Asphyxiophilia and control. Nonnormative practice in the socio-cultural perspective
Asphyxiaphilia means predilection for sexual practices, which include asphyxia as key component. There are many ways to restrict the oxygen intake of living human, the most typical is choking or hanging by the neck. Paradoxically, physiological disturbance, associated usually with it undesirable symptoms caused by oxygen deficit are used by asphyxiaphilics as intense, highly gratifying sexual stimuli. These types of behavior are risky, transgressive and usually stigmatized. This are some of the reasons why they are perceived as dangerous not only physically, but socially to and why they can easily trigger variety of controlling interventions. It is interesting that on the one hand asphyxiaphilic activity often turn to be precisely planned and controlled rituals, and the loss of control can result literary in death. On the other hand, disclosure or accidental release, leak of information into communal, public environment may lead to “social death”. Sociologists researching this domain encounter puzzling challenges and intriguing questions about boundaries between social and public, normative and non-normative, destructive and gratifying, compulsive and voluntary, transgressive and existential.