Sexual Asphyxia Autoerotic Asphyxia Autoerotic Deaths

These are asphyxial deaths, principally caused by hanging, in which transitory anoxia is intentionally induced to enhance sexual arousement produced by masturbation.35 Such deaths are rare, with the victim virtually always a male. Only a few cases involving females have been reported.36 The victim is typically found in a private area, nude or partially nude; sometimes wearing female clothing. There may be erotic literature, sexual paraphernalia or a mirror opposite the individual so that he can observe his actions.

Typically, the deceased is found hanging by the neck, with a towel or some article of clothing interposed between the noose and the skin to prevent rope burns or marks on the neck (Figure 8.26). This pattern of behavior is repetitive and there may be evidence that the individual has performed this act numerous times over many years. While the individual is typically found

Asphyxia Autoeroticism
Figure 8.26 A 21-year-old male. Sexual asphyxia. Placed towel between noose and skin.

with a simple noose around the neck, there may be elaborate binding with multiple turns of the rope around the body, or the hands bound either in front of or behind the body. Analysis of the binding will reveal that the individual was capable of binding himself. He is not completely suspended; his feet are on the ground. Thus, he can relieve the pressure of the noose just by standing a little straighter. In some instances, rather than a noose, a ligature or some other device capable of applying pressure to the neck is used. There is always some self-rescue device so that the individual can relieve pressure before losing consciousness. Unfortunately, because of equipment failure, a flaw in design or construction of the device, or loss of control by the individual, accidental deaths occur.

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