Heavy Breathing

By: Positive Approach to Teen Health (PATH) Last Updated: November 6, 2012

ScarfingScarfing, or autoerotic asphyxiation is the intentional restriction of oxygen to the brain through hanging, strangulation, or suffocation for the purpose of increasing feelings of sexual pleasure during masturbation. This type of behavior is also called asphyxiophilia. Yes, it sounds strange, but these practices are extremely dangerous. Scarfing is a lethal form of sexual experimentation becoming continually more prevalent among adolescent youth, particularly males. Young boys just reaching sexual maturity are more prone to engage in dangerous types of sexual experimentation, simply because they believe themselves to be invincible and do not know any better.

There are many suspected deaths through autoerotic asphyixiation each year, but it is difficult to guess just how many. The reason for this confusion is that when the authorities arrive at the scene of a death such as this, the coroner and investigating officers either don’t know the signs of scarfing, or refuse to report them as death by autoerotic asphyxiation, and instead report a suicide.

Warning signs of scarfing may include discovering ropes, knotted T-shirts, or other such items that could be constricted around the neck. Other signs include neck abrasions, trouble breathing, and unusual grogginess or bleariness after spending time alone. If you have noticed these warning signs in your teen, do not hesitate to bring the matter up. If you are wrong, the worst that you will do is warn them of a potential danger. However, if you are correct, you may save your child’s life.

If you would like to learn about the effects of pornography on your teens, check out CPYU's next webinar scheduled for this Thursday, November 8, at 12pm (CDT). During this one-hour webinar they will be helping you understand "Pornography and Your Kids: What You Need to Know and What You Need to Do." You can learn more and REGISTER HERE. This is a fee-based webinar for youth workers, parents, and anyone else who loves and cares for kids. All proceeds support the ongoing services of CPYU.