Monday, December 15, 2014

Suggestion Building (Courtesy of XX Erotic Hypnosis Peershare)

Now that you have amazing ideas for what to do in a  hypnosis scene and can achieve trance, you'll need to be able to effectively form and administer the suggestions to make it happen. Here are some ideas from the Peer Share.

After the inductions, deepeners, and safeties come the meat of play: suggestions. A suggestion is the communication between a hypnotist and the hypnotee's subconscious. What you will learn here is essentially the programming language for the human computer. A lot of it looks a lot like English (if that's the language you're speaking).

  • Positive Suggestions: Always phrase suggestions in the positive. For example, "you will notice that your legs will remain straight, your knees locked," as opposed to "your knees can't bend." This is because as soon as a negative like "do not bounce in your seat" is suggested, the mind has to first imagine bouncing in the seat, which makes it a pretty strong suggestion to bounce in the seat.
  • Replacement: To add on to the positive framing of suggestions principle, if you want something gone, do not suggest that it's gone; replace it. Instead of "do not think of pink elephant" say "think of an orange hippo."
  • Use Simple Language: Eschew obfuscation. Refrain from pontificating in such manner as to fatally quell subconscious comprehension.
    There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class.

  • Speak Clearly: And speak loud enough. There are few things more distracting from trance than having to say "what? Can you speak up, please?"
  • Choose Your Tone: Choosing a hypnotic voice comes before the induction, but there are many tones to choose from for specific suggestions that may augment the effectiveness of that suggestion. Here are some tones.
    • Dominance/Control
    • Warmth/Relaxation
    • Monotone
    • Humiliation/Condescension
    • Expressive
    • Dreamy
  • Shock: Changing tone or pace rapidly can also be effective, for example a dreamy, relaxing induction followed by a commanding, dominant, sudden suggestion.
  • Meter: Use pacing and meter to emphasize your suggestion. Deepeners are often...slow......down, whereas bringing someone into an energetic suggestion may require a different tactic.
  • Use Repetition: Use repetition. Use it. Use repet...sorry. Repeating a suggestion gives the subconscious more time and opportunity to process. Try to repeat using approximately the same language every time. It can be tempting to say something a bunch of different ways to make it clearer, but try to say it one way. If it doesn't work, try it a different way next time. Repeating different ways can be confused as conflicting or separate instructions.
  • Suspension of Disbelief: If you're doing a cool mindfuck or amnesia suggestion, especially for the first time, do not disturb the suspension of disbelief. If they think they're Severus Snape, don't say their real name, don't ask them if they're sure they're Severus Snape, and don't point stuff out to the contrary unless you're trying to confuse them or break the suggestion. Similarly, the suggestion is to forget, say, the number 3, when you're waking them up, perhaps count "one, two, four, awake!"
  • Passive vs. Direct: Consider the language for the suggestion itself. Which one might be most effective for the hypnotee in question? Direct suggestions sound like "you will wake up in a moment and you will be Severus Snape, and it will be as if you have always been Severus Snape." A passive suggestion sounds like "you may find yourself that feels a lot like your potions classroom, and it may seem like you belong there as the potions professor, Professor Snape." Passive suggestions work better on people who don't necessarily like being told what to do. Passive also work better for suggestions that rely on the senses. "It would be okay for you to begin feeling more and more aroused." "You may notice your arms getting heavier." As you can see, there are many different ways to word passive suggestions. "You don't have to remember all of these wordings, but they may come in handy."
  • Use Metaphor: Metaphor can be a powerful tool to create imagery, sensation, or to distract. For instance, when doing memory play, I use the patter "it's slipping like water through your hand, like sand through an hourglass, fading away like a dream after you wake up. The harder you try to remember, the more you focus on the image of water trickling away down the drain, going, going, gone."
  • Cater for Modality: Modality refers to whether someone's more visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. There are a bunch of ways to figure out someone's primary modalities. Look forward to a post all about that! For the meantime, look for clues in someone's descriptions. If you ask someone about their bedroom or office and they talk most about the decorations or colors, probably visual. If they talk about layout, textures, or clutter, they're probably kinesthetic. If they talk about how it's in a quiet part of the building or within earshot of their boss, auditory. Another good test is "imagine you're on a beach." Ask what they notice. Once you have established their modality use that sense most in your suggestions and descriptions. "You'll be awake and alert as if you've just stepped out of a nice hot shower." "You'll be awake and alert as if you're half way through listening to your favorite peppy song." "You'll be awake and alert as if you've slept for hours and the sun is streaming through your window."
  • Mantras: Establish mantras of suggestions to continually reinforce. Have a hypnotee memorize them word for word. A hypnotist can prompt the hypnotee to recite or think about their mantras on a cue. Mantras can take the simple form of a personal statement like "I have patience, warmth, and compassion for others," or "every day I enjoy shampoo more and more."
  • Write it Down for Review: For important or "permanent" or tricky suggestions, write them down to get the wording right. Negotiate the wording. Edit.
  • Use Anticipation: Expectations are a powerful tool in hypnosis. Drawing out expectations before the suggestion is actually supposed to take effect can make the suggestion even more powerful when it does, especially if the hypnotee is excited about or particularly interested in the suggestion. "In a moment, not now, but in a moment you will find yourself very aroused." And then stall.
  • Naturalize: When giving suggestions for characters or compulsions, make the suggestion feel natural. Language for that might look like, "and it will be as if you have always been Severus Snape. It feels perfectly natural for you to shout at your students and brood over your steaming cauldron many hours of the day, whipping through assignments with your red pen, always regretting Lily..."
    And regretting that smock you wore when you met.

  • Anchoring: anchoring is an NLP term referring to associations that the subconscious makes between two things that are concurrent but not necessarily related. For example, if a person were to flex their calf muscles to fatigue every time they had an orgasm, that person may also become aroused when exercising their calves to fatigue in the gym. Anchoring can be more subtle. If I casually gesture to myself every time I say a positive adjective in conversation, my conversation partners may begin to associate those positive adjectives with me. Please, for the love of god, use this with consenting partners to better do things that they have already consented to.You are being a creepy rapist pickup artist if you use this to pick people up or get them to sleep with you.
  • Nonverbal Suggestions: Use body language, gestures, eye contact, and touches to create suggestions. This is what partners do when they dance. This is what you do for your puppy when you pat the chair next to you.  It's simple and an important tool to keep in mind amidst all these verbal suggestions.
  • Incremental Suggestions: Some suggestions work best in absolutes, for example "you are Severus Snape," and some can be increased and manipulated incrementally, for example "every time I snap my fingers, you become a little more dour and sadistic," one of which may have a stronger effect depending on the hypnotee and suggestion at hand. This works well for sensation manipulation and things that tend to happen gradually anyway like arousal and feelings of being awake. 
    Incremental Snape

  • Conditioning: There are instructions and a description for conditioning in the bottom of this post. Check it out.

Interested in joining the Peershare discussions? Check out our description.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Your Hypnotic Fantasy: Suggestion Inspiration Guide (Courtesy of XX Erotic Hypnosis Peershare)

What's your hypnotic fantasy? Sometimes the hardest part of hypnosis is figuring out what to do after you've finished an induction. This person is under your utmost control! Time to do some sleep voyeurism play while you try to figure out what to do next.

Here's what the XX Hypnosis Peer Share came up with.

Create a trigger word or gesture or touch that creates a compulsion or subconscious response.
There are a few ways to set this up. The hypnotee can know about the compulsion, or you can make it so that they don't remember the compulsion, and don't even suitcase notice the trigger so that suitcase if they suitcase read this sentence suitcase, they wouldn't even notice suitcase the extra words suitcase in it. A trigger can be a specific stroking of the arm, or a finger snap, or a particular tune when whistled. It can be a word, or an event like every time the hypnotist sits down. Make sure to set this up so that the trigger, whether in scene or posthypnotic, is only triggered when intended by the hypnotist.

What does the trigger do?
The classic, of course, is an orgasm trigger. You may see that referred to generally in this blog as "the Knee-Tap Orgasm" (whether or not the trigger is actually a knee tap). Another fun way to do this is to link it with arousal triggers. "Every time I take the cap off this pen and put it back on, you will become a little more aroused." A great way to combine these is with, perhaps, a countdown. "I will count to ten, and every number will make you more and more aroused, and you will stay that aroused until I say the next number. When we reach ten, you will experience an amazing orgasm." This can be done over a matter of seconds, minutes, or hours.

Other kinky trigger compulsions could include a compulsion to remove clothing, a compulsion to always have their head below the head of the hypnotist as a form of D/s, compulsions about laughing more and more, freezing and becoming immobilized, or compulsions to say or do humiliating things. Triggers based on flavors and scents can be quite powerful.

Triggers can be incremental or absolute. "You will become completely hard when I say the word 'cactus.'" versus "You will become a little more aroused every time I bite your ear lobe."

