Actor David Carradine was found hung several days ago, nude, with his genitals tied up and some porn at his feet.
As with so many of these cases, it was investigated as a homicide, then initially considered a suicide. It is, however, clearly something else—auto-erotic asphyxiation. That’s the King’s English for masturbating while seriously restricting one’s breathing.
This high-stakes ecstasy is more common than most people realize. Usually done in secret, it’s discovered when it goes wrong and proves fatal. Police and families typically cover it up, either from ignorance or shame. When Uncle Harvey is found suffocated or strangled wearing a dress with his semen on it, somehow “suicide” is the explanation most favored by his relatives. Under “cause” on a death certificate, there’s no box for “jacking off one second longer than safe.”
As with the occasional train wreck or exotic epidemic, TV immediately enlisted experts and “interested persons” to discuss the causes and details of this allegedly intriguing incident. Informed that some people ritually enhance their solitary orgasms with a rope around their neck or plastic bag over their head, we were also told not to try this at home. It’s dangerous! Now there’s a news flash—restricting the flow of oxygen until you’re almost dead is actually dangerous. Film at 11.
Fake news shows like Larry King and Anderson Cooper, along with authentic gossip shows like Entertainment Tonight, used the event to smuggle kinky sex onto TV.
Faced with the ideal subject—a combination of sex and death (all that was missing was weight loss), King actually said “we’re not here to smirk or get entertainment value” before asking his trashy questions. Of course not, Larry. We’re discussing a 72-year-old dead man’s masturbation for serious reasons.
What almost no TV show, website, or magazine article will mention is that millions of Americans routinely use milder forms of breath play during sex. Alone or with a partner, male or female, consciously or not, various people hold their breath while they climax, or use their breathing to delay orgasm. Some people learn to breathe so they can tolerate/enjoy the sexy pain of spanking or biting. And of course, many men and women play with gently (or not so gently) choking each other during oral sex, something often depicted in current pornography.
No, the media have little use for the actual, non-hysterical truth about sexuality. This week, they were too busy telling us two things we’ve been hearing all our lives:
* Multi-tasking is bad for you, and
* Masturbation is really bad for you.