Which is the most dangerous erotic practice of them all? Human ingenuity invented many candidates: a badly performed fisting, in example, can tear the anus and the intestine; scat exposes to infections and chronic pathologies of the liver; a trivial bondage error can cause anything from tendon and nerve lesions to death, as we sometimes read in the news. You can easily find even worse contestants, from zoophilia-transmitted parasites to the permanent lesions you risk with some forms of body modification, from the HIV contagion of conversion parties to strokes caused by the abuse of popper and other substances widely used in some “transgressive” circles. Yet this is nothing compared to the real unusual sex killer.
Looking at the statistics, the most frequently lethal erotic activity is breath control. Strangling, smothering and other “games” performed with the purpose of reducing brain oxygenation thus amplifying the pleasure of other sexual practices. Neurology confirms that it works. The news have always reminded us instead of how it amounts to a real Russian roulette.
As reliable sources show, every day on average three persons die by doing this… alone. To this chilling figure you then have to add the incidents among couples – and that is not the end of it yet.
In addition to these thousand deaths and more per year there are in fact many unrecorded cases of cumulative damages: survivors who – often unwittingly –kill some of their cerebral cells every time they indulge in these games. When the symptoms eventually arise there is nothing they can do anymore, and some rare yet concrete forms of ischemic cerebropathy even cause a brain necrosis which slowly expands until the subject dies.
Erotic culture is also made of this: knowing and being able to distinguish extreme but innocuous practices from those that look simple yet are very risky or lethal.
This is why, as a specialized divulgator, I was shocked to learn that in my very city a club is organizing a regular party dedicated to suffocation. I thought it was just a bad joke, but looking at their website – which I won’t link – I got a confirmation. Among lots of advertising clearly geared toward insecure, inexperienced (and surely uninformed of the dangers) customers, it was plainly written how they are actual ‘breath control nights’ featuring such niceties as ‘dominatrixes who’ll trample your throat’.
Readers of my website know that, among other things, for many years I have been organizing public and private BDSM parties. So, before anybody thinks this is an attack against a competitor, I want to explicitly state that I am a great supporter of darwinism: if there are people who knowingly enjoys to risk their lives, they have all the rights to do so and I am actually very happy if they can find a place for that. By the same logic, those who are happy to take responsibility for inciting their customers to possibly suicide are right in making a business out of that and I wish them huge profits.
Key for all of this is however to be aware of the choices you are making. Several times in my career I happened to “save” overenthusiastic and underexperienced people who were unwittingly approaching extreme eroticism in a too dangerous way. In this case I felt I had at the least to publicly warn the potential victims of their unwary ignorance. If you really don’t want to play ‘safe, sane and consensual’, do it at least as informed persons.