So much for sucking face.
When you're young and you get a hickey, you're equal parts ashamed and thrilled. You feel as if you've got a badge on your neck (or wherever) that tells the world you're cool, desirable, and are an adult. Then, there's the flipside where you feel as if your reputation is horribly damaged.
Generally, as you get older, hickeys (AKA love bites) aren't something you seek. Who wants to have someone sucking so hard on them that it's as if they have a big leech stuck to their flesh? Hickeys seem strangely vintage, like it's what our parents did as teenagers before they moved on to something a little more intimate.
Maybe hickeys are something that belong in the past, like soda fountains and sock hops, since a teenage boy recently died from a blood clot caused by a hickey given to him by his girlfriend.
Yes, according to various media reports, Julio Macias Gonzalez was having dinner with his family in Mexico City, after spending time with his 24-year-old girlfriend, when he began to have convulsions. Doctors believe that the heavy-duty suction from the hickey resulted in a blood clot, which then traveled to Gonzalez's brain and led to a stroke.
Emergency medical services were called, but Gonzalez died before they could get him to the hospital. The boy's parents blamed the girlfriend for his death, so it's not surprising that she's been in hiding.
Thrombotic strokes happen when a blood clot forms in one of the arteries that supply blood to the brain. A clot may be caused by fatty deposits (plaque) that build up in the arteries and cause reduced blood flow (atherosclerosis) or other artery conditions. When the clot blocks the blood flow to the heart or the brain, a heart attack or a stroke can occur.
To actually kill a person, the hickey would (to put it simply) have to be the "mother of all hickeys," according to Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lennox Hill hospital in New York City.
"It's possible [a stroke] could happen, but it's very rare, and parents should be reassured it's not something that happens in a routine way," Glatter said in an article in USA Today.
Most people aren't susceptible to injuries from hickeys unless they already have some kind of existing connective tissue disorder.
"Any sudden motion of the neck including a vigorous cough or sneezing, or even aggressive manipulation by a chiropractor could lead to a carotid artery dissection," Glatter said. "This is essentially how a hickey could lead to a stroke."
Although it's not a given that hickeys are dangerous, why would you want to do something so old-school anyway? There are better ways to show your deep attraction to someone instead of sucking so hard on their flesh that you leave a bruise. There's no place on earth where bruises are trendy.