Improve your sex life by getting that burning question answered by one of the world's foremost experts on sex, Dr. Debby Herbenick of Indiana University's Kinsey Institute. Submit anonymously here!My girlfriend likes to be choked pretty hard during sex. I’m not particularly into it, but I do it because it makes her orgasms really intense, but I don’t have a lot of experience. Is there a “right” and “wrong” way to choke someone with your hands? Thanks!
Sarah: I’m glad that you seem to understand the risk of what you’re doing. If you can just “casually” cut off your partner’s air without really giving much thought to pressure, I’m pretty sure that makes you a murderer, or at least a manslaughterer. Either way, a bad end to a good night no matter how you cut it—er, choke it? In this situation, I’d have a thorough conversation about this with your partner and spend some time in kink forums to get advice from folks who are into this thing and have been for a while.
Update: One of our intrepid kink-loving and kink-experienced readers wrote in to tell us that "choking" is actually using the fingers to cut off arterial bloodflow slightly. There is no actual restriction of breath in breath play. The lightheaded feeling should only be achieved with fingertip pressure on the arteries beside the windpipe and not because they can't breathe.
Debby: Although I recognize that some small percentage of people are into choking (and you can often get tips on - hopefully - safer styles of choking through local kink groups), it’s not a kind of behavior I can safely recommend. Unfortunately, there are too many ways people can choke someone and accidentally cause harm or even death. These instances are rare, but they do occur. In my field, these are the kinds of cases that colleagues end up providing expert testimony on and it’s heartbreaking. I’ve heard about too many terrible situations where someone was hurt or died as a result of either an unsafe behavior or a behavior that started out safe, but something went wrong (like, in the heat of the moment the choking or hitting got too rough). Also, legally you should know that the judicial system has a very complicated case with BDSM-related activities. Often, judges/juries find that people cannot consent to their own harm - meaning that, even if you and your girlfriend create a written contract where she outlines that she wants you to choke her, if you choke her and something goes wrong, it could legally be your fault and your contract may mean little if anything.