Is It Hypnosis? – Part Sixteen

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It’s time for another installment in my occasional look back at my old stories that purport to feature achievable hypnosis, in order to see whether that hypnosis is really something that could be done in real life the same way it’s handled in the story and if so, whether it should be done in real life the same way it’s handled in the story. A couple of these have quite a bit to get into, so let’s get started, shall we?

Body Language: This one is especially interesting when viewed from this perspective, because the Dominant in this story is regurgitating a few common beliefs about hypnosis – specifically, that you can’t hypnotize certain types of people, and that you can’t hypnotize someone against their will. Obviously, for purposes of this story, it kind of has to be false or it’s going to be more than a little bit boring; nobody reads about a Domme who hears that someone can’t be hypnotized, says, “Okay then,” and walks off to find someone more interesting to talk to. (Even though that’s how it both does and should play out in real life.) But is it?

The honest answer is “yes and no”. Certainly, the idea that there are types of people who are resistant to hypnosis is definitely false, or at the very least based on extremely shaky ground and unreliable evidence. Most of the studies that claim this to be true went about testing susceptibility to trance by using an identical induction under identical circumstances, and counted the number of people who went under. As I’ve said in the past, this is like testing a skeleton key on every door in the neighborhood, and claiming afterward that only sixty percent of doors are unlockable. Different people respond to different techniques, different modalities, and different hypnotists; that’s why it’s important to learn a lot of different ways to help someone achieve trance if you want to play with a lot of different partners. Personally, I doubt there’s anyone out there who truly can’t be hypnotized if they genuinely want to be; it’s just that some people haven’t done it yet.

That said, do I think you could genuinely do what Lady Whisper does in this story, and hypnotize someone who’s trying not to go under? Probably not, although I will say that a) she’s chosen the right technique for it, creating a strong sense of disassociation and helplessness by talking to his body and not him, b) it’s anyone’s guess how much he really wants to resist, because there is an undertone of brattiness to his protestations that it’s simply impossible for him to be hypnotized because he’s sooooooo strong-willed, and c) I don’t really know because I would never do this and neither should you. If someone insists on elaborating to you all the ways they can’t be hypnotized, just say, “Okay then,” and walk off to find someone more interesting to talk to.

The Joker: Okay, from a technical standpoint, I’m ludicrously proud of this induction, because it’s a really good piece of practical hypnosis disguised very cleverly as a card trick in a way I’d really like to try sometime if I could pull off card tricks the way Madam Columbina has. Basically, this is a super-fancified sensory overload induction, what’s sometimes known as a “seven plus or minus two” induction. The idea is that it’s genuinely hard for the human brain to hold more than about seven items in immediate, short-term conscious storage without losing track of something – we have a lot of tricks to deal with this, like grouping items in lists (so if you’ve memorized the Declaration of Independence, for example, you’re not going to be able to skip straight to the twenty-seventh word, because you haven’t memorized twenty-seven individual words, you’ve memorized one list of text). But if you start getting to that max, your brain starts to strain a little.

And so the idea is, the hypnotist gets you to focus on something, then adds a second, then a third, and basically piles them on until the brain is really straining… and then, just as it’s obvious that you’re having trouble thinking, they say, “Hey! Wouldn’t it be nice to stop trying to think for a while? Sleep.” And you do! It’s a very neat trick, and this version is really slick because Madam Columbina is secretly doing a number of things to prevent Jo from grouping the cards into a list like reversing the order, or introducing two cards with the same name (that wasn’t an accident). And right at the moment when she’s having real trouble remembering, when she’s really straining and the cards are coming at her too fast to keep track, there’s the Joker. The specific trance trigger she’s been told is coming. And it hits her like a ton of bricks.

Now, would it be ethical to do this? Well, it is a stage show, and Jo did volunteer, so presumably we’ve got enthusiastic consent (although the ethics of stage hypnosis are still evolving, because they do involve a lot of unexpected suggestions that aren’t negotiated in advance and very few stage hypnotists have a mechanism in place for revoking consent). But of course, she’s not aware that Chantal and Madam Columbina have a secret plan in place to seduce her, which she didn’t consent to. Except that she kind of did, because Chantal made no real secret of the fact that she was taking Jo to a hypnosis stage show to get hypnotized, with the very clear expectation that she would want sex out of the whole deal, and Jo said, “Sure!” You could argue, of course, that Jo only made that offer in the sure and certain belief that she wouldn’t have to hold to it, but I think the internal dialogue makes it pretty clear that isn’t entirely true either. Let’s just say that as the arbiter of my fictional character’s morality, I think Jo was entirely pleased with the outcome and leave it at that.

Give Yourself to Me: This one is thankfully a lot more straightforward; Donna clearly wants to be hypnotized and dominated by Doctor Keller, and has put herself very much into a position where that exact thing can happen. Doctor Keller picks up on it, and acts all toppy to see how she’ll respond, and sure enough, she melts like butter for him. It’s not tremendously ethical, even before the ending (which is both frankly impossible and a gross abuse of another person’s mind) but it’s probably plausible. People tend to respond very well to an authoritarian style of induction when it feeds strongly into their kink and the suggestions are things they already want to do.

But no. That ending just could not happen outside of the realm of fiction. And that’s a very good thing.

Caught Up in You: This is another one that’s not so much “plausible” as it is “I wrote down actual things that actually happened and changed the names and a few other details to make it flow more smoothly as a piece of fiction”. It’s about as real as hypnosis gets in my stories, and it was all entirely consensual. There’s not a negotiation sequence at the beginning or anything, but this is a pretty decent example of good consent practices for ethical brainwashing and mind control. And hopefully it shows just how hot those things can be.

Daydream Believer: First, in case it’s not immediately obvious in the story, Erica is experiencing a natural trance state – she’s relaxing, she’s disassociating from her surroundings, and she’s very focused on her daydream. And obviously Sylvie has decided to sneak up on her and take advantage of her lack of conscious thought to implant suggestions into her head that steer her fantasies in a particular direction, the better to do very unethical things with her body. It’s obviously a total shitshow in terms of consent, but is it possible?

I’m inclined to say no. Erica is clearly not into the fantasy – she snaps out of it at least twice, maybe even three times when Sylvie tries to steer her train of thought into sex with Sylvie. At least one of those times, she would have probably snapped out of it completely enough to realize Sylvie was actually there and not a figment of her imagination, and that probably would have mortified her into focusing on reality if nothing else. And it’s a lot more likely that she would have realized what Sylvie was doing than believing she was daydreaming of the things happening right in front of her.

Plus, again, ethical shitshow. Sylvie is not a role model.

And that’s another five stories in the rear view mirror… thank goodness I write so much about magic, drugs, and mind control rays, or we’d never finish!

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