This is Breath Play.

Mar 28, 2022

You’ve definitely heard of breath play before, and if you haven’t heard the term itself, you have absolutely seen it happen on screen or in a book! 


We’re here to talk about “breath play,” what it means, why you should try it, and how to incorporate it into your sex life safely. 


But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s start with a word of caution – breath play is one of the riskier kinks out there in the world, and if done with a lack of information, it can frankly be dangerous. 


So if it’s this dangerous, why are we talking about it? Because it can be fun! And erotic! And all the things you dream of when you imagine a hot and steamy night with your partner (or a stranger!) like Jack and Rose in that car scene. 


But it is also important to remember that this isn’t all about the fun and games; you are still interacting with another human being on the other end of this, so you have to take things seriously. Here’s how:


What is Breath Play?


It is just what it sounds like – controlling your partner’s breath and using it to intensify or elevate your sexual experience! 


Breathplay is also known as erotic asphyxiation or choking, which involves constricting your partner’s airways slightly – and just enough – to evoke a sexually aroused response. It’s fairly common in the world of BDSM and kinks and must be approached with some caution and attention. 


Of course, with several activities that involve a certain level of threat and risk, such as choking or constricting airflow or blood flow, we should be willing to learn more and get enough information to be able to do it safely and avoid any risks. It is important to make a note of the dangers breath play presents and how one can carry it out safely. 


The article below intends to do just that – reveal some safe ways of experimenting with breath play and bring you more information on the topic before you give it a shot. So dear readers, please make sure you’re aware of what you’re hoping to get into; and we don’t mean to scare you, just a gentle reminder that this is quite a serious matter that requires open communication, honesty, and safety measures in place.

Breath Play

Why are People into Breath Play? 


Like many sexual kinks, breath play involves a clear-cut and established power dynamic between the two people engaging in this sexual activity– the dominant partner and the submissive partner


That is one of the biggest reasons it is such a large part of the BDSM world; when you consent to engaging in breath play with your partner, you are allowing them control and power over, well, essentially, your life. (We don’t mean that figuratively.) 


Breathplay can also induce a state of feeling light-headed and eventually lead to a euphoric sensation which is why so many people enjoy the process of being choked by a partner safely. When done correctly and safely, breath play can be really arousing and can intensify your climax, which is why there are such great reasons to learn as much as you can about it before you try it out. 


How to bring it up with your Partner


It is equally important, if not more, to talk to your partner about it in great detail to discuss all of the aspects fully before either of you consents to engage in breath play with the other. 


(Visit our Guide to Sexual Consent for more information)


Remember that clear communication, in this case, is the key (quite literally) to doing this safely and in a way that is enjoyable for you and your partner both! 


Schedule a time – well in advance – for the two of you to sit down and talk about it. Tell them what you have researched or read about it and ask if they have any information on it already, and continue to ask and answer questions while the two of you figure it out together. 


If either of you has prior experience with it, that’s usually a great place to start talking about what it experientially feels like. See if you can locate and get in touch with a community of people who safely practice BDSM and kinky sex, and try to attend as many workshops/lectures you can about it. Going to these events together might even be a little bonding exercise for you and your partner so that the relinquishing power aspect of breath play does not sound too intimidating. 


Building trust in a relationship is a critical activity before practicing breath play with your partner so that there is a solid foundation for the two of you to premise your breath play upon. The receiving partner will feel more comfortable giving up control and power over their breathing if they can trust you more. The partner controlling the other person’s breath can be more present, more caring, and more aware during it this way, too. 


How to safely practice Breath Play 


In addition to all of the things we have already mentioned, there is a

a multitude of ways you and your partner can safely practice breath play. Attending talks, workshops, and getting in touch with a community are some of the most important aspects of practicing breath play safely with your partner. 


Perhaps, talking about it to your partner is one of the routes you could take. Begin talking to your partner about it well before you intend on practicing it; you could watch TV shows or films that depict it more accurately or read texts about it together! There can be quite a few unintended consequences of breath play if it is not practiced safely and if you and your partner do not have a safe word in place to stop the activity immediately. 


Sit down with your partner and discuss the options of safe words you have – when your partner says these words, it is a given that you will stop whatever you are doing, and full care should be diverted to making sure your partner feels alright. 


Safe Words can range from something as simple as “stop” or as random as “peaches!” to help indicate that something is wrong and that your partner is not feeling okay enough to continue whatever sexual activity is going on. Learning to read your partner’s cues is the next step in performing this kind of kink involving breath play. 


Notice when your partner’s body tenses up and looks visibly uncomfortable or listen to your partner’s words or sounds when they ask you to stop. Make a note of those for the next time if your partner feels up to it, and pay attention to how your partner responds to what you are doing to them. If all of this sounds too complicated, an easy way to do this is to just check-in, pause, and ask your partner if they are doing okay and want to continue.


Advanced Techniques for you to Explore


To fully get immersed in the activity and learn how to do it right and to the maximum potential it has, we must be open to learning ways of being from communities that practice kinks and BDSM safely. This includes several queer communities and communities of caregivers and sex-workers, and activists advocating for the right to safe and liberated sex for all. 

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