This Sexual Health Month, we’re looking at a popular trend that’s growing like wildfire in sexual relationships—choking. Choking is a form of breath play, an exciting form of BDSM designed to provide a feeling of euphoria and heightened pleasure. But, is choking right for you? Let’s do a deep dive into this kinky and trendy phenomenon.

What is Choking?

Commonly referred to as choking, sexual asphyxiation is the act of cutting off someone’s air supply for sexual pleasure. Choking can be done with one’s hands or other BDSM props like hoods, bags, or plastic wrap. Autoerotic asphyxiation is when someone cuts off their own air supply during solo sex.


Why is Choking so Exciting?

When being choked, the air supply to the brain is blocked, therefore releasing hormones such as adrenaline and endorphins. As a result, feelings of euphoria are produced, which is probably why choking is increasing in popularity among young adults and undergrads.

 According to a study of 4,168 randomly sampled undergraduates conducted by the Journal of American College Health, 26.5% of women, 6.6% of men, and 22.3% of trans and non-binary participants reported having been choked in their most recent hookup. In addition, 5.7% of women, 24.8% of men, and 25.9% of trans and non-binary participants reported having choked their partner during their most recent encounters.

Is Choking Safe?

While choking can increase feelings of arousal and contribute to stronger orgasms, it shouldn’t be taken lightly (no pun intended). Before introducing sexual asphyxiation or choking into your sexual relationship, it’s important to discuss your questions and concerns as well as establish rules for safety. Choking should not be introduced in sex without prior consent due to the risks involved in this type of sexual activity.

What Are the Dangers of Choking?

The primary concern with choking is that the individual being choked will not receive enough oxygen to the brain. If the individual goes too long without oxygen, they can become lightheaded, pass out, and potentially lose consciousness.

Sexual asphyxiation is even more dangerous when practiced alone. If you’re going to try choking for pleasure, make sure you discuss any potential conditions with your partner such as asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems.

Since it is difficult to talk when being choked, a safe word isn’t the best choice. Instead, make sure you create a safe action you can perform to let your partner know that you want to stop sexual asphyxiation.

If you are the choker, pay close attention to any possible warning signs that you should stop immediately. These signs include coughing, numbness, pain, blurred vision, discoloration, and muscles going limp.


Choking Seems Intense; Are There Other Types of Breath Play?

Not quite ready to take the plunge into choking? No problem, there are a plethora of other forms of breath play methods you can experiment with to spice up your sex life. Some of these techniques include holding your breath, submerging yourself or your partner underwater, nose pinching, kinging, or Queening (smothering your partner’s face with your genitals), bags, compression on the chest, and so much more. While these methods don’t require a device or hands placed directly around your neck, you still need to be mindful.

Remember, each of these acts is designed to restrict airflow to the brain. Again, it’s imperative that you discuss any pre-existing health issues and create a safe gesture with your partner(s) before you dive in. If the individual being choked appears distressed in any way, stop immediately. In the event of physical injuries or discomfort caused by choking, seek medical attention immediately.

I have to end by stating there are few things better than introducing new moves, tricks, props, and techniques in the bedroom. But, trying new things can also be a bit overwhelming at first. If this hot, growing choking trend turns you on, consider having a conversation with your partner(s) and giving it a try.

Or, maybe you’re not quite ready for choking (aka sexual asphyxiation); that’s perfectly fine. There are still tons of exotic kinks out there that just might be right up your alley. Whether you are interested in choking or other types of breath play, feel free to share your experience with us. Here, you can feel free to kiss and tell!