Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Is it a death-wish?

I was recently asked to present the topic of Breath Control as an educational topic at a leather event. I declined because I didn’t think I could present it without becoming adversarial.

I recently learned of the death of another BD/SM player due to a breath control scene gone bad. This just pisses me off even more. I don’t know what I can tell people that you don’t already know. It’s dangerous? You know that.

All I can do is demonstrate how dangerous breath control is. It’s certainly dangerous alone, but it’s also dangerous with others.

Since 2006, many people have died in the scene. On average, there has been more than one death every six months for the past five years due to breath control scenes. Is breath control a death-wish? It’s not mine, nor do I think it was theirs. However, many have died. There's nothing I can do to undo that. Maybe their deaths will be the wake-up call for some of you dumb-fucks who think that it'd never happen to you.

1Apr 2006Adrian Exley of the UK,play with an "experienced" breath control top
2Jun 2006Gary Leblanc of Massachusetts, US, committed suicide when implicated in the accidental death and subsequent cover up of Adrian Exley
3Jul 2006Kurby of Washington, US. Solo breath control play.
4Sep 2006"Burley", rubber bear from Maryland, US. Solo breath control.
5Jun 2008Yoshio Joseph (JoeyRubber), solo breath control scene, nitrous
6Jul 2008Dave “Gummidawg” of Seattle, solo breath control scene
7Jan 2009"Boy" Bruce Brandon of Ohio, US. Solo breath control play
8Jun 2009David Carradine, actor, solo breath control play
9Aug 2009David "TiedupUK" Tidmarsh of Cambridge, UK, solo play
10Apr 2010James "Bodisama" Hatton of North Carolina, US, solo play
11Apr 2010Alejandro Bulaevsky (BikeRubber), OD while solo cuffed, latex & gasmask
12Nov 2010Mike, aka “Spuds”, aka “Klausbndg” - solo breath play, possibly with gasses
13Feb 2011Jani, "CBR1100XX", a Finn living in Belgium. Nitrous play, possible with others
14Apr 2011Augie K of New York, partner of Gil K, solo Nitrous play


  1. Damn, damn, and damn. Augie. I cannot say anything other than that. I found out earlier today.

    John, thank you for posting this.

  2. John, Gil Kessler has posted a letter about Augie's death. It is on Metalbond. I don't think he would mind if you reposted it.

    ~ Andy

  3. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if some people who are looking to go to the most extreme places actually do have death-seeking tenancies. I don't want it to sound as if I am attacking anyone, but we have to look at ourselves, each and every one of us, and think about the risks that we are willing to take and why we want to take them.

  4. Life involves risk, certain activities are riskier than others, sure, but I really think a little perspective can help:

    - You're going to die. There I said it. Everyone who was ever born did, or will eventually, die. Most do not get the opportunity to choose the manner and time of their death, but some do.
    - Sure, breath play (a loose term covering everything from inhalants to choke-holds and strangulation) kills some people every year. Do you know that around three THOUSAND people in the U.S. die every year from choking, usually on food. Does that mean we have to think twice about whether or not to go out to brunch this weekend?
    - Sure, the dom usually has a role in how the scene takes a turn for the worse (not taking precautions, hesitating to perform cpr, reluctance to call 911, etc.), but how many people die each year from ANY kind of sex (or other vigorous activities)? I tell my subs who want edgy scenes that sure, there's an element of risk to the play, but in all honesty, the trip to come meet me is probably still the biggest risk you'll take all day - look at traffic accident statistics (fatalaties AND serious injuries) for your area before you tell me I'm wrong. And if you're thinking "stranger = danger" need I remind you that people are more likely to be attacked and killed by loved ones - your partner, your brother, your co-worker - than by that guy you just met at a bar.

    I'm not saying don't think about it or to plunge willy-nilly off the deep end into some dark edgy play with the next guy you meet...Just consider the choices at hand, do what you can to mitigate risks to yourself (and/or your playmate), LEARN CPR(!!), etc. It's irresponsible to hope for the best without also preparing for the worst.

    I also know this is no solace to anybody with a buddy on that list (or missing from that list) but consider how many times your friend played kinky in the past AND walked away OK. These almost certainly aren't anybody's First Times, they just happened to be their Last Times. Do you really want to say ALL these people died because of dumb mistakes, or that it was their time to go, and that they went in the pursuit of something they were passionate about?