Hypnosis has been used for centuries to induce dreams, recall memories, and transform habits. So it makes sense that it could also be used to elicit pleasure. That would be erotic hypnosis, also referred to as hypno-sex. But the erotic in erotic hypnosis means more than orgasms.
What is erotic hypnosis?
Erotic hypnosis is the use of hypnosis to elicit a particular sexual goal in some shape or form, whether it's a hands-free orgasm or just a pleasurable and relaxing state of mind. It involves one person guiding another person into a trance-like state using just their voice and then suggesting certain attitudes, behaviors, or actions.
"Erotic hypnosis has a way of enhancing the things that the subject already enjoys. It can draw things out that would otherwise stay hidden, allow the hypnotee to be more sensitive, and lower inhibition if that's what they want," hypnodomme and certified hypnotist Katherine Dire tells mbg. "It's a way of playing with sexuality in a way that is a little indirect."
Reasons someone may want to practice erotic hypnosis:
- Increase awareness of touch, mind, and sensation
- Control pleasure during or after trance
- Induce hands-free orgasms
- Enhance role-play and fantasy
- Experience something "taboo"
- Transform a kink or fetish
- Let go and relax
How it works.
Every session starts with you and your hypnotist laying the foundation. You'll talk about your goal for the session, your soft and hard limits, and insight into your life. The more pieces of the puzzle they have, the better.
Then, the hypnotist suggests you into a trance.
During hypnosis, a person's attention leaves their immediate environment and clings to "inner experiences such as feelings, cognition, and imagery," according to research by hypnotherapist Ann Williamson.
You enter a consciously induced trance that mirrors lighter trances you already experience at least twice a day. When we wake up and run off our list of to-do's, when we recap our day before bed, and when we zone out mid-drive and miss our exit—all are types of trances.
How you experience a trance depends on the suggestions the hypnotist makes. Your relaxed state of mind can resemble sleepiness, grogginess, fuzziness, or floating. "Everyone experiences hypnosis differently. Some get extremely relaxed, some get turned on, some don't experience anything, and some get amnestic," says Dire.
You stay in that deep state of relaxation until the session is over or something snaps you out of it.
"You will never do something against your core values," NLP-certified hypnotist Syren Rayna tells mbg. You drop your inhibitions, but you don't lose your morals or who you are as a person. For example, she says that if you're an animal lover and your hypnotist makes the suggestion to run over a rabbit on your way home, you're going to snap awake because the suggestion doesn't click with your core being.
The entire process is voluntary and meant to leave you feeling lighter than before.
It's definitely possible to have an orgasm during erotic hypnosis, sometimes referred to as a hypnosis orgasm. That said, going into your first session with the goal of having an earth-shattering orgasm is like "having sex with someone you just met and expecting it to be perfect," licensed hypnotherapist Traci Kanaan tells mbg, "hard to do on a first try."
Still, having a hypno-orgasm is an enlightening experience. "The orgasm is all in the mind," says Kanaan. "So doing a hypno-orgasm gets someone to realize the largest sex organ is actually their brain."
Your body is a human tape recorder that remembers everything you've ever felt. Erotic hypnosis lets you exchange your physical expectations for inner sensations.
"Erotic means sexual arousal," Rayna tells mbg. "It doesn't mean orgasm. It can, but it's not built in." It's normal to do an erotic session without any goal to have an orgasm. Sometimes it's about empowering yourself, feeling good in your body, or showing yourself that your mind is powerful.
BDSM, ASMR, and related concepts.
Erotic hypnosis is sometimes used as part of BDSM and other kink practices. "In the BDSM world, we love playing with power and control," Dire tells mbg. Hypnosis has a history of being a tool for manipulating power that overshadows its healing qualities. She says this is "oddly perfect if you like the idea of power exchange. A lot of people get off on those feelings of sexual vulnerability and helplessness."
Audio porn and ASMR are also related concepts, though they're not exactly the same as erotic hypnosis. Audio porn is audio content featuring or describing sexual situations; it's like pornographic videos, but audio only. ASMR, which stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, describes a euphoric feeling experienced from hearing certain satisfying sounds or seeing certain types of videos.
All three experiences present you with a way to let go and connect to your internal frame of mind. "Audio erotica creates a blueprint for your mind to decorate the way it likes," Gina Gutierrez, the founder of erotic audio platform Dipsea, tells mbg. If that's the case, then ASMR is the interior designer, and erotic hypnosis is the property manager. They have unique roles as well as the potential to fit together and use subtle and specific stimuli to ignite your deeper, innermost sensations.
