Choking Etiquette 101
So you wanna learn all about choking? You’ve come to the right place.
There are so many different ways to explore choking, but it’s important to do it safely. Very important. I mean, we are talking about constricting someone’s airways here.
So today is your crash course in choking etiquette 101. Let’s go!
***Safety Disclaimer: Choking can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. When and if you are in doubt, DO NOT TRY THIS at all. This site and author are not responsible for any accidents if they happen. Be smart and know your limits.***
Surprise Free Zone
I absolutely have to begin here. Do not ever surprise someone by choking them. Perhaps you’re thinking it will be a fun and sexy surprise. Do you know what else it could be? Traumatizing. Yeah, not a fun turn for your date night to take. Even if you’re playing with a long term partner whom you’re really familiar with, they may have past trauma which could be triggered by being choked.
On a less dramatic, but equally unsexy note, your sex partner might just not enjoy being choked. Once your hand is already around their throat, it becomes pretty hard for them to tell you so. As with any sexy act, enthusiastic consent is of number one importance, and choking is no exception. So, repeat after me, “I will only ever choke someone who has given their enthusiastic consent for me to do so”. Okay great, now we can move on to the sexy stuff.
Safe and Sexy Choking
The key to a good choking going smoothly is for everything to have clear expectations, good communication, safety precautions in place, and of course, aftercare! Let me break it down for you:
Before playing, first, establish clear expectations with your sex partner. Ask how they would like to be choked (intense breath play or gentle), how long for, during penetration/orgasm/etc, multiple times during the session or just a one-off moment.
Experiment with the agreed-upon choking, then stop and check in with your boo after trying it out the first time. You can keep it simple with a “How was that for you? Could I adjust anything to make it even more pleasurable for you?”
3- Safety Precautions
In the next section, we will dive into how to choke safely, but first, let’s make sure you have established some safety basics with your boo. Any BDSM Play should involve safe words, however, with choking it can be harder for the recipient to vocalize than during other sex acts. This is where hands come into play. One option is to come up with a “safe word gesture” such as snapping your fingers or holding up a fist. Another option I like is giving the person an item to hold, and if they drop it you pause the play and check-in with them.
Also, health conditions should be discussed in advance. People with breathing or heart conditions, asthma, history of anxiety issues or past trauma around choking should all proceed with caution. Don’t be shy to ask your doctor if choking is something you could safely explore.
Hopefully, this goes without saying, but never explore any type of breath play while anyone involved is under any influences.
Aftercare is key to every healthy sexual experience. It’s the simple step of gently supporting the physical come-down after sex, and checking in verbally. You may want to snuggle under soft blankets, stroke each other’s bodies, eat some chocolate, whatever tickles your fancy.
Be sure to discuss the sex itself, all of your sexy highlights, as well as anything that could be adjusted next time for even more pleasure.
Not All Chokes Are Created Equal
I cringe so hard when I see folks in porn or at play parties choking their partners by squeezing their windpipe.
There is a right way to choke, and many wrong ways. If you’re serious about exploring breath play, I highly encourage you to check out workshops and classes in your local area. Knowing how to do it first hand is the safest option.
However, I know that isn’t an accessible option for everyone, so hopefully, this blog helps you do it more safely. Diagrams are very helpful for understanding how to correctly choke.
First, locate your own carotid artery, which you can see here. Gently press down with your thumb, just for a second or two, and experiment with how it feels.
Then, you can try this on a partner. Gentle applying pressure to their carotid artery for a few seconds then release. Repeat this gentle squeeze and release, checking in to get verbal feedback.
Once you’re more experienced and comfortable with this, you can try choking them during sex.
Always avoid putting pressure on the windpipe (the front of their neck), and keep your body weight out of your choking hand.
Also, don’t move them or their neck around when you’re choking them. Be careful and proceed with caution. When choking your lover, less is more.
Maintain eye contact during your choke, holding your energy firm and sexy. Never look away from someone you’re choking, even for a moment.
Key takeaways for sexy and safe choking:
1- Gently press on either side of your partner’s esophagus and figure out the pressure that works best for them through communication.
2- Do not squeeze the front of the neck! This causes some seriously unsexy coughing and can damage their windpipe.
3- Check in with your lover and get feedback on the pressure and location of your fingers. They should always be able to vocally respond. If they can’t, stop choking them for now, check-in verbally, and dial down the pressure next time.
The Forbidden Choke
I am mentioning this as a serious precaution, not a suggestion in any way. DO NOT choke your partner unconscious, EVEN IF you think you can do it safely. It’s much too high a risk, and truly cannot be done safely. Ever.
Happy choking kinksters!
Isabella Frappier is an Australian ex-pat living in LA, who swapped gumtrees for palm trees. She’s a writer and a holistic Sexuality Doula, who specializes in body literacy, sexual sovereignty, and BDSM.
She is also a host on the popular new Sex Magic Podcast. When she’s not busy championing her sex positive agenda, she—oh wait—she’s always busy doing that. Follow her adventures on Instagram.