Get to Know Your Brain
Hypnosis can be extremely introspective and a great way to get to know a partner. Poke around and see what comes out. Here are some great ways to do that.

  • Draw Your Subconscious (easy): hypnotize the hypnotee to go deep down in their subconscious. Guide them into a space that you call something like "the creativity center of your subconscious" and have them look around. Give them a pen and a big piece of paper, and have them draw what they see. Suggest that they can see everything there with their eyes open, but that they can refocus especially if they close their eyes for a minute.
  • What's Your Fantasy? (intermediate): hypnotize the hypnotee to be compelled to say their fantasies and desires. Suggest that they find new ones they hadn't thought of before. This can also be used as a humiliation scene. If you want inspiration for future scenes, ask the hypnotee to write down the fantasies on index cards. You can then pull out and negotiate the index cards later.
  • Hug Fortune Teller (easy): This works especially well when doing hypnosis around other people. Suggest that the hypnotee can see someone's future when they give them a hug. Suggest that they may only hug people with verbal consent. Have them tell the hugged-person's future. 

Kinky Scenarios and Role Play
Now let's get to the real kinky shit. Turns out, hypnosis is an excellent medium for bondage, role play, regression and age play, abduction scenes, interrogation scenes, humiliation, and much more. Here are some ideas.

  • Bondage (easy): the hypnotee can be stuck in any position or to any object completely bonds free. This can be done with no rope or bonds at all, or could be done with bonds that are much lighter and easier to break out of than the This is also an accessibility tip for people for whom it would be unsafe to be bound!
  • Role Play (easy): Ever had a fantasy of fucking Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer? What about having Barack Obama on his knees sucking your strap-on? Now you can! (Disclaimer: I do not intend nor am I encouraging the sexual harassment or assault of the president.) The hypnotee can be under the impression that they or the hypnotist, or both parties are specific characters. This also works with character archetypes like "sexy firewoman" or "stripper with daddy issues."
    Note: be cautious with age play suggestions. Know someone well before doing this. It may work to hypnotize someone to be "their little," but hypnotizing someone to "be six years old" may have the unintended result of making them actually think they're six years old while you're in a dungeon, or who they were when they were six, which may or may not have been a good time for them.
  • Abduction/Interrogation/Non-Con (expert): A lot of people have intense non-consent fantasies, and these can be played out carefully using hypnosis. In a hypnotee/hypnotist relationship with a lot of trust and rapport, a set of partners can create a framework for a scene that actually feels like stranger danger or non-con (in a way that is fun and consensual for those players). This can go beyond typical consensual non-consent scenes in that the scene can be set up so that the hypnotee actually doesn't recognize the hypnotist, or feels real fear or other "negative" emotions for the hypnotist. A possible scenario is to make the hypnotee think and feel like their drink has been drugged. These are doable, but must be set up very carefully and only by a hypnotist who knows a lot about abreactions and with a pair of partners that know each other well. 
  • Pain/Impact (expert): This is recommended for folks who have already played with and enjoyed real pain and have done other forms of hypnosis as well. There are a few ways to involve pain play with hypnosis. Hypnotees can feel intentional psychosomatic hypnosis pain. This is another accessibility hack for people who medically or psychologically can't be hit but want to feel pain! For example, a hypnotist can give a trigger that gives a particular pain sensation that the hypnotee likes or does not like (but consents to). The trigger can be anything like a word or finger snap, or even an impact of a much less pain-inflicting toy. For example, a hypnotist can make a bunny-hair flogger feel like a rubber flogger.

    "Real" pain play can also be incorporated with hypnosis. Hypnotists can use impact or pain as a trigger for something else, can add a dimension of role play using hypnosis, or even just use hypnosis as a safety by giving suggestions that the hypnotee can get into subspace really easily but check in really well in and out of subspace. A hypnotist can also help a hypnotee come out of subspace and/or avoid subdrop using hypnosis. Just use a positive cheerful wakener!

    Increasing pain tolerance is not recommended because pain keeps us from actually hurting ourselves and messing with that perception could result in someone taking more pain than they should. People who play with impact and pain should be aware that subspace and endorphins due to pain already increase pain tolerance as the scenes go on. Specific toys and skin damage (marks, blood, etc.) should be negotiated before a scene starts. 
  •  Top From the Bottom (easy): A fun suggestion for swtiches, a hypnotist can actually hypnotize a hypnotee to be dominant. This is good for switch hypnotists partnered with submissive hypnotees, or switch hypnotists with switch hypnotees who sometimes have difficulty getting into dom-space. In this scene, both partners can be both dominant and submissive in different ways.
  • Denial/Chastity (intermediate): A hypnotist can make a hypnotee unable to reach orgasm. This can be through physical inability, forgetfulness, or any number of mechanisms. A hypnotist can ruin or push off an orgasm as well.
  • Human Doll (easy): Whether limp and floppy or animatronic or clay-like, a hypnotee can become a human doll or bot with any amount of responsiveness. The hypnotee can be forced to sit and watch any number of interesting activities in the room with no ability to participate, or can be taken advantage of in any (consensual) number of  ways. The hypnotee could be mindless or trapped inside their head. 
  • Guided Fantasy (easy): A hypnotist can turn a hypnotee's fantasy real by narrating and storytelling them through the fantasy. For instance, a hypnotist can verbally create the experience of a tentacle bondage scene by suggesting the sensations and creating imagery and even hallucinations.
  • Decreasing Inhibitions (intermediate): Hypnotists should not suggest this particular idea. Always let this come from a hypnotee. Lowering inhibitions needs to be an independent goal of the inhibited, otherwise consent for everything thereafter gets murky.  Steer clear of anything that could sound like "I want to hypnotically lower your inhibitions so that you might let me fuck your ass." That being said, this can be a great way for people to feel more comfortable doing things they're already interested in doing but feel too shy in the moment. Dancing or doing a striptease is a common example. Dirty talk is another example. Making noise during play or being dominant are other examples. 

With longer term hypnotic relationships, partners can actually establish response conditioning. The simplest form of this is when a hypnotee begins associating a particular tone of the hypnotist's voice as hypnotic and is conditioned to go into trance just because of the tone of voice. Because this almost always happens naturally, hypnotists should always have a separate voice that they use for hypnosis so that their hypnotees don't fall asleep in the middle of conversations.
Never eat sea urchin with a hypnotist.
Intentional classical conditioning is real stuff messing with real people's brains, so make sure that, if you're a hypnotee, you are with someone you trust and already like a lot. This is a form of play that can affect a hypnotee in scene and out. Negotiate carefully. Do not go near hypnotists who do this crap without asking. This type of play is subtle, but the effect can be great. Hypnotists should not underestimate the need for negotiation.

One popular form of conditioning in the erotic hypnosis community is pleasure conditioning (surprise). If you have established a trigger that creates pleasure, like for example saying the word "pleasure," or, like, touching their dick, the hypnotist can then begin creating associations of other things with that pleasure. The subconscious does not have any concept of cause and effect, so when two things happen concurrently, the subconscious links them. With consent to pleasure condition a partner to do things that the hypnotists wants the partner to more often, the hypnotist can begin designing the project. If the hypnotist likes when their partner gives them a head massage, the hypnotist can give the pleasure trigger any time the hypnotee puts hands hand on the hypnotist's head. 

This can be done covertly, if negotiated as such, or explicitly if negotiated as "can I pleasure condition you to give me more head massages?" The beauty is that this form of conditioning work whether or not the hypnotee is aware of it. In the scenario where the specific conditioning is negotiated explicitly, a clever hypnotist may even suggest that it works better because the hypnotee knows. 

Other Hypno Tricks
Please remember that under no circumstances should play be mixed with hypnotherapy. If you are not a trained and licensed hypnotherapist, you should not do hypnotherapy at all. You do not know what you need to know. Even if you are a licensed hypnotherapist, you should not mix play with therapy. Some of the following border on therapy, but can be done in a way that..isn't.

  • Synesthesia (intermediate): This is a suggestion that one sense is linked to another. For example, a hypnotee can experience tasting colors or seeing sounds.
  • Relaxation (easy): Relaxation is often an automatic response to hypnosis, but can also be brought in as the main purpose. You should not be setting out to treat anxiety! This can be a good type of play to wind down after a tough day in place of a warm bath or massage.
  • Partner Dance (easy): Turns out, partner dance already has elements of D/s and many dancers find that they go into space when dancing. This can be augmented with hypnosis! Try messing around with it.
  • Time Dilation (easy): People under hypnosis can and often automatically experience time differently. This can be fun to play with.
  • Hallucinations (intermediate): Some people find it easy to hallucinate in one modality or other, and for others it takes a lot of work and practice. It can be interesting to try and create auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or any hallucinations. 
  • Messing With Headspace (intermediate): Use hypnosis to go to extra creative, relaxed, introspective or empty spaces. Check out the corners of your brain. Do some research on different states of consciousness and see if you can find 'em! 

