erotic asphyxia

topic posted Wed, January 21, 2009 - 5:56 PM by  Angelheaded ...
Hey...alright I'm broaching a touchy subject simply put in above said subject line. Alright to be short and sweet, totally into it but most eveyone I've been with has shyed away from the kink factor and just back off totally. How would I get someone to open up?
posted by:
Angelheaded Hipster
  • Re: erotic asphyxia

    Fri, January 23, 2009 - 1:32 PM
    Well, you might get a signed and notarized statement saying that if you die, you asked for your partner to do breath play with you. It's a good start.
  • Re: erotic asphyxia

    Mon, January 26, 2009 - 4:12 PM
    Well let me elaborate when I say there is cutting off the air though means of compressing the windpipe. And then there is cutting off the the blood flow by applying pressure to the arteries beside your trachea.

    Lack of oxygen to the brain can cause brain damage (though most of you probably know that but this is a newbie tribe) And compressing the windpipe can cause both damage to the trachea and larynx.

    Cutting off the blood flow to the brain not only can make you kinda woozy (exciting in its own way) but the blood engorged parts of your body get even more sensitive because there is absolutely no circulation. And so far the only adverse side effects I've encountered playing this way is twitching...slightly awkward but an orgasm combined with this kind of 'breath' play is amazing!

    So I guess I have another questing would this be considered 'breath play' It is a form of chocking because regardless of wither or not a hand if around your throat or just fingers pressing on certain points your natural instinct is to not breath though with repetitive action of this form of play you learn to work your way around it and while it is shallow you still breath.

    I do love the idea of a contract though I could imagine that (going to college to be a paralegal so even more funny to me) "Umm...can you sign this..."
    • Unsu...

      Re: erotic asphyxia

      Mon, January 26, 2009 - 7:58 PM
      mmm.... Yes, erotic and intensely orgasmic. And everything becomes sensitive. And there is no need to buy anything. And yes you can still breathe, although shallowly. And yes my fingers tingle. As for the contract idea, mayhap if trust is the issue you should not be doing this. There is a way to go about this play that does not need to be damaging to trachea, larynx, nor the brain.... its called being with someone who is intensely Attentive. I have only One who I trust will my entire physical being and is a sure fire way to get me turned on quick.
      • Re: erotic asphyxia

        Mon, January 26, 2009 - 8:07 PM
        Someone else had brought up the contract idea I just found it amusing because I was in a relationship with someone I fully trusted (who introduced me to this form of play) and then things went down the drain and just even hinting around at the idea of a hand any where around my throat turns the other party rigid with confusion and fear. And sometimes the stray remark of 'what the hell is wrong with you?'

        But yes maybe it is a one person and one person only kinda thing. Humm...
        • Re: erotic asphyxia

          Mon, January 26, 2009 - 10:19 PM
          Well, Jay Wiseman has written a lot on this subject. He's an authority on it. Suffice it to say that I will not do any breath play that involves choking someone because I trust that Jay knows what he is talking about when he says that sometimes, you choke someone a little, and they stop breathing and don't start again.
        • Re: erotic asphyxia

          Thu, January 29, 2009 - 1:38 PM

          Take Domina's advice and check out Jay Wiseman's essays, really...

          (This is a copy of an essay that I have posted many times in internet newsgroups, particularly soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm. It has become my main and best-known writing on the subject. It has been very lightly edited in this 2008 update.)

