Blindfolds are one of the most highly underrated additions to a sighted person’s bedside table drawer. Mention handcuffs or a spanking paddle and you might get a giggle out of your beau, but blindfolds? Even I was once guilty of sighing boredly and asking, “Sure, but what else?”
But I’ve come around on the unique elements that blindfolds bring to sex. (I guess you could say I finally saw the light – by blocking it out!) Small adjustments or additions can be hugely transformative for sex: trying a different position, using lube (something I recommend for everyone), adding a new toy to the rotation. And blindfolds are the epitome of “small addition.”
But what does the inclusion of a blindfold actually do? What advantages and experiences await those of you about to be wooed into your first blindfold purchase?
1. Blindfolds can prevent “peeking” anxiety.
It’s natural to want to know how your partner(s) are feeling during sex. But constantly glancing at your partner’s face to try and dissect what they’re feeling can distract you from what you’re doing, or make you nervous if you don’t see the expression you were hoping for. It can also make your partner(s) feel like they need to perform, exaggerating or even faking their responses so you have something to see.
Blindfolds partially mask someone’s face, allowing you cut off the uncomfortable cycle of staring expectantly at someone’s expression (or being stared at.) This can also be a less stressful way to be visually admired during sex – if you like being watched, but don’t want to see yourself being watched, a blindfold can allow your partner to gawk undeterred.
2. Blindfolds can enhance sensory play.
While not the case for everyone, plenty of us experience heightened senses when one is taken away. When I’m blindfolded, my sense of smell becomes much more acute; this allows me to better appreciate little details like the lingering scent of my partner’s favorite lotion or their shampoo. Others may find themselves focused more on sounds, physical touches, or tastes – and these heightened senses open the door for sexy sensory play.
Run a wartenburg wheel over a blindfolded lover’s skin to watch them shiver. Drip and lick flavored massage oil from their body and listen to them moan. Drift a bullet vibe over their nipples and feel them squirm. None of these things require a blindfold, but denying a sense can help you focus on the ones that remain, making sensation play all the more titillating.
3. Blindfolds can provide the element of surprise.
I have heard the complaint that planning sex beforehand ruins the experience. But agreeing to let your partner(s) drip candlewax on you, and actually feeling that first hot patter of wax on your skin, are profoundly different interactions. Discussing sex doesn’t rob you of experiences; instead, it ensures experiences are pleasurable for everyone involved.
Add a blindfold to the mix, and you can be consensually menaced by something you agreed to: you don’t know where your partner(s) will drip the wax next, or how long they’ll let it pool at the tip before pouring it on you. It’s orchestrated spontaneity!
Surprise doesn’t have to be mean, either. You can tease a lover with the tickle of a feather-tipped crop or chain tickler; you can vary where your kisses fall to elicit a happy purr; you can reach for one of vibrators your partner(s) agreed to and surprise them with your choice.
4. They can sometimes help with shame or dysphoria.
Being self-conscious of your body and experiencing body-related gender dysphoria are two very different experiences. I struggle with both, and it definitely impacts my sex life. Sometimes these things are focused on seeing myself, or being seen by partner(s), in a body I feel isn’t worthy of love, or isn’t the body I should have been born with.
To be clear, blindfolds aren’t a solution. They don’t always even help. But sometimes when I’m anxious about my body, blindfolding myself or my partner can alleviate some of the surface-level stress. I can stop worrying about what my partner(s) think about my shape. I can stop fixating on feelings of “wrongness” I have about my genitals. I can just focus on the good stuff, and work on my negative feelings in a moment less immediate than the here and now.
5. Blindfolds can be a tool for denial play.
In an earlier section, I mentioned that some people really enjoy watching their partner(s) during sex. Blindfolding a partner who loves to admire you can be a kinky way to tease or punish them. You can pretend that they have to “earn” the right to see you, or you can simply spend your session consensually exploiting all the ways they’re missing out. Just like how blindfolds can enhance sensory play, they can enhance dirty talk and dominance/submission too.
Pair their blindfold with some bondage restraints and deny them the pleasure of touching you, too. Watching your partner crave what they can’t have can be a deeply erotic experience.
6. Blindfolds take away eye contact.
There is inherent stress to making or maintaining eye contact. I may be biased as an autistic person who finds eye contact distracting and distressing in general, but I’ve had non-autistic partners who felt the same way: sometimes, the expectation of eye contact can get in the way of intimacy rather than enhancing it.
Survivors of trauma, neurodivergent folks, or even just people who like sex positions that happen to prevent eye contact – nobody should feel guilty about what makes them comfortable during sex. And it certainly doesn’t mean your partner doesn’t like you.
Because blindfolds cover your eyes, they effectively remove eye contact – and expectations of it – from the proceedings. I’m a huge fan!
7. Blindfolds can make role playing easier.
Role playing is a fun, often immersive way to incorporate fantasy in your sex life. But sometimes it’s hard to get into character enough to enjoy yourself. Maybe you feel like you don’t look the part, or maybe your surroundings don’t match the setting… or maybe you can’t even make eye contact with your partner(s) without giggling self-consciously. Role playing can be awkward at first and requires some suspension of disbelief. Staring at the pile of dirty clothes in the corner can prevent you from letting go.
Blindfolds can help hide reality just enough that fantasy can take over. Suddenly your cluttered bedside table is gone, and you can freely imagine the spaceship you’re in with a fellow explorer. Likewise, when you can no longer see your partner’s facial reactions, you can shed the stage fright and dirty talk as a confident but self-deprecating superhero.
For sighted folks and role play, sometimes not seeing is believing.
If you would like to see (ha!) what blindfolds can do for you and your partner(s), Peepshow Toys has several available in their Gags & Blindfolds category!