I can only imagine what you went through gathering all the information that
is on this website. Whatever it was, it was worth it. My brother died from
AeA in 1992. At the time the police told us that, but people kept
throwing in the whole suicide/homicide twist. They allowed for the
possibility, but never investigated those things, most likely because they
knew better. Based on talking with his girlfriend, I chose to believe it
was an accident. Other people believed what they wanted to believe. Our
mother was convinced it was a homicide and was mad at me for not agreeing
with her. For me, even with all the stigma it entailed, it was still easier
to live with an accident than a suicide or homicide. I believe that God is very organized and gives what we need when we need it. Tonight I needed your site to clarify what happened in each case. I wish I had this information eight years ago, but I am very grateful that it is here now. Thank you for putting this information up. Your head should hit the pillow at night feeling very good about what you have done for people.
Thank you Thank you Thank you.
Just a note to say Thank you for trying to get this information out. I
lost my fiancé 20 years ago. I never received any form of counseling and
was blamed by family members for his death. I lived with him and moved
out, I had no idea he was engaging in this type of lifestyle. I never even
understood what it meant until know. I just buried the pain and went on
I guess now that I am 40, God figures I can deal with it better than when I
was 20. So today I got on the internet and came across your web page. He
was a victim of child abuse and he also tried to control me physically and
mentally that is why I left. Maybe that is what lead him to become
involved in this type of situation.
I know that I cannot bring him back, but maybe I can help save another
I am very sorry for your loss of your loved one. My thoughts and prayers
go out to you and your family and friends. I hope you all have received
the help and counseling needed. I encourage anyone who goes through this
to not bury the pain the way that I have.
With this knowledge I hope that I will be able to heal and possibly help
others who like myself are totally unaware of this type of sexual behavior.
We want to thank you for your article on Autoerotic Asphyxia. We lost
our son on Christmas Eve, two years ago to this. We didn’t
know anything about this or that he was doing this. We were very
fortunate that we had a coroner who was well informed and very
compassionate who answered many questions over our many telephone calls
to them. We looked for information on this and also support groups but
didn’t find much information. That is why we are so grateful for your
article. It helped us understand some but we will never understand
completely why our son was doing this, etc. That died with him. His
death has left a great hole in our family and an ache in our hearts that
will never go away. We miss him terribly. Thanks again for your
Thank you for sharing your info with everyone. A good friend and neighbor died from this. He was 25 and had everything a kid his age could want. I wish I could send his father this info without hitting a sore spot. His father found him and cut him down before the EMT’s got there and denied that this is what happened to his son but my brother was one of the EMT’s and was told by the medical examiner that all the signs were there to point to sexual asphyxiation. I hate to see them in so much pain and being ashamed and wish I could let them know there was nothing could have done to change things. May he always be in our memories and forever loved……….Name deleted.
Subj: Please say their names
Date: 2/29/2000 11:16:13 AM US Mountain Standard Time
I’m sure many of you had seen this before but as we’re coming up on our
first anniversary without ****, I wanted to share it with you. Thank you
all for your thoughts and prayers this past year. Blessings, *****:
“PLEASE SAY THEIR NAMES”
The time of concern is over. No longer are we asked how we’re doing. Never
are the names of our children mentioned to us. A curtain descends. The
moment has passed. Lives slip from frequent recall. There are exceptions:
close and compassionate friends, sensitive and loving family. Still look.
Still ask. Still listen. Thank God for them. For most, the drama is over.
The spotlight is off. Applause is silent. But for us the play will never
end. The effects on us are timeless. What can be said, you ask? Please say
“their names” to us. Love does not die.
Their names are written on our lives. The sound of their voices replay
within our minds. You may feel they are dead. We feel they are of the dead
and still they live. They ghost-walk our souls, beckoning in future welcome.
You say, “They were our children”; we say, “They are”. Please say “their
names” to us and say “their names” again.
It hurts to bury their memory in silence. What they were in flesh is no
longer with us. What they are in spirit stirs within us always. They were of
our past but they are part of our now. They are our hope for the future.
Please understand we cannot forget. We would not if we could. We know that
you cannot know, yesterday we were like you. Understand that we dwell in
both flesh and spirit. We do not ask you to walk this road. The ascent is
steep and the burden heavy. We walk it not by choice. We would rather walk
it with them in the flesh, looking not to spirit worlds beyond. We are what
we have to be. What we have lost, you cannot feel. What we have gained you
may not see. Please say “their names” for they are alive.
We will meet them again, although in many ways we’ve never parted. Their
spirits play light songs, appear in sunrises and sunsets. They are real and
shadow, they were and they are. Please say “their names” to us and say
“their names” again. They are our children and we love them as we always
did. More each day.
PLEASE, SAY THEIR NAMES
Subj: Thank You!
Date: 5/11/2000 8:04:08 PM US Mountain Standard Time
Mark, I just wanted to e-mail you and thank you for writing about this subject. A very close friend of mine just died from this and it has left everybody in shock. At first it appeared that he had killed himself, but then the police officers informed us that it was an accident. If there is any more information you can share on the subject you can e-mail me at *****@****.com Thanks again!
Subj: Death of Son
Date: 5/12/2000 9:54:22 PM US Mountain Standard Time
Dear Mark, Just saying thank you for your web page. Our sixteen year old son died in 1982 as a result of autoerotic asphyxiation and we spent months researching the subject. He was just a totally normal great kid and as bad as it is dealing with the death of a child it is even more difficult to deal with this type of death. Through the years his sisters, who were ** and *** at the time of his death have learned to give various answers when asked how their brother died, as have my husband and I but it has never been easy to cope with because so many people do not understand what we are talking about. At first we wanted to spread the word about the dangers of this practice than the coroner warned us that it might make other boys try it so we began to be quieter about it. Now I wonder if that was a good idea. Anyway, thank you very much for your article.
Date: 5/3/2000 8:19:32 PM US Mountain Standard Time
Thanks for the interesting article. I am a senior in high school and an
underclassman, whom I did now know, recently died from an “accidental
hanging” alone in his room at night. This is most certainly a case of AEA. I
had only heard about this from my father shortly after the news of his
death. What I find really hard to deal with is what to tell kids. Most of
the students are not mature enough to handle this type of information. There
are very few of us that have made the connections between the silence of the
family, the certificate of accidental death, the hanging, location,
lifestyle of the individual etc. to this practice, and it scares me to think
that other students might know about it and tell others. The family must
feel enormous pain.
Thanks for the education on this condition. It was most helpful!
Subj: female AEA?
Date: 2/27/2000 1:44:02 PM US Mountain Standard Time
I have a question or two and was hoping you could
respond. But before I start, let me just say that I
was pleasantly surprised to find such a complete site
(only site?!) on this topic on the ‘net. Bravo to you
for providing such an informative, tactful, and
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my childhood
lately, much of which I blocked out, and wonder if I
may have done AEA on several occasions at that time.
This thought disturbs me because although I do not
currently do AEA, I’m afraid it may have somehow
predisposed me to several negative behaviors that are
just now appearing. Currently, I do have masochistic
fantasies – forced sex, pain during sex, etc. Then
again, I also have fantasies about tender sex with a
A little about me: I’m in my late 20’s, a
professional, college-educated and, surprise, a
female! I have never read anything about females doing
this so I feel like the “odd man out” so the saying
goes! I’m currently being treated for major
depression, an anxiety disorder and a personality
I guess my biggest question is did I really do AEA? I
certainly don’t know what “caused” me to do this and I
don’t recall specifically when I tried it first, maybe
12 years old, but I recall placing electrical
cords/ropes or one of my belts around my neck and
trying to choke myself. I had my first orgasm that
way. Not understanding what caused that wonderful
feeling (orgasm), I may have thought it was directly
related to the choking. So I repeatedly choked myself
and/or compressed my chest and abdomen, to the point
of pain, to “force” an orgasm. I think I only slowed
down when I realized that I could have orgasms in
other, less “drastic” ways, although I continued on
and off to choke/cause pain to myself to heighten the
experience. I fantasized the whole time I did this
(something like I was a captive patient being
experimented on by doctors or a slave being forced to
perform for men).
I look back on what I’ve written and am disgusted,
shameful and sad at the same time. I’ve never brought
this up to anyone before – should I talk to my
therapist about this? I’m also a bit paranoid now
because I don’t consciously recall ever being
sexually/physically abused although I was teased
continually about a weight problem – I was fat when I
was a kid and suffered from non-existent self-esteem.
I’m also worried because I have only had one intimate
experience (although I am preoccupied with sex) in my
adult life and although I yearn for a close
relationship with a man, I am totally inhibited.
