Sadism and masochism practices represent serious mental health problems. Practices of sexual masochism and sadism aren’t games but mental health conditions in need of intervention. Family members and friends are often confused when death occurs from what happens far too often from serious practices that are really cries for help.
Experts tell us that adolescent deaths from what is called auto-erotic asphyxia represent 6.5% of all deaths in teenage years. This self-hanging, sexual gratification practice, for a thrill is often that reaching out for something, often undefinable, that includes the gratification but far more, we are told.
The actor David Carradine, who died in June 2009, may have practiced auto-erotic asphyxia for a long time. This dangerous sexual practice may have been responsible for Carradine’s death, and if so, his mental health was impaired for years, as experts observe. He was found dead in a hotel room closet in Thailand a year ago in an intricate web of ropes. One was around his neck, another around his genitals; and the two were tied together according to the Thai authorities who discovered him. Sex experts referred to in the ABC news article maintain that Carradine’s advanced age indicates that he may have practiced auto erotic asphyxia for a long time, indicating a pattern of self abuse would have been seen by mental health professionals as a cry for help.
The practice of auto-erotic asphyxia is also increasing, with 71% of those who die under the age of 30. Several thousand deaths are said to occur annually.
Divorce documents from Carradine’s last marriage was put online by The Smoking gun. In those documents the ex-wife Marina Anderson maintained Carradine practiced “deviant sexual behavior” which was potentially deadly.” Some experts consider auto erotic asphyxia as that behavior. If this is true, one wonders if there is anything in the records indicating a mental health professional to have been recommended to Carradine and if not, why not.
Stephen J. Hucker, forensic psychiatrist, describes auto erotic asphyxia as “a sub-category of sexual masochism. Also known by terms such as asphyxiophilia, autoerotic or sexual asphyxia, this potentially lethal sexual practice refers to sexual arousal that is produced while reducing the oxygen supply to the brain. The condition is described in the DSM IV, which is the diagnostic manual of mental conditions. It is described as ” behaviour that results from intense and recurring fantasies or sexual urges over at least six months must be causing significant clinical stress and/or impairment (social, occupational, other).”
The condition of auto erotic asphyxia has been known to medical science for about a hundred years, according to Hucker, who has studied the practice extensively. He writes, ” There is no evidence that hypoxyphilia is a form of disguised suicide. In most cases hypoxyphilic deaths are a complete surprise to family and friends as the deceased was typically in a good mood and giving every indication that they were looking forward to the future.”
Some of the sexually aberrant conditions described in the DSM IV describe those who hurt themselves, while other definitions incorporate sexually sadistic acts directed towards hurting others.
Evelyn Nesbitt, a famous model – show girl, was one of the most famous, publicly described cases early on of sadistic behavior. Nesbitt, the original’ “Gibson Girl” model of the late Meiji-era, and the darling of photographers in the early 1900’s, was sexually involved with the famous architect Stanford White who liked to photograph women naked and enjoyed sex games. She, like Carradine, lived a life of thrill-seeking that was said to possess a sexuality which could drive men mad with lust. She became the central figure in the trial of her husband, Harry Kendall Thaw, who killed White in a jealous rage after Nesbitt described White’s sexual proclivities and her involvement with them.
Hucker says of these types of risky sex games: “In the experience of the author, living practitioners of hypoxyphilia tend to be articulate and willing to discuss their thoughts, fantasies and motivations in great detail. Surprisingly, perhaps, half of them describe sadistic fantasies. They report that their activities are part of a more elaborate, usually masochistic, fantasy in which they are forced into painful, uncomfortable or humiliating situations. Some individuals have cross gender fantasies and some clearly describe being sexually aroused by being in physical danger and of struggling against physical restraints.”
Sex games can be risky in many ways, it seems, when they lead to murder or to accidental death, But as experts point out, the element of the thrill and the fantasy are clues to potential problems family members and others must be alert to in order to encourage an individual who practices these games to seek treatment before serious consequences occur.
Carradine’s deviant sexual behavior
The Smoking Gun
Evelyn Nesbitt: Evelyn Nesbitt Shaw
Forensic Psychiatry, ca