Extreme Breath-Play Question

Discussion in 'Safety aspects of BDSM' started by divine_marquis, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. divine_marquis

    divine_marquis New Member

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    My sub and I want to live out a rather extreme breath-play fantasy that both of us have had for a long time. I want to emphasize that what I'm about to describe, if we act it out, is an ENTIRELY CONSENSUAL ACT. She has completely agreed to it, and I will in no way be doing anything that is (really) against her will.

    I want to (and she wants me to) choke her into unconsciousness and have my way with her while she is unconscious. I can handle the second part of that rather easily, so my question is this: How can I safely do this so that she does pass out from the asphyxiation, but does not die? Are there any specific facts, anatomical or otherwise, that I should be aware of before doing this? Is there even a safe way to do this at all, or is some level of risk (as I strongly suspect it is) unavoidable? If there is an unavoidable risk of death, what can I do to minimize it? Should I choke her in some specific way? Any information at all on this would be appreciated.

    And before anyone thinks to do so, please don't suggest that we not do this. If that is all you have to say, please do not comment. We both fully understand that there are grievous risks involved, and, I repeat, she has nonetheless entirely consented to the idea. My question is about how to minimize those risks. If, from the information I am able to gather, I come to the conclusion that the level of risk cannot in any way be lowered to a level I deem appropriate, then I won't do it. But as of right now, I am looking only for advice on HOW to safely enact our fantasy.
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  2. RopeRanger

    RopeRanger Member

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    I’ll start this post by saying I’m not a doctor, I don’t play one on TV and I didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night. All joking aside this is a very dangerous fantasy. Have you read the safety FAQ?

    The most common cause of death during breath play is not asphyxiation but heart attack. Lack of oxygen to the brain quickly causes cerebral hypoxia. This is a lack of oxygen to the outer part of the brain. The body begins a series of processes to protect the brain once it detects this lack of oxygen. The next step is transient ischemic attacks or mini-stokes as blood vessels begin to constrict further reducing blood flow. At this point severe cerebral hypoxia causes an elevated heart rate. The increased heart rate and constricted blood vessels can quickly tire the heart leading to cardiac arrest. Many perfectly healthy, young, extremely fit athletes die every year from heart attacks simply because they played so hard they created super-aerobic conditions in their bodies which caused them to drop dead from “mystery” heart attacks.

    Cerebral hypoxia causes seizures. This increases the risk of physical injury on top of asphyxiation and cardiac arrest. This in turn increases the risk that the unconscious person can inhale their own vomit, mucus, or saliva. Ask anyone who has performed CPR on a drowning victim. The first thing they do is vomit in YOUR mouth.

    Minimum requirements for breath play to the point of passing out would include that your partner not have a history of heart or blood pressure problems, they not be overweight, and be good physical condition. You would have to have advanced first aid and CPR training. In the even to cardiac arrest the blood/ox ratio would already be at a dangerous level and brain damage would be a significant risk. You may want to hyper oxygenate by breathing pure O2 beforehand. Unfortunately this will delay blacking out and may actually increase the danger. At least you would have O2 on hand to administer during CPR.

    You should also consider the legal ramifications. If anything unfortunate happens for all intents and purposes you will have choked someone to death. As the Dominant participant their wellbeing is your responsibility. I’m not going to tell you not to pursue your fantasy. Hell, that’s why we’re all here, but I will tell you that it is every bit as dangerous as and probably even more dangerous than you imagine. It is the leading cause of death in the BDSM community. You both need to discuss this with your doctors; investigate the risks; get advanced first aid training and make sure you take every possible measure in mitigate the risks involved .

    I understand if you have to do it, let’s face it, sexuality drives us all, but definitely go into it with knowledge and with minimal risk.
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  3. JettOnly

    JettOnly Member

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    Well said RR
    I just wanted to add
    Once someone is not breathing/heart stopped time is a critical factor
    The brain is now dying
    So having your wicked way with her at this point before trying to revive her would seriously increase the chances that you can't bring her back or if you do she has some level of brain damage

    I doubt it would be easy to find but a mentor who has real experience in this type of play would be good

    Also some hands on experience/training of CPR and quite a bit of medical research would be important

    And as RR says if the worst happens it is most likely you would be legally responsible and end up with some serious jail time
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  4. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

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    Jay Wiseman, one of the most respected BDSMers out there, and a man with medical training, has had long discussions with other medically-trained BDSMers, on how to do breath control play safely, and he has concluded that it is impossible. (And many of the breath control enthusiasts he's debated have since died doing breath control.) Not every instance of breath control will lead to a medical crisis, but every serious session of breath control carries with it the risk of death, permanent brain damage, and other long-term medical problems. About the only 'safety tip' I can give is to make sure that you are not compressing the arteries in her neck and starving the brain of blood as well as oxygen. That's not much of a tip, though. Jett's point about fucking her after she's unconscious is valid, so drop that part of the fantasy entirely. Revive her immediately after she loses consciousness.