I would appreciate any help and advice you could
I don’t mind if you post this if you think this would
Subj: Sad Story
Date: 2/14/2000 10:09:23 PM US Mountain Standard Time
Dear Mark, I just attended the funeral today of a friend of my daughter’s. This boy was only 11 years old! As I read some of your other e-mails, I felt as though I was reading about this situation. This boy died about 4 days ago. Nobody would say what exactly had happened. First it was being said that he had a heart murmur, then it was that he hanged himself, then it was that he fell off the monkey bars at a neighbor’s house and his leather key-holder (that he wore around his neck) got caught and he was hanged that way. At the funeral I saw a friend who works in the local coroner’s office and she told me that it was listed as “accidental hanging” and that the coroner told her it was from autoerotic asphyxiation. It was driving me crazy as to why nobody was just making a statement as to how this horrible thing happened! I now have a clearer idea as to why they can’t just say what happened. Like so many of the other e-mails that I read, it seems that the family just can’t say it. I had heard of AEA before, but I had no idea that young people (boys in particular) were so prone to try it. I really thought it was one of those “on the outer fringe” type of sexual exploits that only the few “bizarre” ADULT people did, much less knew about. Evidently, this boy and his older brother and a friend were all alone at home and trying this. The boy had kidded the older brother that he was choking (“crying wolf”) once, so when he did it again, the brother ignored him and left the room thinking he was just playing. When he returned, it was too late. How DO these young boys hear of this? How in the world do they even know what to even do? This is just so, so horrible! I so feel for his older brother. He is the one who instigated this and the one who had to come in the room and see his little brother dead. What a tragic thing to have to live with. I came home after hearing the real truth today and had a talk with my 16 year old son and explained that this was why this 11 year old died and that he must never, ever even consider this as a way to achieve sexual satisfaction! There’re so many other ways. Maybe not as good (I wouldn’t begin to think I know as far of the satisfaction of AEA), but nothing is worth that! Please explain to me how these really, really young boys are hearing of this and why isn’t something being done to educate them if it’s common. Thank you for your help and thank you for your site. I was very interested in this and I found your site very informative. Thank you.
Subj: Autoerotic Asphyxiation
Date: 2/3/2000 8:34:14 PM US Mountain Standard Time
I just wanted to thank you for your very important web page on Autoerotic Asphyxiation.
First of all, I work in the emergency department at a major hospital in my city. Today, Thursday Feb 03, we received a 33 year old male in cardiac arrest as a result of a hanging. To our shock on arrival, we found the patient wearing women’s clothing, I noticed his wedding band though. My first response was “Oh My God” for I knew what had happened.
This is not something common we see in the department. I have seen one other male who was in his early 20’s about 2 years ago…I had to take him straight to the morgue.
Both patients were found in women’s clothing and both were found by their spouses.
Even though I have been aware of this practice, I really had no idea as to why it was done and so on…your web page has enlightened me and I plan on printing it out and educating my co-workers.
Secondly, I happen to be a gay man…..I was so glad to see that this is usually not associated with homosexuality. I never heard of it in our gay community, not that it does not exist…I’m sure it probably does to some minor extent. Several co-workers came to me to ask me questions about this young man today, and I had to explain to them….yes I’m gay….no I have no idea why men engage in this type of activity…but their first thought though was that this man must have been gay.
I will be able to share this information to them and hopefully educate them and maybe help them to be a bit more sensitive to this unfortunate act the next time we see it.
My heart goes out to this family, and as I write this, I still am very upset about this. I see many things in the emergency room, but this will stick with me for a long time. I pray for his family, for healing and understanding. I pray for the many still practicing this dangerous and deadly fetish.
I would like to add a link from my web site in the near future.
Thanks again for sharing this information.
Date: 1/9/2000 1:12:13 PM US Mountain Standard Time
Can you stand another letter on the subject? If not,
please feel free to delete me. I would understand
I too, lost a most beloved brother in this way, and
offer you my sympathy for the loss of yours. It’s bad
enough to lose someone you love with out it being from
something most people find offensive!
Enough time has passed (more than 3 years) that I have
accepted J.’s death, and even see it as being somewhat
normal. I have learned not to wonder what lurks inside
other peoples heads- my lack of understanding won’t
change things. In the end he is still dead. I am just
glad that he went easily into death, and apparently
did not suffer.
Anyway, thank-you for posting your article on the web.
You have touched more people than you will ever know.
I am writing to ask for your advice. I suspect that my son
practices asphyxiation by things I found in the attic last night. I
found a picture of a woman with a noose around her neck standing on a
chair, ready to step off. I also found a silky rope. I was pretty
shocked, and continue to be. I spent several hours on the internet–to
try to understand what I found. Obviously, I came across your site. I
remember a time years ago when he was about 10 or 11. He had a rope
burn around his neck. He said he was just fooling around. That memory
came back immediately when I found these things. I had asked several
psychologists about this at the time, thinking my son was suicidal? No
one seemed too impressed. Maybe they didn’t understand either. My son
is very bright, is shy, and I would say has low self-esteem. He worries
me because at times he is depressed–low appetite, poor motivation, poor
hygiene. He is well liked, very handsome, and talented–no obvious
reason for low self-esteem. He moved into his own apartment this past
summer, so these items were left behind. He has been drinking heavily
when he parties–as do many of his college friends. His grades are good
and he manages to also work part time while in school. I’m giving you
this information because I’m not sure what is the helpful thing to do.
I am very worried about his safety–and the fact that he seems
depressed. I have talked to him about his mood, but he tends to brush
it off as just boredom. Please give me your insight. I will be happy to
call you if talking in person is preferable. Thank you very much for
your time and insight and concern.
Date: 10/12/99 2:50:32 PM US Mountain Standard Time
I just wanted to let you know that I think it is great that you have that
page on the internet about AEA deaths. My father passed away in
1998. His death was ruled AEA, however much of the family believes he was
murdered because of his position. Last night, I finally
got up the nerve to read about it. I found your site very informative and
wonderful because of all the others that have written you. It made me feel
not so much alone anymore.
My father was 50 years old and passed away two days before my birthday,
and one month before his first grandchild was born, my nephew. He has missed
out on a lot and continues to miss out every day. He loved to ranch and he
loved his job. I just wish he would have gotten help. My mother knew
something was wrong with him and tried to get him to open up and get help,
but I think his pride and embarrassment got in the way.
Now, I am 1200 miles away and again going to school and my father will never
get to see me graduate, my wedding, or any of my future children. I am angry
at him, but at the same time, I feel sorry for him and don’t know what to
Once, again, thank you for the wonderful site on the web. I hope you are
still at this address. You have helped me a great deal in this and I know it
will be years before I fully comprehend or can think about it in such
Subj: deepest hurt
Date: 9/22/99 11:54:14 AM US Mountain Standard Time
I just read your article and wanted to write you. I just lost my dad a week and 1/2 ago to this horrible tragedy. Like most others we
thought is was suicide at first, but my family could not deal with that
answer, we knew some how there was more. We had never really heard about
this before and were (and are) completely shocked and confused about the
entire situation. My mom found my dad naked, with a rope around his neck.
Two days later the police came to tell us
that it autoerotic asphyxiation and that it was ruled as an accidental
strangulation. They informed us that the television was on a pornography
channel and that a syringe (filled with something that creates an
erection-he did not produce enough testosterone and was given this by a
doctor) had been used. Other than that there were no other signs or clues
written in the report. This left myself my brother and my
mother feeling hurt, guilty, and very much confused. We are all wondering
why? and how? My mom feels guilty for not doing things right-I tell her it
is not her fault, do you have any advice on what I could tell her about her
feeling responsible? I wonder where he learned this from and if this was
his first time. Did he do it one too many times or was this is first
experience at it? Are there any clues on the answers to these questions?
If you see any or know of questions I could ask could you let me know. We
also wonder if drinking was involved-we are waiting for the toxicology
reports. We believe yes. Is this common during these experiences?
We are also dealing with the dilemma of what to tell people. We have told
our close friends the truth and let the others believe it was an accident of
some sort. There are so many rumors, but I don’t want the memory of my
father to be drug the dirt. He was an unbelievable man, I am just so sorry
that we did not know about this sooner.
Well I have taken up enough of your time, but it was oddly comforting to
hear about other stories and to know that families survive from it. Right
now I feel like I just want to curl up in a ball, never leave my house, and
cry forever. Thank you for sharing your story and great loss with others.
A response would be greatly appreciated.
Subj: My Nephew’s Death
Date: 9/5/99 7:21:50 PM US Mountain Standard Time
Our nephew died as a result of an autoerotic sexual experience last Sunday night. My husband and I have been trying to piece the puzzle together since his death. His parents found him dead in his room. They only revealed to us that he had a belt tried around his neck and the e other end of the belt was tied to the bed post.
