When you imagine something, do you find it easier to do so with your eyes open or closed?
Okay, so it's an odd question. But it's also something that's been confusing to me for a long time. Technically speaking, I'm pretty sure that if you do have your eyes closed, it's easier to slip into visions and imaginings because there's no outside distraction, such as shapes and colours; however, I've always found it easier to daydream with my eyes open - as do most people, I'm sure, with the slightly glazed expression and unfathomable mouth shape. Even in bed, where I tend to concoct a superhero-based storyline to keep myself entertained, then it's much easier to do so with my eyes open - not very conducive to going to sleep, of course.
But then again, it shouldn't matter anyway; if your imagination is strong enough you're seeing what's inside your head, and your body doesn't have to obey any silly "what it should look like on the outside" rules. I certainly didn't care when I was at work and slipped off into a fantasy Zelda-inspired world halfway through writing important notes, nor in year 7 when I was fighting Galgamort the Destroyer in the middle of the playground and must have been attracting some funny looks.
Which brought me, in one of my more lucid moments, so the subject of sexual fantasies. Everyone - or nearly everyone - has sexual fantasies, I reasoned. Some of which have tangible results (even if stretching does the same, for some reason). So what if I put this to the test? Could I concentrate on sexual fantasies for a long period of time with my eyes open and remain erect, without aid such as soft porn or written erotica or hot blog posts?
So I put on my computer and pulled down my trousers...
This bit takes a bit of imagination, so keep your eyes open for this bit. My desktop background (made, incidentally, by a professional model when she rediscovered Microsoft Paint) is royal blue with yellow stars on it (not as painful at it sounds...), so I focused my gaze on the star that's most central (to give myself a focal point to start from, not that I stayed there) and fired up my brainbox.
It sounds excruciating, keeping an erection without any visual stimulus or touching - I also reasoned that, as this wasn't masturbation, I didn't need to touch - but it wasn't difficult, nor painful. I just drifted through sexy visions generated in my mind palace and sat there with a massive hard penis and a silly grin on my face. This is, after all, what I used to do during my teenage years when I felt horny but had no will to masturbate, and I can't remember any need to have eyes shut then either.
And so I sat there. And I sat there. And I sat there.
Originally my aim was to keep staring into middle distance thinking about sex until it was too irresistible and I had to take matters in hand, or needed to go to the toilet - but, to be frank, neither of those happened. I just sat in my chair for about an hour or so and then found myself getting bored. I hadn't been up until that point, as it was just an unspecified time of pleasure sitting there with a pulsing erection and no distractions to my wandering dreamscape. But then, eventually, I got a jolt back to Earth and realigned myself to the mundanity of real life, although with no mess to clean up this time, so there's that.
Later in the day, when I was going through my earlier experiment, I had one final realisation: I hadn't really achieved anything. I'd gotten an erection, but I have lots of those, so that wasn't anything new; I'd been daydreaming with my eyes open, which I always do. Sometimes the two happen simultaneously, so that wasn't new either. The only difference here was that I had my pants down.
But no complaints here.