Can sexual fantasies and real-life experiences be built on one or just a few of the senses? What about sex without smell or silent sex? What about intentional sensory deprivation to heighten sexual awareness? Is deprivation helpful or hindering to achieve maximum sexual excitement, performance, and response? Or are sexual experiences lacking if the senses aren't directly involved?
What is sensory deprivation? It is the limitation or complete deprivation of a consenting adult's use of his/her sense of touch, hearing, sight, taste, and/or smell within a sexual experience. Trust is at the very core of this experience. In fact, without complete and total trust between partners, it is not only destined to end disastrously but could easily traumatize or seriously injure the sensory deprived partner.
Essentially, sensory deprivation isn't difficult to do. It doesn't require expensive accessories, or a fully stocked dungeon, or an elaborate setting. It simply requires a little planning and an attentive, loving, and willing partner.
What's so great about sensory deprivation for both partners? Firstly, it jumpstarts the brain to instantaneously connect what is physically happening and then translate those sensations into pleasure. For example, when one sense is deprived, such as sight, all other senses automatically become heightened and the person becomes more acutely aware of his/her senses of touch, sound, smell, and taste.
Depriving your partner of one sense can be the beginning of a great adventure. If you plan carefully, you will not only deny one sense but intentionally stimulate and maximize the other senses, sending your partner's mind and body reeling with passion and stimulation. Think of the possibilities of gently but effectively covering your partner's eyes with a blindfold. Even "routine" sex becomes an entirely new when felt but not seen. This experience could intensify ten-fold by simply binding your partner's hands with a scarf; your partner's pleasure is entirely in your hands and not only are you free to play with his/her body in your method of choice, but the contact is also controlled by your desires, willingness, and urges. In fact, control is the heart of both the good and bad of sensory deprivation.
Why? By actively depriving the body of its natural awareness, responses, and self-defense mechanisms, we intensify our ability to control not just that body, but also the mind and soul. The sensory deprived partner becomes vulnerable and seemingly helpless whereas the depriving partner naturally controls every aspect of the experience. This automatically intensifies the other senses, which in turn heightens the entire experience for both people. This explains a blind person having better hearing than someone with vision. Losing control leads to heightened sensations, therefore evolving naturally into more intimate and intense sexual encounters.
An added bonus of sensory deprivation is the elimination of one person's desires or expectations of what will happen, or when, or how. This heightens the individual's experience because he/she is forced to give up control of any preconceived notions, expectations, or scripts to follow. And the person in control feels the bonus of not falling prey to those preconceived notions or expectations. The depriving partner is truly free to do everything in his/her own way, time table, and with an individual sense of style. This alone is a tremendously powerful and freeing sensation for the person in control.
Would you like to try sensory deprivation, but aren't sure where to start? As I've said, you don't need complicated devices. All you need is mutual trust, common sense, a willing and receptive partner, and a few common household items. If you have these things, you are ready to begin.
Sight is perhaps the easiest sense to block or deprive. All you need is a dark scarf or simple blindfold. And if your first adventures with this sort of play prove lucrative, there are blindfolds specifically designed for sexual pleasure, made from a wide variety of materials, designed to fit most imaginable situations. If you've never experimented with sensory deprivation, I'd strongly suggest you start with this simple idea and expand from there.
Hearing is the next sense on the agenda, and can easily, yet effectively be deprived with ear plugs or headphones. Be careful not to insert the plugs too deep (or have your partner insert his/her own). For variety, try a different idea: place stereo headphones on your partner and play special music or sounds to drown out other noise in the room. This is especially fun when enjoying spanking play, since your partner won't hear what is coming next or when it might strike. Again, start simple and work your way up.
Hearing is vital to many people; they may not realize it until in the midst of play. It is easy to panic in such a situation, so check in on your partner constantly, especially if you can't see or hear his/her reaction. Start with ear plugs or headphones but be aware again, there is a plethora of items available catering to your specific needs and interests...a fetish hood can not only drown out sound but sight as well. Again, use items like this with utmost care and never during your's (or your partner's) first experience.
Try another twist on hearing deprivation: silent sex. It's not so much the silence that's exciting, as the circumstances surrounding it. For example, try getting a little kinky in the public library shelves, see how far you can get without making a sound or getting caught. Before taking your show on the road, try this at home until it's nearly perfected, to prevent risk of being caught and/or detained. And I'd never recommend public nudity or blatant sex in view of minors. Anyway, try this at home first. Try your best not to make a sound. Take turns seeing how aroused you can get your partner and without any vocalizations at all; no pleasurable moans, no joyful screams, no audibly passionate sighs.
Smell deprivation is a somewhat debatable concept; anything that prevents one from smelling could also prevent breathing. Needless to say, approach this idea with great caution. Smell needn't be deprived to be equally enjoyable. Try enhancing it and blocking out another sense or two. Fill your partner's olfactory sense with intoxicating fragrances. Light incense and aromatic candles, feed your partner pungently scented foods, rub him/her with scented oils. The ideas are limitless and truthfully, sometimes sensory overload can be as powerful as deprivation.
Depriving your partner of taste works best when combined with the sense of sound or touch. But as with smell, remember your goal is depriving a sense or two, not inhibiting your partner's ability to breathe. Try a simple gag...even a sock stuffed into the mouth (but don't block the nose). Then try licking all over, giving oral pleasure but not allowing your partner to touch you in response or return the favor. Enjoy watching the pleasure wash over your partner, coupled with his/her own frustration at being unable to completely share the experience with you. If you enjoy this sort of play, there are thousands of gags available, designed with safety and deprivation in mind. But always be extra careful about limiting or inhibiting your partner's breathing in any way.
Touch is arguably most difficult to eliminate. In fact, it's virtually impossible since the whole body is comprised of nerves, sensors, and receptors. Touch can be limited by covering a part (or nearly all) of the body with fabric. Wearing thick gloves as you touch, stroke, and caress your partner's body will remove his/her feeling ability, so the senses are minimized and jumbled.
Mummification is the most complex and dangerous way to deprive someone's sense of touch. It involves wrapping the body (not the head) in plastic wrap or latex, and is for advanced players only. Do not attempt this without experience and professional consultation! A safer alternative is using latex/vinyl clothing or costumes, limiting the skin's ability to feel touch without blocking it completely.
What else can you try? The possibilities are limitless, as is the number of combinations available to deprive the senses. After experimenting with a myriad sensory deprivation technique, try combining them until you find what works best for you and your partner. Be aware your partner may respond better to one sense's deprivation than another, or to various deprivation techniques. This is where it is important to keep communication constantly open, not just after play but beforehand and throughout. Never prevent your partner from communicating pain, fear, discomfort, panic, or illness, let alone breathing difficulty.
Sometimes the best type of sensory deprivation, for any or all the senses, is the completely self-imposed. Try telling your partner to keep his/her eyes shut, or not allowing him/her to touch you, or maintain a certain position until permitted otherwise. Sensory deprivation leads to automatic responses within the brain but even self-imposed activity can lead to heightened sexual awareness and mutual pleasure. After all, physical sensation really is, at its core, mind over matter! Play safe, always communicate, and have fun!