His parents did say that he was found in a contorted position, his tongue was hanging out, and there was white thick mucus in his mouth. These were all the details they would give to us. Obviously, they were so embarrassed that they cleaned him up, dressed him and put him in into bed before they called 911.
My husband and I were so close to my nephew and have discussed his death with numerous individuals. One of them shared this topic with us and we immediately went to the Internet to gain more information. Your article has certainly help and we would appreciate any further information.
Thank you very much for your informative article and sharing of such to others.
END OF NEW E-mails
Subj: autoerotic asphyxiation
Date: 9/7/99 6:13:15 PM US Mountain Standard Time
I was moved by your circumstance and it’s description opened my eyes to what I might end up doing to my family and friends one day if I continued with this dangerous pursuit.
I discovered it quite by accident and had not heard about it prior to my first experience. As a child I had been intrigued and deeply fascinated by scuba and deep sea diving. I modeled some private activities after the “diving shows” viewed on television using plastic bags as” helmets and breathing apparatus and submerging myself in a full tub of water wearing only my youthful nylon bathing suit a dime-store “mask” and breathing through a garden hose attached to the household vacuum cleaner to develop some air pressure through the hose. This I found caused me to experience a significant level of sexual excitement and I equated my arousal with the combination of the limited breathing ability.
Playing with a friend. I designated him as the “villain” and at a strategic moment of his choice he was to shut off the vacuum. When he did I experienced my first significant climax You can see the formula my adolescent mind was constructing}
As the years went by and I learned all the possibilities of self stimulation, I added the breathless enhancement of rebreathing the same air over and over repeatedly with great success to achieve grand orgasms. When I found the internet I used it’s anonymity to reach out and discover others who shared my fetish and realize I was not the only one who had used these methods to achieve sexual satisfaction. I will admit I have no interest in hanging or other forms of strangulation.
Pictures or descriptions do nothing for me.
Subj: Your web site
Date: 7/29/99 11:01:00 PM US Mountain Standard Time
Thank you for the strength to share. My brother, slid in just 2+ months shy of 30 to be on the “young adult” side of the AEA statistics. That was in 1990. Fortunately, the community he lived in had well-trained professionals who were able to correctly identify what really happened to him. I believe the official words on the death certificate were “accidental suicide”.
We chose, without any real discussion, to use the accident approach you suggested when people inquire “Oh, how did he die?”. I have to say that it really works well most of the time, though I must confess a few people over the years have pestered me to the point where I say something like, “He hung himself while he was masturbating. Apparently that makes the orgasm more intense.” That pretty much shuts them up. Bottom line is that “he had an accident” is not a lie, and story-telling only begets more questions.
As time goes by, the shock, confusion, and anger truly diminish. I believe my parents still suffer the pain of the loss yet aren’t as fixated on the methodology anymore. Nor do I think Grandma ever quite understood how or why this could happen. None of us did or ever will. Though if she were still alive, I feel that your words could help to explain it just a little more. I guess what I mean to say, what I wish to give to others who share in this phenomenon, is to muster up the strength to move away from focusing on this specific cause of death. OUR LOVED ONES HAVE DIED!
Yes, most of our losses have died in a “normal” way, though none more or less tragic than the one who passed in self-gratification. Is that any more tragic than a car accident, an illness, or a murder? In a twisted sense, isn’t dying in orgasm one of the more pleasurable (sic) choices one could make? I simply mean we all will go some time in some way. It’s just the stigma of the sexuality attached to this subject which screws everything up. Why should someone be consoled ad infinitum because their child was snuffed out by a drunk driver, when others feel ostracized by a society which can’t talk about sex. Well, we can talk a little bit about it, so long as it is deemed “normal”.
So over these 9 years, I’ve been through it all. And yes, there is still bitterness, though its focus has shifted well away from my brother. I have to admit, I first agreed with your report on the matter of not speaking too much about this subject for fear that it may do more harm than good. After reading others’ thoughts, and my own exercise of writing this letter, I’d have to say now that such a stance is wrong. Where would we be if not for the training the police had in our case? Still thinking that my brother was unhappy enough to kill himself. We have the peace in knowing he was just unlucky, that he took one risk too many (yes, he was a risk taker). Truthful education will always do more good than harm. Would we even question this if we were talking about drugs or alcohol?
I close in honor of my brother’s LIFE. He was a good man. He made a difference in my life and countless others. I miss him. I wish that he never had stumbled onto AEA, by whatever means it was. I wholeheartedly thank you for helping me and the world understand a hidden secret a little better. If you think any of this will help others as well, please post it on your site (first names OK).
Date: 9/14/98 3:49:38 PM US Mountain Standard Time
Just recently I lost a brother-in-law to auto-asphyxiation. To describe his family and mine’s as ‘stunned and shocked’ is to put it lightly. Returning home after the funeral, I proceeded to find out as much about this abhorrent practice as I could. Of the sources I found, yours described it in such a personal, heart-wrenching way, that I had to write you.
My brother-in-law was in his early twenties, and he left behind a young, heartbroken wife, and a child who will never truly understand why her father is gone. I, myself, was only familiar with the practice on a truly skin-deep manner. I had heard it described in ‘urban legend’ type stories, plus the occasional article in pornographic publications. The former seems to be how my brother-in-law heard of this technique.
It’s hard to describe exactly how members of his and my family felt. For the most part, it had to be described in excruciating detail, exactly how he died. Next came shock and revulsion, followed by denial. No one would truly believe that he had thrown away his life so recklessly, so selfishly. They were convinced that some sort of foul play was involved. Slowly, however, after the report came from a local coroner that everyone trusted, they began to realize, with horror, what truthfully took this person from us. Then came anger that he had done this to his family, and the ones who cared about him the most. It’s hard to describe so soon after this happened… everyone seems to be trying to ignore the true reason. They have been telling all who have asked that it was an aneurysm. I feel that they think that if everyone knows the truth about what happened, that they will think less of him, which is understandable. When I first found out, I was full of rage… I feared for his wife and was angry that his daughter would now be without a father because of, as I saw it, as selfish, demeaning act.
Then I read your site, and all the responses you have given to others who have written in. It felt good to know that others are as mystified as we are as to why it happened. When I tried to explain it to a few of my
friends, at best I got puzzled looks, at worst they called him everything from a fag to a pervert. It was nice to read someone describing what the act and the cause is not only in a professional manner, but also in a
friendly and sympathetic one.
Thank you for listening…just writing this e-mail has been very therapeutic. It has helped me come to grasp with my own feelings on the matter. My anger has dissolved to sympathy and regret for his family, but no ill will towards him. Please keep up the site…It was refreshing to find one with such knowledge and, at the same time, personal insight. My deepest regards to you, sir.
Name with held.
Thank you for your kind words and I am deeply saddened to hear of your brother-in-law’s death. I cry when I hear of the fathers whom, as you put it so well, selfishly put their pleasures ahead of their family. Your family will have a tough road ahead of them, but it will get easier after time. The hurt will never go away, but I guess you get used to it and accept it as part of your life experience. You learn from it and hopefully live your life better because of it. These words may sound out of place now, but they will make sense as the years pass.
Subj: Brother Lost
Date: 9/13/98 1:11:52 AM US Mountain Standard Time
Well I haven’t read all of your article, but I will. It is sad to say that I have just recently lost my thirty (30) year old brother. We have most of the feelings that you described. The hardest thing is lying about it. The story about his death has gotten bigger and bigger. I just wanted him to die with respect, so I made up a story. I’m pissed off that it happened to ****, he was the best kid on our block. He would give you his last candy if it would make you happy. There is a thousand more stories I could talk about, but the fact is that he is dead. It only happened in April /98. I can’t seem to understand why someone would risk it all, just for the satisfaction of getting off. I’m almost at the point were I think I would try it, just to try and understand it. Most of my family isn’t any help, which is why I lied about his death. But I have my mother to worry about, so I’m trying to find out as much info as I can. So I will thank you in advance for this article, which might help my family to understand. My mother and I did go to the hospital, her as an in-patient, me as an out-patient, so we could try and understand. But the professionals didn’t have anything to say, and pretty much no nothing about Asphyxiation fatalities. The only thing I was wondering, was that Dave was sexually assaulted when he was young, could this be the reason for his choice of getting off by asphyxia. I am one out of four children, the other three were assaulted, which gives me the need to understand this accident, before it happens again.
Thanks, (Name removed)
Subj: Re: Brother Lost
Date: 9/13/98 6:08:31 AM US Mountain Standard Time
****, I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Your brother sounds like a nice person. You bring up some very normal (in my opinion) responses to this type of death. Our family too was disappointed in the lack of knowledge of AEA and the unwillingness to talk about it. It seems that sex is one of the last taboos in our society.