You can join the XX Peershare discussions on the second Sundays of the month at 3PM (or 2 if you're new to hypnosis) at Wicked Grounds Cafe in SF.  What's your fantasy?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Inductions! (Courtesy of XX Erotic Hypnosis Peershare)

The following is a write-up of the notes and ideas from the XX Erotic Hypnosis Peershare.  The XX Erotic Hypnosis Peershare meets on the 2nd Sunday of the month at 3PM at Wicked Grounds cafe on 8th and Folsom in San Francisco. People who are new to hypnosis should come at 2PM to get the Hypnosis 101 language, terms, and practices.

The Topic of the Month on 11/9/14 was....Inductions!

Here are some inductions that folks shared at the peer-share munch and how and when they might be used most effectively. After most inductions, immediately begin deepenrs and then safeties

Focus Inductions: 

Eye Fixation/Eye Fatigue (easy, 1-3 min)
This is the classic pocket watch, candle, crystal, finger wave, or spiral induction. Ask the hypnotee to watch whatever thing it is and not to move their head. Keep the object slightly above eye level. Patter about how their eyes might start feeling tired. If it's in the evening, ask them what time they woke up and point out that their eyes have been open for a long time today. If the room is dim, point that out. If they have glasses, point out how wearing glasses might make their eyes tired. Give the suggestion that they might start blinking more often and that every time they blink, it feels better and better and it's harder and harder to open their eyes again. When they're blinking a lot or their eyes look glazed, fluttery, or bloodshot, tell them that they can relax/close their eyes. A forehead tap (with consent) or finger snap with "sleep" works, as well. Begin deepenrs immediately.

Eye Contact (intermediate, 1-3 min)
This induction plays off the idea that humans don't really like holding eye contact for longer than about five seconds. Eye contact is tied in with dominance and submission, and a hypnotist can use eye contact and attention to induce trance. This induction could go a little something like this:
"Look into my eyes. Don't look away. Did you know that humans don't really like to hold eye contact for longer than about five seconds? You may start noticing around now the urge to look away, but please keep looking right back into my eyes. After about five seconds, the flight or fight or fuck response kicks in, but you're not doing any of those things right now, so you may start feeling more and more like looking away, but please keep looking into my eyes. You may be noticing how nice it would be to close your eyes so that you don't even have to look away, but please keep your eyes open right now. Your conscious mind doesn't like thinking about looking into my eyes for this long, so it may be drawing on your subconscious so that you don't have to think. The deeper into trance you go, the more it feels like your eyes are already closed..." Look for bloodshot, glazed, or fluttery eyes, and then, with consent, tap them on the forehead and say "sleep" and begin deepeners. 

Good for quiet, intimate settings and mood-setting

Handshake #1 (intermediate, 1-3 min)
Reach out to shake their hand. Once their hand is in yours, turn it palm towards their face, and move it quickly towards their face. "Watch your hand moving towards your face and feel all of the tension drain from your body. Feel your arm relaxing in my hands. When your hand touches your face, you can sink down into a deep, relaxing trance." Begin deepeners. 

Massage Induction (easy, 5+ min)
With lots of very specific physical contact consentthis can be paired with any guided meditation or progressive relaxation type induction. This induction consists of giving the hypnotee a massage and using the massage to bring out relaxation and trance. Draw attention to the relaxation and positive sensations in each muscle. In an erotic context, the hypnotist can also bring forward feelings of arousal. "Your skin will feel more and more sensitive as I touch you, warming you up, bringing the blood to the surface. Every time I touch you it will feel better and better." "My hands will melt away the tension in your muscles, replacing them with feelings of calm energy and pleasant floaty sensations." Transition into other deepeners. 

Progressive Relaxation (easy, 4+ min)
Verbally draw attention to each part of the body and instruct the hypnotee to relax that part of the body. Start with toes and work your way up. "And now feel your ankles relaxing." With particularly attentive subjects, the hypnotist can ask that the hypnotee see if they can feel their pulse, and then try to feel it in those specific areas of the body. That might be especially effective for kinesthetic hypnotees. Visual hypnotees might respond well to imagery of a glowing ball of warm relaxation energy flowing through their toes, ankles, etc. The hypnotist can use imagery of the tension flowing down out of them into the ground, or have the subject feel heavier and heavier, or lighter and lighter. 
This induction takes a long time, and isn't necessarily more effective than shorter inductions. It might be good for someone who wants to calm down a lot. Abbreviated or at full length, this can be a good deepener. 

Good for analytical and busy-minded people.

Accelerating numbers (easy, 1-2 min)
This is a good induction for analytically and mathematically minded subjects. "I'm going to say a number, and I want you to say the number after me. So when I say one..." They say one. The hypnotist can then count upwards going faster and faster. It's okay to make patterns and then break them. It's okay to backtrack. Once the hypnotee is getting a little glazed, firmly command "sleep!" and begin deepeners immediately. 

7+/-2 (intermediate, 2-5 min)
This classic induction for analytic, busy minds plays off the idea that the conscious mind can only hold 7 plus or minus 2 items (somewhere between 5 and 9, that is) in it at any given time. When the conscious mind gets overloaded, it begins to rely on the subconscious, which handles tons of things at once, such as walking, breathing, and emotions. 
The hypnotist can begin this induction by explaining the premise. "And we're going to see how many your mind can hold." The hypnotist should then slowly begin drawing the attention of the hypnotee to different things. "I'd like you to start by listening to the sound of my voice, which you are already doing, good, and now I'd like you to pay attention to your breathing. In your head, every time you breathe in, I'd like you to count one two, and when you breathe out, three four. Good, and listening to the sound of my voice. Next, I'd like you to pay attention to how your hands feel in your lap. Feel the temperature, the air around them, how they feel on that fabric, and don't forget to pay attention to your breathing. Next, I'd like you to pay attention to the ticking of that clock, and while you're listening to that, make sure to be paying attention to the sound of my voice, and the feel of your hands, and counting your breathing one two, three four. Very good."Try to pick items that cater to different modalities, but heavier on their modality. For example, with a more auditory person, choose some items like sounds in the room or a song that they know playing in their head. For kinesthetic people, draw their attention to the feel of their tongue in their mouth, the temperature in the room, their butt in the chair. For visual, do their nose, their hair in their face, the light level in the room. This induction can also be combined effectively with the eye contact induction. Just start with "look into my eyes. Did you know that humans in this culture only like holding eye contact for about five seconds..." etc., and then eye contact is one of the 5-9 things for them to pay attention to.
This is a simple induction in theory, but challenging to execute for new hypnotist because it requires a mastery
 of "patter"-- the ability to yammer and improvise indefinitely, and to remember all of the items on the list. A hypnotist can make it easier for themself by adding the suggestion "and in the silences when I'm not talking, your mind will be constantly reminding itself all of the different items to remember." 
Ramping up to the end of the induction, the hypnotist can suggest how nice it would feel to not have to keep all of these items in their mind, but to keep trying for now. When the hypnotee looks sufficiently glazed or blinky, tap them on the forehead and say "sleep, and let all of the items fade from your mind leaving only my voice, and go deeper," and continue deepeners. 

Laughter (hard, 3-6 min)
Use laughter as an induction. This induction works best when there's a group of people around or involved. This also works best on people who enjoy laughing and being silly.
One way to do this induction is by being genuinely funny, god forbid, or the hypnotist can, instead, start building suggestions that things that aren't actually that funny are funny. "Have you ever noticed how difficult it is not to laugh when someone tells you not to laugh? And have you ever noticed how it's hard not to smile when you're thinking about not smiling?"  Once the hypnotee is laughing, the hypnotist can then suggest something like, "The funniest number, the number that makes you laugh more than anything, is the number ten. Can you count your fingers please?" and have them do it slowly. Or "this set of car keys has an intrinsic property that it's funnier the closer it gets to this table," and then move the keys closer and farther away from the table. Create incremental increases--"keeps getting funnier," fingersnap, "and funnier," finger snap. Choose a moment when the hypnotee is laughing hysterically (preferably sitting or rolling on the floor laughing), and then tap them on the forehead and say sleep, pushing them gently into a more relaxed position. Begin deepeners immediately.
This is marked as hard because this requires a lot of charisma and comedic timing and this induction can sometimes result in people glaring at you, stone-faced.

Good for touchy people.

Hand Pass + Face Touch (intermediate, 1-3 min)
Use a combination of passing a hand in front of the hypnotee's eyes and stroking their forehead with downward motions along the cheek. Optional: ask the hypnotee to hold eye contact, but suggest that they can start blinking and closing their eyes as it feels natural. Flow into calming deepeners. 

