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Have you ever heard of erotic asphyxiation? Also known as breath play, it’s a sexual practice involving intentionally restricting or cutting off the air supply to the brain to heighten sexual pleasure. Now, before we go any further, it’s important to understand that this can be extremely dangerous and can lead to serious injury or death. So, if you’re considering trying it out, it’s crucial to proceed cautiously and take all necessary safety precautions.

In broad strokes, breath play can be split into three types of acts.

  1. Choking:

Strictly speaking, choking is caused by a foreign object getting stuck in the throat or windpipe, preventing someone from breathing. In non-kinky contexts, choking is most often associated with food. Choking on a c*ck or a dildo is probably more likely in a kink setting (and more controllable than choking on food).

  1. Smothering:

This is similar to choking in that it involves cutting off a person’s air supply, but it’s done by suffocating or stifling (e.g., placing a hand over someone’s nose and mouth) as opposed to lodging something in their throat.

  1. Strangling:

Usually when people say choking what they mean is strangling—constricting blood flow. This is what happens when you put pressure on someone’s carotid arteries, which run along the sides of the neck and supply 70–80 percent of blood volume to the brain.

I was a pretty vanilla person when I tried out breath play for the first time. My partner had put his hand on my throat to lightly hold me down while we were, ahem, engaging in some rough sex and that’s when I realized I kind of enjoyed the feeling of a hand around my throat.

After we were done getting down and dirty, I did my reading up on it and asked if he was comfortable trying it out. After a few weeks of figuring out hand positions, trying on collars that grew ever tighter, and a lot of coughing and spluttering, we figured out what works for both of us.

What do I love the most about breathplay as a sub?

First, it is such a deep act of submission, to let someone control your breathing. The moment I feel a dom/mes’ hand wrap around my throat, I feel extremely vulnerable.

Second, there’s a palpable shift in power dynamics when you can’t breathe. For someone who’s a very bratty sub, it’s very hard to keep grinning when you can’t breathe anymore. All thoughts of rebellion go right out the window.

Third, there’s an intense rush when you can finally breathe again, and all that oxygen rushing into your brain and body gives such a euphoric high, it intensifies arousal even more for me.

And as a domme, there’s nothing quite like watching someone place enough trust and faith in you when it comes to breath play. There’s something to be said about the very sadistic pleasure that comes with feeling a sub squirm under you.

So, if you’re curious and want to give it a try, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Have a “safe word” or signal in place that can be used to indicate that the activity should stop immediately. This can be a word or gesture that is agreed upon beforehand and that is easy to remember and understand.
  2. Have a partner who is experienced and knowledgeable about erotic asphyxiation. They can monitor your breathing and ensure that you’re not in danger. Communication is key!
  3. Be aware of your own physical limitations. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity level as you become more comfortable. Never push yourself beyond what feels safe and comfortable for you.
  4. If you’re covering someone’s nose and mouth, hold your own breath at the same time so you have a better idea of when to stop if you don’t want to wait for the person to tap out. Keep in mind, though, that some people can hold their breath far longer than others.

Consider using tools to aid in the breath play. Some popular tools include:

  • Scarfs or ties can be used to lightly restrict breathing.
  • Ball gags can be adjusted to allow for different levels of restriction.
  • Masks that are designed specifically for breath play.
  • Hand-over-mouth method, where one partner covers the other’s mouth with their hand to restrict breathing.

And hey, some people may find the idea of erotic asphyxiation arousing and exciting, but may not actually want to engage in the practice themselves. This is totally normal and should be respected. Everyone has different desires, boundaries, and limits, and it’s important to communicate and respect those boundaries with your partner. While some people may find it consensual and exciting, others may feel coerced into participating and can experience trauma as a result. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that individuals interested in erotic asphyxiation seek education and training from experienced and reputable sources before attempting it.

Make sure to have open communication with your partner about boundaries, limits, and expectations before engaging in any form of breath control play. Always have a plan in case of emergency and know CPR in case of accidents.

After you’re done with breath play, it is very common to notice symptoms like

  • coughing
  • disorientation
  • muscle weakness
  • numbness
  • drowsiness
  • loss of coordination

Do not be alarmed, as long as you and your partner engage in aftercare, which can include massaging your body down, breathwork, and other grounding practices, you should be fine.

Breath play can be a thrilling and exciting experience, but it’s crucial to always prioritize safety. Remember to proceed cautiously, use a safe word, have an experienced partner, and be aware of your physical limitations. Happy exploring!

Writer Gayathri RN


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