Breathless: The Dark Side of Breathplay

Breathplay is a sexual activity involving the restriction of oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal. So here’s my story…

I’ve been taking Krav Maga and MMA classes for about three years now. I’ve been kicked, punched, thrown—everything that could possibly happen over the course of a fight has happened to me at one time or another.

I’ve had my arm almost pulled out of my socket, my ankle twisted within inches of breaking and, of course, I’ve been choked out. I can still remember every time that it’s happened, coming to on the gym floor, overwhelmed by the smell of sweat and the bright lights above me.

It’s because of those associations that I was at first taken ainback when my girlfriend of six months asked me if I wanted to engage in breathplay.

choke me, baby

“Erotic asphyxiation?!”

“Breathplay?” I asked. We were at dinner in a dimly lit Italian restaurant on the east side.

“You know,” she said, pulling a mussel out of its shell, “Choke sex.”

I coughed and almost spilled my wine.

“Excuse me?”

“Choke sex,” she said again. “Don’t tell me you’ve never thought about it. Wrapping your big, thick hands around my neck or me trying to do the same with you. Maybe with a tie, even, since I’m smaller than you.”

I didn’t say anything for a minute.

“Come on,” she said. “Live a little. You get choked out all the time. Doesn’t it feel great, kind of?”

I had to admit, getting choked out in the ring, even if it was by another guy, did feel kind of fun. There was a rush to it, coming back into the world full of oxygen.

“I guess,” I said.

In the end, she got me to agree to trying it at a later date. I told her I wanted to look into it first. She said I didn’t need to, she knew everything we needed to do. Her girlfriend Rachel had told her all about it.

I thought back to the last few times I saw Rachel and the fact that she always had a scarf around her throat. To hide the bruises, I told myself now.

Our first session of choke sex

At first, I was hesitant. I was inside her, could feel her tightening around me, and didn’t really want to wrap my hand around her throat. She pulled at it, and eventually I did.

She started breathing heavier, telling me to squeeze harder. I didn’t want to hurt her, so I increased the pressure slowly. My girlfriend’s eyes began to flutter and she started bucking against me. Soon, she was moaning, deep in her own orgasm. When she looked down, I released my hand and watched the color flood back into her cheeks.

“Oh my god,” she said as I rolled off her. “That was amazing.”

She wiped the sweat off her brow before taking me in her mouth to finish me off.

As I began to cum, she pulled me out of her mouth, jerking me off as she did. I was moaning loud, but I could hear her over that, anyway.

“Now just imagine THAT with the high you get from getting choked out. Next time, it’s your turn, baby. After you fuck me like that, again.”

Breathplay, explained. Yes, it can kill you…

If you’re going to practice breathplay, the first step is to be informed. Almost all sex therapists and other sex professionals will say, in no uncertain terms, DON’T DO IT. It can cause, as you might’ve guessed, a dizzying death for you or your partner.

erotic asphyxiation

Even if both members involved say they’re into it, experts still say that it should never, ever be done.

This kink falls into the category of BDSM sex activities, but it’s on a whole new level. I wasn’t completely informed when we first tried it, but I’ve since learned more about it, making it as safe as I can when doing it with my girlfriend.

Erotic asphyxiation, the technical term for choke sex, can be incredibly dangerous, so it’s important to practice it the right way.

First of all, you never, EVER want to do it alone. Autoerotic asphyxiation, more commonly known as sexual hanging more often than not ends in death. Celebrities (like David Carradine) and everyday people alike (just do a Google search if you don’t believe me) have both died from it.

Think about it: you’re alone, looking for a thrill, but if you end up choking yourself out, how can you get yourself down? You can’t.

It’s as simple as that. So when you’re planning on trying this, do it with a partner.

Still on board? Well, if you’re still gonna give this a go, it’s important to know what’s going on and how to do it properly.

What makes choke play so inviting?

And why do so many people want to do it if it’s so dangerous?


Well, there’s science to back up what happens during choke sex. When the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, hypoxia occurs. Hypoxia is said to produce a sense of euphoria that many people—both women and men—say helps to enhance your orgasm.

To add onto that, when pain is experienced, your body releases endorphins, which trigger a release of dopamine into the blood stream.

If you’re not familiar with either of those terms, let me break it down easy: you want endorphins and you want dopamine floating around in your bloodstream. They make you feel great.

These two releases, combined with the pleasure derived from cumming, make it easy to see why breath play might be an attractive BDSM activity to try with your partner.

There are a couple of different ways to do it

First, there is choking, which is where the term choke sex obviously comes from. Using a hand to put pressure on the throat. As I mentioned above, autoerotic asphyxiation is done by hanging oneself (though there have been cases of couples using hanging as a method for breath play).

Another method would be using an object such as a tie or a rope to constrict the throat (not from a hanging position, though).

Yet another option that some people use, though we haven’t tried it yet, is using a bag or a gag to stop the flow of air into the mouth of the person getting choked.

All of these obviously offer risks—there is no completely safe way to engage in breath play. None. There just isn’t.

Communication is incredibly important before, during, and after

Both people involved need to be able to say no or stop or anything else to communicate what’s going on. If they feel like they’re going to pass out, it’s obviously the best course of action to stop. No one wants to asphyxiate their lover.

Explicitly stating what can or cannot be done beforehand, too, is important. If using a hand to choke is considered okay by both of you, great, don’t bring a tie into the act and think that it’ll be okay.

The location of the communication is important, too. You don’t want to do it in bed or where you normally have sex.

We did it in a restaurant. While it took me off guard, I’d rather it have been done there than right before the moment.

We planned it out ahead of time. If we hadn’t, I know I wouldn’t have done it..

Be prepared for the inevitable “pass out”

One thing to always be prepared for is having your partner pass out.

There’s no scientific way to predict when any given individual will pass out—no matter what you may read otherwise, every individual is different and it could happen at any time.

That being said, if you’re going to engage in breath play of any sort, it’s good to make sure the person doing the choking—the Dom—is trained in CPR.

YOU SHOULD KNOW: When a person loses oxygen and passes out, they start to lose brain cells. It may not seem like that big of a deal to lose brain cells (we do it all the time with alcohol, weed, etc), the longer a person is passed out, the more dangerous it becomes.

Even if they don’t die, they could suffer permanent brain damage without proper and immediate care and treatment. Beyond brain damage, there are also a ton of other possible side effects to think about, such as physical injury to the throat (and larynx), raised blood pressure, and more.

Final Thoughts On Breathplay

There’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re thinking about engaging in breathplay. It doesn’t matter how much in love or lust you are with your partner—there are risks and dangers around every proverbial corner.

It may give you the best orgasm of your life—if you’re my girlfriend, at least—but on the other hand, it could also just as easily kill you. One wrong move and it’s all over.

Is an orgasm really worth that much? To some people it is, and that’s why it’s important to go over the steps above and practice in the safest way possible.

Remember to communicate and remember to be open about the experience at all points. Without those things, I’d definitely say it isn’t worth it.

*the images on this page are from this tumbler blog


About ME

I'm Dave. Chief cook and bottle washer here at Mr. Racy

A few things you should know about me.

I'm white collar. Love my sex toys. Big fan of intelligent, sexy women. Fluent in English, Profanity and Sarcasm.

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