Thursday, November 21, 2013

Some Thoughts on Breath "Play"

This post might possibly be rather long... I recommend coffee, or travel to better places than mine.

I recently read a rather scathing article on the subject of breath play. It purported to be an unbiased  informative piece, and while it raised some very valid points, it was undoubtedly biased in the belief that participating in said activity was dangerously irresponsible, and did not fit under the heading of ssc (safe, sane, and consensual).

Here's the thing...It's hot as fuck. And lets face it, one of the major attractions of D/s is the element of danger.
Here's the other thing...Breath "play" is dangerous because of its potential to be deadly.

In the right context, breath "play" offers a delectable mix of safety and danger...This is the kind of context where I object to the word "play" as a description for something that could easily kill you, but I couldn't come up with anything better, so there you have it.

Here's where my stupid sense of responsibility jumps in and says I have to take quick detour and play the angel's advocate. Forgive me if I accidentally come across as thinking that I actually know what I'm talking about...

Any medical professional or person with a modicum of common sense, will tell you that breath play is dangerous.
Those of us with asthma must admit to a higher level of risk of breathing interruption lasting after play stops, and I think that people with heart conditions are at a higher risk when the neck is involved.
Imho, auto-erotic asphyxiation and choking are the two most dangerous forms of breath play--it is estimated that up to 1,000 people die a year from auto-erotic asphyxiation (that is the high end of a debatable set of numbers), and choking can impact the vagus nerve, leading to cardiac arrest.
So yes, your partner matters, the form of play you choose matters, and so does your physical condition. I am aware that there are medically based opinions to the contrary, as far as the potential for minimizing risk is concerned.

The vagus nerve is in extremely close proximity to the carotid artery.
The other drawback to choking as a form of breath play, is that there's a lot going on in the neck, from arteries and nerves, to larynx and thyroid gland.

A fairly comprehensive overview of breath play in its varying forms, can be found at Within Reality. I strongly recommend that anyone venturing into breath play take the time to go read it.

Anyways...Yea, it could kill you. But sex, sleep apnea, driving, or not looking twice before you cross the road, could kill you too. Nobody runs around waving a red flag at you when you get into your car in the morning.
Surviving life is largely a matter of common sense.

Now that we have the obvious issues out of the way, and my conscience can rest easy that I have not contributed overmuch to the occasionally overwhelming stupidity of humanity, I can move on to how I personally feel about breath play.

The danger is a very large part of my attraction to breath play--breathing is an automatic function of the human body. If we stop doing it, we stop living rather quickly.

Breath play is very much about that ancient dance of predator and prey, which has played out since the dawn of time.
As it is with all beasts, we know that the baring and consequent grasping of one's throat is a universal symbol of Dominance and submission. You acquiescence will either be accepted, or not--it is the risk you take for great reward.

I am going to arch my back, raise my head, and tilt my chin to the side in acquiescence. I will probably be breathing hard and immediately pliant. My lower lip will jut out just  tiny bit--I simply cannot help it, or ignore the throbbing between my legs...
Because in one single movement of your arm, you will become as close as you will ever be, to holding my beating heart in the palm of your hand.

Your eyes are going to develop that dangerous glint, and you're going to reach out and wrap your fingers around my throat, knowing that my life is completely dependent on what you choose to do in that moment. In that moment, you control the air I breathe, and the very blood in my veins.

We both know that you could snap my neck with a calculated flick of your wrist, and we are both acutely aware that my faith and trust are complete and all consuming. That awareness binds us together, suspends us in time--a moment frozen in forever as I breath for you, and you alone. Because you choose to allow me to do so.

When you hold my face under the running water and I cough and sputter as you watch me with that curiously calculating expression, when your hand smothers by breath and I feel that fleeting panic, when you take my life in your hands...
In those moments, I realize that my attraction to breath play lies in knowing to the very core of my being, that I live only because it pleases you for me to do so.


  1. I am inclined to agree that it does not fit under the umbrella of SSC, i prefer RACK (risk aware consensual kink) because it just seems more apt for those types of 'play' that fit into the more 'risky' areas.

    But yes absolutley what you said...its fucking hot, for me its the simple fact that he holds my life in his hands..and yeah i love the thrill of it because it is risky.

    Because it is risky its not something to be taken lightly, great post.


