People should be more careful when they're alone
Death by auto-erotic asphyxiation is always somewhat of a joke on TV and in movies, used to punctuate a character’s depravity or loneliness, but apparently it’s much more serious problem than the media would let on. Many people get sexual enjoyment from being choked, and unfortunately, the practice can turn fatal at the drop of a hat. Of course, the true number of fatalities each year is hard to pin down as many go unreported due to the potentially embarrassing nature of the act.
Now, a German doctor believes that he’s found out the true number of annual deaths due to the practice in his country. It’s way more than anyone thought.
According to a doctor who has dealt with some cases of auto-erotic asphyxiation, up to 100 Germans perish each year due to suffocating during self-pleasure. Forensic examiner Harald Voss claims that this type of death is being under-reported due to the shocking nature of the event.
Dr. Harald Voss says that one or two people per one million German citizens die due to auto-erotic asphyxiation each year, therefore about 80 to 100 people perish in this manner annually. The numbers have been skewed since many of the deaths are mis-classified due to the embarrassment it causes their families.
“Relatives who find the dead body sometimes remove things because the shame is so great,” he told The Local.
A man in Halle was found deceased by his mother. He had Christmas tree lights clamped onto his nipples, and it seemed as though he was trying to electrocute himself. The mother removed the lights from the corpse before the medical examiners arrived, but she admitted how she had found him when they questioned her about the burn marks on his chest.
Dr. Voss explained that men are far more likely to accidentally end their lives while seeking physical pleasure by cutting off their oxygen supply. Women are “more cautious and don’t incorporate so many intricacies.”
The Institute of Legal Medicine in Hamburg examined 40 cases of auto-erotic asphyxiation between 1983 and 2003. All of the deceased, who ranged in age from 13 to 79, were male. “The cause of death was strangulation in 20 cases (17 x hanging, 3 x ligature strangulation), 11 by suffocation (8 x under plastic bags, 3 x with face-masks, 2 x thoracic compression, 1 x positional asphyxia, and 1 x cocaine intoxication),” the study concluded.
German website Franfurter Rundschau reported the case of a man who covered himself in sliced cheese, put pantyhose on the top of his body, then a raincoat and diving suit. He covered his head in a plastic bag and sat near a heater in an attempt to melt the cheese and burn his skin.
Another man was found strangled by chains wrapped around his body. There was no evidence that someone else had been involved, and his death was ruled an accidental suicide because of the adult images strewn nearby.
Dr. Voss cautioned people about suffocating themselves to seek pleasure because “losing consciousness can happen quicker than people think.[…] If, for example, both carotid arteries are squeezed, it takes a maximum of 30 seconds.”
A study published in the medical magazine Deutsches Ärzteblatt showed that Germany is not extremely different than other countries when it comes to sexual activity and preferences. German men had an average of ten sexual partners, and women had about five. The study was based off of interviews conducted with over 2,500 people. About 8% of the men studied had visited a sex worker. Notably, only 14% of men and 16% of women said they were not heterosexual.
It goes without saying that this manner of death is not unique to Germany, nor isolated to the country. American actor David Carradine and Australian musician Michael Hutchence perished by hanging themselves during what seemed to be sexually-driven events. A study published in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology in 2012 concluded that about 160 people in America die from fatal erotic asphyxiation each year.
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