Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. – Oscar Wilde
by Dr. Susan Block.
As the Coronapocalypse continues to rage, with public spaces opening up, closing down and then opening back up again, you might have a couple questions about masks…
- Should you wear a mask?
Answer: Whether or not you wear a mask is up to you, just like whether or not you wear pants is up to you. You don’t have to do either, but there are consequences.
In the case of no pants, you could get kicked out of places, arrested and/or catch cold. In the case of no mask, you could also suffer all of the above, except instead of just a cold, you could catch Covid-19.
Or you might give it to someone. Maybe someone you care about.
So, personally, I join with the countless scientists and other experts who say YES, you certainly *should* wear a mask when you are closer than ten feet to any breathing human with whom you’re not sheltering, especially if you’re indoors.
But don’t panic! This is not a life sentence. At least, I hope it isn’t. However, better a life sentence than a death sentence.
Lucky for all of us, vaccinations appear to be going pretty well. At first, they were rolling out with the speed and focus of an inebriated elephant threading a needle. But every day, more and more people are getting vaccinated. I received mine, and as soon as you can, you should get yours!
So, there’s hope. Keep in mind that a few years after the deadly, masked-up Influenza of 1918, the world exploded into the sexy, mask-free Roaring Twenties—with hot flappers, cool jazz and wild “speakeasies.” So, stay positive!
But be realistic. The death count is over 500,000 and rising, and new Coronavirus strains are continuing to emerge.
Whatever the future holds, if you want to keep yourself and others relatively safe right now, even if you’re vaccinated, you have to cover that kissable mouth and adorable nose of yours with something. Or maybe two somethings. The experts are now encouraging double masking.
That said, I can’t *make* you wear a face mask (let alone two), even via strict domination combined with erotic hypnosis using your favorite fetish as a trigger word. However, stores, take-out restaurants and other establishments have every right to require that you wear a mask within their walls.
That means you either 1) insist on your right to bare your cheeks while the staff (or security cam) films you, making a fool of your totally exposed (and probably bright red) face all over social media, or 2) you do the right thing and wear a damn mask.
Need to talk about masking up, navigating your sex life, relationships, fantasies and realities during the Coronapocalypse? Call the Therapists Without Borders of the Dr. Susan Block Institute anytime: 213.291.9497. We’re here for you.
Comfort Is Sexy
Having dispensed with Question #1, let’s move on to…
#2: Now that you know you ought to wear a damn mask, how can you make it more fun? With face coverings as “essential” an article of clothing as shoes or underwear (nothing against going commando, but you get the idea), how can you make them more comfortable, cool, effective and most important, SEXY?
Sexy? Say what? Thanks to their practical function, it’s hard for most of us to imagine face masks as something fun, let alone sexy.
But the Coronapocalypse has already drained so many pleasures from life; we need to find them wherever we can. So, why not in our face masks? As a sexologist, I believe it’s important to our sexual health and well-being to make masks sexier.
I for one never look at a guy in a mask and think, “What a weakling! I bet he’s really bad in bed.”
Start with comfort, which is a key to feeling and looking sexy. Let’s be honest: Masks aren’t always comfortable. This is why many people won’t wear them, and the politics is just “patriotic” window-dressing for their feelings. Privileged individuals especially, accustomed to getting their way in life, feel their personal physical comfort to be a top priority, usurping even their own safety, as well as the safety of others.
It’s amazing how many people who wiggle themselves into skyscraper heels or strangling neckties find facemasks unbearably uncomfortable. Fortunately, some very creative people are designing more and more comfy coverings, so perhaps the comfort cravers will soon be satisfied. And it’s a step towards making masks sexy!
Personal Note: Though masks may be uncomfortable, they’re far less uncomfortable than a ventilator. Believe me; I’ve been on one.
Triggered by Masks
“Nothing is more real than the masks we make to show each other who we are.” – Christopher Barzak
For many people, mask mania is more emotional than physical. Some feel *triggered* by masks because they’ve heard (possibly from a certain former U.S. President) that they represent a terrible infringement on their *freedom.*
It’s true that many societies throughout history have made prisoners wear inhuman “masks of shame” and hoods, like those detainees have been forced to wear in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and other military prisons. So, these fears of forced masking are not totally baseless, though they have been warped to fit certain political agendas.
