(10) Restraint and Sensory Deprivation: Why?

      I’m legitimately sick today for some reason, so I cancelled two appointments and Heinrich gave me the night off. 

      I’d like to post this, though.  It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. 

       Sensory deprivation and restraint (bondage) really calms some people down.  Why do you think that is?

        I’ve seen in a million times, with clients and with boyfriends.  The first thing that I do when I have a client who is highly strung and too nervous to express himself coherently is slap a blindfold on him (usually I don’t use blindfolds at work unless it’s a specific request, because the guys want to look at the eye candy).  It works.  If he can’t see me, it takes all the pressure off (of both parties, I might add).  They can talk and concentrate again.

         Same thing goes for bondage.  There are large numbers of people who enjoy bondage, and it’s the only kinky thing they’re interested in. The people who like mummification or full-body restraint are fanatical about it.  They use it to relax, or to get into a special frame of mind.  I’ve met people who came to the Studio just to hang out in their special little body cocoons (one was a successful musician who’d use the sensory deprivation to get creative.  He’d ask the mistress to help him snort his cocaine as he lay in his sack).  Then there are the rope and shibari people who invest considerable effort in studying it, practicing it, and experiencing it.  

        Some people find it very sexually uninhibiting, also.  That goes both ways–the people who experience this from being tied up, and the people who experience it from tying someone up.  I can’t speak about the women, because I have no experience there, but the men who fetishize tying women up are a special breed.  They change as they do it; derive intense satisfaction from it.  The Mathematician was one such man, and that is how we met.  

        Now, what I’m wondering is: is there a name, a scientific name, for the phenomenon of finding sensory deprivation/bondage soothing or arousing?  Have researchers studied this?  Is there a physiological explanation for why it feels good to some people?

         Because it’s not just kinky people doing this to get their rocks off.  Veterinarians put some animals into “squeeze boxes” to calm them down for examination.  Temple Gradin, the well-known autistic animal scientist, constructed a “hug machine” to relieve anxiety.  

         Look at this: Body Pod Sensory Sock, on Amazon:   

          Parents rave about this thing in the reviews.  I have no idea if it’s quack woo therapy.  I think it could be legit.  This is fundamentally the same thing as a fullbody bag at the Studio, yes?  Why do the kids find the experience of being in the sensory sock soothing?

         (I’m intensely curious about these things and would like to buy one for myself to experiment with, even though I don’t consider myself to be a true bondage enthusiast.   But until I’m living alone again, it would be impossible to explain.  But look at all the bright pretty colors you can get it in!  Maybe I should ask for it for my birthday.  Doesn’t it LOOK LIKE FUN?  Don’t lie!)

         And look at this thing: Thundershirt Dog Anxiety Solution

Therapudic bondage for dogs?

          This is a snug, weighted coat.  Why does this calm some dogs down when they’re frightened?  It has to be the same reason the animals calm down in the squeeze machine, right?

           Does anyone have any ideas about this?  Is there a bondage aficionado among by 8 readers willing to offer an opinion?

          The blog post lacks a coherent hypothesis because I don’t have one.  

          Here are some owls, just because:

8 thoughts on “(10) Restraint and Sensory Deprivation: Why?”

  1. My guess is it brings us back to the womb, where we were safe a protected. I love mummification and bondage, top and bottom. And I love small spaces, including cages. They make me feel safe and calm. I guess that would be different for people who are claustrophobic.

    1. The womb is the obvious Freudian answer, I guess. The womb and the cave.

      I like bondage quite a bit myself, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a fetish of mine. For me, it’s still just a tool. I can do a little shibari (that’s how I met Heinrich, actually…wow, long time ago now), but I never pursued it because there almost never the chance to use it in a professional session…the clients were on the clock, so I had to ration time accordingly.

