Control Play: A Dangerous Way To Get Pleasure
Control Play is a complicated issue, as some people really
enjoy it and continue to do it without negative effects,
while others have suffered brain damage and even death from
it. We of course DO NOT recommend or endorse such
activities. The following article is simply to provide educational
information regarding this topic.
Control Play is also known as Erotic Asphyxiation, auto-erotic
asphyxiation (if solo), breath games, breath play, hypoxyphilia,
scarfing, gaspers, choke chicks, airwalkers and other names.
Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D., CEO
Member of American Association of
Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists
( AASECT )
is the process of limiting or restricting air and/or the supply
of oxygen to the brain. Below are more specific examples of it-
The process of limiting or restricting air and/or the supply of
oxygen to the brain WHILE ALONE.
This usually involves compression of the carotid arteries to prevent
blood from reaching the brain.
This involves somehow reducing the level of oxygen in the air
available to breathe (usually gradually).
This is a type of play that involves being suspended by the
The process of making someone more conscious of, directing, or
using breath in play. The process of role-playing or bringing
about the psychological state of traditional breath play without
using traditional methods.
Do People Do It?
pleasure derived from strangulation during sex can be physical
or psychological or both. Each type of pleasure can be quite compelling
on its own, but put them together and the combination can create
the motivation for a dangerous habit as evidenced by the death
of the actor David Carradine.
physical pleasure occurs because the brain's oxygen supply gets
reduced. This condition is called hypoxia and can lead to a lucid
semi-hallucinogenic state. Couple that state with an orgasm and
some people find the sensation very gripping. The problem is that
there's no sure way (or even a somewhat sure way) to know when
you are at the point of no return from brain damage and death.
is quite powerful to feel yourself restricted in any way that
involves the face or throat. People use a variety of techniques
to experience this. One example is by using a gasmask or hood.
The gasmask or hood makes for a secluded sensation allowing the
wearer to feel like they are escaping into their own world while
experiencing sexual activity. It also provides a feeling of tightness
and restriction which also can be a turn on to some.
are many examples a few others include- using a corset or other
restricting device that creates a sense of pain and restriction.
Other people simply hold their breath and some even do this in
public as an added "deviance" factor.
deprivation, meaning having a lower amount of oxygen available
(hypoxia) or no oxygen (anoxia) can make people feel light headed
as it is pleasurable to some people. Depending on the person one
can enjoy different levels of this.
people also enjoy the sheer level of panic or risk that comes
with such an activity, much like people that jump out of an airplane
for the thrill. However, most people who claim to enjoy the risk
need to have some level of safety in order to enjoy it. Like those
jumping out of an airplane, a parachute is not taken for granted.
These people enjoy risk and letting go while knowing precautions
have been taken to provide security in order to do it. However,
no amount of precautions will take all the risk out of doing this.
You Should NOT Do It- Risk
for fatal accidents occurring is always present with erotic asphyxiation.
It is estimated that between 250 and 1,000 deaths occur yearly
in the United States as a result of "asphyxiophilia." Obviously,
this means that there is extreme risk-taking in doing something
are some of the main ways one can cause damage or death
from doing this activity-
trachea is commonly known as the windpipe. Some people who practice
breath control put pressure on the trachea during play which can
lead to the trachea rupturing. This will cause intense pain, gasping
for air, and thick secretions in the throat. This is a medical
emergency and proper medical care must be sought immediately.
kind of pressure can also cause Tracheitis, which is an inflammation
of the trachea. The signs of tracheitis are thick secretions of
the throat, swelling, croup like cough, sore throat, and fever.
This may seem minor at first and it may correct itself if the
throat is rested however, this can ultimately turn deadly very
larynx is the enlarged upper end of trachea below the root of
the tongue. It is the organ for the voice and consists of nine
cartilage bound together by elastic membranes and moved by muscles.
It is a very intricate structure and can be easily injured.
fracture of the Larynx is a serious injury that needs immediate
medical attention. Some signs of fracture or compression of larynx
are loud breathing, choking and gasping respiration, weak and
fast pulse, and blue skin. If left untreated it will usually lead
to death. It can also seriously damage the voice if a person does
manage to survive the injury.
is also a complication of any form of compression of the larynx.
It is essentially an inflammation of the larynx. Some symptoms
of laryngitis are loss of voice, hoarseness, pain, and sometimes
Play often puts stress on the blood vessels of the neck, especially
the carotid arteries. Post-traumatic carotid dissection is essentially
stretching and small tearing of the artery brought on by trauma
such as strangulation. The symptoms of this tearing are vision
loss, weakness, numbness, and/or speech difficulties. These events
may be temporary or permanent. The only treatment is to get to
a doctor and have it evaluated.
stroke is basically a sudden loss of consciousness and paralysis
caused by a hemorrhage in the brain, blockage of a blood vessel
with a blood clot / foreign object, or a rupture of an artery
in the brain. Sometimes during strangulation or breath play, plaque
(a fatty substance in the blood vessels) is dislodged. If that
happens it can lodge itself in the blood vessel and lead to a
are unfortunately very common and a few symptoms of one are loss
of consciousness, paralysis, unequal pupils (large one on side
of stroke), paralysis usually on one side, sweating, slightly
lowered temperature, and speech disturbances.
are more prone to stroke if you have had one before, have a history
of heart or blood pressure problems, are overweight, in poor physical
condition, or have a cholesterol problem.
Fracture in the Cervical Spine will usually cause pain, possible
paralysis, fainting, and suppression of reflexes. A pinched nerve
in the area of the cervical spine will mimic a lot of the symptoms
of a fracture and is also very serious. In the long term, if left
untreated, it can cause constant pain and loss of muscle tone.
Remember, hanging was originally not used to strangle someone
but instead used to break their neck.
Obstruction by the Tongue
simple thing to overlook is that if your partner passes out their
tongue might fall back in their throat and continue to suffocate
of Vomit, Mucus, Saliva
a person can inhale his or her own vomit, mucus, or saliva. This
is very dangerous. Usually a person will not actually draw the
materials completely into the lungs. The symptoms of aspiration
of foreign materials is coughing, unconsciousness, cyanosis, cardiac
arrest, and cessation of breathing.
that said, Breath Play or Erotic Asphyxiation is clearly very
risky behavior. It does not necessarily mean that someone who
enjoys it is sick or dysfunctional, as many people take major
risks with their health and life all the time and are normal,
healthy individuals. The bottom line is that there are other ways
to experience sexual pleasure than risking your health and life.
While we encourage people to always march to the beat of their
own drummer, we hope you do it safely!