          The Medical Realities of Breath Control Play
          Copyright 1997 by Jay Wiseman, author of "SM 101: A Realistic Introduction". All rights reserved.
          For some time now, I have felt that the practices of suffocation and/or strangulation done in an erotic context (generically known as breath control play; more properly known as asphyxiophilia) were in fact far more dangerous than they are generally perceived to be.
          As a person with years of medical education and experience, I know of no way whatsoever that either suffocation or strangulation can be done in a way that does not intrinsically put the recipient at risk of cardiac arrest. (There are also numerous additional risks; more on them later.)
          Furthermore, and my biggest concern, I know of no reliable way to determine when such a cardiac arrest has become imminent.
          Often the first detectable sign that an arrest is approaching is the arrest itself. Furthermore, if the recipient does arrest, the probability of resuscitating them, even with optimal CPR, is distinctly small. Thus the recipient is dead and their partner, if any, is in a very perilous legal situation. (The authorities could consider such deaths first-degree murders until proven otherwise, with the burden of such proof being on the defendant). There are also the real and major concerns of the surviving partner's own life-long remorse to having caused such a death, and the trauma to the friends and family members of both parties.
          Some breath control fans say that what they do is acceptably safe because they do not take what they do up to the point of unconsciousness. I find this statement worrisome for two reasons:
          (1) You can't really know when a person is about to go unconscious until they actually do so, thus it's extremely difficult to know where the actual point of unconsciousness is until you actually reach it.
          (2) More importantly, unconsciousness is a symptom, not a condition in and of itself. It has numerous underlying causes ranging from simple fainting to cardiac arrest, and which of these will cause the unconsciousness cannot be known in advance.
          I have discussed my concerns regarding breath control with well over a dozen SM-positive physicians, and with numerous other SM-positive health professionals, and all share my concerns. We have discussed how breath control might be done in a way that is not life-threatening, and come up blank. We have discussed how the risk might be significantly reduced, and come up blank. We have discussed how it might be determined that an arrest is imminent, and come up blank.
          Indeed, so far not one (repeat, not one) single physician, nurse, paramedic, chiropractor, physiologist, or other person with substantial training in how a human body works has been willing to step forth and teach a form of breath control play that they are willing to assert is acceptably safe -- i.e., does not put the recipient at imminent, unpredictable risk of dying. I believe this fact makes a major statement.
          Other "edge play" topics such as suspension bondage, electricity play, cutting, piercing, branding, enemas, water sports, and scat play can and have been taught with reasonable safety, but not breath control play. Indeed, it seems that the more somebody knows about how a human body works, the more likely they are to caution people about how dangerous breath control is, and about how little can be done to reduce the degree of risk.
          In many ways, oxygen is to the human body, and particularly to the heart and brain, what oil is to a car's engine. Indeed, there's a medical adage that goes "hypoxia (becoming dangerously low on oxygen) not only stops the motor, but also wrecks the engine." Therefore, asking how one can play safely with breath control is very similar to asking how one can drive a car safely while draining it of oil.
          Some people tell the "mechanics" something like, "Well, I'm going to drain my car of oil anyway, and I'm not going to keep track of how low the oil level is getting while I'm driving my car, so tell me how to do this with as much safety as possible." (They may even add something like "Hey, I always shut the engine off before it catches fire.") They then get frustrated when the mechanics scratch their heads and say that they don't know. They may even label such mechanics as "anti-education."
          A bit about my background may help explain my concerns. I was an ambulance crewman for over eight years. I attended medical school for three years, and passed my four-year boards, (then ran out of money). I am a former member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a former American Heart Association instructor in Advanced Cardiac Life Support. I have an extensive martial arts background that includes a first-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. My martial arts training included several months of judo that involved both my choking and being choked.
          I have been an instructor in first aid, CPR, and various advanced emergency care techniques for over sixteen years. My students have included physicians, nurses, paramedics, police officers, fire fighters, wilderness emergency personnel, martial artists, and large numbers of ordinary citizens. I currently offer both basic and advanced first aid and CPR training to the SM community.
          During my ambulance days, I responded to at least one call involving the death of a young teenage boy who died from autoerotic strangulation, and to several other calls where this was suspected but could not be confirmed. (Family members often "sanitize" such scenes before calling 911.) Additionally, I personally know two members of my local SM community who went to prison after their partners died during breath control play.
          The primary danger of suffocation play is that it is not a condition that gets worse over time (regarding the heart, anyway, it does get worse over time regarding the brain). Rather, what happens is that the more the play is prolonged, the greater the odds that a cardiac arrest will occur. Sometimes even one minute of suffocation can cause this; sometimes even less.
          Quick pathophysiology lesson # 1: When the heart gets low on oxygen, it starts to fire off "extra" pacemaker sites. These usually appear in the ventricles and are thus called premature ventricular contractions -- PVC's for short. If a PVC happens to fire off during the electrical repolarization phase of cardiac contraction (the dreaded "PVC on T" phenomenon, also sometimes called "R on T") it can kick the heart over into ventricular fibrillation -- a form of cardiac arrest. The lower the heart gets on oxygen, the more PVC's it generates, and the more vulnerable to their effect it becomes, thus hypoxia increases both the probability of a PVC-on-T occurring and of its causing a cardiac arrest.
          When this will happen to a particular person in a particular session is simply not predictable. This is exactly where most of the medical people I have discussed this topic with "hit the wall." Virtually all medical folks know that PVC's are both life-threatening and hard to detect unless the patient is hooked to a cardiac monitor. When medical folks discuss breath control play, the question quickly becomes: How can you tell when they start throwing PVC's? The answer is: You basically can't.
          Quick pathophysiology lesson # 2: When breathing is restricted, the body cannot eliminate carbon dioxide as it should, and the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood increases. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) exist in equilibrium with what's called carbonic acid (H2CO3) in a reaction catalyzed by an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase. (Sorry, but I can't do subscripts in this program.)
