Relax and lean into the strangling

Gail Dines also wrote, in the Guardian, about strangulation as sexy fun play.

Since the #MeToo movement, we’re learning just how many men seem to see choking women as a legitimate form of “sex play,” as it is often euphemistically referred to in porn.

Eric Schneiderman, New York State’s Attorney General, who announced he was pursuing a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein for what he described as “despicable” behavior, was just forced to resign after four women accused him of choking them, as well as other types of physical assault. Schneiderman disputed the allegations, claiming that he had only consensual sexual relations.

Is there also consensual stabbing, consensual shooting, consensual beating to a pulp?

In mainstream media targeted to women, choking, or “breath play,” as it is often referred to, is rebranded as edgy, hot sex that somehow gives the woman power. Women’s Health Magazine recently promoted the act, suggesting it can “be an exhilarating experience for some people.” While the article does admit it could lead to death, it nonetheless provides some handy tips for those women squeamish at the thought of this “hot” sex. (Learning to relax is one recommendation!) The authors quote a sex therapist who manages to flip the power dynamics by arguing that the “turn on” is that he is prepared to do anything to have you, and the result is that “you feel you have an erotic power over him.”

While he strangles you. That’s an interesting notion of power, even “erotic” power.

Time for a reality check! Data from studies on domestic violence indicate that the women most at risk of being murdered by their partners are those who were choked. Frontline activists who work with battered women say that while the batterer calls it “choking,” it is in many cases actually strangulation. Of these women, “up to 68% will experience near-fatal strangulation by their partner”. Being strangled damages the “woman’s throat and makes breathing, swallowing, coughing and talking difficult.” When the batterer takes it a few step further, “loss of consciousness can occur within 5 to 10 minutes; death within minutes.”

Not all batterers got the idea of choking a woman from porn, but over 40 years of research shows a connection between viewing porn and violence against women. A recent meta-analysis of 22 studies between 1978 and 2014 from seven different countries concluded that pornography consumption is associated with an increased likelihood of committing acts of verbal or physical sexual aggression, regardless of age.

Who is it who has the erotic (and just plain physical) power here? I’m not convinced it’s women.

The Guardian posted Gail’s article on Facebook. The first comment explains all:


Carl Garnham It’s just to get some peace and quiet when shagging a feminist.

Once the gasping has stopped.

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