Am I still me when you can’t see my expressions? Sometimes I wonder …
When I first met Hylas I had some internal challenges over his desire to wear hoods. He expresses so little verbally during our sexual interactions that I initially relied heavily on his expressions and his non-verbal responses, and by taking away his facial reactions, I was limited even more. A part of me also found the unmoving blankness of gas masks, zentai, and heavy rubber hoods disturbing to look at.
Over time that changed. Getting to know Hylas better – as a person, my pet, and a lover – helped. I began to read his more subtle non-verbal responses, and I learned that I could request (or order) verbal reactions when I needed them. And I began to appreciate the masks themselves, too.
Which I how I came to be trying on his moulded Dog hood – I wanted to know what it felt like from the inside.
As you can see, there are air holes for the nose – and those are the only place you can breathe from. It looks pretty silly if you try to breathe hard (the entire muzzle collapses), and I did that quite a lot, not being used to the lesser amount of air available.
Naturally, you can’t see anything, and hearing is lessened as well.
Unlike many hoods, this is a moulded piece from Blackstyle. That means it was made by dipping a 3D form into a vat of latex many times to build up the required thickness, and is therefore seamless (although it does have a zip and baffle in the back). Most hoods are created from pieces that are glued together. This one instead is slipped on: hooked under the chin and then over the head, then zipped up and settled in place.
It did feel interesting to wear it – but overall it wasn’t for me and I didn’t stay in there long. I began to lose my sense of place in the room, and had more difficulty breathing than the mask actually caused, and was glad to take it off.
Gas masks I like to wear more, and I’ve developed favourites in Hylas’ collection that I like to wear. I can still see out of them, and I enjoy the limited breathing that I get from them, too. I also quite like masks where I still have eye and/or mouth holes. But losing my expressions in a full face mask, both at the time and in looking at the images afterwards, I feel like I’ve lost a bit of myself.
So why is it that I’ve grown to love Hylas in masks so much? Maybe it’s that he enjoys the objectification of himself – and I’ve grown to enjoy it (possibly more than he does) as well.
Something to think about.