Just remember folks, we’re not prisoners of war here! We’re in a pandemic, and we’re being asked to cover our mouths and noses to protect ourselves and our neighbors, not to punish or imprison us.
Another twisted notion is that wearing a mask makes someone appear “weak.” In reality, caring for the health and well-being of others is anything but “weak.” I for one never look at a guy in a mask and think, “What a weakling! I bet he’s really bad in bed.”
However, belief can be a powerful force, even if it’s wrong, unscientific and has more to do with fear and fantasy than reality.
Concerned about being “weak,” cuckolded or “measuring up” in some way? Need to talk about it with someone you can trust? Call the Therapists Without Borders of the Dr. Susan Block Institute anytime: 213.291.9497. We’re here to help.
What Do People Think of You?
Behind every mask there is a face, and behind that a story. – Marty Rubin
For some, anti-mask fervor arises from peer pressure; the people in your family, team, neighborhood, political party or religious group actively despise liberals, “political correctness,” socialism and masks, so you do too.
Then, sprinkle a little physical discomfort with that fear of weakness, stirred up within a fervent anti-mask cult that believes the earth is flat, the election was “stolen,” vaccines are the mark of the beast and masks are a government plot to “muzzle” the populace, and the next thing you know you’re storming a shopping mall, demanding your “right” to show off your fuming, spitting mug to folks who really don’t want to see it, let alone be spit on by it.
Refusal to wear a mask indoors during a pandemic is, in this humble sexologist’s opinion, worse than refusing to wear pants… or a seatbelt, both being illegal in the U.S.
It’s more like insisting on your “right” to drive while drunk, endangering not only yourself, but everyone who happens to be on the road with you.
Nevertheless, it’s disingenuous to say that mask-wearing is “nothing” or “no big deal.” Let’s all just acknowledge, it’s a pain in the ass. Well, the face.
Confused? Anxious? Horny? Need to talk? The Therapists Without Borders of the Dr. Susan Block Institute are highly experienced in erotic matters. So, if you don’t know where to start, no worries! Looking for safer sex through the erotic theater of the mind? Developing a medical fetish looking at all those sexy masked-up doctors and nurses? What sexy alternatives can you explore in the Coronapacalypse? Give us a call anytime at 213.291.9497.
No Glove, No Love? No Mask, Don’t Ask!
Like any article of clothing, comfort depends on style, fabric and fit. Some masks are so bad, wearing them is like having sex while wearing a too-tight condom or, even worse, a too-baggy one.
Actually, in a way, wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is like wearing a condom to prevent the spread of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) or STIs (sexually transmitted infections). For one thing, condoms aren’t terribly comfortable, so why do we wear them? Very often it’s because our partners insist, “No glove? No love.”
The Coronapocalyptic equivalent might be, “No mask? Don’t even ask!”
In fact, Germans have come up with a new term for masks, “gesichtskondom,” or “face condom.” It’s an article of clothing that protects the wearer and others from disease and the exchange of bodily fluids, so it really *fits*!
Also, like a condom, it’s important to wear your mask correctly. Otherwise, it’s pretty useless. Many of those politicians who look dumb (and not at all sexy) in their facemasks are just wearing them wrong.
Make sure your nose is covered and that the mask fits your face snugly, but not so tight, it’s uncomfortable. For combining comfort with protection, choose a breathable, but protective fabric.
Does wearing a mask or a condom makes things completely safe? No, just safer. It’s like we used to say back in the 1990s: There is no such thing as absolutely “safe sex.” There’s only safer sex through outercourse, phone sex and condoms. A condom doesn’t guarantee protection from an STI—after all, the condom could break, or you could put it on or take it off sloppily— so wearing a mask doesn’t guarantee you won’t get or give someone COVID.
In the Coronapocalypse, there is no such thing as absolutely “safe” living. Only safer living through hand-washing, physical-distancing and wearing a damn mask.
Masks can be as liberating as they can be confining.
Masking up is nothing new. What history peeks out at us from behind the masks we wear today?
Hint: Some of it has to do with sex appeal…
Who Was That Masked Man—or Woman?
Humans have been wearing masks since prehistoric times for disguise, protection, performance and seduction. In the Coronapocalypse, we think of our facemasks primarily for protection against COVID-19, but there’s no reason we can’t enjoy them for the other three purposes too.
Hold-up; by “disguise,” I don’t mean you should disguise yourself with facemask to rob your local convenience store. It’s true that one of our most common conceptions of facemasks stems from images of bandits concealing their identities with a bandana before holding up a bank.
