What Is Breath Play?

Breath play is a type of edge play that involves restricting or controlling the flow of air (and therefore oxygen) into the lungs of your partner or yourself. The lack of oxygen to the brain results in a build up of carbon dioxide that can increase feelings of giddiness, light-headedness, and pleasure. There are a variety of different types of breath play that range from fairly safe to incredibly dangerous. It’s always important to remember to play safely.

Types of Breath Play

Girl Holding Her BreathBreath Holding

The bottom holds their breath without physical force. This may be a display of control from the top, under threat of punishment, or any number of reasons.

Girl with a clothes pin on her nose | Breath PlayNose Pinching

The top pinches the bottoms nose shut with the fingers, clothes pins, or tape. Sometimes done by covering both the nose and mouth with the palm of the hand.

Girl sitting on mans face|Queening

Facesitting (Queening)

The top restricts the breath of the bottom by smothering them with their genitals.

Girl with bag over head |Breath Play


Breath is restricted through use of a sealed or tubed mask, hood, or plastic bag. Poor ventilation in masks and hoods leads the the breathing of recycled air. Please play carefully to avoid suffocation.

Woman wearing corsetChest Compression

Often the top will put their body weight on the chest of the bottom to make breathing difficult. May also be done through use of corsets/binding. When you’re ready to get off of your partner, do so slowly as a quick dismount may cause them to pass out. (Also try not to break any ribs, kay?)

Breath PlayHanging or Choking

Methods that cut off air flow by putting pressure on the trachea. It’s important to note that if you choose to hang your partner or yourself (in the sexy way – not in the whole “I want you dead” kind of way. Don’t do that.) you have to be very careful not to damage the spine. Do not drop your partner from any sort of height as it could cause severe damage or even kill them.

Breath play is very, very, very dangerous.  Any form of breath play has some basic health risks. These risks will depend on the age and health of the participants, and also on the specific type of breath play you are participating in. If you choose to participate in breath play, please make sure you’re aware of all the risks involved.

What Not to Do

  • Don’t mess around with the throat area unless you are super familiar with the anatomy of your partner. It only takes a tiny bit of pressure to collapse a trachea.
  • If you decide to mess around with the throat, please be careful and consider these options.
    • Use the crook of your arm to restrict breath instead of your hand. Please note that we are not referring to the broad side of your arm. With the crook of the arm you can control your partner more easily and there is a lower chance of damage to the cartilage..
    • Or use the inner part of your palm to press directly beneath the chin. This is gives the same feel and effect as a proper choking, but it’s much less dangerous as you don’t constrict the jugular. Please remember not to press down with your fingers as they will likely be in the area of the jugular veins.
  • Don’t push the breathing limits of your partner. It may be sexy to threaten to choke someone until they pass out, but don’t actually follow through. That stuff is bad news for your partners brain.
  • Don’t play without consent. Make sure your partner is cool with being asphyxiated before you jump straight into it.
  • Stop playing immediately if you suspect that anything may be even slightly wrong. We’re talking about emotional, physical, psychological…everything. If your Spidey-Sense tingles or if your partner signals to stop, you better knock that shit off and make sure everything’s okay.

Familiarise Yourself With the Risks Associated With Breath Play

  • Collapsed larynx.
  • Cerebral anoxia.
  • Cerebral hypoxia.
  • Elevated blood pressure.
  • Heart Arrhythmia.
  • Aspiration.
  • Anaphylactic shock.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Brain edema.
  • Brain infarction.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Heart failure.
  • Heart attack.
  • Stroke.
  • Coma.
  • Seizures.
  • Annnd death. (dun dun duuunn)

Groups Most Endangered By Breath Play

  • Men over the age of 40
  • People with a history of seizure disorder
  • People suffering from mental illness, especially manic-depressives in the manic phase
  • Anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol (even prescription drugs)
  • Anyone taking any form of digitalis or tricyclic antidepressants
  • Anyone with a history of respiratory, heart, or blood pressure problems
  • People who are overweight (especially if they have high cholesterol levels)
  • Anyone that has a cold or other respiratory problems at the time of the play cession.
  • Anyone that is diabetic or hypoglycemic.
  • Everyone else