You say that it’s hard to lie about it. I’m assuming that you are covering for his manner of death. Here’s what our family did. The family, (3 brothers and 1 sister, mother and father) all knew what happened immediately, because that is how I told them about it. I knew about these deaths through my work, so could explain as much as I knew. It was tough to explain, but 5 years later, I’m glad I did. You see, it’s somehow better dealing with it as a family. Who knows, maybe someone in your family knew something or saw something. As far as friends and other relatives, we told our close ones the truth. The ones that didn’t understand, we made an attempt to explain. If they still didn’t accept it> Well too bad for them. Other friend that were maybe not so close, we told them that he died in an accident, and left it at that. They assumed we meant automobile accident and we didn’t bother to correct their misconceptions. No lies.
You seem to want to find some motivation for your brother doing this and even mentioned trying it yourself. I understand your feelings, however, these are the most difficult questions to answer and the answers probably will remain with your brother. Someday you will accept this, but I understand the process you’re going through. If you try it, you will still not understand it, because you are different. It won’t do anything for you. Just like if you switched your sexual preference, it will be equally repulsive. So don’t, it’s too dangerous. There is certainly no justification for what your brother did, but remember, the human sex drive is one of the strongest. If that is the only way he could satisfy it, (and probably so) then he quite literally could not stop doing it. It seems to be a strong addiction. And you’re probably thinking, Why didn’t he get help? Well, think about it…..Would you? Think about the embarrassment, telling your family, etc…
Also, he probably felt he could handle it. My brother was the same way, but he was a bit too drunk when he tried it for the last and fatal time. Was your brother intoxicated?
And lastly, I wouldn’t worry too much about this being a family thing. Chances are that nobody else in your family had an affiliation towards AEA. It’s not a genetic thing or the product of similar sexual or violent experiences. It just happens to some. And yes, the sexual assault could have played a part in it’s development, but it was by all means not the only factor. People arrive at these paraphilias through a complex set of events and life experiences. If your still concerned, ask your family members in a general sense and see what they say. I’m sure they would be feeling the same way assuming you are going to tell them.
Please keep in touch. Print out my article and give it to your family to read. It will help them understand.
Subj: please keep this letter anonymous
Date: 7/3/98 12:54:34 AM US Mountain Standard Time
please keep this letter anonymous.
hello, and thanks for your wonderful article. I am a practitioner and would desperately like help — I don’t want to die!!!
Please give me any information on how I can keep this practice safe, any discussion groups for practitioners, how to promote more healthy sexual practices in my life (at this point, only said sexual practice really turns me on, and it is very dangerous). My girlfriend of 1.5 years knows a bit about this, but I haven’t yet given full disclosure. I might show her your article. But then again, it seems so embarrassing and un-natural.
Any suggestions or other information would be helpful.
Date: 7/3/98 1:05:30 AM US Mountain Standard Time
Also, if you could provide me with information on how to get some of the writings of “Darren”, below, I would really appreciate that. Particularly, safer methods, do’s, don’ts, etc.
> Having read your web page I understand slightly more about why I enjoy it but I thought you failed to mention a few things. It is not just the thrill of oxygen deprivation it can be and in my case is the whole scene. The thought of plastic bags and tight constricting rubber is just a huge turn on for me and for many in its own right. We do not need to practice this to get aroused just thinking about it gives many a buzz. Many people practice this not just to have orgasms but it’s the helplessness of the whole situation especially when in bondage scenarios i.e. if you are bound up unable to move and then have your partner place a plastic bag over your head is enough for most people. Me personally it stems from my child hood from putting on a plastic Mac back to front and pulling the hood up breathing in to the plastic was a catalyst for some deep hidden desire and to this day I have been doing similar things ever since with the aid of partners or professionals. I rarely practice on my own as the buzz is not the same I need as do many others to be in a helpless situation. The air deprivation itself is important but not everything. I shall try to explain what I mean for example I was in a situation with a partner bound up and a plastic bag was tied round my neck as the air gets thinner your heart rate increases this is what is most enjoyable the goal is to achieve orgasm while the plastic bag is still on you.
I wish I new why I enjoyed it so much but I know I will never seek advice as it brings me such enjoyment as it does to many others having read your page I understand a little why I do it and what I am trying to achieve but there is know drug out that can replace for me the buzz and excitement of being totally helpless having someone control your air supply. I have written several articles on my feelings to various contact magazines. If you have never done this or feel the way many people like me do the you can never truly understand what drives us. If you wish to discuss things I have written then please do not hesitate to reply in fact I hope you will as I would like to be able one day to give advice to people like me and give them advice on safer methods do’s and don’t
Date: 9/23/98 5:37:34 PM US Mountain Standard Time
We are friends of a victim of this situation that had occurred in the last month. My roommate has been successful in finding your page on the web and referred for me to read it also. After reading this page, we have found more answers to our enigmatic questions and therefore we would like to show our gratitude to your research. We were not familiar with this type of activity because of its social taboo. However, when come across with the reasons of our friends death, it has become more and more explanatory and less confusing. We are both very strong in our religion and feel it very ironic that our friend who was religiously strong also would deem this type of activity appropriate for his lifestyle. We understand that there are sometimes questions that cant be answered but this has thrown us for a loop. As much as we have come to ends with our situation it is still hard to fathom any solution for our friends reasoning on this activity. We have come to accept the realism of his death and we can only pray that more individuals of our age are confronted with this type of wrongful personal gratification and activity. Many people need to understand the very real and troubling results of this activity and anything that you can do to prevent this is definitely respectful on your behalf. Our emotions have been beyond confused, but we have to understand that each person has there own lifestyle and agendas. I can only say this…That I pray for those who are repeat experimentalists and hope that they would find a less traumatic way to replace impure desires. Our friend was a son, and a brother to a very wonderful and God fearing family. We hope that his death, as hard as it is to talk about, will be the last of this cause. We have a few questions regarding this situation that we would like clarification upon.
1) Does the brain, while reaching asphyxiation, shut down and bring about a state of unconsciousness, therefore rendering the subject helpless in the mechanical way?…If the victim is unconscious, and the body looses all function of muscles, how long does it take for the brain to re-charge itself of oxygen and come back from the unconscious state…Or, is it because of the sheer weight of the victims body that constricts the main neck arteries rendering the body paralyzed? 2) Has it become evident that the victims practice this several times before being able to time the light headedness and the orgasm….or, is it possible for the two calamities to collaborate on an initial experiment? Does the victim have to practice this to become better at it?
Thank you for your kind words. I am sorry that your friend has died and more sorry that his surviving friends and family have to deal with his death in this manner.
Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor or psychiatrist, so it’s difficult to give you a certain answer. But I will give you what I know from my limited exposure to the subject of asphyxiation.
Asphyxiation, for any reason, by ligature around the neck will cause 3 things to happen. One is that the blood flow to the brain is restricted, therefore the brain cannot get fresh (oxygenated) blood to feed the brain. The resulting lack of food for the brain can cause shutdown. Second, the “backup” of carbon dioxide in the brain can cause unconsciousness. Third but certainly not the least effect is the constriction of the vagus nerve in the neck, which controls the heart and breathing. This last one can be fatal on the very first time someone is asphyxiated and even before the person goes unconscious. You hear of occasional deaths when police use the neck restraint on combative persons? That is thought to be one of the factors. From what I understand, there is really no safe way to judge when you are going to go unconscious. I guess that people that practice AEA think they can judge it, and most of the time they are pretty close in their estimates. Usually what happens in AEA deaths, including my brother’s, is that alcohol is involved and it impairs the victim’s judgment. Do you know if your friend had been under the effects of alcohol or any other drug?
The answer to your question is that when the person goes unconscious, the weight of the body constricts the ligature more and the person dies because of the above listed reasons.
Was it your friend’s first time? Chances are no, but it is certainly possible. I would look at how elaborate the rescue mechanism was and how elaborate the “sexual props” were at the death scene. Also look for the perihelia clustering, such as bondage, cross-dressing or the like. Usually, the more elaborate or the presence of other paraphilias, means the longer the person has been doing it. The lack of a rescue mechanism or props, makes me to believe that it was a beginner.
If you find out these things and want to talk some more, let me know and I will try to answer your questions. God bless,
Please help us. We had a 34 year old son die recently because of an accidental hanging – death certificate states “strangulation by ligature (belt)”. The family is having such a hard time dealing with this. We have your article written in January, 1996 on the subject which is very good; however, we need more information. It is so hard to understand why he did this, how he found out about it, how long he has been doing it, etc., etc. He left three small children and a devoted wife who felt that area of their life was “normal.” The parents can’t believe it, the siblings say he was stupid. We are all at each other’s throats, frustrated and bewildered. What do you tell people – it is embarrassing?
Please respond as soon as possible.
