Because the head is the centre of sight/hearing/taste/smell, the simple
act of hooding or even blindfolding effectively changes the whole personality
balance. In a series of scientific tests it was proved that by creating
the effect of separating head from body, to most of the people tested,
the head represented "self" and in the circumstances the body
could be viewed as a totally detached object.
The attractions and advantages of hooding in Erotic Bondage games and
'Scenes' fall into two main categories
The visual effect:
Not only can hoods look very dramatic, by removing the identifiable appearance
the wearer a hood can:
as a release for a self-conscious 'victim',
B) Release the person outside from inhibitions caused by familiarity
with (or fear of) the hooded person
C) Free both parties to fantasise that they are dealing with someone
quite different. (However, at the same time, it is important that when
hooding someone this does not seem to indicating that you don't like
the look of the person you're with).
phenomenon of masks has been the subject of several books. The psychological
effects on both wearer and viewer are rooted deep in the human mind. A
false or featureless face makes it difficult to relate to it as another
human being. A mask or hood may be deliberately designed to create a particular
character or dramatic image, or the aim may be to de-personalise. Certainly
the removal of direct eye contact or expression, even behind dark glasses,
goggles or a mask with "pinhole" eyes (which allow the wearer
to see but hides any expression in their eyes) results in a high degree
of depersonalisation. Total removal of 'facial expression' is more difficult
to achieve because the shape of every seam, line of stitching, eye or
mouth-hole may create the appearance of facial features. The androidal
image given by some conventional leather masks can be very attractive
to see, and at the same time allow the wearer to either become someone
else or nobody in particular
In the field of Erotic Bondage the general range of mask images available
has been very limited. Fantasy Character or Personality masks" seems
to be a whole area ripe for development.
The tactile effect:
Texture and shape affects both the wearer and controller. Whether skin
tight, heavily padded, rigid or box-like, or inflated and distorted in
form .... from inside and out a range of very sensual alternatives are
possible. Each hood or helmet can to some extent be played like a musical
instrument. The acoustic properties of leather being caressed by gloved
or ungloved fingers, a more rigid casing being drummed on, the introduction
of inescapable sound all can be used as part of sensual games. Other sensual
changes such as inability to see, muffling of speech or hearing can heighten
any effect. Pressure and tightness of a hood can be varied to modulate
the intensity of a 'Scene'. Because the head is the centre for so many
different senses a hood or helmet can create a sense of total 'imprisonment'
even when no other form of restraint is used.
Hoods for "Tops":
This is a subject to explore. Masks or hoods specifically for the dominator
of a situation could also be an interesting area for development.
Elements of de-personalization or change of character can often help the
controller of any Scene. The design of the hood may be less restrictive,
but whether used for visual dramatic effect or just to hide the identity
of one or more people involved in a scene it opens up new territories.
Certainly an unhooded 'victim' under the control of unrecognisable people
is a reversal which has a powerful impact.
In general hoods are reasonably safe to use. Certainly, tightness of the
neck and adequate air should be of prime concern. Leaving somebody unattended
when hooded is a matter of personal capacity and perhaps even mutual agreement
- but the controller must be aware of the risks and assume full responsibility.
(Notes on the legal responsibilities of S/M games are being compiled -
A less obvious
Safety Factor is that the face soon begins to swell inside a hood. A nose
opening which is large enough when the hood is first put on may soon become
partially obstructed as the cheeks swell. This can lead to serious discomfort
if not something more dangerous.
Another important general point is that what is bearable at first may
cause panic when other factors such as restriction of movement or intensity
of action change.
Other safety points worth noting:
holes might become blocked when a hood shifts during action. Particularly
if anchored in some way a hood can easily move.
B) Mouth/eye zippers are popular with people who like a variety of opportunities.
Facial hair can be a problem, zips should be opened and closed with
care, and if possible have some backing to them. Pressure upon either
opened or closed zips can be painful and damage the skin.
C) "Poppers" used with hoods or helmets can have unexpected
results. Because of restricted breathing, fumes can be more potent and
perhaps hang around longer. Expect the unexpected until you have personal
experience to guide you.
D) A very tight hood can cause wearer to bite inside of cheeks.
E) If the wearer of an eyeless hood is in darkness for too long this
may produce a state of slight mental disorientation. When a hood is
removed care should be taken because both thought and movement of the
'victim' may not be predictable.
F) In the same circumstances light can be painful on eyes which have
been in darkness for even a short length of time.
G) NEVER use a hood to suspend body- weight.
The effect on neck and spine can be disastrous - and 'D' rings on hoods
are seldom designed to take serious strain!
