Friday, July 26, 2019

Stop Choking People During Sex

I haven't been on the dating scene in many years & don't do casual hook-ups, thus I don't know what passes for 'normal' in the bedrooms of single young folks.  So I was shocked at a recent article in The Guardian about the trend of men choking women during sex & how common it's become.  By choking I mean cutting off the airflow to the brain via the windpipe by compressing the neck, either with hands or a device like a rope.  Just to be clear.

From an article on how to "safely" choke your partner.  Nope.

What might've once been considered a fringe kink enjoyed by Ted Bundy types with violent tendencies has now gone completely mainstream thanks in large part to porn, which sends the message to men that it's exciting & tells women they should want it or else be considered "vanilla" and boring.  It's even been re-branded as "breath play" to soften the image of what's otherwise a highly dangerous activity.  (That's like calling stabbing "blood play," but okay).  What's more, you're likely to be shouted down for voicing concern or disapproval of this behavior in many circles where "kink-shaming" is the cardinal sin.  Any activity no matter how extreme or demeaning is not to be questioned lest it yuck someone's yum.

The problem is that there is no safe method of choking someone despite what BDSM advocates may have told you.  Compressing someone's airway puts them at risk for death, period.  You may have heard of the odd death due to autoerotic asphyxiation when a man (almost always a man) accidentally dies while cutting off his air supply during masturbation.  These deaths are tragic in that they are unintentional & leave behind confused & heartbroken loved ones.  No high or orgasm is worth dying over.  That's not kink-shaming...it's just reality.  If you believe otherwise you don't value your life enough.  But that's YOUR life to value (or not).  If you want to hang by your neck while whacking it, that's ultimately your call.

These six boys are among the many children and teenagers in the U.S. who have died from playing the Choking Game. Clockwise from top left: Erik Robinson was 12 when he died in California in 2010; Carson Steele was 14 when he died in South Carolina in 2016; Mack Jensen was 17 when he died in Wisconsin in 2009; Garrett Pope was 11 when he died in South Carolina in 2016; Tristan Farnsworth was 13 when he died in Utah in 2012; Evan Ziemniak was 12 when he died in Pennsylvania in 2016.
Kids who have died while playing the "choking game".

What you don't have the right to do is put your hands around your partner's neck during sexual activities & put their life at risk.  The number of cases in which this has happened with casual hookups between virtual strangers--sometimes drunk--is staggering.  Women are being choked without giving consent on first dates!  I don't care what your previous girlfriend claimed to like...or what porn stars pretend to enjoy...you simply don't do that.  It's terrifying, disrespectful & a major boundary violation.  The fact this even needs to be said is disheartening.

The issue of consenting to be choked is equally shaky.  If your partner asked you to stab, concuss or pour acid on her head because it "turned her on," would you do it?  Or would you sit her down & ask her what on Earth has made her confuse degradation & violence with love & sexual arousal?  Just because someone claims to be turned on by something doesn't mean you should do it without question.  The blurring of lines between sex & violence is extremely troubling & comes with very real risks.  Women have been killed during "rough sex" (the defendant's words, not mine) so it's not a harmless 'what if' scenario.  Even with consent, you don't have the right to murder someone.  If you doubt me test your luck with that defense in court.  You won't get very far.

Death of Eric Garner during a choke hold by police.

I could go on & on about the role of violent porn in these disturbing sexual practices, but I know people aren't going to stop watching porn.  That ship has sailed.  However, if you find yourself seeking out increasingly violent material to achieve orgasm, it is probably time to take a "tolerance break" like you would with a drug.  Porn addiction is a very real thing & can interfere with your ability to perform sexually (not to mention skewing your beliefs about what's healthy vs. unhealthy behavior).  You wouldn't let your kids get their sexual education from pornography, so don't let yourself fall into the false belief that what you're seeing is real.

Porn actors are just that--actors.  They get paid to pretend to enjoy the scenes they shoot--universally concocted by male writers & directors--but are often forced into the field by traffickers or a drug habit they need to support.  Some of the more extreme scenes are filmed without consent while actresses cry & plead to stop between takes; a number of porn actresses report developing PTSD as a result of 'Gonzo' scenes & actual rapes on porn shoots.  They will not tell you this while they're still in the business because it will get them blackballed from future work, but ex-porn stars are full of horror stories about being forced to work while sick, being raped, physical abuse on set & more.

Image result for ex porn star
Ex-porn star recounts experiences on FighttheNewDrug.org

My point:  what you see on screen is not real enthusiasm for things like being choked, slapped, spat on or otherwise treated poorly.  Actual women do not enjoy these things either.  If they do, it's generally a result of prior trauma & massive self-esteem issues or the toxic cultural messages that tell women they should go along with these acts to please their man.  Even if they're genuinely turned on by violence with no history of trauma, that doesn't make it okay to hurt someone in the context of sex.  Do what you want with your own body; you have no right to harm another person's.

I feel for young girls trying to navigate the dating world in this age of free online porn.  Boys too.  Minds are being warped from an extremely young age not by basic human sexuality but by the combining of sex & violence so common in porn.  If you want to change your habits, check out /r/nofap on Reddit.  There's also some great non-religious, non-legislative information on the harms of porn at fightthenewdrug.org

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