    In this case, 'minimizing the risks' really means 'figuring out strategies to reduce the long-term damage' rather than 'reducing the likelihood that a serious incident will occur'.

    RR has already outlined the major medical problems you're likely to encounter, although he failed to mention the risk of brain damage and nerve damage, both of which are quite possible with oxygen-deprivation. So, in planning for this play session, assume that your sub will suffer some sort of serious medical problems after play. She might get lucky and dodge the bullet, but assume she won't. So go and get formal medical training in CPR and first aid, so you know what to do if you need to revive her. Have the proper equipment around to clear her throat if she starts to vomit and begins to choke on it. Make sure you have a phone nearby to call 911 if she suffers a heart attack or if you can't revive her. Make sure she has insurance, in case she needs long-term medical care. Make sure your sub has her will drawn up, in case the worst happens.

    Also, have a lawyer lined up beforehand. If you wind up having to call 911, it's inevitable that you'll be dealing with the police (and quite possibly with your sub's insurance company, since they will sue you to recover their costs even if you aren't charged with a crime). Video-tape your sub giving her informed consent to your play, and video-tape the entire play session so you can prove that she did not revoke her consent at some point after you started playing. Make sure she doesn't struggle or say 'stop' or 'no' during the play, because that will be interpreted as withdrawal of consent. Unfortunately, you can't consent to being assaulted, so her formal consent will not by itself prevent the DA from charging you with a crime, but a tape of her consent might sway a jury.

    Legally, it's a good idea to research breath control as much as possible, so you can make the case that you were both well-informed of the dangers and took precautions, but that's a double-edged sword, because the prosecutor will argue that you knew going into it that your sub had a serious risk of death or injury, and you went ahead anyway; legally that's probably depraved indifference. So if it comes to a trial, expect to be convicted. You might get it overturned on appeal, but juries are generally very hostile to doms.

    Google 'Oliver Jovanovic' and read about his court case. Wikipedia has a good page on People v. Jovanovic. His case is quite different from yours, but it will help you plan for another important contingent, what happens if your sub changes her mind afterward (or decides to go after you for damages related to her medical problems).

    Finally, I am morally obligated to say this: DON'T DO THIS. Hardcore breath control is incredibly dangerous. As RR notes, it's the number one most common way BDSMers die; a police report I read a while ago projects that nationally, about 1000 people die EACH YEAR from various forms of breath play. I understand that it's a fantasy for both you and your sub, but some sexual fantasies are simply too dangerous or physically harmful to indulge. Yes, I'm trying to scare you out of doing this, but honestly, all of the above advice is serious. These are all things you need to expect if things go wrong.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
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  5. sebastian

    sebastian Active Member

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    I just talked with a friend of mine who is an assistant district attorney, and here's what she basically told me.

    What you want to do is illegal, even if no injury occurs and regardless of the sub's consent. Obviously, if no injury occurs, she will never hear about it, and wouldn't try to pursue it even if she did, because the jury won't convict if there's no injury.

    If you have to go to a hospital, the police will get involved guaranteed. Hospitals must report this sort of injury to the police. The police will almost certainly report the matter to the DA's office; choking someone to the point of injury or death is not something they can overlook, even if it's consensual.

    In WI (laws in your area will vary somewhat), strangulation is a felony all on its own. There are several other ways you could be charged (battery, assault, etc), even if your sub is only injured. Even if your sub says that she consented (and even if you have a video tape or something in writing), my friend would still charge you. If your sub dies, my friend is certain she would get a conviction; if she's only injured and you have strong evidence of consent, she says there's some chance the jury might find you innocent, but she thinks conviction is likely. Juries really dislike guys who injure their girlfriends, regardless of the situation.

    The only way she wouldn't charge this as a crime is if there was no evidence who the dom in this case was, or if they couldn't ID the body and therefore had no reason to suspect you.

    If it becomes a civil suit, that video tape will be more useful, since consent is more relevant. Your sub (and her insurance company) couldn't argue she was ignorant of the risks.

    So, again, have your lawyer lined up in advance, and get a video tape of consent. Either that or plan to fill your bathtub with acid to help you dispose of the body.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012

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