Everyone has heard the old joke: Men have both a brain and a penis, but only enough blood to operate one of these at a time.
However not content with this, some men like to have their brain blood-flow further compromised by having a something -usually a scarf, wrapped around the neck by the partner and held tight almost to the point of passing out. It is said to enhance arousal and orgasm. The practice is called erotic asphyxiation in technical terms. "Scarfing" is the colloquial term.
Now I can't personally speak to scarfing; -except when confronted with a plate of cheesy fries at Boulder Creek. And in that context, it means something completely different. It was suggested to me as something to try after that Sean Connery movie with references to the subject came out (Rising Sun), but there was no way. It just seems to me that there is way too fine a line between ecstasy and injury/death in this scenario. Even with a partner. And also frankly (and I am being VERY frank in this post!), the idea of it didn't appeal to me one jot. Sorry. Even this Sick Mother has a line she won't cross.
To attempt the practice of erotic asphyxiation while alone (known as auto-erotic asphyxiation) is utter folly, because there is no-one there to rescue you if you do actually pass out and your dead weight pulls the wrong way on the ligature (or there is no-one around to remove the plastic bag from your head).
David Carradine apparently knows that now -wherever he is.
You know, it breaks my heart to think of David Carradine dead in this fashion, in a wardrobe in Bankok with a rope around his neck and genitals. It is such an ignominious end to a life. Any life. But particularly his. That story -the sensationalism of it, will be the thing about him that people remember now. Not his career, or what kind of person he was or what he stood for in life. But how he died, exposed in the worst possible way. I really feel for his family.
Speaking of families: Another high-profile case of auto-erotic asphyxiation was the death of INXS singer Michael Hutchence, which was officially ruled a suicide. Paula Yates, who was Hutchence's partner and the mother of his baby daughter, Tiger Lily, always disputed the suicide ruling and came right out and said what had caused his death. Then she went into a black depression and died of an accidental heroin overdose, was found by then four-year-old old Tiger ("Mummy won't wake up"). Then she; thus orphaned, ended up being raised by Yate's ex-husband, Bob Geldof. -Not to cast any aspersions on Geldof, but I wonder if Michael Hutchence had any inkling of the chain reaction his little need to get off in a hotel room that night would cause, would he maybe have forgone the belt and settled instead for some less exciting but much safer Oil of Olay?
I think so too.
Of course, it is not just celebrities who die this way. They are the ones we hear about, but normal people are just as affected. It is hard to find good statistics, because many of the deaths my be ruled as suicide or misadventure out of respect for the families, but it is estimated that up to 1,000 people in the USA die each year from auto-erotic asphyxia. That is a lot of families impacted by this. It was difficult for me to find any recent literature on the subject, but this paper had some good information.
I just want to say this to anyone who has happened upon this site while researching autoerotic asphyxiation in the hope of applying it to themselves:
Think about what might happen if you die doing it. I mean really think about it. And don't think you won't die, because that's that they all think. But die they do. Michael Hutchence was a very handsome rock star, well traveled and I'm sure well educated in matters of erotica, who probably got more mileage out of his willy in a month than most people get in a year (or more!). But that didn't save him.
Just think about how your mother might feel if she found you in a similar situation to the guy in the photos on rotten.com (not posting the link, sorry). I am not going to post or link the pictures here because they are very graphic photographs of a somewhat decomposed man in drag, who died with a plastic bag over his head and his willy out. Scroll down and look for the keyword Crossdressphyxia.
His mom must be so proud.
As must Stephen Milligan's mum. He was a conservative (Tory) member of the British Parliament, who in (I think) 1994, was found dead on his kitchen table, wearing stockings
and suspenders with a trash bag over his head, an electric cord around
his neck and an orange in his mouth. My good friend AM has that list memorized. Regardless of whatever good that man may have done in his life, either as a journalist or a politician, the only thing anyone ever remembers about him is his manner of death.
And when you think about it like that, auto-erotic asphyxiation is not exciting at all. Just sad.
Don't try it at home. Or in a hotel room.