Fetishes

Autoerotic Asphyxiation: Can Solo Breath Play Be Safe?

Shocked Woman

Erotic and autoerotic asphyxiation are controversial practices because they are dangerous.

On the one hand, breath play can be pleasurable and induce altered states of consciousness, experiences that range in feeling from sexually stimulating to downright visionary. We naturally play games that involve breath play from running (taking in more oxygen) to holding our breath underwater in the bathtub (taking in less).

On the other hand, it is very easy to slip into unconsciousness, from which point there is no return if access to oxygen is not reinstated. This is tricky for lovers, who have a huge responsibility to safely monitor their partners, and may end up losing their loved one, or facing negligence or murder charges. It is even more dangerous for solo BDSM aficionados, who have no one to help them loosen a rope or bond.

What is Autoerotic Asphyxiation?

Choking, extreme bondage that restricts oxygen intake, strangulation, suffocation, and hanging are some of the methods used to achieve that heady combination of reduced oxygen and increased intensity of sexual pleasure.

Asphyxiophilia, or erotic love of asphyxia, is often pathologized as a disorder. Practitioners resist such labels, of course, and reject the idea that masochism or submission is a “perversion” or “deviance.”

Asphyxia for heightened sexual response has probably been known forever, however its documentation began in the early 1600s. It was prescribed as a treatment for erectile dysfunction! Clearly, it was known already that repressing oxygen could intensify an erection. The unfortunate origin of this knowledge was probably from a medical witness at public hangings—men who were executed by rope often had erections and sometimes ejaculated.

Why do People Practice Solo Breath Play?

Erotic asphyxiation is often practiced as a form of extreme submission during BDSM play, and the surrender can feel incredible. However, it is not always, or even “usually” an element of masochism or submission—it is a physiological sensation of pleasure that many pursue with no connection to edging, pain, submission, or masochism.

Biological sensations of pleasure are intensified by suppression of oxygen, and this is why autoerotic asphyxiation is a common practice, with no partner to submit to. It is purely the pursuit of pleasure, but it is dangerous.

It is often written that autoerotic asphyxiation is mostly the domain of men. Although many women report extreme pleasure from choking and bondage, I think women are more likely to enjoy asphyxia games with a partner and not try it themselves at home or practice while masturbating.

Can Autoerotic Asphyxiation be Safe?

Quite a number of people die each year practicing asphyxiation while masturbating or making love. Brain damage without death is also common. It is difficult to estimate the number of deaths each year because many are assumed to be suicide, or recorded as suicide to protect the family reputation, but estimates range from 250 to 1000 annually in the USA.

There is no real way to practice autoerotic asphyxiation safely. The safest way to practice breath play is with a partner using hands to choke or muffle the mouth and nose, not ropes or hoods. Those however, are also safer with a trusted partner than solo.

You can meet local BDSM play partners at these BDSM dating sites.

If you must play alone you can also simply hold your breath while jerking off, because your natural instinct for air will take over.

Do you practice autoerotic asphyxiation or fantasize about it? Dare to share in the comments!

Tell us what you think!

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