I am sorry to hear of your loss. My brother was 34 when he died in 1993. Your questions are chillingly similar to what our family asked. Among the devastating sadness, we felt angry. We were angry that he would do such a thing. We were angry at the adult book store where he bought items for his fantasy. We were angry at whoever taught him to do this. We needed to know, just as your family needs to know, just like a lot of other families that have sent me e-mail over the past 2 years, need to know.
Now, as the 3rd year anniversary of my brother’s death approaches, I still don’t have complete answers to my questions. But things are a clearer now and we all have found some peace. The anger is gone, replaced by memories of all the good things he represented. I understand that his sexuality was something that was very hard for him to deal with and I also understand his manner of death is tragically common. He could not help or fix his abnormal sexuality.
Our family struggled initially with what to say to people when asked how my brother died. We first thought it was better to tell people (or let them think) it was a suicide. But that was not right for us, he was not that way. That just made it easier for other people to understand, but was selfishly wrong. When we told family (uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.) what really happened, some did not believe it. Some thought he had to have been murdered. After all, how do you accidentally hang yourself? It challenges people’s sense of reality and some don’t want to believe it. Finally, we came to this line of thinking. Those truly close in the family, or close friends, we told them the truth and tried to explain the best we could. Others who asked, we said that he died in an accident and left it at that. Most assumed that we meant an automobile accident, and we left them thinking that. Those close to you will understand and accept it. Those not close to you will not accept it, but in that case, who cares what they think. It’s our (your) family’s business to deal with.
I will try to answer your questions by answering what we think happened to my brother. I suspect that the answers can be applied most AEA victims.
As to the question of how and why he began the AEA practice. He, most likely learned to do this when he was younger (teens). Discovered, by accident, during sexual development and eroticized as time went on. The “Why?” will always be a mystery, but I know the answer is complex. I know that it was not a singular event or suggestion that lead him to practice AEA. You will come to accept that the “Why?” will never be answered fully. The answer died with your son. The answer died with my brother.
I have spoken to a more than a handful of living AEA practitioners via the anonymity of e-mail. Most can not remember exactly how they started. Some say they accidentally discovered AEA by associating their sexual gratification with a choking incident or scene. (Strangely, the hanging scenes depicted in some cowboy Western movies were brought up by more than one person.) Some have told me that their AEA practice developed from something else, another sexual paraphilia. Some could not remember at all. They all say they cannot stop or don’t know how to stop. They all wanted to stop.
The most important thing I have learned, is that the AEA does not start as the result of one incident, one suggestion, one movie, or one person showing them how. It is a complex set of circumstances, unique to each individual. Understanding this, it is hard to be angry at any one person or thing. I have come to accept that it was just part of my brother—a part he chose to keep secret from everyone in his life. It was too painful, too embarrassing for him to talk about or seek help to correct. Our family asked, “Why did he not come to us and let us help him?”. The answer becomes obvious when you think about it
I must end here for now. Please, if you need more from me, I am here. Please let me know if what I have said helps.
By the way, after my brother’s death, we looked up some of his old friends of from High School and some early roommates. We spoke to them about my brother and tried to find out if they knew anything that could shed light on his sexuality. We didn’t find out much, but it was nice to hear all their fond memories of him. Try that, you may find some answers.
I am writing this letter for several reasons. First, I wanted to thank you for your research article entitled “Autoerotic Asphyxiation Syndrome In Adolescent and Young Adult Males.” Reading it has provided me with many answers and some comfort in the face of the death of a close friend that is assumed to have happened in this manner. To be honest, I had little knowledge of the practice of this act until I was told how my friend died. It led me to look up some information on the subject, and I found your article on the internet. I appreciated your article because it was scientifically based, but also considerate about this sensitive issue. It helped me to remember my friend as he was when he was alive, and to realize that maybe he was doing that as a result of some type of emotional or psychological trauma or problem, and not because he was some kind of “pervert.”
In time, I intend to pass along a copy of the article to his family and to his roommate/best friend who was the one that discovered him. I think that it might help them to better understand what happened.
I did have a question for you, however, if you might have a moment to share your thoughts on the subject… When it first happened, his family seemed to be content stating that it was just an accident, and didn’t pursue an autopsy or any real investigation… I suppose it seemed apparent what had happened. But now, since it has been a few days, it seems they are questioning what really happened, and trying to point fingers at other people. They feel like there is no way that he could have done that to himself (the denial part seems obvious to me) and there was no suicide note left, so they are questioning whether or not it might have been murder. My questions for you are: In your research, did you come across any statistics about times that the scene appeared to be autoerotic asphyxiation, but actually was murder? Does this seem to be a normal reaction for the family to have or have other families in your research shown to react the same way? I wonder this, because it seems that now that it is a little late to investigate, the family is panicking, and trying to grasp for some explanation…..
If you have some time, and would be able to answer my questions, I would greatly appreciate it… The more knowledge I can gain on this subject, I think the better I will be able to deal with the loss of a wonderful friend from such tragic means.
#####–Thank you for your kind words and I am glad that my work helped you to understand. I am a survivor of an AEA victim, but I am also police investigator, so I speak with some knowledge on the investigative side of AEA deaths.
Most experienced investigators can spot an AEA death scene primarily by the elements that I spoke of in my paper, but also through interviews with family and friends. You see, if a person wants to commit suicide, then there are very glaring facts that stand out. Not necessarily a note, but actions, things the victim said prior to, future plans or the lack of….you get the picture. The same goes if it is a homicide. There are very glaring clues for the experienced investigator. They come from the scene and interviews with family & friends. I have been involved in a few, and it becomes very apparent soon after the investigation begins. I suspect that in your friend’s case, the investigators were satisfied with their conclusions, so they did not request an autopsy. I also suspect that the coroner did a chemical screen on the deceased’s blood—Looking for alcohol, drugs, chemicals (things that may indicate foul play). I would find out if this was done (It should have been) and what the results were.
As for your question on the suspicions of the family. I can only tell you what we went through and conclude that all family’s go through it, in some way. Your friend’s family’s reaction is exactly what we were feeling. My brother died in a city near the city that I work in. He was found with his hands bound behind him (with zip-ties) and his feet loosely bound. (It turns out that this was very much part of the fantasy he was creating.) Being a fellow investigator, I was privy to the entire case file on my brother’s death. I has suspicions, because I could not figure out how he could bind his limbs like that without another person being present. Then, we discovered a sizeable amount of cut pieces of zip-ties on the floor of an outside workroom. Conclusion: He was binding himself and cutting himself loose when done. The detectives were able to show me exactly how the ties were placed so as to apply the restraints and escape alone and unaided. There were other things that made me agree with their findings, but the bottom line is that I had to be convinced of the accidental nature and was convinced by what the detectives had done. Being certain of the investigator’s conclusions, I had the convince my family of this. My immediate family trusted in my judgment and accepted that I had done all that could have been done to confirm that it was not a murder or suicide. They did however, need a lot of uncomfortable details to agree with me. The rest of the extended family accepts what they want to accept. An uncle may still think it was murder, but may have been persuaded after reading my paper. It grows less important as the years go on.
In conclusion, I would suggest that the family (and whoever they are comfortable with) approach the investigators that handled the case and get all the details from them. It will be difficult, but helpful in putting their suspicions to rest. Also, contact the coroner and have him/her explain exactly what was done or not done and why. I have spoken to many people involved in this in some way.
I have even spoken to a few living AEA practitioners. Their practice is usually a complex fantasy, woven into props and mechanisms to enhance their sexual experience. It can get very intricate and specific. They can be bizarre by most standards, but very necessary for the practitioner. Just as necessary as “normal” sex is for the average person. So, if there is a bizarre nature to your friend’s death, look closely at it and you will see what I am talking about. Also, and generally speaking, the older the victim the more complex the fantasy, more props, etc. So bear that in mind.
Please direct my paper to your friends to read. It was written from the perspective of an AEA victim’s family member—from their perspective. They will appreciate and understand it. I empathize and sympathize with them. If they want to speak to me, they can do that.
Good luck, and I hope I answered some of their questions.
I hope you are still at this address
I stumbled upon your article written January 1996, re: the syndrome that cost you your brother, and let me say that my sympathies go out to you.
In reading that article, I could say that there where many points in the technical description of the syndrome that I could say were “bang on” myself. This and some other side manifestations have had me baffled ever since 1959 (I am 48 now). My language is circumspect for reasons easily understood. My question is: is there a way of once and for all putting this garbage behind one’s self, and moving on free from it?
I would really be interested to hear back from you, if you should feel like responding.
Thank you for your e-mail and condolences. I am interested if you are an AEA practitioner, drawing from your comments that this was “bang on” yourself?
Reply from sender:
This is tough, but I will try to respond.
