Two years ago, I hired a dom for my birthday. It was during the height of the pandemic and since I couldn’t go outside, I decided to bring the “outside” to me. This dom specialized in choking and considering I’d never experimented with it before, I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate my birthday. Choking had been something I wanted to try for years but was apprehensive about because I didn’t want to die. The sex expert in me knows that when done properly choking can be both enjoyable and safe but the human in me computes choking with harm. Plus, if I'm being completely honest, I didn't trust any of my past partners enough to even want to try it. What if they get overzealous and kill me by mistake? No ma’am, no sir, death by choking by way of sex was not going to be the reason I checked out of here!
Choking also known as erotic asphyxiation is a part of the kink known as breath play. Breath play is a BDSM-style activity that involves intentionally cutting off the air supply as a result, the person becomes dizzy and lightheaded. However, when not performed properly choking is dangerous AF and can lead to death. So, if choking is dangerous, why would anyone want to try it and how does that translate to pleasure? This is why I hired a dom, I wanted to find out why people liked being choked. According to a few of my friends, choking can intensify orgasms. During breath play, dopamine and serotonin flood your body, and the release of these hormones contributes to heightened sexual stimulation which is why your brain associates pain with pleasure.
I’m not usually someone who enjoys pain as pleasure. For me pain is pain and pleasure is pleasure. I don’t like mixing the two, but since I wanted to explore a new kink safely, I was up for the challenge. If you’re curious about being choked, here are several tips I learned from my session with the dom that can help you explore choking safely.
Must Have Consent
Consent is an agreement between participants and should be clearly and freely communicated before engaging in any sexual activity. Prior to my session, the dom and I discussed expectations, choking safety, my safe word, and hard no’s. Consent and discussing expectations are extremely important with breath play to ensure both partners fully understand the health risks involved. Choking is a kind of play that requires trust and is never something that should be done without a thorough discussion first.
Establish a Safeword
Because I’m not creative at all every time I hear the word “safe word,” I automatically think about Kevin Hart and pineapples. So the safe word I chose for our session was “pineapples.” The dom explained to me that anytime I say the word “pineapple” he would immediately stop and check in with me.
In addition to using a safe word, establish a safe hand signal—mine was a raised fist. Hand signals are good ways to communicate if your airway is restricted and talking isn’t possible. Having these safety precautions help both parties feel relaxed and safe. They also ensure that everyone is enjoying what’s happening during the sexual encounter.
How To Choke Properly
When it comes to choking, the trick is to aim for the sides of the neck, not the windpipe. My dom placed his hands gently around the sides of my neck just below the jawline. The front of the neck is not built to handle the full weight of another person. Applying pressure here can end up damaging your partner’s windpipe, leading to breathing problems and an emergency medical situation. Placing pressure on the side of the neck is where the carotid arteries control oxygen-rich blood flow to your head and brain which will trigger those endorphins.
Speaking of applying pressure, you don’t want to start off too rough. My dom started with a gentle grip and asked my permission to apply more pressure. I can’t overemphasize how vital it is to start gently — especially if it’s your first time experimenting with choking.
Education is Key
If you want to try choking but don’t want to go the route I took and hire a dom, then it’s vital that you learn as much as possible before experimenting. The internet can be a good place to turn to if you are serious about getting into breath play. One online resource that can be particularly helpful is FetLife.com, which is the Facebook of the BDSM community, and although it’s a social networking site, there are several discussion groups that users can join, and engage in open conversations about interests, techniques, and safety.
After our session, the dom gave me a big embrace and we verbally checked in with each other about the experience. Aftercare is key to every healthy sexual experience. It’s the simple step of gently supporting the physical come-down after sex, and checking in verbally. We discussed the session itself, all of my sexy highlights, as well as anything that could be adjusted next time during our next session.
I highly recommend exploring any new kink with a trained professional, like a dom or sex educator. Knowing that I was in the hands of a highly recommended professional helped to ease my anxiety and built trust. I’m also an avid supporter of sex workers. I believe in paying the professionals. Instead of taking the risk with someone who thinks they know what they’re doing, I hired someone who could provide receipts. And I’m so glad I did!
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
In the crazy world of dating, so much attention is placed on the behavior during actual dates. Whether it is choosing the right outfit or making a good first impression, the focus tends to center on the in-person time spent together. But something that often gets overlooked is the significance of "between date behavior (BDB)." BDB is not just generic good morning text messages (that can be sent to 10 women in one minute), but rather text check-ins during the day and even nightly phone calls. This is the time when two people are apart but still find time for connection.
It is during these in-between moments that the foundation of a truly meaningful relationship is often built. A glaring example of what happens when there isn’t BDB is the early relationship between Carrie and Big from Sex and the City. At the beginning of the series, she was so hyper-focused on the time she spent together that she ignored that Big wasn’t calling or texting her often between dates. Instead, he would reach out and send cars based on his convenience… and not hers.
When it comes to dating, don’t be Carrie!
BDB in Dating
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Please realize that 80-90% of your time will NOT be with your partner while seriously dating, so the BDB will also be a significant part of your relationship. Here are some other reasons why what happens when you're not together is just as, if not more, significant than the hours spent face-to-face…
One of the key factors that makes BDB so crucial is authenticity. When we are with someone on a date, it is easy to put on a front (show one’s representative), showcasing our best qualities and concealing our flaws. But it is in our day-to-day interactions, the text messages and phone calls, that our true selves shine through.
Consistency in behavior is an indicator of authenticity. And authenticity builds trust. And trust is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship.
Speaking of trust, it is one of the foundations of a successful relationship. Building it doesn't happen in a single evening. It's the consistency in behavior between dates that solidifies trust. When your person consistently communicates, shows interest, and keeps it respectful in the moments between your dates, it is reassuring that your potential partner is seriously interested and invested in the relationship.
Also, in between dates, the channels of communication become lifelines that connect two people and nurture emotional intimacy. How you communicate and what you choose to communicate about can significantly impact a growing relationship. Consistent, thoughtful messages and meaningful conversations like sharing your thoughts, dreams, and vulnerabilities can help create a strong emotional bond. Being supportive and understanding during difficult moments can bring you closer together.
While the time spent on a date is super important, the BDB, I would argue, should not be slept on. It's the glue that holds the connection together, builds trust, and sets the stage for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. So, the next time you find yourself waiting for that next date, remember that the journey between those dates is just as significant, if not more so, in the grand scheme of building a meaningful connection.
Hope this helps!
Coach Anwar is a certified dating and relationship coach who has 13 years of experience helping Black and brown women date with strategy, meet relationship-ready men, and get into the best relationship of their lives.
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