Discussion

To become a hypnotist, you must first hypnotize people.

Most of us will start closer to home with someone we know and trust. You can start with a friend or relative. I prefer the term "partner" over "hypnotic subject" as it emphasizes that hypnotism is collaborative, and I’ll use non-gender-specific terms.

The advice here is intended to be general and open-ended, so that your partner has opportunities to respond and provide feedback without feeling pressured. Please do what is best for you and your partner’s relationship.

Asking

People often get bogged down in how to say "I want to hypnotize you." It’s rare for people to simply say something so baldly, but it’s not clear how to begin to broach the topic.

This is fair. It seems like a straightforward sentence, and yet there are three or four discussions packed into this sentence. Let’s break down the sentence into concept, interest, and intent. You may have all of these discussions separately, or they may all happen in a single conversation.

Concept

The first sentence is "Hypnotism." Just say the word. If you can’t say the word, that’s where to start. The discussion is bringing up the concept of hypnosis.

If your partner does have preconceived notions of hypnosis, especially if there are strong feelings about hypnosis, then let them talk about it. Listen and ask questions to make sure you’ve heard them, without correcting or explaining anything.

It can be very tempting to tell your partner that they are wrong or incorrect, but this can only come after they’ve had an opportunity to speak. Once they’re done talking, ask if you can share your opinion about hypnosis. If they say yes, then you can talk.

This is called active listening. It’s a skill that doesn’t come naturally to most people, and it’s easy to think you’re listening when you’re really just waiting to talk.

As an alternative or as a preamble to an in-person conversation, it may help to send a link in an email or forward an Instagram/Tiktok video. Pick something that explains the theory, rather than trying to impress people.

Here’s a good SFW video showing Buzzfeed employees trying out hypnosis.

Here’s Richard Barker talking with Health Magazine. This one is more relaxed than Buzzfeed.

Here’s a NSFW debunker.

If you have strong feelings about hypnosis, that must also be addressed. This applies especially to people with a hypnosis fetish who have been sitting on this for years. For example, some people feel guilt, shame, or even panic attacks. Handling strong feelings is best done by talking to a trained therapist, but even talking anonymously to others in the community can be a big help.

There is the question of how and when you "come out" to your partner as having a kink. I believe you have an ethical obligation to let someone know when their activity is involved in your kink ahead of time. If your primary interest in hypnosis is to be turned on, rather than as a disinterested guide, then your partner has a right to know. You don’t have to bring it up on the first conversation, but you should have that conversation before you start practicing.

Interest

The second sentence is "I want to hypnotize."

The discussion is bringing up an interest in hypnotizing or in being hypnotized in general. At this point, you’re saying that hypnotism is something you want to practice, but you’re not attaching the idea to your partner specifically.

Your partner will infer that you are floating a question in their direction, but this is an opportunity to volunteer or give a soft no. This is less stressful than a direct ask followed by a hard refusal.

Floating the question also provides more options. Your partner may not want to be hypnotized, but may be fine with you hypnotizing other people, or your partner may want to defer the question and have some time to think about it.

Intent

The final sentence is "I want to hypnotize you." Your partner should know you’re curious and/or have a hypnosis kink by this point. If your partner doesn’t know, you should bring that up first before you propose the activity.

This is best couched with a date and a context. Setting a date makes it easier to plan ahead, and it also gives your partner an opportunity to defer without a hard refusal. Setting a context lets your partner know what kinds of activities you’re planning.

For example, you can say "I want to hypnotize you Friday night to help you sleep better after your finals."

If that’s still scary, you can attach a condition. This gives you a potential out to say you were only joking, although personally it’s not my style.

You can frame it as a transaction. "If I’m cooking dinner tonight, I want to us to practice a progressive muscle relaxation afterwards."

You can frame it as a reward. "If you take out the trash, I’ll hypnotize you and make you feel really, really good."

If your partner says yes and wants to know more details, then you are onto negotation.

Negotiation

Before you hypnotize or are hypnotized, you need to trust your partner to know what you want, and what they want, and have worked out your expectations.

For example, your partner may be turned off by hypnosis, but interested by guided meditation or ASMR which are related to hypnotism, but do not have the cultural connotations.

Sit down with your partner and talk things out. This is about your general framework about hypnosis, rather than what you’re going to do in an individual session. You should have an idea of when and where you’re doing this, how often, and what your parameters are.

You need to negotiate consent, establish limits, and determine aftercare.

Negotiating consent is a framework for establishing agreed on behavior in a hypnosis session. Here are some consent phrases you can practice.

At the same time, beginners can’t ask the right consent questions and may not know what to expect. You don’t know what is okay for you and what isn’t if you’ve never experienced it. This is another reason to go slow, get lots of feedback, and be clear that it’s okay to stop or pause if you’re uncomfortable. Here’s a sample list showing things you can talk about. Here’s a NSFW list.

There may be specific issues that could come up that have unexpected connotations. Your partner could have a phobia of spiders, or may react badly to sudden noises. Go over things that you should avoid in sessions.

Limits

There are some things that your partner does not want to do and will never want to do. Know your partner’s limits.

Aftercare

Aftercare is very individual, and depends on your relationship with your partner. Some people want to be held, other people need time to themselves to collect their thoughts, and some people want positive statements and reassurances. You should negotiate what kind of aftercare your partner will want.

Other Options

If your partner is completely against the idea of being hypnotized and you don’t know anyone else that you can try, you still have a couple of options.

Street Hypnosis

You can in fact walk up to random people on the street (or you could pre-covid), ask them nicely "would you like to be hypnotized" and hypnotize them. Good examples of this are zemmy and Zach Pincince.

Zemmy shows introducing yourself and explaining what you’re doing.

Zach Pincense describes the process of becoming a hypnotist.

Conventions

There are two flavors of hypnosis conventions, hypnotherapy and hypnokink. The hypnotherapy conventions are not very newbie friendly, with one exception, Hypnothoughts Live, which combines hypnotherapy with stage and street hypnotists.

The hypnokink convention circuit — Hypnation, Charmed, NEEHU — is a very easy place to find people who want to be hypnotized. The conventions will have guidelines on where and when it’s appropriate, and set aside "play time" for convention-goers.

The Internet

If your partner isn’t up for it, you’re not near a convention, and street hypnosis doesn’t appeal, then you can ask the Internet.

A good place to start is to ask the r/EroticHypnosis discord group, or post to /r/HypnosisPractice/ (SFW) and /r/hypnohookup (NSFW).

There are unfortunately predators who deliberately engage in unsafe practices, ranging up to and inclusing abuse. The safehypnosis2 tumblr maintains a list you can check against, and you can ask moderators on Discord if you’re unsure of your partner.