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»Mit Hängen und Würgen«
Should information on breath control play be available at all?

In their preface to "Autoerotic Fatalities" (1983), Hazelwood, Dietz und Burgess write:

"Writing on this subject presented unique problems. One major concern was whether there was a risk of propagating this dangerous behavior by writing about it. As our investigation unfolded, we found that these behaviors are already visible to the public through literature, films and the mass media. Thus we believe that the time has come for a careful scientific presentation of the facts.

Other behavioral scientists and clinicians have faced similar problems. For many years physicians studying sexual behavior published their observations in Latin in order to prevent the undereducated classes from learning of such matters, under the theory that discussions of sexual behavior would incite lust and lead to depravity. Less than a century ago, Havelock Ellis's monumental Studies in the Psychology of Sex was the subject of obscenity proceedings when first translated into English. (Ellis summarized the attempt to suppress his work in the foreword he wrote to the 1936 Random House edition.)

More recently, in studying drug abuse during the 1960s, there were times when it was considered preferable not to write about the effects of certain drugs in order not to encourage their use. Once a drug was widely known within the drug subculture and already subject to much abuse, the responsibility of professionals shifted to become that of providing accurate information rather than withholding it from the public." (HDB83)

The "monkey see, monkey do" theory seems dubious from the BDSM practitioners' side as well. Even in the BDSM subculture where everyone knows that there is such a thing as breath control play (it is mentioned in most BDSM books too) only a small minority has tried it or wants to. Scientific texts consist usually of pure speculation since virtually all research is based solely on conjectures about dead persons. The BDSM subculture has an advantage of empirical knowledge that should not be underestimated. From our point of view, it looks like there is a small group of people who feel attracted to breath control play and a majority who don't, even with all the information available. This small group of people usually experiment with breath control play whether informed or not (mostly starting in their teens). Because people without access to information tend to underestimate the risks - especially those of solo play - rather than overestimate them, it is completely unjustifiable to withhold information on breath control play deliberately.


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