To elaborate… yes, I have been a practitioner. And still have the feelings. And I will also say that it has not been a real long time since I last practiced it. I also have engaged in attendant ligature and clothing fetishism, and despite wanting to quit, have sort have gone through periods of assault, where the urge to engage in it, or with female clothing fetishism has been overpowering. I have attempted to put it down myself, and have had limited success for periods of time, like several months, but get such a charge out of it that when I tell myself I want to quit, I almost wonder if I really do. Maybe I should say that I want to want to quit, because when I am under the influence of the desire to act out this behavior, my desire to quit is side-lined pretty fast, and there is just no doubt that I am going to engage in it.
By saying that your description was “bang on” my own experience, I meant that I too am aroused by fantasies involving abuse, torture, execution. I hate to even say it, but it is there. I think that the whole thing has held me back from being free to interact with other people on a real confident basis, because I think that when a person tries to live two lives, one secret, and one that he wants the world to perceive, it drains a lot of energy and makes life harder.
I also hear you talking when you say “can a heterosexual male stop having sexual desire for females?” It does seem to me that whatever it is that makes me like this is very deeply placed, because I haven’t the slightest inkling as to where it came from. The autoerotic turn-on associated with fantasies of self-abuse, punishment, etc. has been with me ever since I was old enough to feel sexually aroused.
Do you have any insights? So if it is as difficult to stop feelings like these as it is to stop having desire for the female sex, is there any way of getting better?
Thanks for your message.
My Brother-In Law died from this syndrome last week. His two young boys found him hanging in a shed. The boys and their mother are having a very difficult time understanding the cause of his death. Your information will be a great help .
My grandson died recently from apparent autoerotic asphyxiation. I read your article and would appreciate it if you could point me toward some other sources of information. We are still trying to figure out this tragedy and are pretty much in a state of shock. I applaud your effort and thank you for anything you can find for me.
Hello: Thank you for a well-written article about autoerotic asphyxiation. I am a psychologist in the process of evaluating a 12 year old white male who has been choking his young sister into unconsciousness multiple times a day for TWO YEARS, and molesting her. He taught her how to choke him, and the two of them have taught other children in the neighborhood how to choke each other. Very scary. I have been unable to find many articles on younger people engaging in this practice, and appreciated finding your article. Obviously I am pushing for inpatient care due to high potential lethality of this behavior.
To the writer of “The Autoerotic Asphyxiation Syndrome In Adolescent and Young Adult Males”
Thank you for posting this on the web. I had an experience a few years ago in a men’s group where one of our men died in this way. It was a shock to all of us, and because we were so focused on the emotions and lives of the members of our group, I and many of those close to him had misgivings and guilt about our relationship with this man, thinking the obvious thoughts about suicide (at this point, we did not know how he died, other than he was discovered in the home, exactly as you describe). Fortunately for us, we had a number of police officers in our membership, and one of them let us know enough detail that we could at least partly understand that we did not contribute to his death. Your article has closed this for me, since it is clear from your research that we did not create this problem for the man, and most importantly, he did not intend to commit suicide. I left the group a number of years ago, but I will contact those who were close to him and pass on a copy of your writing.
Thank you again
It appears as you have completed a lot of research on the subject of auto erotic asphyxiation. I too, have received the similar information, along with photos, of which were upsetting however not near the horror of discovering my own son. I have found that many of the cases are misdiagnosis and therefore the death rate truly is much higher than anyone recognizes. The police report stated suicide, and the coroners report states auto erotic asphyxiation. I found a woman in, Iowa who’s son died in this fashion, and she had to fight to have the reports changed. Her name is *******, and thus far is one of the few people who have spoke openly about her son’s death. Her surviving son, cannot talk about it, nor will. I have seen this amongst my own children. It is important for people to understand, however I believe that the subject makes most people uncomfortable. I have not found a support group nor many doctors who are aware of this affliction. Most people think that it is a “Gay” issue of which it shouldn’t matter one way or the other. Ignorance is easier than learning the facts. I have discovered that the families of these victims are not comfortable talking about the situation. However after talking with three mothers, some of the family situations were very similar. Their sons deaths did result in the break up of families. You are a brave person, I admire your truthfulness. I would imagine that your brother was a very special person too.
Very disturbing I must agree. Though I must state that your piece is extremely enlightening and informative. This certainly is something of an absolute social stigma that is never discussed by the mainstream media. Your article is the first that has addressed it in such a verbose fashion.
Until now I thought this sort of thing was but a “fairy tale”. For someone who has never come across this area of human sexuality (if you can call it that), I must state that the piece has compelled me to understand, to a small degree, the suffering that you and others close to your brother must suffer to this day.
Thank you for this article.
Yours is the only information I have found which talks about this issue so openly and covers all the bases. The fact that you even acknowledge there are survivors of this is a comfort in itself. You talk about professionals not knowing how to cope with this, I had to listen to professional firefighters laugh at my father hanging from the stairs, cross-dressed. I suppose to strangers it might have been a funny sight but I can still hear their laughter four years later. My father was 63 and apparently was an exception to the rule by living as long as he did. We had no idea of course that he was doing this and as an upstanding member of the community had to hide all details of his death. My family retreated into a closet of anger and shame which I think we have yet to emerge from. The only information we received was from the coroner who was very casual about the whole thing, saying he saw four to six cases of this every year. We had no idea what it was all about. I wish we had had your web page back then as it would have answered a lot of our questions. I hope you can keep your information posted for other survivors. I searched in vain for some kind of support group but I can only assume that everyone who experiences this hides it away. I hope this all makes sense as I write this with more than a little emotion. I just wanted to say “thank you”.
I was intrigued by the article about your brother. I researched on the internet. A similar thing happened to our family this past April with our brother as well. I having trouble accepting the whole thing and I’m also upset with the medical examiners investigation…
Please help me find some literature and/or TV video describing this tragedy so I can help ease the pain my family is experiencing.
Hello, let me introduce myself, my name is *****. I have been widowed now for nine months, I am 26 yrs old my husband was 30 when he died we were married for close to seven years. I have 3 wonderful children from him. I thought that we had the “perfect” marriage. Not once did I ever suspect his sexual preference, I was confronted with it when I found him in our basement, his death was found to be Auto Erotic Asphyxiation.
I have went to professional help and no one was able to answer any of my questions on the how’s and whys. I recently came across your article on the WWW and found it very informative, it answered many of my questions. Although, I was left some questions. How is the public supposed to learn of the dangers of this type of sexual behavior if it not talked about? I for one have never heard of this type of behavior before and was completely dumbfounded. To be honest with you I thought that my husband was raped and killed, and to find out that it was self-inflicted just blew me over.
I was also wondering how old your brother was when he passed away and what your age was at the time. I have looked for a support group that deals with this kind of death and have found none. I was hoping that you would know of somewhere that I could find a group.
I would really like to thank you for taking the time to write your article, it has answered a lot of my questions that I was left with. I do hope that you are doing well and my thoughts are with you and your family.
Reading your article about autoerotic asphyxiation, I began to think about some of may patients with personalities that have basically “anal defenses”, and this is in may way of thinking, an enormous difficulty in copping with limitations and most of all with death. In my opinion those people usually develop some mechanisms to defy what they are afraid of, and the result of this is a sensation of triumph over death, or in better words, the overcome of a limitation. There’s a natural pleasure that comes when they can think that they win death, but it is of a short time pleasure type, the association with sexual pleasure brings it to a more longer sensation and the feeling of orgasm as the real overcoming of death (what is sometimes natural in sexual intercourse) makes it a trigger to repeat this situation more often and each time more riskily. I really don’t agree with the assumption of this type of masturbation being a way of associating it with guilt feelings ( as punishment), but is rather more moved by the hate of being a limited human being and not a powerful god that can manage the life and death of his own. Those are some of my thoughts about this matter, as a psychoanalyst working with adolescents and families during 27 years in public hospital and private clinic. Hopping I could give you some help about this matter
(PS: excuse-me about my English, but I hope you can understand it.)
Just wanted to say Thanks for the article you wrote on autoerotic asphyxiation. When I was 11 years old, I almost killed my self experimenting with it. I was ignorant, did not understand the dangers I was getting into and foolishly played around with hanging myself. I wanted to point out however that in my case I did not even know how to masturbate at the time, it was the “high” that attracted me. I thought that I had full control of myself, but fell into a semi-conscious state in my closet. Don’t really know how long I hung there, but by some miracle my younger brother wandered into my room and found me in the closet, he screamed. And at that point I started laughing, his scream brought me back into control. And I stood up. I ran after him, telling him it was all a joke and not to tell my parents. I was scared, and so shaken up that I really was not in control. Even at that young age, I felt helpless and never wanted to feel that way again. I concealed the rope burns around my neck by wearing my shirt collars up high for about two weeks. It was winter at the time. I did show one of my friends at school my burns, and told him it was just an accident. Not sure if he believed me. I never told my parents about this.
