Sex Talk

Autoerotic Hanging

Q from a Male, Sophomore student at Youngstown. I've heard of the practice of "autoerotic hanging." Could you explain what it is?

Dr. Caron's Answer: Let me begin by stating that this is a very dangerous practice - too often leading to death by asphyxiation. According to Gary Kelly, author of Sexuality Today, autoerotic hanging is accidental death from pressure placed around the neck during masturbation. Some people, usually boys or men, have found that wearing a noose around the neck, which causes reduced oxygen to the brain, can enhance erotic pleasure and orgasm. They will devise various hanging techniques from which they can cut themselves loose prior to loosing consciousness. What these individuals do not realize is how easy it is to lose consciousness when pressure is placed on the carotid artery in the neck. The FBI estimates that between 500-1,000 people die accidentally each year from this sort of sexual activity. It is believed that the practice is more widespread than commonly assumed. Families of victims are often confused about the sexual nature of the death and are embarrassed about reporting it as such. Partly for the same reason, the dangers of this kind of bondage have not been widely publicized to young people.

© 2008, Sandra L. Caron

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It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover. - Marge Piercy

American teens have the worst of all worlds...Our children are bombarded and confronted with sexual messages, sexual exploitation, and all manner of sexual criticism. But our society is by and large sexually illiterate. Faye Westheimer

Dr. Sandra L. Caron is a professor of human sexuality at the University of Maine. To submit a question to Dr. Caron or chat with your peers visit Got a question for Dr. Caron? Visit and ask away! Get a guaranteed personal and confidential response to your question: or E-Mail

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