8.8 C
Byron Shire
July 16, 2024

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: The Choke

Latest News

We need to reinvent urban spaces to live in harmony with the planet 

Travel is about visiting someplace exotic, we’re told. Somewhere that looks, feels and tastes different, in a way that stirs our heart and stimulates our senses. But sit in the central business district of any global city today, and chances are it will look basically the same.

Other News

Federal Labor funds Mullum hospital site masterplan  

A $263,000 federal grant has been awarded to Byron Shire Council for a masterplan and development strategy for the former Mullumbimby Hospital site.

Celebrating NAIDOC Week in Byron Bay

Celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements NAIDOC Week is an opportunity to recognise the contributions Indigenous Australians make to our country and society.

Policy ambition, age and conservatives 

The sad state of conservative politics has again dominated the world stage this week, with the Tory wipeout in the UK, and a chaotic result in the French elections, reducing President Macron’s Centralist Alliance to 168 seats in the 577-seat parliament. 

Regen Ag program on offer

Farm entrepreneurs in agrifood, agtech or agriwaste who are in start-up, or scale-up mode, are encouraged to apply for a eight-week, fully funded accelerator program at the Byron Community College.

Arabs rights

Regarding Heilpern’s article: 1. Not a token of non-Jews serve in the army. By and large the whole Muslim...

72 house-raises and retrofits announced  

Seventy-two homeowners in the Ballina electorate will receive government funding to raise and retrofit their flood-affected homes, says local NSW Greens MP, Tamara Smith. 

Strangulation is the act of choking someone to death by compressing their windpipe or specific blood vessels. It’s an agonising and brutal way to murder someone.

In the 1960s the Boston Strangler murdered 13 women.

He was a serial killer. These stories of bad men lurking in the shadows, just waiting to get their hands on women’s necks have always haunted me. What kind of deranged sexual predator does that?

There is a long history of gendered violence where serial killers use their hands to murder women. Strangulation is the act of choking someone to death by compressing their windpipe or specific blood vessels. It’s an agonising and brutal way to murder someone. Those who survive often go on to die from fatal internal injuries. Strangling or choking is often present in domestic violence. It’s a form of power and control, where the victim can lose consciousness in seconds and death can happen in minutes.

To me, as a 56-year-old woman, this is how men end us. It’s not how they give us pleasure.

So how has this become such a normalised sexual behaviour for our under 35s?

Why are we getting off on degradation, and near death?

‘Choking’ is a sexual practice that involves choking someone else, or yourself, for sexual pleasure. It falls under the umbrella of ‘breath play’ and is a form of sexual asphyxiation. Put simply, it’s restricting oxygen to the brain for the purpose of sexual arousal.

It’s become an increasingly common, or pedestrian, behaviour in young people. It’s not something I have ever done or included in the sex talk to any of my five kids. And I have to admit, my sex talk was pretty exhaustive. I covered STIs, reproductive health, gender diversity, consent and pleasure but totally missed the chat about choking.

Clearly it’s something we need to be talking about.

Like, did you know that if strangulation persists, in just four to five minutes, brain death will occur. That’s a sobering fact when you consider the results of a recent survey as part of the ‘Breathless’ campaign talking to adults aged 18–35 on strangling during sex. Of nearly 5,000 people surveyed, 57% had been strangled at least once, and 51% had strangled a partner at least once. And for many engaging in this behaviour there was inadequate consent. And most alarming, is that most people participating in this ‘breath play’ don’t realise how dangerous it is.

And it’s gendered. It’s largely men doing it to women. Trans or gender-diverse people are even more heavily represented as having been strangled during sex.

Few people who are strangled report it to medical staff, but instant death isn’t the only risk. Women, and people who have had their air flow restricted, can develop acquired brain injury, memory loss or stroke, among other conditions. And the damage is accumulative. The more times you engage in choking the more damage to your blood vessels and brain.

Non-consensual strangulation is assault and it can seriously impact a person’s mental health. It sits beside other abuse-based sexual behaviours such as punching and spitting which have also been normalised, even in some casual sexual hookups.

Young people have grown up with continued exposure to pornography where choking and harmful and degrading sex acts such as ‘face rape’ are normalised. While women and children are being murdered in their homes by their partners or ex-partners, a whole generation has been coerced by pornography into normalising violent, dangerous and degrading sex play. When we minimise harm, when we don’t understand or have pathways for consent, when we have lack of access to good information, we die.

It’s clear that pornography plays a major role in giving people performative cues in their sexuality. And when it comes to sexual violence, it’s clearly a radicalising tool. We aren’t going to eradicate porn. But could we start making loving pornography? Sexual material where women aren’t degraded and humiliated, choked and spat on? Could we please flood the internet with explicit, consensual, gender-diverse, inclusive and adoring porn?

In the meantime, start engaging in affirmative consent. And maybe stop choking.

Start loving.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. One is reminded of famous men unintentionally ending their lives in hotel bathrooms attached to secure points by the neck while masturbating. I’m surprised Ms. Nolan neglected to mention this phenomenon!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Regen Ag program on offer

Farm entrepreneurs in agrifood, agtech or agriwaste who are in start-up, or scale-up mode, are encouraged to apply for a eight-week, fully funded accelerator program at the Byron Community College.

Editorial – Bloatcorp under review

Those familiar with the NSW Reconstruction Authority, the agency tasked with flood recovery for the north coast (and disaster recovery for NSW), may be heartened to know that a review is underway of the Act that governs the government-run corporation.

BayFM lands major grant 

Independent local radio station, BayFM 99.9, has received a major grant from the Community Broadcasting Foundation, enabling it to plan big for the future. 

Ballina mayor vies for second term ‘leading the rebuild’

Ballina Shire’s mayoral race this September looks to be a competition between two women, one progressive, the other conservative, after both candidates announced campaigns last week.