Catalepsy (hard, 1-3 min)
This is only marked as hard because I'm terrible at it. It's probably intermediate. The idea here is to find the natural hovering resting places of someone's limbs. With consent, lift someone's wrist up, and move the arm around, feeling for when their arm goes limper. Feel for natural hover points in their range of motion--we all have spots where, when placed there, our limbs tend to hover naturally. When you find one through this movement, stick the limb there. Then patter about the arm lowering itself naturally and getting heavier, and the weight bringing them into a trance. Begin deepeners.

Sensation Manipulation (easy, 2-5 min)
This can be done a bunch of different ways. The general idea is to take a sensation that the hypnotee is already feeling, and change or increase it. A good way to start is to ask them to put their hands together, with eyes open or closed, and then put your hands around theirs. Ask them if they can feel the warmth. Lighten the grip on their hands and ask them if they can still feel it. Move your hands a tiny bit away, and they should still be able to feel the warmth, and you can even suggest that the hands are getting warmer. Keep slowly moving your hands farther away suggesting that they can still feel warmth in their hands. You can then change the sensation by, for example, saying that the warmth is spreading to other parts of their body, or that they'll experience a cooling effect instead.
This creates results in a waking trance/waking suggestibility that the hypnotist can use or turn into a "sleep trance." 

Hug Sway (intermediate, 2-4 min)
After negotiating consent, invite the hypnotee into a hug. Notice their breathing and the way they sway, and mirror it. Slowly make calming downward strokes on their back with your hands. Begin adjusting the sway to subconsciously get them used to following instructions. This is trance provoking on its own. The hypnotist can then use other physical suggestions and cues to lead the hypnotee to do what they want, or transition to verbal suggestions.

Good for people who've already been in trance

Favorite Pass Time (easy, 2-5 min)
This induction plays off the idea that when we are doing something that we love, we go into a "flow" state, or trance. This also plays off the idea that creating vivid imagery induces trance, and that we can experience some of the most vivid, colorful imagery of things that we love doing.
Ask the hypnotee to close their eyes and imagine something that they love doing. Then lead them through that experience, making it more vivid and real and joyful for them. Help them bring out the positive emotions. Move from here into deepeners. 

Remember Previous Trance (easy, 1+ min)
This can be done two different ways. One way is simply to ask the hypnotee to remember what trance feels like. Help them conjure back the feelings of being in trance, and, surprise, they'll go into trance quickly.

The other way is to ask them to remember a specific trance experience, preferably a pleasant and recent one. Ask them to tell you about it. Ask them to describe feelings from it, actions, sounds, etc. Bringing back a specific experience that happened while in trance will trigger trance both by recalling an experience in detail (like the Favorite Pass Time induction) but also recalling a trance, specifically (like the Favorite Pass Time induction, but more explicitly).

Pretend You're Hypnotized (easy, <1min)
This is the easiest induction in the world. Ask the hypnotee to close their eyes and pretend they're hypnotized. Move into deepeners after quietly high-fiving yourself.

Good for especially susceptable people or people who are already in trance or well primed, or have especially good hypnotist-subject rapport

Handshake #2 (intermediate, < 1 min)
After negotiation and physical contact consent, ask them if they want to be hypnotized. Reach out your hand as if to shake theirs, maintaining eye contact. Put your other hand on their shoulder. When they grab the hand to shake, pull it towards you and down, and say sleep, guiding them downward into your shoulder (not letting them collapse to the ground--ever). Begin deepeners immediately. 

"Put Your Hand on Mine" (easy, < 1 min)
Put out your hand palm up. "Look into my eyes. Put your hand on mine. Press down. I'm going to count down from five. With every number, press down twice as hard. Ready? Five, four, three--" Somewhere between four and one, pull your hand out from under theirs, and at the same time, with the other hand, quickly but gently tap them on the forehead or push their face a little downward and say "sleep." Begin deepeners immediately.


Pendulum (easy, 1-2 minutes)
Give the hypnotee a pendulum--anything with a string or chain and a weight at the end. Favorites are crystals and pocket watches. Have the hypnotee hang the pendulum from two fingers. Patter about how the hypnotee's subconscious will automatically begin swinging the pendulum in a pattern. Notice what the pattern is and allow the hypnotee to notice, and then give the suggestion that the swinging pattern might change. 

Heavy/Light Hands (easy, 1-2 min)
Have the hypnotee close their eyes. Ask them to put both arms straight out in front of them. Then ask them to imagine that one wrist has a heavy chain and a cement block attached to it, weighing it down, heavier and heavier. Ask them to imagine that a balloon is tied to the other wrist, now a whole bunch of balloons, making that wrist lighter and lighter. Keep describing this. They may move one arm up and the other arm down. The manner with which and the amount that they do this may give you a good idea how to proceed next; whether to continue with sensory manipulation like this, or to try a different style. If they don't move, you can smoothly and seamlessly move on to a new induction without letting them know that that's what you're doing. If their arms do move or you feel like continuing, ask them to open their eyes and see how their hands have moved, and then ask them to close their eyes again, only, this time, ask them to imagine both arms are heavy and as they get closer to their lap, they can feel all the tension of straining against the weight fade from their body and they can relax down into a nice, relaxing trance.

Magnetic Hands (intermediate, 1-2 min)
Ask the hypnotee to put both hands out in front of them facing each other, about a foot apart. Ask them to imagine that there's a super powerful electromagnet on each palm, pulling the hands towards each other. "Now I'm going to put a big rubber band around your hands." Mime stretching a thick rubber band and putting it around their hands. Then, tell them you're turning up the magnet. Put another rubber band on. Tell them it's taking more and more effort to keep their hands apart. When the hands are getting close together, hypnotist can push them together and say "sleep."

Sticky Hands (intermediate, 2-3 min)
Ask the hypnotee to put their palms together and suggest that they keep them together firmly. For a while and in detail, ask them to pay close attention to the way their hands feel together. Draw attention to how their hands look together, and to imagine that there's glue between them, rubber bands around them, and suggest that they're so strong, that if the hypnotist tried, they couldn't get the hands apart. Test that. Have them push them together so hard that the hypnotist can't pull them apart. Next suggest that they're so stuck together, as if in cement, that not even they can pull them apart and test that. 

When an Induction Doesn't Work...

Try something else. If an induction doesn't work, say "Great, good job. Next, we're going to..." and begin another induction. Do not acknowledge that something didn't work. Do not allow them to think they've done poorly. Always indicate that they're doing well. If they act like they don't think they're doing well, distract them by telling them they're doing great! Don't lie. If someone thinks you just couldn't tell that it wasn't working, you lose credibility.  A good trick is to avoid telling the hypnotee what you're looking for in terms of success. If you do a Sticky Hands induction and their hands don't stick, it would be best if you didn't tell them they were supposed to stick in the first place. If you didn't tell them, you can make it look like part of a greater exercise.
When you start a new induction, try something different than before. If you did a convincer, try a distraction induction, or an eye fixation.  If you did relaxation, try something faster or use different modalities. Check in with open-ended questions like "tell me about that," not "did that work for you?"

Got a favorite induction? Share in the comments.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Asking The Right Questions

A Story

A hypnotist stands at the front of the class.
"Raise your hand if you've never been hypnotized," he says.
A woman in a corset and combat boots is the only person to raise her hand. She is sitting with her submissive at the back of the room.
"Wonderful," says the hypnotist. "Would you like to be hypnotized?"
"Uh. Sure." She goes to the front of the room and has a terrible experience that she didn't want in the first place. She's uncomfortable the entire time, and goes back to her sub afterwards unhappy and embarrassed.

What happened? He got consent. He asked if she wanted to be hypnotized, and she said yes. What went wrong?
No. It's not working.

Unfortunately, he asked the wrong question. He asked, "Would you like to be hypnotized?" As it so happens, this woman did want to be hypnotized. The questions he did not ask, however, were...

  • Would you like to be hypnotized by me?
  • Would you like to be hypnotized now?
  • Would you like to be hypnotized in front of all these people?
The answers for all three of those questions were no. The wrong question combined with the social pressure of a classroom of people and a hypnotist asking you to be hypnotized led to a failure of consent.

How do we improve our consent language?

Ask the right questions and ask them the right way. Here are some ways to do that.

  • Use neutral language
    Ask "can you tell me about what just happened?" when checking in. Or, "how would you feel about me hypnotizing you today?"Do not ask leading questions like "is this something that happened in your past life?" 
  • Be specific
    Ask all of the questions, even if the answer to one implies the answer to another. "So, you are interested in doing rope. I see that you're wearing a nice dress and doing rope on your torso or legs would require you to take off your dress. How do you feel about taking that off here? Would you like to do that, or just do rope on your wrists, or we can find something else to do?"
  • Ask questions with more than one option of equal weight
    Give more than one option. "Would you like to be hypnotized, or shall I see if I can find another volunteer." 
  • Hesitant "yes" means, "not today. Ask again next time."
    If you ask a question and someone says they need to think about it, or seems hesitant with their "yes," ask again another time and pick a different thing to do. Play with enthusiastic yes consent only. It is possible that the person just needed a minute to think about their response, but hesitance can be a lot of other things, too. Take it off the table and try again next time.
  • Don't require a "no" to decline.
    "No" can be hard, especially for people of a gender conditioned by society to be polite and obliging. Ask questions that don't require a "no" to decline. For example, "let me know if you want to play" works really well. All it requires for a decline is "thanks," and then silence, whereas a yes is still "ooh, sure! That sounds like fun!"
You are a star.

