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Choke Me, Sir! The Ins and Outs of a Choking Kink

So, you want your partner to take your breath away by indulging your choking kink? Here’s what you need to know before trying the dangerous sex act.
Grindr
&
Editorial team
April 2, 2024
May 21, 2024
8
min. read
Table of Contents

Disclaimer: This article discusses intense and potentially life-threatening sexual activities. Participants should educate themselves and exercise extreme caution before playing out a choking kink.

We don’t blame you for wanting your man’s big, strong hands grasping onto every inch of you — including your neck. The very thought gets us choked up.

Whether you’re into hardcore bondage or just want a gentle reminder of who’s in charge, indulging in a choking kink can be an exhilarating way to explore intense sensations and Dominant-submissive dynamics.

But choking your neck isn’t the same as choking his chicken with your tight bussy. Proper hand placement, boundary setting, and safety measures ensure you emphasize the erotic in “erotic asphyxiation.”

If you’re debating some good old-fashioned, consensual strangulation, here’s what you need to know to take each other’s breath away without flatlining.

What’s breath play? 

In WebMD terms, breath play is the consensual restriction of airflow for a brief period. You can either choke your partner (erotic asphyxiation) or choke yourself (autoerotic asphyxiation). There are several ways to carry out the fantasy: 

  • Applying pressure to the neck 
  • Obstructing air from the nose and mouth
  • Smothering with instruments, like bags or pillows
  • Applying pressure to the chest to restrict deep breaths, sometimes called corseting

For many, it’s a chance to explore taboo sexual activities in a consensual, controlled environment. It plays into psychological aspects of sex, such as power dynamics, risk and reward, and building trust and intimacy. In addition, your body releases feel-good endorphins when the flow of oxygen is obstructed, which can heighten pleasure and orgasm.

Despite the power exchange, healthy breath play goes to great lengths to ensure everyone is comfortable and capable of tapping out at any time.

The dangers of breath play

If you’ve only seen choking in X-rated entertainment, you aren’t getting the whole story. Hardcore porn eschews the dangers of choking and asphyxiation, keeping all the behind-the-scenes safety precautions out of view. In fact, many BDSM dungeons and meetups prohibit breath play because of the potentially life-threatening dangers.

Before engaging in erotic asphyxiation, you and your partner should be fully aware of all the risks. 

  • Hypoxia: When the brain receives insufficient oxygen, it enters a state of hypoxia. This can cause confusion, restlessness, rapid heartbeat, and bluish skin. Extended hypoxia can lead to unconsciousness, brain and organ damage, and even death. 
  • Physical injury: Applying pressure to the neck or chest can cause bruising, broken blood vessels, or more severe injuries to the throat, windpipe, and spinal cord. Even with cautious hand placement, you risk causing physical harm due to the delicate structure of the neck. Likewise, you may underestimate your strength or physical resilience in the heat of the moment. 
  • Vision loss: Asphyxiation can cause hemorrhaging that leads to permanent vision loss or seeing double. 
  • Heart problems: Sudden changes in blood pressure and heart rate during breath play can be dangerous for individuals with pre-existing heart conditions, potentially causing a heart attack or other cardiovascular complications. 
  • Psychological effects: You or your partner may experience fear, panic, or long-lasting trauma, especially if breath play doesn’t go as expected. Even if boundaries are respected, you may feel the opposite of intimacy and trust. It’s not uncommon to feel loneliness, depression, or anxiety after being choked. Ensure you and your partner enthusiastically consent and are aware of the risks. Engage in aftercare and discussion at the end of any session.
  • Legal consequences: Even if a partner agrees to choking during sex, it’s your word against theirs if the relationship goes sour. And in situations of severe injury or accidental death, not even a Christian Grey-style lust contract will absolve you in a court of law. 

Given the risks involved, being fully informed and taking extensive precautions is a must, and that includes training or advice from experienced practitioners in the BDSM community.

Alternatively, just don’t do it. There are plenty of safe kinks and fetishes that play into domination using low-risk activities, such as sex games, dirty talk, and erotic role-playing.

First things first: Always build communication and consent

Like any new addition to your bedroom routine, choking requires safety protocols and explicit, enthusiastic consent. Here are four ways to prep before erotic asphyxiation:

1. Talk it out

Sex is full of surprises. Losing consciousness shouldn’t be one of them. Communication is vital to all great sex, but especially to risky sexual activities like choking or being choked by a partner. 

