Sensory deprivation is the practice of temporarily 'removing from' or depriving someone from making uses of one or more of the senses. Simple devices such as blindfolds or hoods and earmuffs can cut off sight and hearing, while more complex devices can also cut off the sense of smell, touch, taste, thermoception (heat-sense), and 'gravity'. Sensory deprivation has been used in various alternative medicines and in psychological experiments (e.g. isolation tanks).
For total sensory deprivation, one must be deprived of all five senses:
Sensory deprivation is also a practice in BDSM. Here, it is normally desirable for a bottom to be left with at least one sense, typically touch. With only physical feeling left to experience his/her surroundings, the sense of touch - and its anticipation - is greatly heightened.
Though sensory deprivation has been shown to have some therapeutic benefit if applied over a short time, long-term sensory deprivation is very dangerous and is considered to be torture by most human rights groups. Therefore, it is strongly advised that any session involving a high level of sensory deprivation be limited to no more than one hour. Also, it is doubly important that the dom/domme be conscious of the mental state of their sub.
One way to offset the danger is to practise partial rather than total sensory deprivation. For example, the use of a blindfold alone, even over long periods of time, will not usually cause mental distress. However, care must still be taken as, left to their own devices, a blindfolded sub can easily become disoriented and injure him or herself.
Naturally, all safety guidelines pertaining to suffocation, nerve damage, circulation, and so on should be followed as well.
- Example artwork (/F, bound, gagged, blindfolded, earmuffed, and spanked)
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