      I put a guy in a cell one time and then remembered that I forgot a tool. I left him in the cell while I ran to get it. He FLIPPED OUT when I was in the supply closet and everyone could hear him screaming down the hall “MISTRESS COME BACK!” Scared me to death! I got back and he calmed down immediately and hold me that he was phobic of being left alone in the dark in an enclosed space. 🙁 I asked him why he hadn’t told me that, and he said that he was “too embarrassed.”

  2. Restraint and tight bondage, apart from their womb associations, are inevitably accompanied by feelings of helplessness and vulnerability. These feelings are a basic need in both men and women, although in men they are a source of conflict and dangerous anxieties.

    Feminist writer Lynne Segal is full of insights on this issue.

    “Sexual pleasure–taking us all the way back to the fears and longings of childhood attachments–is as much about letting go and losing control for men as it is for women. There is nothing inevitable about either the occurrence or the preferred form of heterosexual bonding. As any prostitute knows, straight men are both terrified of, yet passionately attracted to, powerlessness and loss of control.”

    (I don’t know how to put the above in bold, but if I could, I would.)

    The myth of phallocratic power and the demands of ‘masculinity’ damage large swathes of men’s emotional being, disabling them and turning them into emotional amputees. That’s why so many of them end up in dungeons seeking a holiday from their false selves, as submissives.

    (They damage women’s emotional being too, but in other ways and with other effects.)

    If there is such a thing as false consciousness in the realm of economics, it can also be said to exist in the human psyche.

    But as a previous contributor has commented on your ‘Murder Victim’ post:

    “One of the things that makes me think the professional S&M scene is a little piece of hell is that when we are there, we are all in it alone.”

    So paradoxically, the quest for tightly-scripted intimacy ends up with the muppet punter paying good money to experience loneliness and isolation.

  3. As someone who gets panic attacks, for me a small, confined space (that I can leave at will) is comforting because I can control it, or have the appearance of control. So the space under my desk, because my desk is safe space, and my car, because it also offers escape. The panic is calmed because I no longer have a enormous and vast “everything” to cope in and in which it feels like everything is staring at me.

    Bondage takes the control out of my hands, which means the ability to say “Hey, don’t look at me, I can’t control this, obviously the top is the freak, I’m just laying here,” no matter what I might or might not really want. Sure, it’s consensual and maybe even discussed before the restraints, but the brain wants to be fooled – after all, scary movies have shown us under the desk is not really a safe place to hide.

    I may be your 9th reader. 🙂 I’ve been reading your blog for some time and silently cheering you on.


  4. “One of the things that makes me think the professional S&M scene is a little piece of hell is that when we are there, we are all in it alone.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. I do not feel like I’m in a professional scene alone. The Domme and I are in it together and she is the guide on a journey we take together. There is a symbiosis there, at least that’s how I feel. Do pro dommes view it the same way?

    1. Yeah, I don’t agree with that, either. I almost never felt alone in a session, even on those occasions when more emotional distance would have been preferable.

  5. I know that with autistic children some respond to a weighted vest like the Thunder shirt and with the cocoon sack thjng. Like others said before. The womb like feeling. Babies being swaddled too.

    Ms. M- have you seen 50 shades of Grey? I’m wondering how authentic it is. I know some people say the movie is not accurate and it’s abuse , I think it’s silly fun for the desperate housewives.

    1. I have not seen 50 Shades and I don’t think that I ever will unless someone pays me to attend it for some reason. 50 Shades is the worst book I have ever tried to read. It was just too badly written. I gave up 20 pages in.

      Every other writer on the kinky blogosphere has written about it, some of them very passionately. I find the critiques to be more compelling than the subject matter…and much more than the subject matter deserves, really. It’s like a bunch literary scholars decided to deconstruct an episode of Full House.

      I do not have any strong opinions about 50 Shades because I can’t take it seriously. It doesn’t bother me if its antifeminist for the same reason.

      I have a smidge of jealousy that EL James is now fabulously wealthy. That is really good luck for her.

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