          Thus: CO2 + H2O H2CO3
          A molecule of carbonic acid dissociates on its own into a molecule of what's called bicarbonate (HCO3-) and an (acidic) hydrogen ion. (H+)
          Thus: H2CO3 = HCO3- and H+
          Thus the overall pattern is:
          H2O + CO2 = H2CO3 = HCO3- + H+
          Therefore, if breathing is restricted, CO2 builds up and the reaction shifts to the right in an attempt to balance things out, ultimately making the blood more acidic and thus decreasing its pH. This is called respiratory acidosis. (If the patient hyperventilates, they "blow off CO2" and the reaction shifts to the left, thus increasing the pH. This is called respiratory alkalosis, and has its own dangers.)
          Quick pathophysiology lesson # 3:
          Again, if breathing is restricted, not only does carbon dioxide have a hard time getting out, but oxygen also has a hard time getting in. A molecule of glucose (C6H12O6) breaks down within the cell by a process called glycolysis into two molecules of pyruvate, thus creating a small amount of ATP for the body to use as energy. Under normal circumstances, pyruvate quickly combines with oxygen to produce a much larger amount of ATP. However, if there's not enough oxygen to properly metabolize the pyruvate, it is converted into lactic acid and produces one form of what's called a metabolic acidosis.
          As you can see, either a build-up in the blood of carbon dioxide or a decrease in the blood of oxygen will cause the pH of the blood to fall. If both occur at the same time, as they do in cases of suffocation, the pH of the blood will plummet to life-threatening levels within a very few minutes. The pH of normal human blood is in the 7.35 to 7.45 range (slightly alkaline). A pH falling to 6.9 (or raising to 7.8) is "incompatible with life."
          Past experience, either with others or with that same person, is not particularly useful. Carefully watching their level of consciousness, skin color, and pulse rate is of only limited value. Even hooking the bottom up to both a pulse oximeter and a cardiac monitor (assuming you had either piece of equipment, and they're not cheap) would be of only limited additional value.
          While an experienced clinician can sometimes detect PVC's by feeling the patient's pulse, in reality the only reliable way to detect them is to hook the patient up to a cardiac monitor. The problem is that each PVC is potentially lethal, particularly if the heart is low on oxygen. Even if you "ease up" on the bottom immediately, there's no telling when the PVC's will stop. They could stop almost at once, or they could continue for hours.
          In addition to the primary danger of cardiac arrest, there is good evidence to document that there is a very real risk of cumulative brain damage if the practice is repeated often enough. In particular, laboratory studies of repeated brief interruption of blood flow to the brains of animals and studies of people with what's called "sleep apnea syndrome" (in which they stop breathing for up to two minutes while sleeping) document that cumulative brain damage does occur in such cases.
          There are many documented additional dangers. These include, but are not limited to: rupture of the windpipe, fracture of the larynx, damage to the blood vessels in the neck, dislodging a fatty plaque in a neck artery which then travels to the brain and causes a stroke, damage to the cervical spine, seizures, airway obstruction by the tongue, and aspiration of vomitus. Additionally, there are documented cases in which the recipient appeared to fully recover but was found dead several hours later.
          The American Psychiatric Association estimates a death rate of one person per year per million of population -- thus about 250 deaths last year in the U.S. Law enforcement estimates go as much as four times higher. Most such deaths occur during solo play, however there are many documented cases of deaths that occurred during play with a partner. It should be noted that the presence of a partner does nothing to limit the primary danger, and does little or nothing to limit most of the secondary dangers.
          Some people teach that choking can be safely done if pressure on the windpipe is avoided. Their belief is that pressing on the arteries leading to the brain while avoiding pressure on the windpipe can safely cause unconsciousness. The reality, unfortunately, is that pressing on the carotid arteries, exactly as they recommend, presses on baroreceptors known as the carotid sinus bodies. These bodies then cause vasodilation in the brain, thus there is not enough blood to perfuse the brain and the recipient loses consciousness. However, that's not the whole story.
          Unfortunately, a message is also sent to the main pacemaker of the heart, via the vagus nerve, to decrease the rate and force of the heartbeat. Most of the time, under strong vagal influence, the rate and force of the heartbeat decreases by one third. However, every now and then, the rate and force decreases to zero and the bottom "flatlines" into asystole -- another, and more difficult to treat, form of cardiac arrest. There is no way to tell whether or not this will happen in any particular instance, or how quickly. There are many documented cases of as little as five seconds of choking causing a vagal-outflow-induced cardiac arrest.
          For the reason cited above, many police departments have now either entirely banned the use of choke holds or have reclassified them as a form of deadly force. Indeed, a local CHP officer recently had a $250,000 judgment brought against him after a nonviolent suspect died while being choked by him.
          Finally, as a CPR instructor myself, I want to caution that knowing CPR does little to make the risk of death from breath control play significantly smaller. While CPR can and should be done, understand that the probability of success is likely to be less than 10%.
          I'm not going to state that breath control is something that nobody should ever do under any circumstances. I have no problem with informed, freely consenting people taking any degree of risk they wish. I am going to state that there is a great deal of ignorance regarding what actually happens to a body when it's suffocated or strangled, and that the actual degree of risk associated with these practices is far greater than most people believe.
          I have noticed that, when people are educated regarding the severity and unpredictability of the risks, fewer and fewer choose to play in this area, and those who do continue tend to play less often. I also notice that, because of its severe and unpredictable risks, more and more SM party-givers are banning any form of breath control play at their events.
          If you'd like to look into this matter further, here are some references to get you started:
          "Emergency Care in the Streets" by Caroline (I'd recommend starting here.)
          "Medical Physiology" by Guyton
          "The Pathologic Basis of Disease" by Robbins
          "Textbook of Advanced Cardiac Life Support" by American Heart Association
          "The Physiology Coloring Book" by Kapit, Macey, and Meisami
          "Forensic Pathology" by DeMaio and Demaio
          "Autoerotic Fatalities" by Hazelwood
          "Melloni's Illustrated Medical Dictionary" by Dox, Melloni, and Eisner
          People with questions or comments can contact me at or write to me at P.O. Box 1261, Berkeley, CA 94701.
          Jay Wiseman

