What Is Breath Play? (And How To Do It Safely)

Sexual preferences are varied and often based on experience, as the world has become more open to our individual sexual pathologies and fetishes, we too wish to open the curtains when it comes to the fetishized and sexually taboo.

One of these interesting fetishes is breath play.

This is a fairly common fetish that can appear in many forms in the bedroom and is related to BDSM and bondage.

What Is Breath Play? (And How To Do It Safely)

Ever wondered what breath play is? Or are you interested in breath play but want to find out how to do it safely? Read this guide to breath play and importantly, how to do it safely. 

What Is Breath Play?

Breath play is fundamentally a simple concept that is pretty obvious from the name but is also fairly hard to define as one individual thing.

Essentially, breath play is any sexual fetish that involves the restriction of oxygen to the brain.

As mentioned, this is hard to whittle down to simply one thing, as your breath could be restricted in many ways through sex. This could be anything from playful choking, to using genitalia to restrict breath, to choking yourself with a belt. 

Breath play can be both autoerotic and something you would do with a partner.

When it involves a partner the person whose oxygen has been restricted is usually the submissive role, and if the submitter’s oxygen is being controlled by the other party then they are the dominator.

Let’s get one thing straight, breath play can be very dangerous as you are restricting oxygen to the brain.

The last thing you want to do is end your sexy time early because your sexual partner is unconscious, it’s never fun explaining that one to anyone.

Any act that involves restricting oxygen to the brain is extremely dangerous, sexual or otherwise, so if you want to explore the world of breath play you need to know how to get involved without putting yourself or others at risk.

Breath play should also ALWAYS be consensual, if this involves a partner they need to be comfortable and informed about what is going to happen.

Different Forms Of Breath Play

Choking

Choking is often a very common fetish among women and men alike.

This form of choking usually involves one or two hands around the neck of your sexual partner usually while you are in a dominant sexual position. For many, choking is the gateway to other fetishes.

Lots of people enjoy being choked during sex for differing reasons.

Some enjoy the feeling of ravishment, this shows preparedness for the man to do anything to have his way with you and as a result, makes the women feel wanted and sexualized in a way that turns her on.

Moreover, the intense gasp for breath, once the choking has stopped, creates a rush as the oxygen re-enters your bloodstream that is quite euphoric and almost intoxicating. 

For obvious reasons the dominating party enjoys choking their partner as a show of domination and also get some arousal from the fact, their partner will let them do this. 

In general, this is an exercise in trust, being given the consensual right to choke your sexual partner demonstrates a serious amount of trust and willingness from both partners, almost like unspoken consent. Although consent should always be obvious and clear.

If your sexual partner enjoys being choked, as indicated only through their consent, this can be a relatively ‘safe’ form of breath play.

This is mainly due to the fact that you can see your partner’s face, so you should be able to tell if they are distressed or not. You should stop choking your partner if you recognize any facial discoloration, rolling eyes, or tears/snot.

Always exercise caution when choking your partner, even when you’re really into it safety should come first.

Face Sitting (AKA Queening Or Kinging)

Face sitting is a form of breath play that can be dangerous but is enjoyed by many when consensual and safe.

Face sitting is somewhat self-explanatory, the dominating party sits onto the face of their partner placing their genitals and/or anus onto the face of the person below them. 

Many submissive parties enjoy face sitting as it is somewhat degrading and shows the dominating party you will do anything to satisfy them sexually and is another example of ravishment.

It is also a way to engage in oral sex that is more dominating than simple oral sex in the missionary position, per biology this requires a female to sit on the face of the man in order to engage in oral sex.

Homosexual couples can also engage in face sitting but this involves oral sex of the butt hole, not genitalia. 

Face sitting is regularly fetishized by men who sexualize and fetishize the female bum. They enjoy the idea of engaging in taboo and degrading activities to emphasize their appreciation of a woman’s body.

Face sitting, though, can be dangerous as the face sitter, obviously, cannot see the person’s face.

For this reason, it can be dangerous as you could easily restrict oxygen to someone’s brain in a life-threatening way as you cannot physically recognize signs of distress on their face.

In order to remain safe, your partner should be aware that they can ‘tap out’, so to speak, by tapping your leg to indicate they need to breathe.

If you’re sitting on someone’s face you should always heed their calls to stop as you could easily take it too far with this specific form of breath play. 

What Is Breath Play? (And How To Do It Safely)

Autoerotic Asphyxiation (AKA Sexual Asphyxia)

This is a form of masturbation whereby the person masturbating chokes themselves with a device such as a belt or a leash.

This is enjoyed by both men and women or and across sexualities. This is very similar to the choking form of breath play but is a way to achieve this on your own while masturbating.

Much like choking or face sitting, this is to do with the adrenaline dump and euphoric response to having oxygen restricted to the brain. For some, it also may have a lot to do with degradation being a sexual turn-on.

There are many ways to restrict your breath while masturbating, many of them are relatively complex setups that allow you to choke yourself while remaining ‘hands-free’ so to speak.

Many achieve this with one hand and use the other to masturbate. Some even get their partner to choke them while they masturbate.

Autoerotic asphyxiation is seriously dangerous, many people who engage in this type of solo play can end up taking things too far.

Solo play like this can often be dangerous as there is no one else around to stop you, help you, or recognize that things have gone too far.

Perhaps the only way to achieve this safely is with a partner you trust, who can put the brakes on when they feel it goes too far. 

Asphyxiation Through Paraphernalia

In many BDSM circles, breath play can be achieved through the use of BDSM costumes or paraphernalia.

The addition of material like leather and latex, as well as the potential sexual degradation that could come with specific costumes, can add to the sexual pleasure caused by consensual asphyxiation.

Essentially, those who engage in the world of BDSM can restrict the breathing of their submissive partner with the use of ball gags, gas masks, latex gimp hoods, and other BDSM paraphernalia.

On top of the sexual satisfaction, you receive from the costumes and paraphernalia you now have the addition of breath play.

No matter your BDSM rules, if someone is showing signs of distress due to oxygen being restricted you should always stop and help them.

One way to do this without breaking character is through ‘safe words’ which is essentially a word that once you utter it indicates ‘I want to stop’.

However, while safe words are always helpful, they can be forgotten in moments of distress, and also can’t really be used for breath play as if your breath is being restricted your ability to speak is being restricted too.

Conclusion

As you can see, breath play covers the most extreme forms of BDSM as well as some of the most common fetishes.

When a partner is involved who you trust, and they trust you, breath play can be fairly safe. This is only safe if your partner can recognize when you are in distress and quickly stop.

Breath play should never be used until clear and obvious consent has been established and the extent of the breath play is clear. Moreover, some forms of breath play are just too dangerous to engage on your own.

We suggest that to remain truly safe one should always engage in breath play with a trusted partner close by to prevent any accidents from happening.

Marissa White