But several years ago, I read an enlightening article in the paper about autoerotic asphyxiation. And when I read about the many young boys that had died from it, it brought back the whole episode for me. And I felt so mad that society does not do more to educate young people about the dangers of such things. I have been through it and survived, but I know that many have not many more won’t unless more is done to educate everyone. BTW, I told my 84 year old mother about it that same week. If was like letting a weight from my shoulders. I don’t drink, and I have never smoked or taken drugs. I’ve always felt that my brush with death, while I would have preferred to have avoided it to begin with, had a least given me an appreciation for life and avoiding those things that shorten it.
Thanks again for the article. The one contribution I would like to make to a better understanding of the unfortunate continuing practice of autoerotic asphyxiation is that the practice may not necessarily directly be sexually related. In my case I did not even know what masturbation was nor did I even begin Masturbation until about two years later, when I discovered it while exercising.
I firmly believe that there are many cases where the practitioner is merely experimenting with fantasies, be they S&M or others. And like in my case they lose control by becoming unconscious. I had probably experimented with hanging myself two or three times before, and each of those times I felt I was in control and I could stop when I wanted. The last time, when I got rope burns around my neck, I lost control and were it not for my little brothers finding me, I would not have made it. I feel that the problem is with our society, that refuses to educate our young people. I firmly believe in Sex Education, and warning them of not only the dangers of asphyxiation but also Aids, and other sexually transmitted diseases as well as drugs and alcohol.
It appears that the attitude is that if you talk about it, people will want to try it. But their are ways to warn young people of this without getting to graphic. In a health class, if the subject is just brought up about how easy it is to lose control if oxygen is cut off from the brain. How any kind of restriction around the neck can lead to serious consequences. How choke holds can lead to possible death. It’s Russian Roulette, and it is an issue about which even adults need to educated. I loved my parents but they never really shared anything with me about sex, just a book written by a Doctor. No discussions, just that attitude that what they don’t know won’t hurt them. Which is dead wrong. Please feel free to use anything I’ve written you if you feel it will help anyone with this serious subject.
Thanks for an article well-written on a subject not frequently accessible.
~No name given
I appreciate your efforts in doing this article. It has helped a neighbor tremendously in dealing with the loss of her husband.
~No name given
I am a 34 year old adult with the paraphilia you describe. Although I like what I practice, I would choose normal sexual behavior exclusively, if I knew how. This is the first time I have even heard of this classification of sexual behavior which describes me. From reading this article, I assume that there is no cure. Just the same, I would be willing to give some of my time to any medical practitioners studying this behavior. I can be reached at @@@@ if you know of any such or have any advice.
I have read your article about autoerotic asphyxiation. It exactly describes my husband. I know that he does not really enjoy “normal sexual intercourse”. I don’t know what to do.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your paper about the death of your brother. I know it was very painful for you to write it, and I am sorry that you have suffered this loss.
I lost my son, ******, to autoerotic asphyxiation 4 and 1/2 years ago, and have searched for a very long time for information that would try to answer the unending WHYS??? that continue to haunt my mind. Your article helps very much. Some of what you write confirms what I had finally come to conclude on my own, such as the thrill factor of risk-taking, and youthful naiveté and feelings of invulnerability. I also concur that pornography is a strong contributing factor. I appreciate all the psychological information very much. I needed to be better informed. My “heart” is still broken. I miss him all the time. And, of course, my life and the lives of everyone who loved him are forever changed. At least now I know more, and perhaps my mind can rest a little easier.
If I can be of any help to you, please feel free to e-mail me back.
Thank you for writing the excellent article on Autoerotic Asphyxiation. I am a social worker trying to help a family of survivors deal with this type of tragedy. When I downloaded the article off the net, the entire document did not download for some reason. Now, I cannot find it again. Can you give me your web page address so that I can try again to get it. I was able to get down to the intervention strategies where you talked about clergy needing to be educated on the syndrome. Thank you for your help.
I want to thank you so very much for your detailed research and the article you wrote following the death of your brother Bob. When I read it I realized that at last I had found someone who would have a deeper understanding of my own trauma than anyone I have met so far. The needs you express in your conclusion for education and especially for family counseling are needs I too have expressed many times in the last four months (I have had much loving support from church, friends and professionals) since my husband’s death, but no-one really knows very much about the syndrome. He was 53. I am also. We have 4 wonderful children and had been very happily married for 27 years. I should very much like to talk to you and/or members of your family if that is possible. My phone number is ######### and my address is @@@@@@. I do not yet have email at home. A friend is sending this for me.
Yours sincerely, Lisa
To the author,
My 42 year old brother also died from an autoerotic event ten years ago. The entire episode became etched in my mind; seldom a day passes (even now) when I don’t think of the “what if’s” or the “how could’s”. I was always so sure that we would grow old together. I feel robbed by something that I still do not understand and probably never will. Your article was the first piece of information which I’ve ever found that helped to explain the unthinkable. I do appreciate your effort, as I’m sure it was difficult for you.
I read your web page about 2 weeks ago. I started to reply at that time, but memories started rushing back, and I needed to regain my composure before I could respond. Though I would not want this situation to happen to any family, it is of some comfort for me to know that there are others out there who can understand the grief, shame, and sense of bewilderment which accompanies such a senseless death.
Thank you again for the research… Lou
I was so happy to find your web page while I was browsing! I just want to tell you my story because you might find it interesting and maybe you can give me some insight on my situation…I appreciate you taking your time to read this and if you could reply. I’d would be quite pleased…
This past September on my birthday, my boyfriend was found dead in his bedroom with a plastic bag over his head and his penis was hanging out. he was found by one of his roommates who was waiting for them to go out together and party…he was living in So. California and at that time I was living in San Francisco…I received this horrible news over the phone from one of our mutual friends. At first no one dared to tell me the exact details of how he was found. I guess out of confusion and shock that he was dead. At first everyone thought Jamie had committed suicide because there really was no reason to think he was murdered… His roommates were in and out of the house that day. he was feeling fine. nothing weird was going on; I just couldn’t believe he had committed suicide because I knew him (or thought I did) better than any of his friends and he was about to start a new job on Monday, he had just bought a new car. he was only 21yrs old and a fun, outgoing, intelligent& very good-looking young man. no apparent or hidden reasons to commit suicide. After a week of going nuts trying to figure out the how’s and why’s of Jamie’s death a friend makes a strange suggestion on how he could’ve died…he didn’t know the scientific name for it but when he explained how maybe he was masturbating and choking himself to feel a great rush, I was so insulted at first!! It was too bizarre! How dare he say that about my boyfriend? I was so pissed off.. but awhile later, I gave it some thought and his idea made total sense! Amazingly enough, this made me feel just a little better because suicide really would have wrecked me.. the guilt and other feelings just would’ve been too overwhelming for me to handle. Losing him is still quite painful for me but if it was an accident I can accept the circumstances…
Anyways, no one had really heard of autoerotic asphyxiation before so I only confided in a couple of friends who are more open-minded about human sexuality…talking things over with them helped me understand things better and I truly believe this was the cause of his death. What’s cool is that reading your page is exactly what I needed. My friends and I have been pondering for so long on the history of these sexual practices and if there were any formal medical forensic studies and psychoanalysis reports. you have all that information right there for us. This has answered some of our questions but not all ..because after reading this I’m trying to figure out what could’ve motivated him to do this? Did he practice it before or was it his first time? Was there anything traumatic in his past that could’ve motivated him to get into this? So many ??? I imagine that you’ve gone thru the same thoughts and emotions that we have.. so writing to someone who understands makes me feel better. I also want you to know that what you have done by writing up this web page and all your time and effort in investigating has paid off, because it is helping others like myself. I really do thank you for your time and if you are interested in writing back please email or you can call me toll-free at this #
I thought that your article on autoerotic asphyxiation was excellent considering the nature of the subject. my deepest sympathies for you and your family for what you must have gone through. I would, however, like to tell you about a situation that occurred last night to my neighbor, Steve. if you wish not to read this I will understand, just respond with a “thanks, no thanks” message. I’m just trying to give myself a little insight to this situation since it really affected me. my dad was just getting inside the house when he had heard the neighbor’s carbon monoxide alarm going off. Steve had had earlier problems with it going off for no reason, but my dad is not the type to just ignore it. he tried knocking on the door but no one was answering. other neighbors gathered. one of the neighbors, dean, looked through the window and saw Steve, hanging from one of the rafters in the living room. my dad called the police. dean and rob, both good friends of Steve couldn’t bare to see him like that. dean asked my dad if he could report this incident so that he may go home. my dad agreed of course. both dean and rob left as rob got sick. when the fire truck came they were able to break down the door since all windows and doors were locked from the inside. once finally inside they could see what exactly had happened. Steve hung from the ceiling by a dog chain, bare naked, wearing only a black eye mask and only a few inches off the floor. a step ladder behind him and a leather whip in front. the TV was playing a porno video in continuous play. it seemed obvious to some people that he hung himself because of the gay life style that he led and the obvious troubles that he was having with his current and ex- boyfriends. sometimes the fights between him and his ex-boyfriend would get so heated that my dad describes it as “I thought they would shoot each other.” but I don’t think that to be the reason. I don’t think that his sexuality had anything to do with it and I don’t think that it was suicide. the way everyone is talking they say it was suicide. that is degrading to his character no matter what “situation” you find him in. I’m wondering what is your opinion on this? what do you think it could be? is this another sexual hanging or suicide? or is this just an easier way to kill himself? I also have a few comments on your article: I think that asphyxiators are going to continue their practices whether they read your article or not, with some degree of death reduction I’m sure. you said yourself that the “number of living asphyxiators is not know” and that these people “are not likely to visit a clinician for treatment” due to “embarrassment or perceived social stigma”, but that is only if others know of his condition. these people are not voluntarily looking for help because they probably believe that they are not in any danger of accidentally hanging themselves. could it possibly be to everyone’s benefit to make information readily available to them (via the internet) on how NOT to accidentally hang themselves and somehow stealthily mention how to do it safer (if that’s possible)? I know that this topic that I just brought up is quite controversial but it may be able to bring down the deaths related to this sexual behavior. I’m certainly not one to implement such an idea, not because of the fact that it may be illegal to do so but rather I think that this is a topic that should however be discussed and brought out into the open and allowed to be considered. what do you think?