Bringing New People into the Hypnosis Community (Courtesy of XX Erotic Hypnosis Peershare)

The following is a writeup of the notes and ideas from the XX Erotic Hypnosis Peershare.  The XX Erotic Hypnosis Peershare meets on the 2nd Sunday of the month at 3PM at Wicked Grounds cafe on 8th and Folsom in San Francisco. People who are new to hypnosis should come at 2PM to get the Hypnosis 101 language, terms, and practices.

The topic of the month (October):

 How do we incorporate new members into the hypnosis community?

  • What values should we impart?

    That shaddowy place is the land of stage hypnosis. You must never go there, Simba.
    • Negotiate ONLY before trance! If you forgot something in negotiation, do it next time. Your first scene will not be your only scene, so you don't have to do it all at once. In fact, if you do it all at once, it may be your last scene. 
    • Be confident but humble. Acknowledge to yourself what's not working in scene and try something else. Look for feedback from your partners and peers.
    • Create the ability for informed consent. Don't tell hypnotees that nothing can go wrong. Don't tell them that they won't do anything they don't want to do. Instead, suggest that they'll have a good time and remind them that you and they will be checking in frequently. Then do relevant safety suggestions.
    • You are never done learning. There are no masters in this community, only more experienced students. Keep learning.
    • Make your own decisions about every person you meet.  Never assume any leader in the community is always right or ethical or knows everything.

  • How should new people find partners to hypnotize?

    • Go to munches. Hypnosis munches are fine, but the BDSM community is excited about hypnosis right now and a lot of people would love for you to explain what hypnosis is to them.
    • Be passionate about hypnosis and explain it to people you meet. Usually telling someone that you're a hypnotist is enough to get them interested. If they're not interested, don't try to make them interested.
    • Get to know somebody a little before asking them to play. Don't be desperate. Desperation feels yucky to your potential subject and you may be inadvertently pressuring them (which invalidates the consent).
    • Get a Fetlife profile. Fill it out. Fill out the whole thing. Filling out the whole thing makes you look like a real person and not someone trolling the internet to get laid. Don't message people unless you've met them or they're the leader of a community and you have a question for them. Do not ask people you have not met if they want to play. Use Fetlife to find events and to communicate with people you've already met at events.
    • Bring your crystal or your pocket watch and mess around with it at bars and munches. It's a good conversation starter. 
    • Talk about hypnosis with your friends. Who knows? One of them may be interested!
    • If your existing partner or existing play partners are interested, try with them.

  • What should a first scene look like?

    Make sure they don't mind control you back.

    • Do a full negotiation. Consider following a Negotiation Guide to make sure you've remembered everything important. 
    • Playing with experienced subjects is a good idea because they go under more easily which will build your confidence, and can give you feedback.
    • Try something small first. Sensation, humor, small compulsions, etc. Don't go straight for the hands-free orgasm. See if it works. Go from there.
    • Try starting with non-erotic scenes. It may be less intimidating for everyone involved. Aim to explore, not to get off. If you like hypnosis, it should be interesting/hot anyway.
    • Check in early and often. Use neutral language like "How are you?" and "Tell me about that." Use the feedback.
    • Make sure to turn off your cell phone.

  • What is positive behavior for experienced members welcoming in new members (without being predatory)?

    Pass me the newbie and some sugar, please.

    • Leave "outs" in solicitations, or wait for others to solicit you. "Let me know if you want to do some hypnosis" is a lot easier to turn down than "So, do you want to be hypnotized?"
    • Use neutral language with equally weighted options. "Would you like to be hypnotized, or shall we continue our conversation?" "Are you interested in trance, or should we grab some food?"

  • How can new people determine their limits?

    • Go through a Negotiation Guide on your own. 
    • Write down your limits.
    • Talk about your limits with a friend. 
    • Think about things you really want to do, and do only those. An enthusiastic yes is the only answer that matters. 
    • Check in during scene if something feels weird. If you are the hypnotee, make sure your hypnotist checks in with you and that you feel like you can check in with them.

  • What are some practical hypnosis newbie tricks?

    • Do your first scene(s) with someone who's been in trance a lot. They'll go under easily for you, boosting your confidence, and then they'll probably be able to give you feedback, boosting your skills.
    • Practice with switches who can give you feedback from both perspectives.
    • Practice on yourself. Do auto-hypnosis to practice your "patter" and flow. Maybe try some self-therapy like for sleeping better or exercising more, or try some erotic hypnosis to see what your mind can do all on its own.
    • Try using a suggestion like "the pauses between my words will send you deeper" in order to make sure your subjects keep going deeper if you have to pause to think. This will make you more confident. "My speech patterns will seem perfectly natural in your mind."

Here are some items that we may explore in upcoming munches. 

  • Can someone hypnotize from the bottom? What does that look like? Is that safe?
  • Demonstrate and dissect a scene
  • Induction intensive--learn and practice a handful of inductions presented by the group
  • Theory of hypnosis and technical information
  • Hypno-duel
  • Pair off and practice
  • Rapport workshop
  • Receive homework assignments for the month and share what we learned next time

And we leave you with this hypnosis duel to tango theremin from the 1950's Dr. Seuss Musical, The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T. You should see the movie. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Erotic Hypnosis Negotiation Guide

This is a template for an hypnosis scene negotiation. I actually walk through this whole thing every time I play with someone for the first time. It's a good way to make sure our interests line up and that my skill-set matches what the hypnotee wants. Some of the items on the list aren't relevant for every scene and can be skipped, but it's good to be on the same page--"we're skipping the pain section, okay?". There's nothing so hot as someone looking up into your face and saying “I trust you” and nothing worse than “wait—I trusted you! I didn't want you to vomit in my mouth! We're never playing again!”
At the bottom of this document is a shorthand negotiation that you can use to play with someone with whom you've played before. It cuts out some of the items that are less subject to change.

This guide is to be used before hypnosis starts. Do not bring someone out of trance mid-scene to re-negotiate. This is unacceptable due to the hypnosis hangover; people are still suggestible right out of trance, which makes any negotiation invalid as if they were drunk. If you think of something you really want to do mid-scene that you didn't negotiate, negotiate it next time. If you're worried that there isn't going to be a next time, you should probably think about why that is. If it's an insecurity, you should leave it at the door and not pressure your subjects with it.

Before you start your negotiation, think about this: consent with hypnosis gets kinda complicated. We play with the power of suggestion, and must refrain from doing so in negotiation. Note how all of the questions in the negotiation are phrased with options of equal weight and has “outs” that don't ever require a disagreement or “no.” I, myself, go so far as to avoid specifically soliciting people to be hypnotized by me. “May I hypnotize you?” requires a “no” to decline, whereas “let me know if you want to do a hypnosis scene,” only requires a “thanks” and silence to decline, which is easier. “No” can occasionally be hard, especially with a pre-established power dynamic of “I hypnotist, you subject.”

Once all parties involved have established preliminary interest in an hypnosis scene, proceed through this guide.

Names and Pronouns

What is your name? What would you like to be called in this scene (name/scene name/title/pet name)?
What are your preferred gender pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/them, xi/xir, etc.)? What gender pronouns would you like for me to use for you in scene (she/her, he/him, they/them, xi/xir, it/it's, etc.)?
Note: asking someone their preferred gender pronouns is not the same as asking them their gender. Pronouns are simply the language someone prefers to have used for them, and it is always polite and encouraged to ask for someone's pronouns.

State of Mind

How are you today?
How do you feel about playing with me today?
Are you happy and in a good mental space to play today?
Have you ingested any drugs and/or alcohol and/or any other mind altering substances?
Note: topping or bottoming hypnosis or any BDSM is not recommended while under the influence of any mind altering substances as results become less predictable.

Time Constraints

How long are you imagining this scene will go?
Do you have any time constraints?


Of which parties is this scene comprised?
How many people are in this scene?
Are other parties allowed in the scene (if so, who, and how may they be involved)?
Note: it is recommended that hypnotists minimize their number of subjects in trance at any time for attention purposes. Multiple hypnotee scenes may, however, be accomplished safely with sufficiently experienced hypnotists and hypnotees.


What safe words do you like to use?
Do you like the stoplight system?
What does "red" mean for you?
What does "yellow" mean for you?
Note: during scene, the hypnotist should actually program in and reenforce these safewords for good measure. See 10 Hypnosis Safety Suggestions Everyone Should Use.

