Artwork by Sarah Sabri, Advanced Course Class #18

E-News: Strangulation and Sex:

Not worth the health risk.

Not worth the jail time.

Dear Friends,


Welcome to another edition of the Strangulation Prevention E-News. The Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention launched E-News to share important information about non and near-fatal strangulation assaults. Each E-News focuses on one subject, highlights one organization or individual, and/or shares one featured resource. 


For this E-News, we want to share a new PSA the Institute has created in partnership with the Yellow Heart Committee to address the deadly and dangerous health consequences of applying continuous pressure to the neck, along with some important information about strangulation during sex.


In the last 12 months, at least 10 very important articles from Dr. Debbie Herbenick and her team of researchers in the United States have clearly articulated the rise and prevalence of strangulation during sex:


·     It is mostly done by men to women (67.8% of men choked women during sex)

·     It is primarily without their consent

·     It is mostly a result of the normalization of strangulation on social media and free on-line access to porn (64% of teens/young adults access porn on a weekly basis, with up to 40% of porn video showing aggressive sexual acts without consent)

·     It has major health consequences and

·     At least 24% felt scared during sex


In the last few years, the United Kingdom saw an increase of young women dying as a result of strangulation during sex, The Killing of Women in “Sex Games Gone Wrong”: An Analysis of Femicides in Great Britain 2000-2018. The UK has now banned the “rough sex defense” and even started a website called “You Can’t Consent to This”. This website tracks all the women who have died because of “rough sex defense”, at least 60 to date. Unfortunately, there is no similar site nor law in the United States.


Make no mistake about it: applying continuous pressure to the neck, obstructing the flow of airflow, blood flow, or both has immediate, cumulative and/or delayed health consequences including death. It takes very little pressure to compress the veins (4.4 lbs.), the arteries (11 lbs.) and/or airway (33lbs.). It only takes seconds to alter consciousness and minutes to cause death. Given how fast and how little pressure it takes to block blood flow and/or airflow, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “SAFE CHOKING” OR “LIGHT CHOKING”. And it should all be called strangulation.


Furthermore, we asked our medical director, Dr. William Smock if there is any published medical article that even proves strangulation during sex increases sexual pleasure, he said NO. In fact, what we do know is that the “warm fuzzy feeling” that has been reported as pleasure is simply your brain cells dying. The leading article, Time is Brain, recognizes that when the brain is deprived of oxygen (such as in strangulation or as a result of a stroke) every second matters. This is simply risk-taking behavior with devastating and/or deadly consequences.


Even sex educator and activist Dave Wiseman writes,"I know of no way whatsoever that suffocation or strangulation can be done that does not intrinsically put the recipient at risk of cardiac arrest… I know of no reliable way to determine when such a cardiac arrest becomes imminent. If the recipient does arrest, the probability of resuscitating them, even with optimal CPR, is small."


Lastly, the generally public needs to know that strangulation is viewed as a serious and/or felonious crime in 49 states, 2 US territories, 20 tribal codes, in the Federal Code and Military Code. Ohio is the only state that has not passed a felony statute which calls out strangulation and suffocation. Legally, strangulation is also considered to be inherently dangerous, deadly force, recognized to cause great bodily injury and poses substantial risk of death. As such, by law an individual cannot consent to be strangled. If a victim reports strangulation to law enforcement, it will be treated as a serious crime. If someone dies, it will be treated as a homicide. Is your brain worth the risk? Is your liberty worth the risk?


Help us educate the public about the myths of strangulation and sex. Below you will find two additional articles to educate yourself and others.


1.   Learn the myths about strangulation and sex.

2.   Understand that strangulation during sex can increase risk of stroke and brain injuries.

3.   Share our New PSA with others and on social media.

PSA Video: Sex and Strangulation

Thank you for all you do to help victims find hope and healing through your various responses in investigations, forensic exams, prosecutions, monitoring, counseling and advocacy. Your work matters.


Always with Great HOPE,


Gael Strack, CEO, Casey Gwinn, President, Joe Bianco, Fernanda Espana, Jessica Kimsey, and Jill Bring

Upcoming Events:

  • Reno, NV - two-day in-person training - November 29th and 30th

  • Billings, MT - two-day virtual training - December 6th and 7th  (If interested in this training, please contact Samantha Puckett -

  • San Juan, Puerto Rico - four-day Advanced Course training - December 12 - 15 (SOLD OUT)

This project is supported all or in part by Grant No. 2016-TA-AX-K067 awarded by the Office on Violence AgainstWomen, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department ofJustice, Office on Violence Against Women.
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