          • Re: erotic asphyxia

            Thu, January 29, 2009 - 1:41 PM

            preface is by Jay just so there is no confusion..

            (This is a copy of an essay that i have posted many times in internet newsgroups, particularly soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm. It has become my main and best-known writing on the subject. It has been very lightly edited in this 2008 update.)
            • Re: erotic asphyxia

              Thu, January 29, 2009 - 3:00 PM
              Nice thank you it was quite informative. But what about when you mostly just cut off blood flow not obstruct the air? What exactly is it? I'm sure its been documented somewhere but I know it wouldnt be classified under asphyxia but it still does pretty much the same thing because oxygen travels with the blood and when you stop the movement of it you slow the oxygen rate.
              • Re: erotic asphyxia

                Thu, January 29, 2009 - 3:56 PM
                hmm, let's see, what happens when you cut off the blood supply to the brain....?
                • Re: erotic asphyxia

                  Thu, January 29, 2009 - 5:42 PM
                  But Qatana, some people never notice if they're missing a few thousand brain cells.

                  Domina (then again, I guess those are the ones who do this...nevermind!)
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: erotic asphyxia

                    Thu, January 29, 2009 - 10:37 PM
                    I never questioned the effects that this sort of play has on my brain...I know it can cause damage...what my original question was is

                    Would this type of play be classified under erotic asphyxia?
                    Are there any suggestions on how I would convince my partner(s) to do this for me? How would I get them comfortable?

