Sensory deprivation, or ‘sens dep’, is an umbrella term used to describe a type of BDSM play that involves ‘depriving’ one or more of the senses (most often sight and sound), to heighten the intensity of your kinky playtime. It can add an element of drama to your BDSM scenes (if you crave a little titillation), as it’s designed to build anticipation and, perhaps, inspire a little bit of fear for the person whose senses have been compromised! Sensory deprivation is almost always combined with another form of sensation play– kinksters will agree that having their sight or hearing removed tends to intensify the way they experience touch or impact. As BDSM enthusiasts ourselves, we encourage our readers to experiment, blaze their own trails and get as creative as they like, but for now, we’ll give you some tips and ideas on how we like to incorporate sens dep in the bedroom.
When we see an object moving toward us, we know to move out of the way. When we see someone approaching us to say hello, we can usually tell from their body language whether they’re going in for a hug, handshake or high-five. Out of the five senses, sight informs our brains the most, delivering the most information on where and how to react. As with nearly every other form of BDSM play, sens dep evokes feelings of vulnerability– having our sight blocked out leaves us inherently vulnerable, as our ability to react or anticipate has been dramatically impacted. To ramp up those vulnerable feelings, one might also seek to block out sound for themselves or their partner, too. Without sight, our brains will default to our sense of hearing to anticipate what might be coming, but without either, we’d really be at the mercy of our play partner(s)!
Obviously, the simplest way to accomplish sensory deprivation from sight is a trusted, light-blocking blindfold. Comfort is essential, of course, so we recommend our Multicolor Soft Blindfold, lined with ultra-soft faux fur, or our Multicolor Soft Padded Blindfold, for gentle cushioning over the eyes. For those who are a little more daring and enjoy a bit of bondage, our Total Deprivation Hood blocks out all light, more sound, and even lightly restricts breathing for those who enjoy a little breath play! For extra sensory deprivation that removes or inhibits hearing (with use of a simple blindfold), try a pair of noise-canceling headphones or wax earplugs.
Alright, so we’ve deprived our senses- now what? Here’s where we can really get creative with the direction of our scenes– sensation play! Whether it’s gently tickling your blindfolded partner with a feather or using implements that deliver a little pain, the sensory possibilities are endless. While they sit or lay in anticipation, their sense of touch will be ultra heightened as they’re left in the dark (figuratively, and literally). One of the most classic sensation tools in BDSM, and incidentally, one that we sell, is the Wartenberg Wheel, a small, handheld rolling wheel outfitted with small, sharp spikes meant to be gently rolled over the user’s skin. With proper use, the spikes will not penetrate the skin or even leave a mark, but will certainly keep you or your blindfolded partner in a state of lightly painful suspense! Impact play can also be combined with sens dep to intensify the feelings of anticipation for the submissive and the element of surprise for the Dominant– who knows when the next strike is coming?! We love our Luxury Rhinestone Whip for its versatility in sensation and impact play; it’s outfitted with long strands of metal chain (instead of strips of leather or vinyl like more classic floggers) that can be used to deliver painful blows, stingy thuds or gently tickle when lightly dragged across the skin.
As with all forms of BDSM play, negotiation and consent are a required practice to set intentions beforehand and make sure all parties are having a good time- don’t forget your safe words, too. Sensory deprivation is a fantastic avenue for kinky beginners to explore sensation and power dynamics. It captures and exaggerates feelings of vulnerability for the submissive by shutting off major input channels of the brain, allowing them only to receive sensations in unanticipated bursts. Whether you crave receiving or dishing a little pain (or pleasure) during your scenes or simply practicing some power exchange with your partner(s), sens dep can be incredibly versatile; just grab a blindfold or hood, maybe some headphones, and see what kind of fun and titillating scenes you and your partner(s) can come up with!