Some like it rough.
Sure, it sounds intense, but experimenting with breath control, or scarfing (using a scarf to constrict breathing), can be an exhilarating experience for some people.
Here's everything you need to know about it before getting started:
First, what’s the point?
There's also a physiological reason why some swear by the choke hold while getting it on, says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First. "The rush of breath that comes after being choked releases endorphins, which combine with the neurochemical cocktail of sex to create a feeling of heightened exhilaration," says Kerner. That thrill can intensify sexual sensations.
Is it trendy?
If this sounds way too much for you, you're not alone. In a Women’s Health Twitter poll of nearly 1,500 followers, 57 percent said there was no freaking way they’d be into choking during sex. On the flipside, 32 percent have tried it and a majority were fans.
Is it risky?
If choking is up there on your sexual bucket list, prepare for a buzz kill. The reality is that it’s crazy dangerous for beginners. “If you’re choking your partner while in the throes of sexual excitement, it is so easy to actually kill the person,” says Milrod. “If you press on someone’s larynx too hard, you can choke them to death in under a minute.” Gulp.
How can you take it down a notch?
Okay, now that we've sufficiently scared the crap out of you, here's how you can dip into the fantasy in a non-lethal way: Ask your partner to put his mouth on your neck during intercourse, nibbling or sucking, or to give you a pearl necklace (editor's note: If you think we're talking about jewelry, please refer to your nearest slang dictionary), says Milrod. This harnesses the thrill of erotic focus on your neck and being in a vulnerable position—sans the fear of being too risky.
What if you still want to try the real deal?
For those who are serious about delving into breath play, make an appointment to learn the practice under the supervision of a master or dominatrix with extensive experience. You can search for one at a BDSM social community website like FetLife (definitely NSFW).
“Some people like to incorporate facets of BDSM into sex, but real BDSM is not intercourse—it is a game with many safety mechanisms in place,” says Milrod. “Would you go home and start fencing with swords without having undergone training?”
This article was originally published at Women's Health. Reprinted with permission from the author.