H) Gags under hoods which have no mouth holes aren't recommended. In
an emergency such as vomiting, the whole hood has to be removed - and
laces can get into knots.
as a general note; more particularly than in any other form of bondage
game having a pair of sharp scissors (preferably blunt-pointed) handy
to cut laces or in emergency the hood itself is a wise precaution.
FITTINGS & FIXTURES:
A hood which can allow the wearer to see or not see, talk or not talk
gives much more variety to the action. However, in practical terms these
options can also weaken the general structure or visual impact of a hood.
Certainly, too many metal snap-on fasteners can make it uncomfortable
to wear. The act of pressing on a snap-fastener cover to close eyes or
mouth may cause in painful bruising. Some people don't seem to mind this
and feel it worth it to have the variable effect.
The degree of tightness possible may depend on whether the leather is
soft and pliable or heavy and tough. Aiming for a hood which allows too
many alternatives may result in it not fulfilling any one purpose well,
and cost as much as buying a heavy duty plus a more soft and supple hood.
Before buying a hood it is worth considering the following points:
Adjustment of a hood to different sized and shaped heads, and different
degrees of pressure is usually achieved by lacing - but this can also
be a tedious business - particularly if the victim is already lying down.
A useful alternative is the type of hood which has two side laces for
adjustment plus a back zip to allow easy removal and replacement. Conversely,
this adds hardware and may result in discomfort lying on side laces. Velcro
tape offers a possible alternative for closing hoods, and certainly allows
finer adjustment. Experiments are being made. Your ideas and news of improved
materials are always welcome.
Closed or open nose:
The distinction in the FETTERS catalogue is of a hood with totally open-ended
nose or one which has closed end with breathing holes. The latter does
give a greater sense of being inside something. However, a nose with the
bottom end open may be essential to some wearers. Even mouth breathing
holes may be necessary to avoid the fear of not being able to breathe.
A hood with no eyes may not be light-proof if the nose has an open end
- unless eye-pads and even a strap across the eyes is keeping pads tightly
in position. (Eye pads can be impractical for wearers of contact lenses).
Breathing is further restricted in eyeless hoods because eye holes also
admit a certain amount of air.
This useful alternative to complete eye holes gives the wearer limited
vision without allowing the expression in the eyes to be a means of communication.
It also avoids the face of the hood
assuming a recognisable personality (which eye holes of any shape tend
As an alternative to or addition to a hood, a simple blindfold can be
very useful in many games or 'Scenes'. The traditional handkerchief is
very unstable and can easily be dislodged. A shaped leather blindfold
which is basically flat often allows limited vision. Only a padded and
adjustable one can be guaranteed to exclude all light. Pressure on contact
lenses has already been mentioned.
Blindfolds which attach to hoods with snap fasteners have also been discussed.
A single snap-fastener, well to the side of the hood is usually better
than snaps over the cheekbones. A separate blindfold with an adjustable
strap which can if necessary be anchored to a hood is the ideal solution.
Closed or open mouth:
Ideally, a removable cover gives more opportunities, but even the softest
hood, if tailored to fit closely, may prevent the jaw from opening fully.
Even a gag which holds the mouth wide may be usable with a relatively
snug hood. But, for any activity when the jaw may have to "work",
a very tight chin on a hood can be a drag!
A zip mouth gives a simple practical alternative - but brings with it
problems already mentioned under Safety. Although a removable chin section
can be added to most of the FETTERS hood patterns, this will reduce the
amount of tightening possible and add at least eight snap fasteners to
an area which may be tender. A removable muzzle cup attached by straps
around and over the top of the head may be another practical alternative.
Most FETTERS Standard hoods have soft two inch collars - which allow for
collars of firmer leather or metal to be used over the top when required.
However, some hood models do have a firmer narrow neck strap and 'D' ring
centre front fixed permanently. Study the revised descriptions of the
'Standard' hoods. Minor details can be changed when ordering.
Longer collars can also be attractive. Soft fitted collars breaking onto
the shoulders have great visual appeal, but don't always fit very neatly.
An even longer collar on a hood, reaching down both back and front to
a strap which circles the chest and back (under the armpits) has a particularly
dramatic appeal and psychological effect.
Back vent alternatives:
Whether a hood has laces or zipper, some form of internal lining to prevent
hair getting caught or sticking out is essential. For most zippers a three
inch wide 'tongue' of soft leather is all that's necessary. For laces,
anything wider tends to get scrunched up and look untidy.
A full vent fixed to both back edges of the hood allows it to fully envelope
the head even before it's fastened has many advantages. This then scrunches
up to form a ridge of soft padding under laces or zipper and does not
look too untidy!
Eyelets or Cinch Rings:
These are a matter of personal choice. On a very soft leather hood cinch
rings (as on hiking boots) are stronger than eyelets, and many people
find them easier to thread. Conversely, some people complain that the
rivets in cinch rings dig into the scalp if laced too tightly. With a
full vent under them, this is avoided. Descriptions for each hood in the
FETTERS range lists whether cinch rings or eyelets are 'standard'- but
your order can specify your preference.