    1. tori,
      acronyms are not my specialty, lol.
      I think that what rubbed me wrong about the article's point on ssc, was the assertion that not only does breath play violate the "safe" part of the acronym, but that it is also somewhat insane.
      I'll admit that it's not necessarily safe, but I don't think that participating in breath play means I'm crazy lol.
      And I agree, if one is going to utilize acronyms like this, RACK is much more applicable, all the way around.

      Thank you! I'm glad that you liked the post. I hesitated for a minute before hitting "Publish" because I could see myself being hung in the court of public opinion lol. Though, the day is young!

  2. i love your writing! I about snorted my coffee on my laptop (hey, you said i'd need it) when i read "no one runs around waving a red flag at you when you get in your car". Because these are the thoughts that i have when i read that this type of play is too dangerous and should be avoided. So should smoking but it's not illegal. asshats.

    Then i get to the bottom and the tone changes and i still agree with you. i love breath play (and now i really want to try it in the shower!) and i love the control that it gives Him. To me, i feel like it's the most power i can offer Him as part of my submission...control of my very life. And it shows Him the trust that i have in Him. i've been interested in breath play for years and with any other person i tried it with, i panicked as soon as their hands went around my neck. But never with Him.

    1. scarlet,
      thank you!
      Lol, I have been informed that they make water-proof keyboards...We can ignore that it was a suggestion based on my personal and rather poor track record.

      I agree, and I think that one's partner matters so much.

    2. i know i keep meaning to order one of those skins for my MacBook (as i use my fingernail to scrape something of the edge of the keyboard, lol).

      Master asked for a short fantasy story the other day and i had this and your other two posts in my head so i wrote a short shower scene for Him. i'll have to post it. Now if he'd just get home so we can try it!

  3. Another change of scenery.

    Have no words - not my thing, but I love the tutorial. :)

    1. sunnygirl,
      I couldn't help it...Looking at it now, I'm wondering if I need to change it again...

      Thank you!

  4. love this post. I think I may need to blog the first time Sir did breath play with me...I became so intoxicated, I couldn't stop asking for more.

    love your post...btw, I agree, life offers a lot if everyday dangers. it is about being well informed and educated. i wouldn't trust Sir if He had no experience with it.

  5. I think "fucking hot" sums it up quite well :)

    Only having experienced breath play a hand full of times, I already recognize the power that radiates off Master and that is... a beautiful thing. Or maybe it's a mixture of power and submission working together? Okay, I don't know what I'm talking about, haha. But, yeah, it is fucking hot.

    1. Misty,
      I think that it is submission and Dominance working together...Because there is that flow of power that only really occurs when they are in sync...

  6. I've never tried breath play - or at least, I never set out to do it - but, once in a completely vanilla relationship, my partner put his hand around my throat during sex and everything instantly amplified. Even though he didn't put any real pressure into it, I was totally excited. Ever since then, I've been curious about it. Definitely Hot and perhaps, it is because we're 'playing' with danger.

    1. Angelina,
      I agree that the hand around the throat is hot, even when it's not a tight hold--the position alone is such an intense expression of D/s....

  7. Interestingly enough, when I first found masturbation, it wasn't long before I started holding my own breath to move that orgasm along much quicker. I get that it is hot. It is interesting how we will undertake all kinds of behaviors in the heat of it, isn't it? Which is why I must add to your good sense moments and say, please, please, please, be with someone you trust for real.

    1. H's Kitty,,
      It is interesting where we go in those moments.
      I have read many things that say breath play is so dangerous that those dangers cannot be mitigated by one's choice of partner...To me that is a bit like recommending abstinence only as a means of birth control and std prevention--it's just not a realistic safety measure that one can expect everyone to follow.

  8. Hi Lil, such a great and informative post. This is not something we've delved into much, other than the hand over mouth occasionally or the occasional hand around the throat, but with not much pressure. Even that is hot though!


    1. Roz,
      I often think that there is so much that is just about the symbolism of something....

  9. I love breath of my most favourite things. We have worked out a way to make it as safe as possible. It is an activity that has take time to build to a point where He feels comfortable to push me. deep and unabiding trust is needed. Loved this post!

    1. little,
      thank you! Glad to hear that you enjoyed the post.


Play nice.