Unfortunately, in the Coronapocalypse, some modern thieves have exploited the mask mandate to do just that. This pandemic economy is particularly unjust for the poor and has made desperados out of many otherwise decent people, but that’s no excuse!
Side note: Anti-maskers who believe the “Deep State” is making us wear masks to “control” us are ignoring the simple fact that covering your face makes you harder to identify and control by the government, bots, scanners or your local store clerk. That’s why thieves have always masked up for disguise.
As long as you don’t commit crimes, you might enjoy the fact that your face mask “disguises” you to some degree. If you’re shy, anonymity can even be an aphrodisiac; that’s one reason so many masked revelers have long loved Venetian and Brazilian Carnavale.
In this sense, masks can be as liberating as they can be confining. You might like going out incognito, wearing a dark, mysterious mask with matching shades, like a spy in a romantic thriller. But please, no stealing, no stalking and no ammosexual accessories (you’re not really a spy)!
Hopeless romantic? The Therapists Without Borders of the Dr. Susan Block Institute can help you with your romantic issues, your fantasies, problems and pleasures. Need to talk about something you can’t talk about anywhere else? We can help. Give us a call at 213.291.9497.
Weapons of Masked Seduction
“If you want to say something and have people listen then you have to wear a mask.” – Banksy
Masks have long been an integral element of theater.
The oldest mask ever discovered dates back 9000 years to 7000 BCE, but the art of making and wearing masks is far older, visible in 30,000-year-old paleolithic cave drawings. Because these prehistoric masks were made of perishable materials like leather and wood, they didn’t survive, but we can see by the cave drawings that the earliest uses of masks were for performance, dance, ceremonies and rituals. Whether dazzling, comforting or frightening, all of these face coverings conveyed some kind of artistic, “magical,” seductive appeal.
Prehistoric masks were the first Weapons of Masked Seduction.
Let your body talk. Since people can’t see your face, they will pay more attention to the rest of you.
Over the years, as I put on hundreds of masks to assume different roles and for the sheer, playful pleasure of masquerade. Honestly, I never dreamed I’d be wearing a mask to protect me and those around me from death-dealing microbes. But my masked theater experience does give me ideas for making masks—even face masks—fun and sexy.
Many of our theatrical Comic-con culture’s greatest superheroes—from Zorro to Batman—also wear sexy masks, aka “domino masks,” but they tend to go around the eyes instead of over the mouth, Spiderman and the Flash being notable exceptions.
Have you ever worn a mask in a play, cosplay, film, masquerade party, on Halloween, Mardi Gras, Purim, Carnival or Carnavale? Perhaps you *played* a trickster, sexpot, superhero or alter ego. Did it make you feel less inhibited, more adventurous, less constrained by your usual worries of what people might think of you because the real, identifiable *you* was partially hidden?
Take that party-mask energy into face-mask-wearing, and you’re almost guaranteed to be sexy.
Let your body talk. Since people can’t see your face, they will pay more attention to the rest of you. So, if you’re not already a dancer, model or bootcamp graduate, straighten up that saggy posture and learn to move like you mean it!
Pretend you’re a costume designer choosing accessories; wear a mask that either matches your outfit or contrasts with it in an appealing way.
Variety is the spice of life, sex and theater. Wearing the same mask every day is not only very unhygienic, it’s boring. Between utilitarian, fancy, romantic, scary, kinky and crazy, you can wear different masks to suit your varied moods… or perhaps seduce someone special.
But please don’t throw your used facemasks out the car window! The Coronapocalypse is just another aspect of devastating climate change in the Anthropocene. Don’t make it worse by polluting the environment with your dirty old facemasks. Wash used masks or try facemasks like 4ocean, which are recyclable, and the support frames provide extra comfort.
Masks in Asia
Western cultures, with their focus on individual—and corporate—freedom mixed with scorn for “big government” and socialism, appear to have the most trouble persuading their citizens to wear a damn mask.
Even though the idea that our leaders are trying to enslave us through facemasks is extremely illogical and unlikely (they have other ways…), it carries a lot of weight, especially in the United States, Brazil and Europe.
In contrast, East Asian cultures tend to prioritize the welfare of the community over the freedom of the individual. In most Asian countries, wearing a facemask is a sign of discipline, respect and social responsibility, not weakness.
