This is a guest post by Daniel A. of

Trance is a natural and essential part of sex. It always has been. The hypnosis fetish, however, is relatively new. And because of its newness, traditional submissives sometimes dismiss hypnosis as unnecessary or a cheat. But hypnofetishists have learned a lot about sex and relationships in the past twenty years. And traditionalists could learn something from us: the importance of rapport.

Defining Rapport

Rapport is generally established as sympathetic or harmonious relations. This definition, however, fails to capture the biological component of rapport nor the depth of rapport necessary for a healthy BDSM relationship.

Our brains contain a network of cells called mirror neurons. These cells activate whenever we interact with other people and echo their emotions within our brains. Mirror neurons play key roles in learning and social bonding. When parents engage with infants, they activate these cells in the infant's brain. When parents use positive emotions to encourage learning, the infants can share the parent's feelings, and they learn to associate that emotional sharing with joy and pleasure. This builds the infant's ability to empathize with other people and a life-long desire for emotional rapport.

Mirror neurons also play key roles in establishing trust and subspace. In my article, Developing Subspace with Hypnosis, I define subspace as a state of mindwhere the submissive feels such a deep emotional rapport with their dominant, that they can feel the dom's emotions as clearly as their own.

Rapport, of course, is not subspace. Rapport is harmonious (i.e., two-way) emotional communication that results in shared or coordinated emotions. It's a connection you build and deepen through continual mutual attentiveness and empathy. Subspace makes rapport stronger, and visa versa. But rapport must be established first. And dominants and submissives must make equal efforts to build and maintain it.

Building Rapport

Rapport is essential in all types of relationships, including student-teacher, doctor-patient, therapist-client, and dominant-submissive relationships. But each group has its methods for building it.

Teachers, for example, build rapport by incorporating enthusiasm and humor into their lessons. Doctors and nurses build it by listening attentively. Hypnotherapists and NLP practitioners recommend building subconscious rapport by physically mirroring a client's body language. (This approach can be helpful in some settings, but it requires a lot of practice because if it's too obvious, it can be a little creepy. It's also impractical when your dominant is tying you to the bed.)

But every group agrees that the following two elements are essential:

  1. listen attentively
  2. be genuinely empathic

Watch for the emotional content of people's body language. Listen to the emotional and non-verbal cues of people's speech. Let your guard down (just a bit) and allow yourself to empathize with them, i.e., share their feelings.

Hypnotists and hypnotherapists consider rapport to be the foundation on which they build client relationships. Milton Erickson, one of the most influential hypnotherapists of the 20th Century, wrote that rapport is essential to therapist-patient relationships. Without it, therapy can never be sufficient. John Kappas, another influential hypnotherapist, wrote that establishing rapport and trust is necessary for a client to be willing to enter deeper states of trance. Learning from these professionals, hypnofetishists have determined that building rapport is an essential first step to beginning any erotic hypnosis session or long-term relationship.

We habitually protect our emotions. This is necessary for maintaining our sanity in an intrusive society. But letting your guard down is essential for building rapport and entering subspace. And it takes practice to learn how much to let it down enough to empathize with people without being overwhelmed (just don't let down your guard while watching cable news). It takes even more practice to learn how to let it down with your dominant while protecting yourself from other people's emotions. But it is well worth the effort to build a long-lasting, mutually healthy, D/s relationship.

Dom and sub make Equal Efforts

In online hypnosis communities, we often have subs asking to be used, controlled, or brainwashed. "Do whatever you want to me," they say. But real submission is about mutual growth. In real relationships (at least healthy ones), dominants and submissives work together to make the relationship fulfilling. Dominants continually reassess their sub's emotional needs to advance their training. And subs must do the same. Subs must continually reassess their dom's desires and adjust their submission to provide better service. Good submissives also find ways to help their dom achieve their dreams.

Some say the sub's job is actually harder, and maybe it is. But when doms and subs together focus on their emotional rapport, submission and obedience become more natural and intimate. More importantly, this also helps build strong, emotionally rewarding relationships.


In the early days of BDSM (if we believe Marquee de Sade's Justine) submission and obedience were all that mattered. In the 20th Century, dominants and submissives placed trust and consent before submission. Today, at least in the erotic hypnosis communities, we recognize that we must establish rapport to build trust. And this is something I think traditional dominants and submissives can learn from us.

Daniel A. has been practicing erotic hypnosis and has been active in online erotic hypnosis communities for over 20 years. He has written, voiced and produced more than 30 erotic hypnosis MP3s to enhance your sexual health, sexual submission, and erotic entertainment. He has also authored two novels. Learn more at his web site,