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How to Choke Your Partner Safely

Some people love the rush of danger associated with choking. For others, it is a form of intimacy and domination.

Safe choking can give women intense orgasms and make penetration more pleasurable. It is also a part of erotic asphyxiation, a kinky activity that involves blocking the carotid arteries in the neck.

Ask for consent

Choking during sex can be an intensely erotic kink, but it’s also capital-D dangerous. If you’re going to choke your partner, it’s imperative that you ask for and receive their clear, unambiguous consent.

This is a topic that many people don’t discuss, but it’s one of the most important parts of any sexual encounter. Dr. Debby Herbenick has found that a lot of Gen Zers who play with choking don’t think of it as risky or scary, even though it can be.

Some partners may never have tried choking before, but that’s okay. You and your partner can experiment, try new positions, and determine if it’s something you want to add to your sexual repertoire. Most couples need variety to keep things spicy—quickies, new sex positions, and new sex locations are all great ways to do that. But you should always start with a safe base before moving on to more extreme options, like choking or breath play. This means having a mutually agreed-upon “safe word” or signal, in case either of you loses consciousness or can’t speak during play, that indicates when the situation needs to stop.

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Set boundaries

There are a lot of things that can go wrong when it comes to choking, from suffocation and airway injury to neck and throat injury. That’s why it is so important to ask permission before choking your partner and set up boundaries in advance so that both of you can feel safe, and have a way out if needed.

When choking during sex, it is important to avoid putting pressure over the front of the neck and instead use your palm to apply pulsating pressure to the side of the throat. You should also always monitor your partner closely while choking and keep eye contact. This can be intensely hot, and it is a good idea to have a ‘tap out’ gesture for both partners if the pressure becomes too much.

Choking during sex can be used as part of erotic asphyxiation/breath play, whereby oxygen supply to the brain is reduced to create feelings of dizziness and euphoria. This is a great kink that can be very powerful and satisfying. It is also a good idea to combine it with rough sex and kissing, as this can escalate the experience even further.

Know your limits

Choking is a powerful, yet risky, sexual experience. It is important to talk about this kink ahead of time and learn how to do it safely. It is also essential to agree on boundaries and a safe word or signal.

Many people enjoy choking during sex, but it is not for everyone. Some people are allergic to it, while others find it too intense or even triggering. If you are unsure, ask your partner what they prefer and work from there.

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When choking your partner, be sure to start softly and gently rest your hand on their neck. Apply light pressure and pulsate, and never restrict their air or blood flow. This can be dangerous and lead to long-term health issues. In addition, choking can be an arousal in and of itself, so don’t force it or overdo it. Rather, use it as an added pleasure to your normal sexual play. You can also combine it with rough sex to up the intensity and sensuality. For example, a choking kiss is incredibly erogenous and can turn up the heat during penetration or oral sex.

Know your partner’s preferences

Even if both partners are into choking, it’s important to discuss the specifics and agree on what kind of play they want. “The timing, intensity, and overall goal” of choke play should be outlined before any choking starts, Saynt says. She suggests talking about things like whether they want their partner to gently rest a hand on the jugular, or if they’d prefer them to choke a little harder or closer to climax.

It’s also important to understand each other’s limitations. Don’t squeeze too hard because you could hurt your partner. When choking the neck, avoid squeezing near the windpipe — that pressure can cause your partner to become lightheaded. Instead, aim for the carotid arteries on the sides of the neck, Uren says.

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Some choking positions, like the missionary position or cowgirl position, are great for couples who want to feel a mix of dominance and intimacy. For a more aggressive style, consider trying the bodyguard position, where the male partner is on top of the female partner and can choke her from behind.

Talk to your partner

When it comes to choking, both partners need to establish clear boundaries and indicate what they’re and aren’t comfortable with. “The best way to do this is through conversation about the kink’s style, intensity and timing,” Saynt says. For example, “Do you want to choke early in penetration, during oral sex or closer to climax?”

Many couples use variety in their sex routine, trying quickies and new sex positions to keep things fresh. But choking is one of the most dangerous and intense sexual practices, so it’s important to discuss boundaries and agree on a safe word before engaging in this kink.

When participants were asked about how they would signal to their partner to stop choking them, most cited not being able to breathe, or physical changes like blurry vision and lightheadedness. These are not the right signals to send. If you squeeze too hard, you could cut off someone’s air supply and cause them to cough—which is not only unfun but potentially dangerous as well. Instead, try a safer approach: gently squeeze the sides of the neck to slow down circulation, but never push so hard that your partner can’t speak.