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Posted May 14, Reviewed by Devon Frye. For others, the mere thought of being choked by their partner is a cause for sexual arousal. Erotic asphyxiation is the consensual restriction of the airflow of a partner for a brief period of time, commonly referred to as breath or air play. Autoerotic asphyxiation is when an individual turns this practice into a solo effort.
In fact, Sheff refers to breath play as one of the most dangerous kink activities. Whereas most kink activities do not result in permanent injury, erotic asphyxiation runs the risk of death. It is the only type of play that even if you make no 'mistake,' it can cause severe damage or death.
Many dungeons will not allow breath play to be done under any circumstance.
Because mainstream films and books have romanticized it, people who attempt breath play have a fantasy view about it. Despite the danger, and in some cases because of it, pleasure is derived from the restriction of oxygen for select individuals and couples.
Shields, et al. I have been asked why people choose to practice such a risky endeavor. The reasons go beyond the end goal of enhancing sexual pleasure.
A study conducted at the University of North Dakota Chapple, looked into the practice and inner dynamics of erotic asphyxiation. In a survey of practitioners of erotic asphyxiation, the researcher found several motivations, including:. Of the research participants, The findings of the UND study revealed some of the psychological motives promoting exploring erotic asphyxiation:.
It is not my intention to support or oppose erotic asphyxiation here. I do not judge any consensual sexual proclivity. That being said, I will always note the risks and highlight the importance of consent. A deeper delving into the dynamics of erotic asphyxiation will be set aside for a future "This Sexual Self" article. Understanding the psychology behind sexual activities and sexuality as a fundamental drive is important as it provides us with a wider understanding—and hopefully, acceptance—of human sexuality.
It gives a better insight into our sexual well-being and happiness. And it serves as a window into our sexual selfhood that explains both positive and negative sexual attributes that act as guideposts to our past, present, and future sexual selves. Chapple, L. University of North Dakota, Theses and Dissertations Sheff, E. Archives of Sexual Behavior50 1 Shields, L. Atypical autoerotic death: Part II.
American Journal of Breath play kink Medicine and Pathology26 153— David W. Wahl, Ph. His work focuses on issues related to sexual desire and behavior, shaming and stigmatization, sex and gender, sexual violence, sex work, and human trafficking. Wahl Ph. This Sexual Self. Key points Erotic asphyxiation breath play is the consensual restricting of the airflow of your partner for a brief period of time. Breath play is a sexual activity favored by some members of the BDSM community. Despite many sources on how to safely practice breath play, the activity is still dangerous and can cause permanent damage and death.
Psychological motivations include power dynamics, curiosity, pleasure from risk and panic, trust issues, and the added release of endorphins.
References Chapple, L. About the Author. Online: FacebookTwitter. Read Next. Back Psychology Today.
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Take My Breath Away