director with a digital media firm in London. He has worked in the video and DM fields since the mid Nineties.

“BDSM and Fetish are reaching out to a whole new audience and Tickleberry has been created to meet the everyday needs of the growing BDSM community. It’s been really great to be a part of this.”