                    Though I do appreicate the concern/ support and info I'm just really looking or the answer to question 2

                    (Domina my momma always said I'd end up on the newspapers headline reading... 'Woman found dead bound, gagged, and cut in her bedroom" who needs that extra thousand braincells?
                    • Re: erotic asphyxia

                      Fri, January 30, 2009 - 8:01 AM

                      I don’t feel like you know or understand/comprehend or even want to bother doing the research and educate your self AND partner, both parties need to be educated and know the risk and have emergency plan,.

                      So you don’t seem to give a flying fuck about your life but try try to remember you are not the only one being put in danger, you will be asking some one to put their LIFE on the line for your pleasure, and when it goes wrong their life will be destroyed you wont be around to say "oh, I’m sorry by bag"..

                      Darwin is coming to mind...

                      • Re: erotic asphyxia

                        Fri, January 30, 2009 - 12:16 PM
                        I have done research I am quite aware of how it affects my body...and in my questioning it all leads back to erotic asphyxia. I was mearly asking for opinions not judgment. Yeah risk...death! And trust me its top on my list because I have children so I am aware of the risk I'm putting my body in and how it will affect those around me. So before you judge someone why don't you try to understand the side of the train track their on. And its not their life that would end its please do not judge me for I asked two simple questions and anyone with a back ground in 'kinky' sex usually knows how to get their partners to open up to the idea.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: erotic asphyxia

                    Fri, January 30, 2009 - 5:51 PM
                    Now that is the most sense written I have heard!

                    • Re: erotic asphyxia

                      Fri, January 30, 2009 - 10:33 PM
                      you cant hear stuff written..yeah I have those comments that can be sarcastic or never know! But umm...thanks maybe?
                      • Unsu...

                        Re: erotic asphyxia

                        Sat, January 31, 2009 - 4:44 PM
                        I can "hear" the words as I read the letters .... lol .... It makes sense that you are asking about kinky side not the medical safety side since you know that part of the risk. I was being more funny than serious .... but breathe play is dnagerous and serious business. I am not sure about you but I can only take the IDEA of being choked by my partners not actually loosing my consciousness during it. Maybe then It is not breathe play as BDSM players explore. I get my partner to participate easily because I scream out "choke me" when I want IT!!!
                        • Re: erotic asphyxia

                          Sun, February 1, 2009 - 6:49 PM
                          Lol, yes that is the sort of response I was needing. At times I wouldn't even see myself as a bdsm player. But I am highly submissive, like pain, and bondage is great. So yea technically I would fall into that catagorey. I don't think I could scream out 'choke me' during sex. No, I'm not that straight forward. I'm an ext ream extrovert but then again during intimacy I become introverted.
  • Re: erotic asphyxia

    Fri, January 30, 2009 - 9:45 AM
    As you've seen, this really does tend to be a touchy subject. People tend to respond far more out of their fears than out of any element of science or rational thought.

    The act is generally considered to be high risk, no matter how it's approached. The problem is that one of the relatively common failure cases is death and there really aren't many warning signs of when it's approaching.

    Some people take on those risks, or practice variations that they believe to diminish those risks, and believe that the enjoyment is worth the risk. Personally, I don't think such people are necessarily stupid or suicidal, but I do believe that they have a different set of values than I have. While I've done a little of this sort of play, I don't generally think that the benefits for me would outweigh the risks most days.

    So to answer your question, I don't think you do get someone to "open up". I think what you need to do is to find someone who is either sufficiently into either this activity that they already know the risk/reward level works for them, or you need to find someone who's so into playing with _you_ that they're willing to accept behavior in this risk category in order to do so.

    You might also want to consider whether this is something you'd like to try a few times, or whether you're already sure that you want this to be a regular part of your sex life. If the former, then it might be easier to find people willing to try it once or twice. If the latter, then you probably want to find someone who also enjoys that particular act because someone who's just doing it in order to get to play with you might not be willing to keep that up indefinately.
    • Re: erotic asphyxia

      Fri, January 30, 2009 - 12:17 PM
      Thank you...for the answers, opinions, and your view of things...
      • Re: erotic asphyxia

        Fri, January 30, 2009 - 12:44 PM

        I see lots of opinions here, just not the one you asked for. Just because several Well Respected Teachers in the BDSM community have given their Professional Opinion that this is Not a Good Idea, don't go letting their Opinions affect your judgement as to what is and is not a stupid thing to do.After all, you clearly know better.
        • Re: erotic asphyxia