Language/Topics/Phobias/Allergies to Avoid

Note: Use your judgment on these questions. Some of them may be important and others may not. I ask about allergies when suggestions or scenarios might involve moving around a room or food or animals, but don't bother if my hypnotee is going to be sitting in a chair in the middle of a clean empty room for the whole scene not fantasizing about peanut butter or shell fish. Similarly, I don't bother asking about phobias if I don't plan on using any particular imagery or interacting with anything or anyone.

Do you have any allergies that are relevant for keeping you safe here?
Do you have any phobias that it would be good for me to know about?
Are there any words or phrases that I should avoid calling you or using? (Stupid, slut, mommy, coward, Rosebud, Professor Snape?).
What general areas or topics should I avoid (racial slurs, family, etc.)

Physical condition

Do you have any injuries or physical limitations that I should be aware of (bum knee, cuts/bruises, soreness, etc.)?
Are you on any medications that I need to be aware of (ones you have to take soon? Blood-thinners?)
Have you eaten and are you hydrated?
**Make sure to use the bathroom before starting the scene!


  • What clothing should remain on?
  • If you'd like clothing removal, should I take it off you, or should you?
  • What clothing needs to remain intact?

Physical contact

Remember: no physical contact is actually necessary for a hypnosis scene, but any contact that happens NEEDS to be negotiated in ADVANCE of trance. There are some types of physical contact that can be very helpful to your induction; hand-hand contact is nice, forehead taps, knee taps, hugs, swaying, etc. are super helpful, massage-level touch can be very helpful, and intimate contact can also be fun. Do not negotiate this in trance, and bringing someone out of trance to re-negotiate doesn't count! If there's something you want to try mid-scene that you didn't negotiate, save it for the next scene.

  • Can I touch you?
  • If so, where can I touch you?
  • Above the clothing or below?
  • Where are you okay with touching yourself in front of me?


  • Would you like to have an element of sexuality in this scene?
  • If so, what does that mean? What are you comfortable with? (Kissing? Hands and/or mouth on external genitals? Fingering? Penetration? Vaginal? Oral? Anal?)
  • What about hypnotic sexuality? Hypnotic arousal/pleasure/orgasms?


  • What fluids are you okay with in the scene? (Saliva, sweat, tears, orgasmic fluids, blood, urine).


  • Do you have any STIs?
  • When was the last time you were tested?
  • What protection would you like to use?

Specific play


  • Have you been hypnotized before? Tell me about that.
  • How do you communicate in trance?
  • What do you like about hypnosis?
  • Do you have a preference for how I speak as a hypnotist? Do you prefer clinical speech? Erotic? D/s themes with words like “obey” and “submit?”

Types of Suggestions

  • What kind of play are you looking for today? What are you interested in doing?

Here are some categories to ask about that cover most things:

  • Hypnotic bondage—making the hypnotee stuck
  • Hypnotic characters—making the hypnotee or hypnotist a character
  • Memory play—temporarily removing or altering memories, or making the hypnotee not remember suggestions or triggers
  • Sensation manipulation—giving the hypnotee sensations that aren't there, or exaggerating sensations that are there. Hypnotic arousal/pleasure/orgasms.
  • D/s—elements of domination and submission in the suggestions. Service, control, etc. What about humiliation/degradation? What does that mean?
  • Posthypnotic suggestions—giving the hypnotee suggestions that last out of trance. This should be done with caution by advanced hypnotists, and also negotiated separately. Negotiate how long the suggestions should last, where they apply, within what contexts they apply. I'd go so far as to say negotiate and draft specific language for these so that all parties are on the same page before suggestions are put in. Imagine posthypnotic suggestions like writing with a sharpie in someone's head. Talk about it first. Also, don't do therapy. You probably aren't a therapist. Even if you are, don't do therapy in scene. Don't try and “fix” people or help people. The farthest I go down this path is helping people have a good night of sleep that night.

For Any Pain Play

I strongly discourage any but expert hypnotists mixing pain and hypnosis. There are a lot of ways to do mix pain and hypnosis, and a few ways to do it with relative safety. I never mix pain and hypnosis unless my bottom is an extremely experienced pain bottom, and/or hypnosis bottom, and even then, it's tricky. Seek specific instruction from an experienced hypnotist if you don't know how to do this.

  • Are you interested incorporating pain?
  • What is your experience with pain?
  • What are your pain limits like?

For hypnosis, there are three types of pain: real physical pain (with actual impact, pinchy, scratchy, bitey, etc), hypnotic “physical pain,” (“Snapping my fingers and tapping you on the back will make you feel the sting of the flogger just how you like it right where I tap”), and emotional pain (shame, humiliation, sadness, fear, etc.).

  • Is there a type of pain that you are interested in?

Real physical pain should be monitored carefully; make absolutely sure your bottom can and will yellow out before attempting. Hypnosis can increase pain tolerance dramatically to the point where people will allow a lot more pain than they intend, sometimes to the point of physical harm. Do not hypnotize people to translate pain into pleasure!
Tip: Develop pain-scale system. I use a ten point scale. What is a ten? What is a five? What number would be your max for the scene?

  • What kinds of pain do you like? (Thuddy, stingy, scratchy, hot, cold, pinchy, bitey?
  • How do you warm up?

  • What toys can I use?
  • Can I leave marks?
  • If so, where is ok?
  • How long can they last?

With hypnotic “physical pain,” it's important to reference specific experiences of pain and describe it such that it feels the way you want it to. Don't leave room for the subconscious to misinterpret and accidentally feed the hypnotee bad pain or overwhelming pain.
For emotional pain, oh my god, proceed with caution. This is extremely edgy. Do not attempt unless you are an expert hypnotist with an experienced subject who has experience with emotional edgeplay outside of hypnosis. Aim for positive suggestions, for example: “and you'll feel the humiliation that you know you love” instead of “and you'll feel terrible humiliation that makes you feel terrible and terrible!” That could just end up being terrible.


  • What kind of aftercare do you need? (Cuddles vs. space, food and water, blanket, discussion, decompress)
  • Will you need transportation somewhere after?
  • What kinds of interaction do you need in days to come? (Check in, privacy, space, photos of marks)

  • If you start crying, what should I do? (Or, shaking, inability to stand, talk).
  • Tell me some things I should know about playing with you.
  • Please enjoy your hypnosis play! Let me know what questions you have and what you think I should add.

For a general BDSM scene negotiation, check out... Negotiation Guide
And here's a link to 10 Hypnosis Safety Suggestions Everyone Should Use

How To Have A Successful Ethics Discussion

Here is an outline for the facilitator to create one (of many, I'm sure) successful ways to have an ethics discussion with a group of kinky people. This may also be applicable to other types of discussions with other types of people. This has worked for me really well.

Now, you may not recognize this as an ethics discussion due to a severe lack of shouting and name calling and "you're wrong!" but you might find this works better.

Before the discussion, you, the facilitator, should come up with a list of ethics question that have interested and puzzled you in this topic. The questions should pertain to truly gray areas where you can see multiple points of view on each side, and potentially could be solved by an previously un-invented point of view, system, idea, or clever hybrid.

  1. Facilitator, introduce the discussion, yourself, and your preferred gender pronouns.
    "Hello, welcome to the ethics discussion. My name is Allie and I use she/her pronouns."
  2. Establish the following hand-signals for the discussion. Have participants practice with you. This actually makes it more likely that participants will use the signals. Do this in good humor so that the participants understand that you know they might feel silly to practice. (But it's not silly. It works. So do it.)
  3. Raised Hand
    • Raised hand
      • Explain that this symbol indicates that a participant would like to be called on. Inform participants that those who are being respectful will be called on.
      •  Also explain that, in an effort to make participation as even as possible, you will be looking for people who haven't spoken or haven't spoken as much and will be specifically soliciting as many new participants as possible, as well as looking for differing viewpoints. 
      • Tell participants that you will call on a small list "you, then you, then you," and then they may speak in that order. 
      • Request that participants keep their hands down while others are talking to demonstrate that they are listening instead of thinking about what they will say next.

        Volume to 11

    • Louder
      • Ask participants to make the louder symbol, by pointing up repeatedly if they would like the speaker to be louder.
      • Inform the group with as much humor as possible that they should then speak at VOLUME 11 for the rest of the discussion instead of fading back to their typical volume. I do this in a comically loud opera/theater voice.
    • I Agree
      • Ask participants to make jazz hands or sparkle fingers or sign-language applause to indicate that they agree or that what someone is saying resonates with them.

