Giuseppe Elio Cammarata / EyeEm

The popularity of sexual choking is soaring, but health experts say erotic breath play can be deadly if precautions aren't taken.

The practice of sexual asphyxiation -- depriving a partner of oxygen during sex -- is more popular with men than women. It is also more popular among ghey males than lesbians.

People who are into breath play say it can heighten sexual arousal and make orgasms more intense.

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According to a 2020 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 20% of men say they choked a partner to near unconsciousness during sex. Only 12% of women said they choked a partner during foreplay.

Women and girls have reported being choked during sex without their consent and it has been used in controversial "rough sex" defenses.

One man was acquitted of murder when he successfully convinced a jury that his partner accidentally died during rough sex.

Here's what experts say about Erotic Asphyxiation (EA):

"EA is truly very risky and may lead to serious injury, including cardiac arrest, brain damage from lack of oxygen, and death," says Janet Brito, PhD, LCSW, CST, who specializes in sex therapy.

"Knowing EA may lead to experiencing irregular heart rate, cardiac arrest, and death, most experts advise against it."

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"Before a couple considers EA, it's best to set time aside to communicate their interests in detail — specifically what types of boundaries are needed," added Brito.

She said couples should use nonverbal cues to alert a partner if they come dangerously close to passing out.

  • holding something in your hand, such as your keys, and dropping it when you'd like to stop
  • tapping three times on your partner's hand or nearby surface
  • snapping your fingers

 
Brito also says it is important to give consent before erotic breath play begins.

You and your partner should discuss your boundaries before you're in the heat of the moment, and consent should be given at each stage of play.

This has been your Medical Minute.

"Kung Fu" and "Kill Bill" star David Carradine, 72, was found dead earlier today in a Bangkok, Thailand hotel room. Carradine was originally thought to have committed suicide.

But according to a Bangkok newspaper, Carradine's death may be the accidental result of a kinky sex game called erotic asphyxiation which involves temporarily cutting off oxygen to the brain to heighten sexual arousal.

On Thursday, a hotel maid found the star dead in a closet when she opened his suite at around 10 a.m. local time. There were no visible signs of a struggle but reports are now emerging that the actor may have died as a result of a sex-game.

Meanwhile, Thai police have taken back their position that Carradine likely died as a result of a suicide. According to the Bangkok Post, the actor was found naked, curled up inside the wardrobe with one end of a shoelace tied around his penis and the other end fastened around his neck.

Both of his hands were bound with a cord which was also tied around his neck, an unnamed police officer told the newspaper. It is believed Carradine died some 12 to 24 hours before he was found by the hotel maid.

Forensic experts have also reportedly found a footprint on the bed which did not match the shoes worn by the actor. There was also a glass of water in the room and experts are checking to see if the drink had been tampered with.

Official information surrounding his death remains sketchy at this time. [link]