          Fri, January 30, 2009 - 4:51 PM
          Nervus vagus belongs to parasympathetic nervous system which inhibits the contraction of heart, decreases its excitability and frequency of generated nerve impulses in heart. By overstimulating n.vagus these effects on heart are more intense - it could lead to total inhibiton of heart contractions, which would eventually lead to death within a little while.
          Very intense slap behind ear or intensive pressure on neck area could lead to death as n.vagus is overstimulated. It is very rare though.
          • Re: erotic asphyxia

            Fri, January 30, 2009 - 10:59 PM
            I knew of the SNS but there is a para one as well? Humm...well anyways thank you, again an opinion, facts, and a word of caution.
            You can die from getting slapped behind the ear? I never knew that.
            • Re: erotic asphyxia

              Sun, February 1, 2009 - 12:38 PM
              A couple of years ago here in the bay area, a few miles from my house, a couple of teens were trading punches and... one died from a punch to the chest.

              There's not much correlation to age or fitness. Jay's writings detail the problem better than my memory, but there's a nerve, (vagus?), through the upper chest and throat and when it receives trauma, will sometimes simply stop a heart. Not defib, because defib can be shocked back to a normal rhythm. This is simply a stopped heart for which there is no treatment

              It's not terribly common, but we see reports in the newspaper about once a year or so about someone who's died from it. It's common enough that it's pretty easy to find examples.
        • Re: erotic asphyxia

          Fri, January 30, 2009 - 10:52 PM
          No...opinions are how YOU feel on a subject, judgment is how someone feels ABOUT you. I didn't ask, if anyone thought it was a good idea. And I have read few that were against it, I was just advised to be cautious which I am. I respect everything I've read and I believe that there are decent and thoughtful people behind those words. But unless they have written a book, teach a sexual experimentation course, or are a doctor themselves, it is just that an opinion there is no professional available. And if there is sorry 'sir', 'mam'. So unless you feel the need to correct me again on the difference between judgment and opinions please pull out a dictionary and read those two first.

          I never questioned my safety though I am glad to see that humanity does still exist it does wonders for my 'rose colored glasses'. I also thought that a community that is constantly looked down on because of the 'abnormality' of its preference wouldn't be look down their nose at something such as this, especially when some of the more common 'kinks' include enemas, degradation, scat play, and hell even a simple one casual sex (I don't believe that it would be considered bdsm though) And all of theses acts can take their toll on not just body, but mind, spirit, and soul. If thats your thing than cool but people usually know what they can handle especially if they have done it on numerous occasions. To assume that I know nothing, and I am unaware of the risk is foolish.

          Let me phrase what my question was in another way.

          "Hey I drive stick shift...but my boyfriend won't learn how to shift, I'm getting tired of taking him everywhere. How do I make him learn how to drive stick shift so I can stay at home and get my jollies off."

          Now that question needs neither opinion or judgment (well maybe if you were telling me to make him get off his lazy but and walk...but...) it needs suggestions.

          Alright now that I feel like a total bitch, need a cigarette, I hope you all have a good evening. And I'm sorry, I was in a bad mood anyway and you comment ticked me off.
          • Re: erotic asphyxia

            Sat, January 31, 2009 - 7:58 AM
            I have looked in the dictionary, because I have the same problem with the words meaning the same thing.My personal definitions are -Opinion is how I feel about something, Judgement implies a choice or decision as to the rightness or wrongness of someting.
            So I did look them up, in the Oxford Universal Dictionary. Opinion=judgement, judgement =opinion.
            • Re: erotic asphyxia

              Sat, January 31, 2009 - 1:40 PM
              Alright so I am not correct. And wow, you actually pulled out a dictionary? But that still does not change the fact that I didn't ask for judgment or opinions but thank you for understanding where I was coming from. And my apologies I was in a nasty mood last night and your comment just added one more iced flower on the cake. So I am sorry for taking it out on you.

              Being that people have given me their opinions I am thankful but its hard to change ones own opinion based on someone else's.
        • Re: erotic asphyxia

          Sun, February 1, 2009 - 12:33 PM
          I think by "judgments" most people are referring to critical judgments that attempt to tear down what they're trying to build rather than support it.

