As sex toys go, blindfolds are nowhere near as popular as vibrators, but if you’re so inclined, blindfolds can deliver wonderful sexual enhancement—especially in heterosexual relationships when worn by the woman.

Why? In part because of differences in how men and women become aroused. Sexologists agree that of the five senses, the biggest turn-on for most men is what they see. That’s why the vast majority of lingerie is worn by women. Men see women in it and that fuels erotic fantasies. Men’s visual preference also explains why pornography sites rank among men’s top Internet destinations.

Sexologists also agree that most women become most sexually aroused by touch: cuddling, hot baths, sensual massage, spa treatments, the feel of silk, and warm fuzzy robes and slippers. When women wear blindfolds, sight deprivation focuses their attention on loving touch and boosts the enjoyment it delivers.

As a result, lovemaking with the woman blindfolded can be a win-win. He sees her extra-aroused, and she can revel more in the intimate joy of his caresses.

Another reason a blindfold can enhance sex is that, for many couples, it’s something new. Novel experiences raise blood levels of the brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that governs libido, dopamine. Boost dopamine and sex feels more exciting. Of course, many couples make love with eyes closed, but there’s a big emotional difference between voluntarily eye-shutting and being blindfolded.

Blindfolds are also a bit kinky. They’re a classic element of domination/submission (D/s) play, and bondage, discipline, sado-masochism (BDSM). Surveys suggest that only 1 to 2 percent of American couples are deep into these erotic variations, but many people respond to D/s BDSM fantasies—hence the wild popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey. For this large group, blindfold play can be a fun, nonthreatening way to be a bit kinky.

Wearing blindfolds also appeals to some men. That’s fine and perfectly normal and can be just as sex-enhancing as the other way around. Have fun however you like. But deprived of sight, men can’t get turned on by the vision of their lovers’ beauty, which is why most blindfold play involves men placing them over women’s eyes.

Of course, many women would rather not be blindfolded, and if the woman in your life says “no thanks,” always respect that. No one should ever feel pressured into sex they find discomforting. But women who are open to blindfold play usually say that it deepens their enjoyment of gentle loving touch.

Try combining blindfold play with slow, sensual, whole-body massage. You don’t have to be a trained masseur/masseuse. Just touch your lover gently all over with your palms or fingertips or a feather or silk scarf—use your imagination. For additional enjoyment, use a massage lotion (available at bath and body shops). And if you’d like to improve your massage skills, I recommend the Erotic Massage book by Kenneth Ray Stubbs (Amazon).

Blindfolded sex enhances not only touch but the other senses as well: hearing, smell, and taste. Many lovers say that when blindfolded, they can delve deeper into music, and experience more enjoyment from fragrances and flavors. Surprise your blindfolded lover with scented candles or massage lotions, juicy fruits, shrimp cocktail, or anything she (or he) likes.

Meanwhile, if you feel curious about D/s or BDSM but have never raised the subject, blindfold play may open a door. Blindfolds are a safe, nonthreatening way to expand erotic horizons.

Blindfolds are easily portable. They weight nothing, require no space in luggage, and allow you to enjoy some sexy spice wherever you go.

Finally, blindfolds are discreet. Sex toy catalogues offer elaborate leather models with metal buckles, but men’s ties and the sleep masks sold at pharmacies work just as well—and if people see them lying around, they won’t suspect a thing.

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