Blindfolds are one of Joy’s favorite pieces of bondage equipment. They’re one of mine, too, and consequently we use one frequently for our adventures together. In my mind, there are four large benefits that a blindfold brings to the table:
- A blindfold increases the feelings of helplessness and vulnerability of the wearer. Sight is our most relied-upon sense, and one of its primary functions is to allow us to detect and avoid danger. Without vision, one feels vulnerable because that function is lost. Even in a BDSM scenario, when all parties present are trusted and the environment is safe, the inability to see instinctively causes a blindfold-wearer’s sense of helplessness to increase, and therefore heightens the feeling of dependency and submission.
- By blocking the wearer’s vision, a blindfold enables you to more easily leverage the element of surprise in your adventure. Surprise can be powerful, especially if you’re introducing something new. Suppose, for instance, that you have purchased a penis gag, and your partner has never seen it. Do you think their reaction when you place it in their mouths will be stronger as they recognize it solely from feeling the shape on their tongue?
- Removing the ability to see also frees the mind to imagine. Consider the example concerning the penis gag I just described. The actual penis attached to the gag is probably only about 2 inches in length. However, if your partner has never seen it, and can only estimate it from feeling it fill their mouth, they will imagine it to be much longer and severe than it really is. By restricting their ability to see the reality of the gag, you allow their mind to magnify it to reflect what they both fear and desire at the same time.
- Restricting the sense of site allows the blindfold-wearer’s mind to focus on their other senses, intensifying their input. For our purposes, this comes most into play with the sense of touch. A blindfolded party often finds that they become more sensitive to tactile stimulation of all types, both pleasurable and (if desired) painful.
What’s the best type of blindfold to let you capitalize on these four benefits? Well, you have many options from which to choose!
The most basic option would be the DIY model—simply take a handkerchief or suitable stand-in and tie it over your partner’s eyes. While this sort of works and is both cheap and makes use of materials you probably already have around the house, truth be told it’s not all that effective. The challenge is that an impromptu blindfold like this tends to do a poor job of fully blocking vision, and frequently becomes dislodged or falls off entirely during the course of an adventure. That being said, if you’ve got access to no better alternatives, by all means go this direction! You may not gain the full benefit, but it’s better than nothing.
If you move up to purpose-made blindfolds, however, you’ll do far better. They come in many styles and colors, and you can choose whichever fulfills your sense of aesthetics best. I’m a sucker for black leather, of course, so that’s what our preferred blindfold is made of, but as I say, please yourself when it comes to looks. Functionally, though, there are a couple things you should look for.
First, I highly recommend going with a model that has an elastic band to hold it in place. I’m not a fan of elastic in most applications, and originally I thought a buckle closure would be better. However, in actual practice, the elastic band performs better in two respects:
- It’s much quicker and easier to get on and off.
- It does a better job of staying in place, because the elastic tightens around the contours of the wearer’s head even if the blindfold slips around a bit during the course of an adventure. A buckle closure, if it slides out of place, cannot tighten itself and therefore falls off. There are few things worse than being right in the middle of an elaborate scene and having to stop to try to get the blindfold back on!
Second, as blindfolds are generally worn for a fairly extended period of time, it’s wise to get one that’s comfortable for the wearer. Therefore, a soft interior side and a strap that fits the wearer’s head are important.
And third, you want a blindfold that will totally block the wearer’s vision. The most they should be able to see is a band of light around the edge of the blindfold—if they can see through cracks around where it fits to their face, it defeats your purpose. However, to date I’ve not come across a purpose-made blindfold that doesn’t meet this standard, and hopefully you won’t either.
If you continue further up the severity scale from basic blindfolds, you cross over into head harnesses (sometimes with built in gags and sometimes not) meant to ensure the blindfold stays put, and then into partial and full hoods. Though I applaud their purpose, I’ve not been a fan of head harnesses because I don’t like the way they look. However, that’s purely a matter of taste, and yours may differ from mine. Hoods, though, can definitely come in useful, and do an excellent job of blocking vision without any possibility of coming loose. We have a favorite that we use when a bit of anonymity and depersonalization is in order, and it has a built-in blindfold that completely obscures Joy’s sense of sight.