          I also think that it's pointless for us, as a community, to take a hard line "no one should do this" stance about anything, (and I really do mean _anything_). It's hypocritical, it doesn't help the person we're attempting to "educate", and it makes our entire community seem cliquish, closed, and intolerant.

          The truth is that for any behavior, there is going to be some person and some context where that behavior will be appropriate. I think it's a much more open, supportive, and tolerant position for us to assume that this is the case and then to help the querent determine whether that are that person and whether their context is that context.

          Certainly "Well Respected Teachers" have indeed given their "Professional Opinion", however, in my opinion, any opinion which results in "Not a Good Idea" is neither well respected nor professional. Even Mr. Wiseman, one of the more vocal canaries about the dangers of asphyxiation play tends to shy away from making that judgment. The truth is that there are high risks and that no known methods have been found to mitigate those risks. That's the useful information that we have to offer. We don't really even know how high those risks are - only that the failure case is grave indeed.

          Let's look for a moment at several other medium to high risk activities - saline injections, single tail whips, and hypnosis. None of these are particularly suitable for beginners who have no experience or instruction. All of them include moderate to high risk dangers. However, all of those risks can be mitigated, both in frequency and in severity, based both on the education and experience of the practitioner.

          Personally, I have only tangential knowledge of saline injections. I don't know my anatomy well enough to know when or to what degree it might or might not be safe. I also don't really understand what the risks are nor what their frequency of occurrence might be, nor how to mitigate them. For me, I simply don't have enough knowledge to top saline injections safely at this point. But that's a judgment for me and about me, not anyone else.

          My skill and knowledge with single tails is such that I can approach many scenes with an acceptable risk of danger, though not all. I do have a pretty good understanding of my own personal limitations and I'm comfortable both accepting those risks and also educating my partner about them. I don't have much in the way of intense practice behind me, so my precision is fairly sloppy by comparison to some other single tail tops. Just because I can do some things with my whips does not necessarily mean that I can duplicate their practices.

          On hypnosis, however, I'm well educated and well practiced. I have no fear whatsoever and am quite confident that I can approach an extremely wide variety of hypnosis practices with only minor risks of danger. But then, I've be studying and practicing hypnosis for almost as long as I've been studying and practicing bdsm - over 15 years.

          As for asphyxiation play, I've read what Jay has to write on the subject. I've also read plenty of headlines. I have training in various sorts of chokes from several different branches of martial arts. I'm positive that I can choke someone out should the situation arise in a physical conflict. And I'm pretty sure I have an understanding of the risks involved in using these skills for consensual play. I do, indeed believe that I can practice them more safely than most people can do. However, I don't get much thrill out of it myself, unless my partner does, and even then, that seems like a lot of risk for me to assume, especially when I have such a wide variety of alternatives available in my bag of tricks.

          My point here is simply that risks and rewards are different for different people. It's completely reasonable for us to discuss what decisions each of us have come to and on what basis we have made those decisions. It's also completely reasonable and one of the highest values networking offers us to discuss risks, frequencies, severities, theories, and potential methods for mitigation. This is what the bdsm community did around AIDS risks and most of what we know about "safer sex" came initially from the anecdotal reports of bdsm practitioners, primarily around the San Francisco bay area. That's part of the reason so many of them are dead. As a community, we were learning what did and what didn't work.

          As a community, we are a very strong resource for information like this - but only if we hold off on the critical judgments.

          "I see lots of opinions here, just not the one you asked for. Just because several Well Respected Teachers in the BDSM community have given their Professional Opinion that this is Not a Good Idea, don't go letting their Opinions affect your judgement as to what is and is not a stupid thing to do.After all, you clearly know better."

          Yes, in fact, she does know better what her own risk/reward determination is. It might not be a "stupid" thing for her. And I, at least, am certainly not claiming that it's "Not a Good Idea" for her. I don't know that it's a good idea for her either, but I want to be very clear that the ultimate authority on what's good for her is the querent herself. I certainly don't know better than she does and I don't believe that anyone else does.

          Anyone who still thinks they know better than the querent does about what's right or good for the querent, and would like someone else to make all of their decisions for them, should submit a written application to me and we'll negotiate a fee structure. :).

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