I’d prefer everyone go naked… well, except for the face mask, right now, of course.
Many East Asians have been masking up in public for years to protect themselves and others from airborne sickness and pollution. I imagine some of them also enjoy the psychological “protection” and anonymity masks provide for individuals in crowded public spaces.
Maybe this is why, as of this writing, Asian death rates from COVID-19 are considerably lower than in the West.
Masking Up for God
Covering the bottom half of the face is popular in the Muslim world, but not because of the pandemic. In traditional Islamic culture, many women wear a veil that covers the whole face except for the eyes, such as the niqab or burqa. Westerners tend to think of the Muslim veil as oppressive, and it can be since it is often required nonconsensually, and only of women, rarely of men.
Personally, I’m not a fan of any kind of cover-up, especially on so-called “moral” grounds. I’d prefer everyone go naked… well, except for the face mask, right now, of course.
My views are based on philosophical as well as personal experience wearing a burqa. When I was 19, I went on a hippie-ish trek through Asia and, while wandering through the rather devout city of Kandahar, Afghanistan, a friendly shopkeeper gifted me with a burqa. I put it on over my clothes and continued my walk around the marketplace, only to collide with another burqa-clad lady and a fruit stand. Nobody was hurt, but the lady was pretty annoyed, I had to pay for a dozen damaged melons, and I never wore a burqa again.
I felt like I was inside a smothering, billowing tent covering everything except for a small window for me to look through, and even that tiny opening was covered with a crisscross fabric, so I felt like I was trying to see through fishnet stockings. Not my style.
Nevertheless, my research and experience as a sex therapist tells me that many women have no such impaired vision issues, and some are actually empowered by wearing the veil. It helps them to feel protected, in control, mysterious, special… and sexy! Some Muslim women tell me that they enjoy being able to choose with whom they share the special gift of their naked face.
On the other side of the tent, many Muslim men say that seeing a veiled woman arouses them precisely because that which is hidden is enticing. It presents a question: What does she look like? And of course, they want to know the answer.
I still don’t like that so many orthodox Muslim communities make women wear the veil for religious reasons—sometimes under pain of violent punishment. On the other hand, Islam isn’t the only religion to force its practices on its adherents. And in terms of the current question—How to Make Masks Sexy?—Westerners can learn a lesson from this undoubtedly sexist, but sometimes intriguingly sexy, Islamic custom.
Takeaway: Wear your facemask like a veil that erotically empowers you.
Need to talk about your experience with religious sexual abuse? The Therapists Without Borders of the Dr. Susan Block Institute are here to help. You won’t go to hell for it. But you just might feel a lot better. Give us a call at 213.291.9497.
The Eyes Have It
Though a facemask should cover your mouth and nose—and often the chin and cheeks as well—it usually doesn’t cover your eyes. This can be key to making your mask sexy.
As the “windows to the soul,” your eyes are your most powerful Weapons of Masked Seduction.
You could think of your mask as a fan, “making eyes” over it, coquettishly. Whether you make “Smize” (“smiling eyes,” as coined by Tyra Banks), sultry “smokey eye,” cute puppy dog eyes, or squinty tough-guy eyes, you can communicate volumes without moving your lips.
Speaking of lips, you don’t have to put on lipstick while wearing a mask… and you probably shouldn’t as it will smear in all the wrong ways (unless you’re wearing smear-proof). Some good news for folks who get tired of smiling through pain or boredom; you can relax your mouth muscles more with a mask on!
But if you really want to be mask-sexy, you probably ought to step up your eyeliner, shadow, lashes, mascara, etc. routine. Unless you’re wearing dark goggles, your eyes tend to be visible. Careful about how you put on and remove your mask, or you might take off a false eyelash along with it (I’ve done that!).
Masks So Scary They’re Sexy
Yes, scary masks can be very sexy on the right person in an arousing scenario.
Always keep things consensual and safe and try not to trigger traumatic memories with your masked fun and games.
That said, a pinch of fear is like spice in your enchilada… though too much spoils the meat.
There are a million sexy monsters to choose from; just make sure your monster mask covers your nose.
Scared of sex? The Therapists Without Borders of the Dr. Susan Block Institute are here to help. Whether your fears are well-founded, pure paranoia or something in between, we can help. Give us a call anytime at 213.291.9497.
The Plague Mask
Perhaps the quintessential “scary mask” for the Coronapocalypse is the “Plague Mask.”
