Autoerotic asphyxiation (AEA) is a sexual interest that involves heightening sexual arousal by deliberately self-inducing a reduced supply of oxygen to the brain. Most of the literature on AEA is comprised of case studies and research based on people who have died from the practice. The present study explored information about AEA practices and the degree of overlap between AEA and other paraphilias in community participants. Participants (n = 395) were recruited through different online platforms to complete an anonymous survey and 165 were classified as having AEA by reporting mild to strong sexual arousal in AEA. These individuals reported that their interest emerged in late adolescence, and many reported that they discovered AEA via the internet. Regarding safety precautions people take during their AEA practice, 19% of participants reported that they did not use safety precautions. Most people (> 80%) were not distressed by their AEA interest. Additionally, significant relationships were found between AEA interest and many paraphilic interests with masochism being the only paraphilia associated with AEA when considering other paraphilic interests. These results suggest that most individuals engage in less risky manifestations of AEA than what is reported in the clinical literature and that AEA is appropriately conceptualized as a subtype of masochism. The results underscore the importance of gathering information about alternative sexual practices in community samples.


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pp. 292-303
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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