Archive for December 13th, 2015

Formative Experiences: Lis Sladen

December 13, 2015

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I try very hard to keep my vanilla fandoms and my kink fandoms separate. I don’t fantasize about Buffy or Harry Potter or Doctor Who, primarily because once I start fantasizing about them it gets kind of weird to watch them in a non-sexual context. Sort of like hanging out with a friend the day after you got drunk and fooled around–you just feel all weird about it and they won’t talk about what you did. (Primarily, in this case, because they’re scripted dramas and not people, but you get the idea.)


But I have to confess, I make an acknowledgement if not an exception in the case of Lis Sladen, who played the beautiful, debonair, spunky Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who for many years. Because I’m reasonably sure that she was the first woman I ever saw hypnotized in fiction. I’m not sure if the first time I saw her going under was in ‘The Ark In Space’, where she slowly drowses off to a hypnotic voice in preparation for cryonic stasis, or whether it was in ‘The Masque of Mandragora’, where she stares at a spinning pendant with utmost fascination, or whether it was in ‘Terror of the Zygons’, where the Doctor puts her into a trance to help her conserve oxygen. (Or another I’m forgetting–it says a lot in the ad-libbed departure scene she and Tom Baker did that she shouted, “And I’m tired of being bloody hypnotized!”) But the point is, she was a very foundational part of my hypnokink.


Because she was so damn good at it. She had such huge, expressive eyes, and she could really make it look like she was straining to keep them open against unendurable pressure better than anyone I’ve ever seen, and that includes people being actually hypnotized. She had a lovely “sleepy voice”, and she was just generally gorgeous and charming. Again, I don’t think naughty thoughts about her now, and I doubt I did then–I was too young to even have sexual fantasies back then, although my parents left a copy of Andry and Schepp’s ‘How Babies Are Made’ in my room so I must have at least understood the reproductive process. But I must have linked “hypnosis” and “beautiful woman” since at least the age of two, possibly earlier. I’d be a fool to say it didn’t have an effect on me.


And I know I’m not alone. Virtually every hypnokinky person I’ve met, male or female, has at least seen that ‘Mandragora’ scene, usually at a pretty young age, and they’ve thought about themselves on one side or the other of that pendant. I think Lis Sladen inspired generations of young people to imagine, “What does that feel like?” And some of us kept going along that path. Lis Sladen is gone now; she passed a few years back from cancer, although thankfully after a late-career revival that left her understanding a little bit more of how many fans she’d made happy over the years. And I hope that she wouldn’t be too bothered to know that for a lot of us, she was our first crush too.