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A Guide to Safe and Responsible Choking

A Guide to Safe and Responsible Choking

Erika Lust | February 06, 2020 | 6 min. read

Are you interested in choking during sex? Perhaps you’ve tried choking in the past or you’ve been asked to choke someone else. Maybe you’ve read a lot about choking in the news recently and you’re terrified at the thought of it. Or maybe you’re one of the many people who have experienced someone trying to choke you during sex without asking for your consent first. Or, of course, you could be one of the millions of people who have seen choking in pornography. Unlike in much of porn for women, a lot of the stereotypical mainstream pornography on the tube sites, choking is presented as a very common fantasy and a normal part of sex. It’s often shown as something that is done on autopilot with no discussion of consent or boundaries beforehand. And it’s almost always shown as something a man does to a woman, we very rarely see it in reverse. Like anything to do with sex, you absolutely can not and should not try to learn about choking from porn.

Choking is a kink, it is not a regular low-risk activity – it can be inherently life threatening if it’s not done properly. It always requires discussion beforehand, consent, and appropriate safety measures. Choking is not something you should ever presume someone likes without speaking to them first. It can be very dangerous so you must do your research, speak to your partner about it and be very careful. Whatever your thoughts on choking, the fact is that a lot of people are very interested in it and it’s now a pretty common kink. Some people who like choking – or erotic asphyxiation – say it can heighten sexual arousal and make orgasms more intense. Other people like it for a huge variety of other reasons. So with this in mind, I want to give you some tips on how to use choking during sex responsibly and safely.

This guide will focus on partnered choking and not solo auto-asphyxiation. Please remember that self administered choking is a more dangerous practice and comes with it’s own unique risks and dangers.

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Step 1. Do your research

Depending on where you live you may be able to visit your local sex shop to attend a workshop and receive proper instructions on how to choke someone safely. Because of the potential dangers, I really recommend speaking to a professional or someone who is experienced in erotic asphyxiation before attempting any activity – they can help you learn the proper anatomy, answer questions and direct you to additional resources. If these facilities are not available to you, you must do your own research at home. Take time to learn about the anatomy of the neck, head and chest. This will help you better understand the limits of pressure and force. Learning the anatomy will also highlight the importance of proper hand placement, or where to place restraints like belts or ties.

Step 2. Boundaries and Expectations

Before any choking takes place, everyone involved must establish boundaries. This discussion should happen well before you are in the heat of the moment and should cover everyone’s expectations aswell as the timing and the intensity of the choking. Be sure to ask yourself (or your partner) these questions before you start:
Do you want to be choked during penetration, during foreplay or closer to climax?

How intense do you want it to be?

What are you looking to experience from this?

What is it about choking that turns you on?

Everyone should know all of the details before you start. And of course consent should still be given at each stage of play, even after these conversations.

Step 3. Safe word gesture

This is very, very important! As with every type of BDSM activity you should have a safe word, but due to the nature of choking it is also recommended that you choose a safe word gesture. This could be anything from holding an object and dropping it when you’d like to stop, or tapping three times on your partner’s hand, or clicking your fingers.

Side note: Do not practice choking or any breath control activity if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You must both be in a clear headspace and able to consent at every stage.

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Step 4. Learn how to touch the neck

It’s very important that when you start using choking with a partner that you gently press on either side of the oesophagus and figure out the pressure that works for them. It’s always best to start lighter than you think, the throat is a very sensitive area so even a little pressure can have a strong effect. Do not increase the pressure or duration of the choke, especially if it’s yours or your partner’s first time trying this.

Pressing on the outside of the throat restricts the blood flow to the brain from two of the main arteries and can lead to the euphoric symptoms of choking. Do not ever push directly on the front of their neck as this can be very dangerous. Use your palm to avoid hitting this area and do not pull your partner’s neck to the side while choking them.

Step 5. Pay attention to your partner

Your partner should be able to answer you if you ask them a question. If they can’t answer you, stop what you’re doing immediately. You should never choke someone so hard that they can’t vocally respond. Make sure you are regularly checking in to get feedback on the pressure that you are applying and where your hands are placed, and pay attention to any verbal and non-verbal cues.

Step 6. Aftercare!

Aftercare is key to every healthy sexual experience. It means that you should be there to support the physical come-down of sex. Aftercare looks different to everyone – maybe it’s cuddling under the duvet, stroking each other’s bodies, or eating some nice food together. Whatever it is be sure to use this time to discuss the sex and the choking, speak about what you liked and what you can adjust for next time to experience even more pleasure!

If you liked my guide to safe choking, make sure you check out my other Lust Guides to the XConfessions App & comment below to suggest what I should cover next time!

Erika Lust is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, and writer who's focus on female pleasure, cinematic values, and ethics in adult cinema have helped to change how pornography is consumed. Erika Lust Films was born in 2004 and since then Erika has ... Read More
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