Somewhere between sinister and magical, with an elongated, bird-like beak and large, circular eyeholes, sometimes framed by crystals, the “Plague Mask” was originally worn during the 17th century (not the Middle Ages, as many believe) to protect “plague doctors” from catching the disease that was killing their patients.
The giant leather beak shielded the wearer’s mouth and nose, somewhat like a facemask, plus it was filled with fabric soaked in aromatic herbs that were supposed to ward off germs, but really just helped “mask” the stench of sickness and death.
Even prior to the Coronapocalypse, some people wore stylized plague masks to parties, fetish balls and during kinky play. Now, they’re even more popular, in different colors with sexy embellishments like feathers and glitter.
So… have yourself a ball! Though if you want to stay safe, wear a regular face mask under your plague mask.
Fetish masks of this kind have long been associated with kink, sexual fantasies and taboo trysts. They can be used to enhance sexual experiences and consensual power exchange, especially in roleplay, as punishment, reward or even just for style.
Besides being kinky, fetish masks help to keep the wearers totally or somewhat anonymous and so, like the Carnavale masqueraders, they feel freer to express their true sexual selves.
Traditional fetish masks aren’t always COVID-safe, but you can find sexy kinky facemasks for both protection and fun. Consider this sleek latex facemask, a more extreme hood, a leather neck corset that’s also a facemask or the classic gasmask (includes a drinking connection).
Sensory Deprivation & Masked Kisses
One ironic erotic benefit of masks is the way they enhance certain senses through sensory deprivation. For instance, if you’re blindfolded, your sense of hearing, touch and smell are enhanced.
A face mask doesn’t deprive you of a particular sense in that way. However, there are two things you can’t do while wearing a facemask, and those are eating and drinking.
This is, of course, a big inconvenience, but it has its benefits.
Maybe it’ll help lower our society’s skyrocketing rates of obesity which, by the way, is a telltale “pre-existing condition” that makes obese Coronavirus patients more likely than others to die.
Masks can be beautiful, mysterious and even romantic.
A kiss through facemasks deprives the kissers of the taste and touch of each other’s tongues, thereby—via the *magic* of sensory deprivation—enhancing their sense of each other’s aroma.
Such a tantalizing tease!
Warning: Kissing through masks isn’t COVID-safe; it’s just a fun way for couples who are self-isolating together to connect while out and about.
“Self-isolating together” has become a special kind of commitment, a “Love in the Time of Coronavirus” that is both more and less serious than marriage.
An image of a husband-and-wife team of nurses wearing masks, vizors, gloves and gowns as they embrace went viral (so to speak) early in the pandemic.
Looking at it and seeing the love and romance combined with discipline and service that it conveys, still brings tears to my eyes.
Make Masks Sexy!
The human face is, after all, nothing more nor less than a mask. – Agatha Christie
Why is it so important to “make masks sexy”?
I’ll let someone who tweeted that I looked “immensely kinky” in my GasMaskGirl gas mask, answer that question, “Dr Susan if you can convince people to wear masks to prevent airborne contagion of Covid-19, you might have saved many lives.”
It’s funny, but for some people, kink and sex are greater motivators than matters of life or death.
If I can help reduce the spread of the dreaded virus by showing how sexy and kinky a face mask can be, I’m thrilled.
Take It Off!
Remember, masks are not forever. They’re not even for all day.
There comes a time, in the course of a day or during a romantic relationship, when you take off the mask. Though I’ve been talking up how sexy masks can be, there’s no denying that taking off the mask can be even sexier.
In the Coronapocalypse, it should also be very special, something you only do close-up with someone you trust, at a point when you know you are both COVID-free.
In these masked-up times, removing your mask to expose your face (when you’re in a safe space) sexier than a striptease.
But before you take it all off, be sure to put that sexy mask on. It just might save your (sex) life.
© March 11, 2021. Susan Block, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Dr. Suzy,” is a world renowned LA sex therapist, author of The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure and horny housewife, occasionally seen on HBO and other channels. For information and speaking engagements, call 626-461-5950. Email her at [email protected]. Editorial Assistance on this article provided by Adriana Gomez-Weston
Need to talk? However you feel about masks, relationships and sex in the Coronapocalypse, you can talk to the Therapists Without Borders at the Dr. Susan Block Institute. Call us anytime at 213.291.9497. We’re here for you.