        Point of Process

    • Point of Process
      • Ask participants to keep each other on topic with the "point of process" triangle. Point of process indicates that the group should consider moving back to the topic or shifting language.
  4. Introduce other "space norms" and discussion guidelines:
  5. Wrap it Up
    • Ask participants to speak only when called on.
    • Ask participants to limit their comments to under a minute. If they run long, you will give them your own "wrap it up" hand signal, and if they don't wrap it up, tell them you will interrupt them like an Academy Award winner. 
    • Ask for I statements about their experiences and ask participants to share anecdotes and let the anecdotes speak for themselves for audience interpretation.  Explain that this creates an understanding of the context of opinions better than stating the opinions themselves. Ask participants to please respect other's anecdotes by only discussing them in this space.
    • Ask participants to make their goal to understand where someone else's viewpoint is coming from rather than trying to change their mind or prove them wrong. To do this, have them ask probing, respectful questions.  
    • Ask participants to stay on topic and to keep each other in check with point of process.
  6. Ask participants (if fewer than 30--which would be the approaching the largest size for this format anyway) to quickly say their name and their preferred pronouns. You can explain that a preferred gender pronoun is the little word that other people use for you in the third person. For example, I am Allie and I use she and her pronouns. You can tell participants that they may ask for a reminder of someone's pronouns at any time, and this is a polite and good thing to do and is different than asking what someone's gender is, because that could be a longer conversation and not necessarily their business.

    As they go around, pay attention to the pronouns, and though this style of discussion doesn't involve quite as much "she said, he said," if someone is mis-pronouned in discussion, quickly, clearly, and politely correct the speaker with the correct pronoun and make sure the conversation moves on quickly.
  7. Inform the group that you have a list of interesting discussion questions, but that you'd rather hear their ideas. Ask for them to come up with "areas where they, them selves, have faced a confusing ethical dilemma and were not sure how to proceed."
    This creates discussion topics that the audience will be thoughtful about. They will be primed to learn and ask questions and brainstorm instead of primed to spout their pre-existing, controversial opinions and convince the room they're right. It creates a group sense of humility and acknowledges that nobody in the room could possibly know and understand all of the ethics. It calls upon their experiences, which are fact, rather than their opinions, which are subjective, often half-baked, and often hard to change once stated. It avoids a lot of jumping to conclusions and the resulting defensiveness. 
  8. As you call on people and facilitate the brainstorm, abbreviate the questions and issues to simple topic titles and write them up on a large, visible notepad or whiteboard. During lulls of the brainstorm, occasionally supplement with your own list items to keep the brainstorm flowing. Do not allow discussion to happen during this period. 
  9. Milk the brainstorm until you have 10-15 list items or more than you could possibly discuss in a session twice as long as yours. If someone suggests you move on prematurely, say you're sure they have a few more. As new topics surface in the actual discussion, write them up.
  10. Ask for a topic nomination, preferably from someone who has not spoken. Re-contextualize the question, and then begin discussing that topic. 
  11. Through discussion, if it feels natural, gently transition to another adjacent or intersectional topic, and star the topics that you've discussed or are discussing in the notes on the board. This helps participants feel like they are making progress and helps them make the connections between topics.
  12. If no natural topic shift seems to be occurring, solicit another topic nomination during a lull in conversation. 
  13. Throughout discussion, if someone has their hands raised while someone else is speaking, make eye contact with them and kindly gesture for them to put their hand down. Use your "wrap it up" hand signal, especially on people who you've called on a lot. Keep an informal tally of how much each person has spoken in your head and try to call on those who have spoken less or have not spoken in a while before those who have. Go out of your way to make sure women and racial minorities and gender minorities and sexuality minorities have strong representation of voice. 
  14. Keep your own voice to a minimum. Make your job to facilitate and move the conversation along. Your contributions should be followup questions to deepen the conversation and clarifications when a participant is unclear or uses unspecific language. Ask for examples and anecdotes. If you want to make a point in the discussion beyond facilitation, call on yourself in the call-order and hold yourself to higher, stricter standards than everyone else. You are not teaching ethics; you are facilitating a discussion. 
  15. Watch for time, and call on the last two or so comments about five minutes before the session ends. 
  16. Close the discussion by noting how many cool topics you've gone through, how much you, personally, have learned from the participants. Thank them for their anecdotes. Leave them with a final ethics question to ponder as the walk out the door (maybe one you've refrained from putting on the board in the first place). Thank them for being respectful and tell them to have an awesome day. 

10 Safety Suggestions Every Hypnotist Should Use

10 Safety Suggestions Every Hypnotist Should Use

I've been having a lot of discussions recently about Hypnosis safety. There are a bunch of different schools of thought about discussing abreactions (unexpected and/or bad reactions) that may occur, and how to prevent them or prevent them from being a problem if they do occur.

School of thought #1 (which I have seen very often): If you don't talk about stuff going wrong, stuff won't go wrong. Discussing abreactions in front of subjects has actually been proven to increase abreactions.

School of thought #2: While it is true that discussing abreactions with hypnotees may seed ideas that don't really need to be there, abreactions (which aren't necessarily ever bad if the hypnotistsis paying attention, and I will be referring to these as "the Unexpected" henceforth) can happen whether or not the hypnotee knows about them and hears about them a lot, and the only prevention is an active prevention with suggestions and an educated hypnotist.

Having seen The Unexpected happen with brand-spanking-new hypnotees with no discussion of The Unexpected, I have to be in school #2. School of thought #1 seems a lot like rhythm and prayer--it may reduce the risk, but it doesn't prevent The Unexpected from happening. The best method for keeping hypnotees and hypnotists safe and happy is for hypnotists to educate themselves on responding to The Unexpected (which is mostly about paying attention, empathy, and improvisation), and putting in suggestions to prevent The Unexpected.

So, while I do avoid mentioning abreactions to hypnotees, and I certainly don't tell them the stories that have led to each and every one of these suggestions being created and put on my "always use these" list, there's still a list. Here are the suggestions that I always use, and I would suggest that you use them, too. Please feel free to use them, contextualize them, and adapt them to your play.

These do not take place of a hypnosis-specific negotiation! Do your negotiation before putting someone into trance at all!

1.) Safeword Suggestions

These suggestions give the hypnotee a trigger that not only allows but compels them to safeword if they need to. It is imperative that this is not just an allowance, but a compulsion. Word this in a way that does not create a stigma for safewording! Use "if something could be better," not "if something is wrong."

This can be modified slightly depending on how the hypnotee defines their "yellow."
"Whenever you are in this trance, if at any point in time you would like to check in, alert me that I could do something to make you happier and safer, change a suggestion that I've given you, or make the scene better, it will seem perfectly automatic to say the word 'yellow.' Saying the word 'yellow' is an automatic process that your conscious mind doesn't even need to think about, because your subconscious will be compelled to say it aloud. In fact, you may find that if you hear yourself say 'yellow,' whatever suggestion needed to be removed will just fall away, and you'll find yourself ready to check in. This will be true whenever you are in trance, and, in fact, it seems so natural that it may seem like this has always been the case."

"If at any point in time it might be better for you to be out of trance or for the scene to end, it may seem perfectly automatic to say the word 'red.' Saying the word 'red' is an automatic process that your conscious mind doesn't even need to think about, because your subconscious will be compelled to say it aloud. In fact, you may find that if you hear yourself say 'red,' you will find yourself coming out of trance on your own. This will be true whenever you are in trance, and, in fact, it seems so natural that it may seem like this has always been the case."

2.) Only my voice

This is a suggestion to make sure that the hypnotee is only listening to the desired hypnotist's suggestions. This can be reworded slightly depending on whether the hypnotee has only one play partner or multiple. The point here is to protect the hypnotee from random "splash" from other things being said in the room.

"It will be easy and automatic to accept fun and appropriate suggestions from hypnotists of your choosing. When playing, you will find that the voice of the hypnotist you negotiated with is the only important and influential voice in the room.  This will be true whenever you are in trance, and, in fact, it seems so natural that it may seem like this has always been the case."

3.) Articulate Check-In

This suggestion ensures that the hypnotee can and will check in if the hypnotist needs them to. Particularly with subjects who go deeply into hypnosis in a way that makes it difficult for them to speak lucidly, this will help. Some subjects find that a suggestion like this can also help them collect their thoughts.

"Whenever you're in this state and you have something to say to check in, or I ask you to check in by saying 'it's time to check in,' you may find it easy to speak, and easy to articulate what you would like to say. It will seem perfectly automatic and easy to respond to the questions that I ask that you want to answer. This will be true whenever you are in trance, and, in fact, it seems so natural that it may seem like this has always been the case."

4.) Not Mind Control

This helps reinforce the safe word suggestions, but it's good to add this suggestion in outside the context of safewording. This gives the suggestion that they don't even have to safeword to ignore a suggestion that they don't like.

"If at any point in time there is a suggestion that your subconscious mind does not want to follow, the suggestion simply will fade away, ignored, and you will find yourself relaxing back down into this wonderful sleep state [or whatever the hypnotist wants you to do]. This will be true whenever you are in trance, and, in fact, it seems so natural that it may seem like this has always been the case."

