Breath play, also known as erotic asphyxiation (EA), is an area of curiosity. It involves restricting breathing in a sexual context. There is a rising interest in the subject. However, breath play is talked about somewhat casually, and that is concerning.
In a BDSM relationship, the dominant party will be restricting the breathing of a submissive. However, this doesn’t always take place in dom-sub dynamics. There are many ways to participate in breath play, though it isn’t to be taken lightly.
Even though it is reported to heighten sexual activity, there are some concerns about the health, safety, and consent surrounding breath restriction. Moreover, the risk factor is heightened when precautions are not taken. So before you indulge in your fantasy, here are ten crucial things to note.
A study in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found that seven percent of adult women were scared during sex because their partner suddenly tried to choke them. This goes on to prove that you should not at any one point try to restrict your partner’s breath without their consent.
Even if you may wish to try, it does not mean that your partner may be into it as well. Engaging in any type of EA requires prior detailed discussion. Furthermore, both partners must understand the risks involved, including any health issues that may put either of you at high risk.
On the topic of consent comes communication. Safe words might not work, so it is safe to protect yourself with the safe gestures that will communicate to your partner that you want to stop. You can drop keys or tap on your partner’s arm three times.
However, even with this in mind, safe gestures may be missed in the heat of the moment. So partners need to check in on each other constantly. Moreover, it is strictly advised that you are both of sound mind; that is, neither of you is under the influence of drugs or alcohol as this could seriously put you both in danger.
To be clear, many experts on sexual well-being strongly advise against EA. However, if you still wish to try out breath play, some alternatives might make you feel safer. If you are in a dom-sub relationship, you can play around with the power dynamics of holding your breath. There is more freedom and safety doing so. Just don’t hold your breath until you get dizzy or pass out.
Another alternative is to practice tantric breathing. This style of breathing will not deny you any oxygen. Instead, it focuses on concentrated breathing. A mindful meditation aligns your breathing with a partner for an intimate experience.
Please note these risks. Autoerotic asphyxiation is estimated to cause 250 to 1000 deaths per year in the U.S. Because of the restriction in breathing, people participating in EA are likely to suffer from a loss of oxygen which could cause them to fall unconscious to never wake up.
Moreover, if you survive, you can suffer from permanent damage to the brain, heart, and larynx. Even if you take all the proper precautions, you will still experience some side effects like coughing, disorientation, muscle weakness, numbness, drowsiness, and loss of coordination.
Talk To A Sex Therapist
Before you attempt this activity, you will need some education. Reach out to a sex therapist for guidance in terms of anatomy. They can also answer any questions and direct you to additional sources. Adult sex shops also offer tutorials or classes through workshops or training sessions. Put simply; EA needs a lot of education.
Do Not Attempt It Yourself
Again, many experts do not recommend EA. The risks simply outweigh the benefits. Moreover, it is strongly advised to never attempt EA on your own. It can quickly turn fatal. If you try it on your own you might be unable to release yourself. You can tell someone what you attempt to do, but most times, there are many cases of failed self EA, and it is not recommended.