Why do we do it?
This is very individual. A person might as well ask, why do people have sex? I will attempt to explain a few reasons why I enjoy it.
Breath Control from the Bottom
Bondage has quite a draw for me and this type of play indulges that interest. It is quite powerful to feel yourself restricted in any way that involves the face or throat. When I wear a gasmask or hood during play I also have a freedom from having to worry about what I look like or what is going on around me. The gasmask becomes fogged and makes the world seem like a dream and the hood that I wear totally blocks my vision and hearing so I escape into a world inside my own head. I enjoy the feeling of being held tight everywhere…and this play works on that level.
Oxygen deprivation effects also attract a lot of us. When you have a lower amount of oxygen available (hypoxia) or no oxygen (anoxia) you start to feel a little dream like and light headed. This can be very pleasurable to some people. Depending on the person they will enjoy different levels of this. Some people like to routinely be taken to faint and other people like to only experience a slight light headed feeling from it.
Panic and Risk are sometimes elements that a person craves and can enjoy. I happen to enjoy them if I feel them in a context of a situation where I feel fairly secure that I will come through it energized and healthy. I get the same feeling from breath control that I get from playing tag. It is a rush of adrenaline and a feeling of being a bit out of control for awhile. I wouldn’t enjoy it if I didn’t feel totally safe in the situation I was in…the same as I wouldn’t enjoy “tag” if it was with someone who was unsafe.
Submission is a thing that I enjoy. I like to give myself over to the desires of my partner for a time and show them that I have a trust in them that extends to my very existence. Some might think that is pretty extreme and I would remind them that if they have “regular” sex with someone without a condom they are doing the same thing…putting their life in the hands of their partner. I wouldn’t trust just anyone with this play. To give my breath to my partner is an ultimate form of surrender and trust that leads me to feel more affectionate and safe with them. Masochism is also a part of this for me. I am a masochist and I enjoy the type of sensation I feel when I am being tightly compressed in a corset or someone is covering my mouth roughly. I also find that for some reason the breath control can effect the way I feel pain in a fun and interesting way.
Breath Control from the Top
Bondage is something I enjoy to do with someone. I think it is fun to hold someone and control them in every way possible. It is an ultimate form of bondage when you start taking over a person’s vital functions. This bondage can be incredibly subtle and done in public. I can simply tell my partner not to breath. It is sexy and enjoyable.
Oxygen deprivation effects can be fun to help a partner experience. I personally don’t get much from helping them to reach that state and I get a tad worried about taking someone’s air away for too long but I will endeavor to give someone this experience if I feel that their health is appropriate for it.
Trust is something that I like to see in my partner. I enjoy the fact that they trust me enough to let me take control of something so vital. I feel very honored and excited when a partner knows me so well and feels so safe with me that they can enjoy the thrill of this play …the panic….the risk…and know I will endeavor to ultimately make it a wonderful experience for us.
Dominance is a strong element of this play for me. I want to feel a person’s total surrender to my control of a scene. It is a wonderful rush to for me when my partner allows me to shape their actions to this extreme.
Sadism is a something that I enjoy indulging in with a partner who will appreciate it. I like watching the struggle, humiliation, and panic of a partner. The reason that I enjoy it is that I know my partner deeply craves these things and I like to fulfill them.
I want to stress that I would only enjoy breath control with a partner that made fully informed consent to participate in it with me. I don’t believe in ever “surprising” a person with this or any other form of play. I feel my partner should fully understand the risks and benefits of the types of play I want to do with them before they are ever in a situation of having to say yes or no to it. I am not someone that advocates coercion or pressure on a partner. No matter what the play style is that I am involved in I believe in always negotiating as equals. Sometimes that negotiation might involve their initial request that I do pressure them for play…in which case I will. It is essential that some kind of non-verbal and verbal safewords are in place for this (and in my opinion all) types of play).
Good partner material
These are, of course, my opinions of what I would expect in a partner. Everyone has different criteria for this and they have the right to those criteria.
The most important element in this or any type of play is mutual respect and trust. I would never consider being involved in this sort of thing with anyone I trusted with less than my very life. I think that aside from the basic trustworthiness a person who is interested in being involved in this sort of play should have a good idea of their health and a good working knowledge of CPR and first aid. I also think that an education in the anatomy and the physiology involved in the play should be a priority.
I take the risk factors that I know of into account when choosing a partner. You can read the section about who is most at risk and make your own choices on the matter. My partner in this play is very young and fit. He is a diver with a history of being able to hold his breath on long dives with no problem. I am well aware that doesn’t erase the risks involved but I certainly feel more secure that it lessens some of them.