In today’s rapidly evolving world of sexual exploration, one act stands out for its soaring popularity, yet divisive nature: choking during sex. Both celebrated and criticized, this act demands our attention, especially when the lines of consent blur.
Understanding the Appeal
- Enhanced Pleasure: Choking can induce a state of euphoria. As explained by Dr. Giuseppe Aragona, the reduced oxygen to the brain creates a lucid, semi-hallucinogenic state. Once oxygen returns, dopamine and serotonin flood the system, resulting in a pleasurable sensation.
- Power Dynamics: Introducing choking can intensify the dominant-submissive dynamic in a BDSM scenario. As Caroline D’Arcy, a sexologist and women’s coach, explains, this act heightens intensity and presence, making it easier to stay in the moment.
Risks and Concerns
- Physical Dangers: Choking has real dangers. Regular heavy pressure on the throat can lead to long-term damage. If done improperly, it can result in serious medical conditions like strokes, cardiac arrest, or even death.
- Non-consensual Choking: A concerning trend is the act of choking without prior consent. As the story highlights, many women, especially the younger generation, report being choked without being asked, blurring the lines between pleasure and violation.
- Misinformation and Lack of Education: The misrepresentation of choking in media, especially in sources like “50 Shades of Grey” or certain pornographic content, misleads individuals into perceiving it as a benign act. It’s crucial to separate fiction from reality and recognize that real-life practices require in-depth knowledge and understanding.
The Imperative of Consent
Consent is paramount. It cannot be stressed enough that any sexual act, especially one with potential risks like choking, should never be performed without clear, enthusiastic, and ongoing consent from all parties involved. Anna’s story is a cautionary tale. She recalls instances where she’s been choked without warning, emphasizing, “You know what’s sexy? Asking me.”
Navigating the Terrain of Choking in Intimacy
If couples choose to explore this act, they should educate themselves and establish boundaries and safe words. Dr. Aragona recommends understanding the neck’s anatomy, applying pressure on the sides rather than the front, and always having a “tap out” signal.
As an alternative, many kinksters are considering “fantasy chokes”, where the act simulates choking without risking injury.
The act of choking during intimacy is a double-edged sword, offering heightened sensations on one side and potential dangers on the other. It’s essential to approach this act with thorough knowledge, clear communication, and unwavering respect for one’s partner’s boundaries and wishes.