Deviance in the Dark - How a Psychology Experiment from the 70s Became an Amazing Sex Party Idea

About 45 years ago, when psychology experiments didn't have as many rules as they do today, a couple of psychologists decided to put a bunch of college students in a pitch black padded room just to see what they would do. The study ended up being called "Deviance in the Dark" after the fact, and you can read the entirety of what happened on ResearchGate.


Essentially, several groups of four men and four women were brought into the dark room individually and each were told that they'd be there for an hour, that "there are no rules," and at the end of the hour they would be escorted out alone and then depart the site of the experiment alone. In other words, they would never see or come into contact with the other participants outside of the dark room.


The question was: how would people portray themselves, what would they do, once they knew that they were anonymous?


Unlike the lighted room scenarios where students seldom sat closer than three feet from each other and kept their conversations going, the students in the dark room sessions moved about the space freely, touching each other accidentally and on purpose. The conversations also started to drop off in the dark room after about half an hour had gone by.


The nervousness, anxiety, and tension some felt going in started to dissipate. One student wrote that he, "Felt joy over the possibility of not having to look at people in clichéd ways," and that he "Enjoyed [the] feeling of a self-awareness surrounded by a rich environment... Enjoyed the wantonness of just crawling around and over other people to get from one place to another."


Then the touching started and the group moved "to a stage of intimacy often not attained in years of normal acquaintanceship." The immediate development and ease of close physical relations allowed for a surprising level of accompanying emotional openness.


In every session in the dark room, the men and women chose some form of closeness or "intimate alliance" versus any number of actions they could have taken... Which, of course, immediately made me pause and think, well, that'd be a great set up for sex party! Or even, a literal blind dating experiment. Like a variation of the Netflix series, Love is Blind (fascinating if you haven't seen it).


When we have to rely on senses other than sight, we are forced to notice other things about our surroundings.


I was watching a show not long ago where a Rabbi came on and said that men used to make love with their hands whereas today they make love with their eyes. I'm not saying that we should shut off the electricity but certainly exploring intimacy and desire in the dark could make for an inspiring and at least different experience than the usual encounter.


– Nikita

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