• Alexandra Gold

Erotic Breath Control

The Clinician's Guide to Autoerotic Asphyxiation


Autoerotic Asphyxiation is defined as blocking or suffocating oneself or another to gain heightened sexual pleasure. Some activities practiced may include choking, barriers such as bags, masks, and gags, drowning, smothering and strangulation, and breath control play.


Erotic breath control is the umbrella term for these practices.


People enjoy erotic breath control for a variety of reasons — submission, dominance, and increased intimacy being some.


There is a high that one experiences when the arteries on the side of the neck or the carotid arteries are compressed. When it occurs, the sudden loss of oxygen to the brain and the accumulation of carbon dioxide can increase the release of adrenaline and then endorphins, causing what some describe as feelings of lightheadedness, pleasure, and giddiness, all of which will heighten masturbatory sensations.


There is also the potential for injury — skin irritation from tape on the mouth, coughing, trouble breathing, neck pain, and fainting. If the blockage is constant and unending, brain damage may occur.


When considering breath play, it is important to ask yourself and your partners these questions:


  • Have you engaged in breathplay before?

  • Are you aware of the potential risks of breath play?

  • Do you have any allergies to adhesives? (to test for allergic reactions, place a small amount of the adhesive on the arm and test for a reaction)

  • Do you have any pre-existing injuries to the lungs or heart?

  • Do you have working scissors on hand to cut any cloth, rope, gag, or bag that is being used?


Always come prepared to negotiate and learn the likes, dislikes, allergies, and concerns of your play partner. This will make the play safer and more pleasurable for all.


While these are the common concerns and thoughts surrounding breathplay, the medical and physical effects are still in the process of being researched.

For more information:

Take Your Breath Away: Basics of Breath Play from Idaho BDSM

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