All Choked Up About Taboo

25 Jan


When actor David Carradine died back in 2009, there was speculation aplenty that it was the result of “erotic asphyxiation.” In other words, getting off by getting choked. Never having practiced that form of kink, I did a little reading up on it. Apparently, from what I’ve been able to learn, cutting off the oxygen supply just before orgasm and then releasing the choke as your lover comes, heightens the orgasm by the resulting sudden rush of air combined with the natural rush of endorphins that we all get when having le petit mort, as the French so French-ily call an orgasm.

All of that sounds OK in theory, but I don’t see it written about much in erotic romances and as these things go, it got me thinking. Why? How come fetishes in general, as Rodney Dangerfield might say, “don’t get no respect” in erotic romances?

The expansion in the field of erotic romance has included group sex, vampire sex, other worldly sex, homosexual sex, and BDSM, but what about real “kink” stuff? People who like having sex with toy dolls, for example? I saw a show once in which a couple shared the experience of having sex with each other and their blow-up doll. It was, as I recall, a rather expensive doll and very realistic looking. The girl of the couple fondled the doll’s “breasts” while her lover made love to the doll. Now, I’m all for different strokes (ha!) for different folks, and isn’t that shared experience – odd for some, perhaps, but it worked for the couple – not something that should be incorporated into erotic romance? Or is, really, just a little too weird?

I’m wondering, too, if a hero who’s aroused by things that are definitely not in the mainstream viewed as not being heroic enough? Not manly enough? If a hot guy really likes wearing women’s underpants does it make him less hot and therefore less desireable as a hero? Does he dive from delectable to detestable in a not-so-hot nanosecond?

We’re always hearing in the corporate world about “thinking outside of the box.” So how about thinking outside the romance box? There are plenty of authors who’ve done it, and done it well. I think it’s why the genre continues to thrive today just as it did 30 years ago – because it changes with the times, adapts to readers wants and needs, and leaves us panting for more. But my question is, how much more? How far is too far? When does taboo become no longer sexy?

Questions to ponder over the weekend. And speaking of that, have a great one!

5 Responses to “All Choked Up About Taboo”

  1. madelineiva January 26, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    Oh, and there’s of course the Japanese erotic art of knot tying — which lends itself to this stuff big time. I think I read a mediaeval Japanese romance that was fascinating. The heroine sent fingernail clippings to lovers, proving her devotion. When running away, she made sure she took a lot of paper handkerchiefs with her. AND when she got it on with the hero, about the second time they made love, he brought out his fancy knot tying skills — which was all about the movements of their restrained f***ing choking her just the right amount so that when she had an orgasm it was amaze-balls. Wish I could remember the name of it….

    I don’t know…I’m reconsidering my position on fetish-y/uber kinky stuff is not romantic because it takes the focus off the partner and onto the act or object of fetish. The choke thing involves trust as well as expertise. Some other kinky stuff is the same. Trust building stuff can make sex super hot.


  2. LizEverly January 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Hmmm. You pose some interesting questions here. I’m working on my second book in my series and there is a scene with asphyxiation in it and now I wonder what my editor’s reaction will be to it. But to me some of these lines are so vague. And while I may not consider asphyxiation sexy, I think it’s fascinating. As a reader , it wouldn’t turn me away, unless all of the other sex scenes included the same thing. Variety is the spice of life and erotic romance!


  3. madeline iva January 25, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Hey Elizabeth — I was thinking about this a while back too! Mostly it was because I came upon a chart of kinky behavior and fetishes. (The link is down below.)

    At any rate, my reaction to looking at this chart was at first fascination and then ultimately, depression. I don’t even know what some of this stuff is. I guess my gut reaction was that the fetish stuff isn’t romantic. I scratch my head thinking about why.

    The dictionary says a fetish is: an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression.

    To my mind kinky is the lighter stuff, fetishes are a lot more weird, but the dictionary obviously doesn’t agree, so I bow to its superior knowledge about this sex stuff. The answer I come up with is that the object fetishized or the kinky practice is more important than the person one is having sex with…but I’m completely open to hearing other opinions…

    Did I mention that on the animated comedy show ARCHER there’s a character with a choking fetish?

    Here’s a link to the chart:,r:34,s:0,i:192



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