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Of the various types of abnormal sexual behavior, or “paraphilias” as defined by medicine, probably the most bizarre and dangerous is autoerotic asphyxiation, also known as sexual hanging. Autoerotic asphyxia is the practice of inducing cerebral anoxia, usually by means of self-applied ligatures or suffocating devices, while the individual masturbates to orgasm. The most common practitioners of this paraphilia are adolescent and young adult males. Despite its long documented history, this bizarre practice is still an enigma for most in society, including medical and law enforcement personnel. Tragically, the asphyxiator’s sexual practice is usually first discovered when he dies from accidental hanging.

Survivors of those who die by autoerotic asphyxiation are puzzled and troubled by what must seem to them bizarre behavior on the part of individuals whom they believed to be free of abnormal sexual behavior. The surviving family members and friends are left struggling with the sudden tragedy of death, along with having to cope with the bizarre, embarrassing practice of autoerotic asphyxiation. Families are left with lingering questions of; Why did he do this? Who taught him this? Why didn’t he get help? The grim task of answering these enigmatic questions is usually left to law enforcement investigators or medical professionals who, most likely, have only limited explanation for the autoerotic practice. There are psychoanalytic and physiological theories that can explain some of the reasons for the practice, however, families are still left with unanswered questions, along with feelings of guilt and embarrassment. This paper will attempt to explain the autoerotic asphyxiation syndrome, and suggest that through education, counseling and emotional support, family and friends can gain relief from this emotionally scaring experience.

Read the entire paper: Autoerotic Asphyxiation Syndrome…

(This paper is available in Adobe PDF format which includes the references list. Email the author your request for the PDF document.) You will need Adobe Acrobat reader to read this file. Click for free download: 

The author is often asked about support groups for grieving family members. Although we are not aware of any physical locations for support groups for AeA victim-families there are several “Internet-based support groups” that have provided an excellent forum for many grieving family members and friends of AeA victims. The members of these groups find a very special and unique comfort in corresponding with others who have suffered a similar loss. 

A place for friends & families of AeA victims
For parents who lost a child to AeA
Association de Parents d’Enfants Accidentés par Strangulation (French Site)

Links to Other Pages on this Site

Correspondences Since 1996, many people have read this page and were inspired to write a note or ask questions about AeA. Most are friends or family members of AeA victims, some are practitioners. These e-mails have been posted, (anonymously of course), with their comments, questions and my replies. The intention here is to let others know that they are not alone.

I hope that these correspondences will further help you in your quest for information on this topic. Please continue to correspond with me, it truly helps me understand more of what this is all about. I hope it does the same for you.

FAQ’s In depth answers to some of the most difficult questions about AeA. This was sent to a college student who was writing a research paper on AeA.

AeA Links. This page provides a number of very good resources related to AeA. Included here, you will find links to other informational sites, some court rulings on AeA deaths, links to support groups for families and friends of AeA victims and even some memorial sites put up in honor of a loved one lost to AeA.

AeA in the Media. This page is to provide references to any published articles or other media coverage on the subject.