Is It Hypnosis? – Part Nineteen

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As with the last time, I haven’t really had a set schedule for these entries – it just pops into my brain every once in a while that hey, this is a thing I like to do that I haven’t done lately. And by “this”, I mean “going back through my archive of stories and looking at the ones that purport to use actual hypnosis instead of some fantasy mind control technique, and seeing whether the hypnosis is genuinely achievable and whether it’s ethical if so”. So let’s get started, shall we?

The Weakness in Me: I’m really inclined to say “no with a ‘but'” to this one. Certainly I don’t think that hypnosis by itself, or even hypnosis combined with sexual stimulation and teasing, could implant the kind of suggestions under discussion in the story into an unwilling subject. I just don’t think the human brain works that way. But at some point, if you’ve genuinely been abducted and imprisoned for an indefinite duration, hypnosis starts to shade into Stockholm syndrome and other related psychological reactions to imprisonment, and I think it’s theoretically possible that if you didn’t get arrested and thrown in jail before you got the chance, that you could probably mess with someone’s mind in some pretty genuine ways.

I have no intention of ever ever ever finding out if I’m right, ever ever ever. I suggest you stick with that same plan.

Paradise by the Dashboard Light: This one is possibly probably maybe achievable but I’m guessing not? Don’t get me wrong, the hypnotic induction is pretty much realistic, and a lot of the so-called “power napping” techniques out there, along with easily half of the “meditation” and “visualization” techniques, are just forms of applied self-hypnosis. (I say ‘just’, but if they work and are helpful, then they’re doing great and it doesn’t really matter what you call them unless you want to dig into the specifics to improve your skillset.) Trevor’s tired, and he’s probably very receptive to sleep-related suggestions. That bit’s fine.

But do I believe that he could be hypnotized into giving up the wheel of his precious car? Probably not. On some level, his subconscious is very aware that Hannah is taking over the driving, a concept he’s very resistant to on both a conscious and an unconscious level thanks to his sexist bias about women drivers. Getting out of the car and being led around to the passenger side would probably have snapped him out of it, to say nothing of whatever work Hannah did on him to try to reverse decades of internalized toxic masculinity. As much as we might all wish we could snap chauvinist asshats out of it with hypnosis, this is probably just a fantasy.

Pretty Vacant: There’s a chance this could really happen, but it involves assuming a lot of facts not in evidence. If Valerie was bisexual or lesbian, and if she was used to using this kind of convention atmosphere as an excuse to engage in sexual activity she didn’t normally do in her normal home life (both of which are not entirely implausible suggestions – lots of people tend to assume a bit of an attitude of misrule at conferences and conventions, even ones that are ostensibly business-related) then it’s just possible that hypnosis would take the role of a social lubricant usually assumed by alcohol and distance from her usual circle of friends who might regulate her behavior.

In that scenario, it’s not so much that Valerie is being hypnotized into having lesbian sex with Jacqueline, it’s that she’s already receptive to the idea of fucking her temporary roommate and hypnosis is just providing her with the ‘oh, I’m so helpless to resist you’ excuse to do it. I still wouldn’t try hypnotizing someone like this, because I don’t think it would qualify as ‘enthusiastic consent’ as we normally envision it and it would be better to have a frank and open talk that doesn’t end in sex than a stealth hypnosis session that does… but in the realm of fantasy, where no one gets hurt, it’s okay to own your daydreams about being hypnotized without realizing it.

Automatic: See above, but with less justification and even less plausibility. Bev isn’t just being hypnotized into wanting sex with Mona, she’s being hypnotized into a whole bunch of long-term and fairly significant behavioral changes that are incorporated into her daily routine. She’s not somewhere where the usual rules don’t apply, she’s in her own apartment doing the things that she does every single day, and it’s unlikely that Mona could shift those patterns at all without her buying into the idea, especially not after one hypnosis session. A fun story, but not very realistic.

Unbelievable: Well, it’s right there in the title, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, the rapid induction that Veronica performs is pretty close to some of the real ones I’ve seen, done, and had done to me. But a) they probably wouldn’t work on someone in a state of high fury like Sara, b) she’d snap out of it right away because hypnosis isn’t magic, and c) she certainly wouldn’t be in a receptive state of mind to accept any suggestions, especially not from someone like Veronica who she was very angry at and didn’t trust at all even a little. This one is quite obviously intended to be a bit of a parody of the usual “hypnotist gains immense power over someone very quickly” concept, with a bit of silliness about padded resumes thrown in because I thought it would be funny. You need have no fear that anyone might do this to you.

And that’s five more stories out of the way! We’re getting close to the halfway mark, but of course that’s a bit misleading because not all of my stories use hypnosis as their form of mind control. Still, I’m sure we’ll get there eventually, right?

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