5.) Coming Out of Trance

This is good for bathroom breaks and fire drills, among other things. Again, this reinforces the safeword suggestions, but makes it so that they know they don't even have to safeword to get out of trance if they need something quickly.

"If, at any point in time, you find yourself preferring or needing to be out of trance for any reason, you may find yourself quickly coming out of trance awake, and alert, and feeling good and ready to do whatever you need to do. This is a perfectly automatic process for you to come out of trance if you need to come out of trance. This will be true whenever you are in trance, and, in fact, it seems so natural that it may seem like this has always been the case."

6.) Bodily and Space Awareness

This is super important, and gets overlooked a lot. While I'm refraining from story-telling on a lot of these points due to School of Thought #1, this one has a really good (and harmless) story to tell-- One reason for this suggestion is that I once hypnotized a pretty pretty girl in a short short skirt to think she was a cat, and this was not in an erotic context where it was socially acceptable for her bare ass to be presented to the world--but she was a cat, and cats tend to be on all fours and, well, mini-skirts, man.
Even if you are in a context where it is socially acceptable for pretty girls to be flashing the whole room while meowing, this is still super duper important for other reasons, and if you'd like more details on that, PM me. I'd go so far as to say this is one of the most important suggestions on this list.

"Another process that you subconscious does automatically is taking care of your body. You may find that your body will keep itself safe, always aware of the limitations of your space, your clothing, and your physical ability. It will also make sure to take into account the well-being of the other people and items in your space. This is an automatic process that your body will take care of without you thinking about it at all. This will be true whenever you are in trance, and, in fact, it seems so natural that it may seem like this has always been the case."

Also, (thank you for reminding me, StoryEyes) it's good to be clear where you would like the hypnotee to remain in the space while hypnotized. I suggest giving them a suggestion to stay at least in the room.

"You feel safe, warm, and comfortable in this [room, space, chair, etc.], and you may find that there is no need to be anywhere but this [room, space, chair, etc.]. It is a wonderful [room, space, chair, etc.], and you may find yourself compelled to stay in it. If at any point in time you need to be in a different place, you may find yourself compelled to check in with me about it."

7.) Sleep Trigger

Whenever doing hypnosis play, you should have a sleep or freeze trigger that returns the hypnotee to a calm, relaxed, passive, quiet headspace where they can be especially receptive to the hypnotist's suggestions immediately, and un-affected by outside stimulus. I use "sleep" with a finger snap, and it returns the hypnotee to a "sleep" state in a relaxed position. Another part of this suggestion is that going into "sleep" state removes whatever active suggestions were happening. Usually this is implied, so I do it in a more subtle way like suggesting that my hypnotees are "blank" and "relaxed."

"You may find that whenever we are playing and I snap my fingers and say 'sleep,' you will find yourself sinking down slowly and safely into a comfortable, pleasant sleep trance state. Going into a relaxed sleep state is a totally natural response to me snapping my fingers and saying sleep. In this wonderful, relaxed sleep state, you may find yourself more and more receptive to my suggestions every time, finding that my voice is the only important sound in the room. Every time you go into this wonderful, deep, sleep state you may find that you go deeper each time. In this state, you may find your thoughts fade into the background until they aren't there at all as you relax in this warm, comfortable state. This will be true whenever you are in trance, and, in fact, it seems so natural that it may seem like this has always been the case."

I have occasionally needed to use this in contexts where the hypnotee was standing up and moving around, and I've occasionally needed to do it fast--it's good to give hypnotees suggestions about "sinking slowly and safely into a sleep-state position."

8.) Remember What You Want/Need to Remember

Memory play is super neat. I'm a fan. Making someone forget their trigger words or not remember that you fiddling with your pen is making them have an orgasm is a lot of fun. It's also fun to take away someone's memories of a whole session temporarily, so that each time can be like the first time. This can also work for abduction play or consensual non consent (if you do it carefully and thoughtfully!). Whatever your thing is--super cool.
Bringing back memories is a little more complicated. One time, I hypnotized a friend of mine to be a character in a play that we'd been in 8 months earlier, I pulled out the script and read her cue lines, and she remembered every single one of her lines to the letter. So. It works sometimes, but sometimes the mind manufactures random memories. Trying to get people to remember lost memories from a long time ago doesn't necessarily work super well.

Similarly, sometimes thoughts or experiences occur in trance that don't really need to be remembered or aren't intended to be remembered. Whenever doing memory play, I tell my subjects to "remember what they want to remember" when I'm giving them memories back, or to "remember all of the pleasant memories from this experience."

This suggestion is in the context of waking someone up and giving them their memories back.
"In a moment, not now, but in a moment, I'm going to wake you up on the count of ten, and you will be awake, alert, and feeling fantastic. When you awake, you may find that you will remember whatever you want to remember from this amazing experience. The wonderful memories from this experience will be yours to keep. Looking back on this experience will be wonderful."

Or, alternatively:
"In a moment, not now, but in a moment, I'm going to wake you up on the count of ten, and you'll be awake, alert, and feeling fantastic. When you awake, you may find it unimportant to remember the details of your trance--it may all seem like a pleasurable blur. Anything that you absolutely need to know will be accessible to you or may become accessible to you, but everything else about this experience may slip through your thoughts like water through your fingers, like a dream after you wake up, and when you think about today, it will just seem like a pleasurable blur."

9.) Feel Good

Telling someone that they feel good is a good thing to do! (NO WAY!)

"Relax down deeper, notice how your limbs are feeling relaxed, feeling safe, warm, and comfortable. You may find yourself feeling an amazing floating sensation."

I also do:
"In a moment, not now, but in a moment I'm going to tap you on the forehead. My fingers may feel warm, and I'd like you to imagine a wave of warmth and relaxation spreading from my finger tips on your forehead, all over your body, down your neck, down through your chest, your torso, down to your legs, filling you up with peace and warmth. These wonderful feelings will remain with you whenever you are under hypnosis."

Or, alternatively and additionally:
"You may actually find that this state is just a little bit arousing, being here, all warm and comfortable at my mercy. Most of your body may be so relaxed that some parts may be getting more and more active. You may find yourself becoming more aroused, and the more you notice your arousal, the more noticeable it becomes. Being warm and comfortable and aroused and my mercy may make you feel even more aroused. Whenever you're in this state for me, you may find that just being in trance for me is arousing."

10.) Have a great time!

"As you relax down and go deeper and deeper for me, your body and mind may be preparing themselves for the fantastic time you're going to have, and may already be having here today. You may find that this is one of most wonderful sensations you've experienced, and you may be looking forward to having the smoking hot memories from today."

And that's my list of the ten suggestions to give hypnotees under hypnosis!
If you have more that you think should go on this list, please tell me.

Here are a few other safety-oriented tips for hypnotists, as well.

1.) Keep your hypnotee happy with you!
Here are some good ways to do that:

  • Always pay attention to your subjects. Attend them at all times while they are in trance! Most of the time, this means limiting the number of hypnotees that you are hypnotizing at a time to one. Make sure to keep other people from disturbing your hypnotees, as well.
  • Make sure that if your hypnotee is in a standing position when you need to put them in "sleep" state, make sure they either don't fall, or that they sink slowly down, or that you or a piece of comfortable furnature catches them.
  • Stick to suggestions that your hypnotee likes!

2.) Ask people why they want to be hypnotized.
If they say "cause it's really fucking hot" or "I'm curious about what it's like to be hypnotized," that's awesome.
I would suggest that you do not hypnotize people who cite the following reasons for wanting to be hypnotized:

  • "I just need to be out of myself right now."
  • "I can't handle being awake."
  • "I'm afraid I might do something bad right now, and I need someone to control me so that I don't."
  • "If I'm hypnotized, I won't have to think about my problems."
  • Hypnotize people who want to be hypnotized, not people who don't want to be not-hypnotized.

3.) Check in with yourself.
Are you having a good time? Have a good time! If you aren't, stop. Hypnosis is safest if the hypnotist is engaged. Good hypnotists go into trance, too, and that makes us more empathetic and attentive. The best thing you can do for your hypnotee is to have an awesome time and go into trance with them so that you can be as focused as possible. Also, it's more fun that way, and you shouldn't do things that aren't fun. :-P

4.) Do a complete negotiation.
Do it. This will not necessarily make your scene any less spontaneous--in fact, it will keep you from wondering if the stuff you're doing is fun for your hypnotee, and the less you're wondering, the more creative you can be! Any good hypnotist can have an fantastic scene with a negotiation beforehand. The great thing about hypnosis is that you can even hypnotize your hypnotee to not consciously remember the negotiation if you want to do con-non-con. Cool, right? So, do it.
For resources on how to do a hypnosis-specific negotiation, check out the Erotic Hypnosis Negotiation Checklist

Please let me know what else I should add to this!
Thanks for reading, and happy hypnotizing!