- To objectify the wearer: Beacuse they obscure the face, hoods can play a major role in objctification fantasies; for a submissive they will reduce them to the status of a sexual toy, rather than a sexual partner. For the dominant the hood will help make them appear more distant and impersonal.
- Sensory deprivation: Heavy latex or leather hoods can be used by the dominate partner to control a sub's ability to see and hear. This will enhance the sub's feelings of helplessness and loss of control in a scene. Inbuilt gags are often used to increase still further the sense of helplessness by limiting the ability of the sub to communicate.
- Transformation: Animal hoods can be used as part of an animal transformation fantasy, giving the wearer the features of, say, a dog. The transformation can be more abstract, hoods used in pony play often have holes at the top of the hood tp allow long hair to be pulled through forming a cascade not unlike a horses tail.
- Visual impact: Hoods have a strong visual appeal, especially highly coloured latex designs, and are very popular as club wear.
- Total enclosure: Many fetishists are turned on by the second skin elements of fetishism, hoods form an integral part of this.
- As a bondage device: Hoods can encorporate attachement points for ropes and chain to secure the head as part of a bondage scene.
- To disguise the wearer: Hoods can also serve the function of disguising identity when desired, for example at play parties.
Because of their popularity and differing reasons for wanting to wear a hood there is a massive range of different designs available from a wide range of suppliers. Prices range from a few tens of pounds for a basic moulded latex hood to several hundred pounds for a top of the range isolation hood. This article attempts to classify hoods into a number of basic types however many hoods will combine elements of more than one design.
- Animal hood
- Bondage hood
- Executioner hood
- Face masks
- Fetish hood
- Gimp mask or Slave hood
- Inflatable hood
- Isolation hood
- Open face hood
- Strap mask
Buying a hood
A trawl through the web will quickly bring up a bewildering array of suppliers selling every type of hood imaginable with prices from £30 to £300. Generally you will get what you pay for, the more expensive hoods being better quality and more sophisticated in their design. You will find that manufacturers will differ in how they go about constructing the hood, some concentrating on the quality of the stitching whilst others focus on the strength of construction. The most important thing though is the fit and this is best done by trying the hood on before buing it. If a hood is too tight it will quickly become uncomfortable and will end up not being used. If it is too loose much of the sensory delight in wearing a hood will be lost.
The most popualar materials for hoods are leather and latex. Leather due to its strength tends to be more popular for BDSM and Bondage use, latex due to it smoothness and range of colours is ever popular at fetish clubs.