A simple padlock through the bottom two 'D' rings of a hood with laces
locked inside (out of reach of fingers) can have a strong psychological
effect. However, a zipped panel which closes over lacing and locks to
the collar is a new and very effective 'extra' available for most hoods.
This makes the hood impossible to remove even when hands are free. However,
it does also reduce the degree of adjustability of the hood lacing.
'D' rings and attachment points:
Several illustrations in the current catalogue show 'D' rings on the tops
of hoods. These are very useful for attaching and restricting head movement
- but on very soft hoods these can easily tear the leather - and perhaps
press into the scalp. They are no longer 'Standard' on most hoods. You
need to ask for them when ordering.
Attachments can cause a hood to shift and move breathing holes away from
nostrils. Hood fixing points should never be used to suspend body weight.
Holes for ears, pony tails and beards are other possibilities. Certainly
the imaginative use of headphones for music, speech or "White noise"
can add to any Scene.
Whether ornamental or giving specific character to the masked head such
additions to a hood can be used to great effect. Whether permanently fixed
or temporary (glued or drawn on) they can be used to reinforce a fantasy
or humiliate the wearer. Open faced hoods:
These are useful as a basis for attaching gags, blindfold or face-mask
to while giving access to the face when required. The exact line of the
facial opening demands accurate measurements and very specific instructions
Muzzles or Bridles over hoods:
These can be used very effectively over soft hoods perhaps to intensify
the situation for a short period during a longer scene. With heavier head
harnesses the soft hood underneath can reduce wear-and-tear on the skin
and prolong the time for which they can be worn, but from a safety point
of view, this also means there are two to take off in an emergency. A
chinless hood with eye holes can have a second hood over it quite safely.
Most of the standard hoods listed can have more solid panels riveted to
them to add weight and rigidity. This is a relatively new development.
If it sounds attractive - make your demands. We can't resist a challenge.
Psychologically, a more firm 'box' is a very different experience. These
are necessarily less close-fitting, and there is a tendency to rub the
skin. Medieval knights wore soft leather 'balaclavas' under their metal
helmets. So far we've found nobody willing to make iron helmets in the
"Man in the Iron Mask" tradition - but a series of prototypes
made in rigid leather are looking good. We're still working on them -
and welcome the impetus of someone actually arriving on our doorstep knowing
exactly what they want. The possibility of sculpted heads (with or without
defined personality) perhaps made in glass fibre - and lockable - offer
many exciting alternatives. With soft padded interior and rigid finger-proof
outside shell, these would have many visual, tactile and practical uses.
Adhesive tape, leather thongs, clingfilm or soft rubber strips can all
be used to create an instant helmet in a mummification scene. Degree of
tightness and ability to breathe must, naturally, be carefully controlled.
With adhesive tape it's perhaps advisable to use a stocking or thin polythene
sheet as a base. Method of cutting them off also needs pre-planning.
Cooking foil can be used to create a semi-rigid 'metal' helmet. If carefully
removed (and thick enough) this might be re-used or dissected to make
a pattern for a more permanent form-fitting helmet. In any event the wrapping
process can in itself be an exhilarating experience for whoever is being
wrapped or doing the wrapping (or watching).
Scientific experiments in total reduction of sensitivity resulted in the
development of a wooden box lined and padded to hold a head immovable
inside. Fixed to floor or bed this completely isolates the head from the
world (and from the rest of the body). Breathing through a tube (mouth
and nose) is controllable. Psychologically the rigidity of the box creates
a very very powerful effect - and it's not for the timid.
A variety of practical protective headgear for boxing, fencing, Kendo
or other Martial Arts offers a wide range of practical and dramatic uses.
Motorcycle crash helmets, particularly the Open Face type, can be used
in conjunction with face covers, soft hoods and gags producing a range
of excellent results. A crash helmet has the added advantage of being
usable in 'outdoor' adventures. Old fashioned Flying helmets also have
a very definite visual appeal - if you can find one. (If anyone has an
old one we can copy - we'll welcome the opportunity to make them more
easily available). Gas Masks can also be incorporated with some helmets.
A variety of types are easily available by mail-order. Other helmets and
masks used in industrial health and safety breathing situations can be
Flexible moulded light latex hoods are quite readily available with or
without eyes/mouths, with mouth tubes, with built-in gags, open faced
or totally enclosed. Used in conjunction with other hoods or helmets these
soft latex hoods can add an extra element to any Scene. Heavier rubber
hoods including inflatables have unique properties of both feel and visual
effect but are more expensive and more difficult to find.
original Info Sheet