If you’ve never talked about breath play with your partner, don’t start the conversation by grabbing their neck. You and your partner are in an emotionally and physically vulnerable position during intercourse, and they may agree to something they wouldn’t do under normal circumstances. 

Talk out every detail — whether you’re using one or both hands, what body parts (e.g., chest, neck, mouth, nose) are off limits, and how you’ll signal to start, stop, or adjust pressure. Likewise, discuss whether other sexual activities and kinks are permitted during breath play, like verbal humiliation, sensory play, and slapping.

2. Build an exit plan

Safe words let us tap out when things feel too overwhelming. But you may not be able to physically say a safe word while you’re being choked. Create a safety gesture or action, such as shaking your head, snapping your fingers, or holding a ball that you let go of. A gesture like raising one, two, or three fingers can signal to increase, decrease, or immediately stop applying pressure. 

Even with safety precautions in place, you may become too lightheaded, feel confusion or panic, or lose consciousness before being able to use your safe word or gesture. It’s another reason to seriously consider the potential risks and only attempt breath play with a trustworthy and informed partner. This isn’t a smart practice for new or casual relationships

3. Consent should be enthusiastic and informed

Each partner should eagerly and enthusiastically agree to choke play. Make sure everyone is fully aware of potential bodily and emotional harm. And remember that consent can be rescinded at any time, including during sex.

4. Practice aftercare

Domination and submission require a high level of emotional and physical trust. One way to build deeper intimacy is by taking care of one another afterward. Usually, the Dom will comfort the sub after sex to help them calm down, recover, and feel safe.

Aftercare is anything that brings you both comfort, including cuddling, praising and affirmations, or a relaxed night on the couch watching Netflix.

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How to choke your partner as safely as possible

Real talk: There’s no guaranteed safe way to choke out your partner. Even light choking can damage the windpipe or fill your partner with panic. But you can take extra measures to be as safe as possible.

And when it comes to solo play, just say no. Autoerotic asphyxiation is incredibly dangerous, as there’s nobody around to untie restraints or uncover blocked airways. Experts estimate hundreds die in America each year due to autoerotic accidents. No nut is worth that kind of risk.

If you’re still determined to try out breath play with a partner, here are some steps you can take to minimize risk:

1. Start slow and soft

Good chokers are like great tops — they pay attention to their partner’s body and take extra care to keep everything comfortable and consensual. Start soft and progressively ease into harder choking, communicating the entire time. 

Beginners should keep it simple. Don’t let your intro to choking occur in the middle of a wild sex position. Start face-to-face and gently rest your hand on their neck without applying any pressure. Your hand should be totally relaxed. Ask your partner if everything is OK before continuing. Lightly apply pressure without holding onto their neck or restricting airflow. Check in with your partner again. Finally, squeeze a little tighter, checking in with your partner to see if the pressure is OK. 

The partner being choked should be able to feel the euphoric effects in just a few seconds, which is when pressure should be removed. Serious injury can occur in as little as 30 seconds, so stick to short bursts. 

2. Be careful where you grip

Here’s the secret to breath play: It has nothing to do with your partner’s windpipe. Smothering or gagging blocks air from coming in, and choking should focus on restricting blood flow to the brain — not airflow to the lungs.

Feel for a pulse along the carotid arteries, the two major blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to the brain. Locate each artery with your thumb and fingers and apply very mild pressure on either side with your palm wrapped around the neck.

Don’t pull on the neck or spine, move the neck side to side, or place pressure on the windpipe. Crushing the trachea can cause serious injury.

Choking shouldn’t hurt. It shouldn’t trigger the gag or cough reflex, either. If you experience pain, your partner needs to readjust their grip and hand positioning.  

3. Let them guide you

The best way to find a comfortable amount of pressure is to let the partner being choked control the action. They can place their hands on the choker’s hands or wrist to give immediate and continuous feedback. Pulling the wrists towards the neck can signal harder pressure, and pushing the wrists away can signal a softer grip.

Stop immediately if your partner seems to be fading out of consciousness.

Do guys get you lightheaded?

We don’t recommend searching for a stranger to explore your choking kink. But you can find a dominant daddy with a strong pair of hands on Grindr. The Grindr app is your place to find a man who will take your breath away (metaphorically). Get started today!

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