Asphyxiophilia refers to the sexual practice of intentionally depriving oneself of oxygen by in some way reducing the amount of oxygen one breathes in, in order to create sexual arousal or enhance excitement or orgasm.
Asphyxiophilia, which is also called erotic asphyxiation, or when practiced alone autoerotic asphyxiation, can result in severe damage and death.
While it is difficult to get a sense of how common asphyxiophilia is, the practice of autoerotic asphyxiation is referred to in a recent medical review as “a common phenomenon in medicolegal practice”. Perhaps because of this, asphyxiophilia has received attention both in the mainstream media (many celebrities are rumored to have died of autoerotic asphyxiation) as well as in the clinical literature.
- Love, B. Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions, 2001.
- Money, J., Wainwright, G., & Hingsburger, D. The Breathless Orgasm: A Lovemap Biography of Asphyxiophilia. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1991.
- Musshoff, F., Padosch, S.A., Kroener, L.A. & Madea, B. “Accidental Autoerotic Death by Volatile Substance Abuse or Nonsexually Motivated Accidents?” The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology Volume 27, No. 2 (2006): 188-192.