I look forward to any response or comments you may have. if you want, you can chew me out for even suggesting such a radical idea.
yours truly, ****
Sir: I have been involved in Law Enforcement for 29 years and for the past 12 years have been training Officer from various agencies across the United States. In each Crime Scene class we discuss the realities of Autoerotic Asphyxiation, in each class Officers leave, still blind to these realities. I write my own study texts and am currently revising the manual I use in this class. I find this testimony/study of yours the most enlightening, that I have read to date. If I may, I would very much appreciate your permission to use this transcript in the revision of this training reference. Training is marketed only to those persons involved in Law Enforcement and Fire Protection. Your consideration will be deeply appreciated. Under the circumstances, I doubt if credit would be desired, but if I am in error, please advise and I will handle the matter accordingly.
Yours Truly, Officer J
Having read your web page I understand slightly more about why I enjoy it but I thought you failed to mention a few things. It is not just the thrill of oxygen deprivation it can be and in my case is the whole scene. The thought of plastic bags and tight constricting rubber is just a huge turn on for me and for many in its own right. We do not need to practice this to get aroused just thinking about it gives many a buzz. Many people practice this not just to have orgasms but it’s the helplessness of the whole situation especially when in bondage scenarios i.e. if you are bound up unable to move and then have your partner place a plastic bag over your head is enough for most people. Me personally it stems from my child hood from putting on a plastic Mac back to front and pulling the hood up breathing in to the plastic was a catalyst for some deep hidden desire and to this day I have been doing similar things ever since with the aid of partners or professionals. I rarely practice on my own as the buzz is not the same I need as do many others to be in a helpless situation. The air deprivation itself is important but not everything. I shall try to explain what I mean for example I was in a situation with a partner bound up and a plastic bag was tied round my neck as the air gets thinner your heart rate increases this is what is most enjoyable the goal is to achieve orgasm while the plastic bag is still on you.
I wish I new why I enjoyed it so much but I know I will never seek advice as it brings me such enjoyment as it does to many others having read your page I understand a little why I do it and what I am trying to achieve but there is know drug out that can replace for me the buzz and excitement of being totally helpless having someone control your air supply. I have written several articles on my feelings to various contact magazines. If you have never done this or feel the way many people like me do the you can never truly understand what drives us. If you wish to discuss things I have written then please do not hesitate to reply in fact I hope you will as I would like to be able one day to give advice to people like me and give them advice on safer methods do’s and don’t
I read your paper on autoerotic asphyxiation on the internet and want to thank you for solving a 38 year old mystery for me. My family and I have suffered under the assumption that my 19 year old brother whom I discovered hanged in 1959 was a suicide. I was 16 at the time and neither myself, the small town coroner or anyone else had any idea of the real cause of his death. Clues at the scene seemed strange and inexplicable to me and have come to me in the middle of the night for logical resolution for all of these years. They continued to puzzle me until I read your article. Now I know.
Thank you. Mark
Thanks for the response. The piece of information regarding my brother’s death that pulled it together for me was the presence of a bandana tied around his neck and pulled tightly over his head. His zipper was open and he was exposed. I guess out of a sense of decency, I zipped him up after we took him down. Those two elements were the ones that seemed incompatible with suicide. I’ve suspected for some time that his death had something to do an autoerotic act. It wasn’t until I read explicitly, about the use of scarf’s and suffocating devices that it all clicked into place. My next dilemma is: Should I share this with my sisters and my parents (who are eighty years old). My parents are sharp but, have come to accept that they will never know what happened. Is there any light that you can shed on this. I am inclined to talk to my sisters first and then to my parents, but, I intend to think it through first.
I recently lost my partner as a result of autoerotic asphyxiation. This practice was something that I didn’t even know he engaged in. My life will never be the same. I commend you on writing this article. Educating people about this practice may hopefully prevent others from experiencing the pain we share of losing those most dear to us.
Some friends of mine have just experienced AAS and I read your article. This is a very helpful article and it will be of great benefit to helping them understand.. Believe it or not the local Sheriff’s office had been informed of this syndrome and picked up on it.
Thanks for spending the time. It will help others…Mike
Thank you for that educational piece on autoerotic asphyxiation. Take heart in knowing that your article has probably helped people realize that there is a secret out there and that they shouldn’t be afraid to address it. I think your brother would be very proud of your efforts.
My name is ##, I live in New York. A dear friend of mine’s younger brother died last week from asphyxiating himself for sexual pleasure. ### was 18. His brother J, my friend, went through his computer and found your web site about how your brother died in this manner. J played out his death note for note the way it is described in your article. We also found similar items showing he had an interest in this. I do not write this to blame you in any way; J was well aware of the risks he was taking. Brother does not have a computer but is very eager to talk with you about this subject. He’s completely destroyed right now and needs help. He wanted to know if you knew any advice centers, or if you had any advice for him. His mother wants to start a foundation to educate people about this, since it’s a subject that’s so common but so rarely discussed.
Any information or time you could give Brother would be most appreciated. I’m sorry I don’t know your name, He just gave me your e-mail address. Thank you, in advance. I’m terribly sorry this tragedy happened to you and to Jeff.
I am very sorry about the loss of you brother, Bob. How long ago was it and How old was he? I was very grateful to read your article and felt like an angel had allowed me access to it as my nephew, Bob recently died by the same manner. It certainly sheds some light and I am eager to share it with other family members. I am also hesitant because I think my brother, his father may have physically abused him . It is hard to define physical abuse but my other nephew, Casey, who is Bob’s brother alluded to this. My brother also is religiously addicted and I know that this has caused not only abandonment issues but also a lot of shame and sexual confusion in his children and X wife. It is hard to say everything in a letter and I imagine when Casy comes back into the country he would have more insight and would appreciate emailing or talking to you via phone if that is an option. I have found a therapist for his sister to see. How do you find a support group? I found an interesting article about the practice yesterday that I attach it along with an email I sent that author in case you can shed any light on the questions I pose to him. However, I wonder if you are getting on with your life and not wanting to continue talking and thinking about it. I understand if that is the case and wish you peace. I also wondered if the statistics about my nephew would be of help to include in any further studies.
With much appreciation, B
Greetings. I am just sending a note to thank you for our family’s sincere appreciation of the article you have on the net about autoeroticism. In January 1998, we lost my wife’s brother in Canada. Initially it was suicide until all the pieces fell together when it became an accidental death from autoeroticism. Nobody even knew what the concept was, much less understand it. Your article was very informative and in a bizarre way, soothing. We think we now understand the concept, but still don’t understand the useless death that occurred.
Again, my family’s sincere appreciation, D
I just finished reading the article you wrote. It was referred to me by a friend who is going through the loss of a co-worker who is suspected of dying from this. I know this has helped her understand the nature of the death and some of the theories behind it. I had heard of it before, but found the information helpful. I am sorry for your loss, but I am glad you are helping others benefit by increasing their knowledge on the topic.
Best regards, Lisa