An Eye-Opening Glimpse Into the World of Erotic Hypnosis
"I'll be completely honest with you," purred a melodic, Swedish-accented voice. "I've never done this with a woman before."
"Me, neither," I replied, giggling shyly.
I was in a hotel room in downtown Houston, lying on the bed fully clothed next to my laptop. The voice coming from my laptop belonged to Helen Petra, a hypnotherapist who conducts erotic hypnosis sessions via Zoom. Clients book sessions with Petra for a variety of reasons—to be dominated hypnotically, to experience a touch-free orgasm, to be transformed into a living mannequin and so on—but, as she confessed, they were almost always cisgender men.
Nevertheless, she was down to try hypnotizing a cisgender, mostly straight female.
And this cisgender, mostly straight female was down to be hypnotized.
Erotic hypnosis: An overview
I'd been turned on to the idea of erotic hypnosis after speaking with Sam Hughes, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who studies the psychology of kink, BDSM and sexual fetishism. An enthusiastic member of the erotic hypno community himself, Hughes is dedicating his dissertation project to the subject.
Erotic hypnosis—sometimes called hypno-kink or hypno-sex—functions much like regular hypnosis. That is, it involves creating an altered mental state or "trance" to access the subconscious mind. But instead of addressing traditional concerns such as addiction or weight loss, erotic hypnosis involves using this trance-like mental state to achieve sexual goals, such as enhanced sensuality, heightened sexual response and intensified orgasms.
Describing erotic hypnosis as an "omni-tool for kink," Hughes explained that the practice can take many forms.
"[It] could involve getting someone in a deeply relaxed state and then engaging in sexual activity," Hughes said. "For others, it's more like a tool they use to explore kinks and fetish interests.
'[Erotic hypnosis] ends up being an opportunity for my brain to kind of take a break.'
"So if someone wanted to be turned into a furry or someone wanted to experience having their body suddenly change genders, erotic hypnosis is a way to subjectively experience those things as though they were real," he added.
Some enthusiasts use erotic hypnosis on a practical level for managing physical pain.
"There are meta-analyses and the clinical literature which clearly demonstrates that hypnosis is very useful for managing issues of physical pain," Hughes noted. "For someone with fibromyalgia or someone with chronic fatigue syndrome, [erotic hypnosis] is something that might potentially be helpful."
For some people, including Hughes, it's similar to engaging in a guided meditation or other types of meditation practice.
"I'm a person who spends a great deal of my time worrying about things going on in the world," he explained. "And [erotic hypnosis] ends up being an opportunity for my brain to kind of take a break."
My erotic hypnosis experience
After ending my phone call with Hughes, I was itching to give erotic hypnosis a try. A cursory Google search of "erotic hypnosis" led me to YouTube, where I uncovered more than 17,000 self-erotic hypnosis videos with titles like "The Tentacle Monster in Your Room" and "Seduced into Obedience."
Against backdrops of rotating spirals and sexy anime ladies, these videos are narrated by sultry voices that croon out commands such as "Come for me" and "Touch yourself." Initially intrigued, I watched the first few minutes of a few of these videos but found myself too easily distracted, alone at my desk with no one to stop me from giving up and watching old Kate McKinnon "Saturday Night Live" clips instead.
What I needed was a guide. I went back to Google, where I found thousands of online hypnotherapists—including specialists in erotic hypnosis—who offered remote sessions via Zoom and Skype. Among the Mistress Carols and Lady Jessicas, I discovered Petra, whose website menu of different erotic hypnosis experiences I found fascinating. It included hypno-spanking, hypno-tickling and the intriguingly titled, "Mannequin Fetish," which promised to "use hypnosis to transform you into a life-size, articulated action figure." These sessions were intended to "evoke pure arousal and channel it into the uninhibited pleasure of masturbation or hands-free orgasm," her website read.
Sold, I booked an hourlong session for the following afternoon.
And that brings us back to that Houston hotel room, sprawled on the bed with my eyes closed as Petra made buzzing, vibrator-like noises from the other side of the camera. Her camera was off for "safety reasons" and mine was off for "I feel a little bit ridiculous" reasons. The first 40 minutes or so functioned much like a guided meditation session: Petra's soothing tones guided me through breathing exercises, then through an imaginary journey through a forest, down a path and into an empty summer cottage with a squishy purple couch.
'It's through playing that role over a long period of time that you can get the brain to an altered state of consciousness.'
Once I was lying on this squishy purple couch, things began heating up.
"You feel the need to start stroking yourself," Petra cooed. "Gently teasing yourself, arousing yourself."
Obediently, I followed her instructions—though I wasn't 100 percent certain if she was directing the command at real-life, fully-clothed-on-a-Houston-hotel-bed me or an imaginary lying-on-a-purple-couch-in-a-mystical-forest-cottage me.
"When you hear the words, 'Come for me now, explode for me now,' you will orgasm intensely, powerfully. You will have a full-body orgasm," she said.
At this point, she made a "bzzzz"-ing noise.
"Each and every time you hear me make the sound of the vibrator, you feel that vibrator inside you, pleasuring you, feel that stimulation," she crooned. "The longer I make the sound, the stronger, the more arousing, the more pleasurable."
A few minutes of buzzing ensued, during which I tried to quash my urge to giggle and concentrate on remembering what a vibrator felt like. "Come for me now, explode for me now!" she commanded finally. And, since I'd been touching myself the entire time, I obeyed.
Would I call my first foray into erotic hypnosis successful? I can confirm I had at least a B+ orgasm (not bad for a first-time sexual experience!) and felt relaxed and giddy after the session, if a little silly.
My initial experience with erotic hypnosis aligned with what Hughes had told me during our original conversation. For many first-timers, erotic hypnosis might feel a little like play-acting, he explained.
"When you're first starting out, there's this 'fake it till you make it' stage where it feels like you're playing a role," Hughes said. "It's through playing that role over a long period of time that you can get the brain to an altered state of consciousness."
So when Petra offered me a complimentary follow-up session, I booked it immediately.