“Neil S.” used to work comfortably in IT. Now he’s an erotic hypnotherapist, charging $150 an hour to bring his male clients into a subconscious trance to get off, or more often get over their sexual hang-ups. In this recession, nothing surprises us.
Posting ads to Craigslist and Manhunt, 39-year-old Neil claims a handful of clients, though he insists there’s never any touching, “save for a touch of the finger to activate a psychological ‘trigger’ during the suggestible post-hypnotic state. ‘So for instance, I set a trigger so that when I touched him on the forehead and said “balls,” he would feel that his balls were being squeezed,’ Neil said.”
There’s a fine line between erotic hypnotist and prostitute, and Neil walks it carefully. “I don’t want to be a prostitute, and I don’t want the legal issues associated with that. I don’t see an ethical problem. But possibly some hypnotherapists, and people specializing in hypnosis in the universities and stuff, would kind of frown on my frivolous use of the skill.”
So how does all this work?
He’ll begin easing the client into a trance by asking him to imagine a beautiful beach. Weather’s beautiful, sun’s shining, birds chirping, the smell of salt in the air, sand beneath your toes and so on. “This one guy saw a sinking ship and people drowning and flames,” he recalled.
It generally takes about an hour to bring a subject to a hypnotic state. Techniques differ, but the goal is to convince the conscious mind to retreat into the background, allowing the subconscious, which is “what we call suggestible,” Neil said, to reign free of obstruction.
“Once you let down your guard, your subconscious will pretty much agree to do anything that I suggest,” he said. “Within a certain limit, because, for instance, your self-preservation instinct is also in your subconscious. So if I were to tell you to jump off the roof, you wouldn’t do it.”