How to try erotic hypnosis:
Find a hypnotist you can trust.
You'll want to try erotic hypnosis with a professional before bringing it into your bedroom. Do your research and find out what you want out of a session. Look for hypnotists who have credentials, prior clients, references, and a website. "There's a fine line between hypnosis and brainwashing," says Kanaan. "If you're like 'ew,' don't let that person hypnotize you."
Not everyone who practices erotic hypnosis has the best intentions, which is why research is so important. The phrasing of a hypnotist's suggestions is paramount to a safe session. Watch out for any hypnotist who tells you to be "beholden only to them" outside of agreed-upon power play. And "realize that any suggestion that goes against your moral fiber, you can kick out," Kanaan adds.
Decide how you want your session to go.
Once you've found a hypnotist, decide whether you want to do a session in person or online. Or if you want to skip those options and listen to pre-recorded audio files. "Hypnosis is very much about rapport, which is all about connection," says Dire. You can reach greater connection through personalization, even if a session isn't in person.
Manage your expectations.
A lot of confusion with hypnosis comes from stage hypnosis, where the receiver leaves the stage with no recollection of what they did. Trance happens in levels, and this level of deep trance may or may not happen. Get a good idea of what you expect a "successful" session to feel like. How deep of a trance is deep enough for you to feel like it "worked"? It's important to go in with reasonable expectations and an open mind. If you're consciously resisting it, it likely won't work.
Don't get discouraged.
"There are a number of reasons that can keep someone from entering that deep state of relaxation," Rayna tells mbg. It's kind of like wondering how some people can fall asleep instantly and others take hours. From not being able to let go to not telling your hypnotist enough to give you the proper suggestions, it's OK if you have an unsuccessful session. Erotic hypnosis is powerful, but it isn't certain.
It's OK to be skeptical afterward.
Speaking from experience, the automatic need to test a suggestion is natural. Rayna did a quick session over the phone with me during our interview to transform my love for cheese. Using a neurolinguistic programming (NLP) technique called Mapping Across, we correlated my love for cheese with my disgust for gizzards. Immediately after our session, I wanted to know if it worked. I haven't dug around in my fridge for cheese in three days.
How to hypnotize someone.
Hypnotizing isn't something you should jump into without a little research first. "I'm in the camp of you're probably not going to get into anything too crazy when you're just starting out," says Rayna.
Do more research.
Google or any other search engine is your new BFF. Learn what you can about erotic hypnosis. What it is, what it isn't, how to phrase suggestions, and any other information you need to confidently put someone into a trance. You may want to work with a hypnotist or hypnotherapist yourself first before trying this on others.
Have a discussion with your partner before the session to make sure you get down to the nitty-gritty of triggers, limits, goals, and expectations. Go into the session on the same team. Check in when either of you needs it.
Be thoughtful about your suggestions.
There's "nothing harmful about putting someone into that relaxed state," says Rayna. But be careful with how you phrase your suggestions. You can't take them back once they're said. "You want to make sure you aren't crossing any lines or harming the receiver."
Manage your expectations.
"Expectations can sometimes inhibit us from experiencing real joy and freedom," says Dire. With erotic hypnosis, you're transforming pieces of the mind. It's powerful, but setting unrealistic expectations can keep you from enjoying the moment. Nerves, stress, drunkenness, and anxiety can influence how they receive your suggestions as well as how you suggest.
The underlying theme for success is safety. If the receiver doesn't feel safe during a session, they may be less inclined to let go of their inhibitions. If they don't let go, then they keep themselves from the possibilities of hypnosis.
The bottom line.
Erotic hypnosis is a real and powerful practice that guides us into a state of consciousness we aren't always aware of. Its purpose isn't only to elicit orgasms or enhance kinks, though it definitely can.
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Alex Shea is a freelance sex and relationships writer based in Texas. She studied Life Sciences at San Jacinto College and has a journalism certificate from Michigan State University. Her work has been published at Huff Post, Allbodies, Obsev, and elsewhere.
Aside from the work she does in the wellness industry, she writes about environmental causes, travel, and animals. She’s also the author of I Don't Know Yet, a book of poetry and prose. She currently lives in San Antonio with her partner and her pup, Scout, and is writing her second book.