Doin’ It With Dr. V: Answers About Erotic Asphyxiation

David Carradine’s bizarre death has left us all wondering, WTF? A final photo showed he was found possibly in a similar situation to late INXS singer, Michael Hutchence— left hanging with hard on. Both are suspected of dying from a kinky kind of fetish called erotic asphyxiation. But what does that mean exactly? And can you live to tell the tale?

While most people find sex pretty killer as is, when you toy with erotic asphyxiation (EA) it can actually be deadly. Hey, it even took the life of a ninja, David Carradine. So, this is the first, and probs the last, naked time naughtiness Dr. V will not endorse. In fact, I still worry about my ex who liked to use his corporate office ties in a not-so professional way. Depending on who you ask, from 250 to 1000 deaths a year are attributed to this fetish and most victims are men under thirty. Although, some argue that number is much higher and families would rather say the men were suicidal, then reveal they were into freaky sex. Let’s just agree, asphyxiation is not for the faint of heart, literally. So, I’m going to give you the bad news first, and work my way up to the somewhat sexier stuff.

People who like to get down and knocked out with EA call themselves “gasper.” Just like role playing or bondage, EA is considered a sex game. Basically, the gist is, using a noose, a plastic bag, tight corsets, hoods or some other suffocation device, or even simply holding your breath, pinching your partners nose, or sitting on their face, a person, while turned on, is deprived of oxygen for a short period of time. This lack of air to the brain gives them that seemingly “hypnotic euphoria” that comes just before the loss of consciousness. This is where things get tricky. Timing is everything. You don’t want to become unconscious in your quest to orgasm, especially if you’re alone.

But blacking out isn’t all there is to worry about. Sometimes, the choking can cause your body to involuntarily stimulate your cartoid sinus which, in turn, shocks the heart into cardiac arrest.

And even if you successful achieve EA, the damage is done. Depriving your brain of oxygen causes permanent brain damage. Like any high, that ecstasy gasper are looking for is the result of brain cells dying.

Weirder still, EA used to be thought of as a cure for erectile dysfunction dating back to the 17th Century. Supposedly the idea came from public hangings, where people noticed that the dude who was strung up would get hard, and some even ejaculated involuntarily. So, impotent men were encouraged by doctors to try EA. But like most medicine back in the day, they had it all wrong.

The truth is, orgasm has a lot to do with breath. Synchronizing your breathing with your sex partner helps you both climax, and, according to Tantra experts, men can even stave off premature ejaculation by breathing with each thrust. And let’s not forget the hotness that is heavy breathing. So, it’s no wonder people like to play with air. If you ask any gasper, they’ll tell you the more intense orgasm comes when you simultaneously suffocate until you’re in a dreamy, nearly unconscious state.

Gaspers would also argue, EA has a lot to do with their predilection for S&M power plays. One vamp wrote that she enjoys the escape, the rush of adrenaline, the light-headed feeling, complete loss of control, and the naughty flirtation with danger that EA brings. EA is obviously a sexual fetish that is not particularly safe, but there are precautions that can be taken by those who insist on practicing it. Vamp warns that you should never surprise someone with EA, should never do it alone, and should definitely come up with a safe word. Gaspers have got to take precautions because they get off by literally putting their life in someone else’s hands. So, it’s not just about pleasure, it’s also about trust.

As for Dr. V, I’d rather gradually learn to trust someone with the usual life trials than test them with my life. But that’s just me.

Hi, I’m Dr. V. I’m not a real doctor, I just play one on the Internet. What I am is a lady, a lady who is a fool for love! And I love nothing more than sex. My deepest desires have happily lead me on many adventures in the sack, but they have also, sadly, made me one of my gyno’s most valuable players. But I’ve lived to tell the tale(s)! So, from time to time, I will dish the dirt on everything from getting freaky to getting freaked out. And please, if you have a question, email me. You know I love to read your smut too!