A teaching moment?

In a comment left to M. Simon's earlier post about the death of actor David Carradine (who was found naked and hanging), Captain Ned opined that it was not suicide, but auto-erotic asphyxiation, and pointed to this post by Ace.

Looks like Ace was absolutely right:

David Carradine could have died from suffocation or heart failure after an auto-erotic sex act went tragically wrong, Thai police said today.

The star of the iconic Seventies TV show Kung Fu, was found dead in a Bangkok hotel room yesterday in bizarre circumstances.

Police said the 72-year-old American actor had hanged himself, using cords from curtains in the room.

A hotel chambermaid discovered his naked body hanging in a wardrobe with a cord around his neck and genitals.

Thai police said they could not no longer treat the case as a simple suicide.

But police commander Lieutenant General Worapong Siewpreecha emphasised it still remained unclear whether he killed himself or died from suffocation or heart failure.

'There was a rope tied around his neck and another rope tied to his genitals, and the two ropes were tied together and they hung in the closet, ' he said.

'Under these circumstances we cannot be sure that he committed suicide.'

That last statement strikes me almost as understatement, as I think it's quite obvious what happened. (The timing also struck me as odd; why would any actor commit suicide in the middle of shooting a film?)

Anyway, it's a real tragedy, as I was a fan of David Carradine, and his father, and his brother. My heart goes out to this very talented family, and while I do not want to be seen as making light of a tragic situation, I have a few thoughts. Please bear with me, as I have a dark sense of humor and a non-judgmental attitude about sexuality.

First, I don't judge the man any more than I judge anyone else for his sexual tastes. It matters not in the least to me how anyone gets off. (Save harm to others, such as sex with children or people who don't consent.) While I'm not into auto-erotic asphyxiation, I'd like to think that if I was, I'd be careful, though, not only because I'd prefer to live, but because sudden deaths are very hard on relatives. That is why practitioners of this particular fetish need to be especially careful. Like any high-risk activity, they should never do it alone. (Something any SCUBA diver knows.)

Not that having another person present makes it 100% safe, but it certainly increases the odds. A close friend worked as an emergency room nurse in California, and he told me about a couple who were both found hanging -- both of them dead from joint (as opposed to auto) erotic asphyxiation. (He also told me that another man he knew who tried it told him that until he tried it he had never imagined that any activity could be so pleasurable, and he was warned not to try it.) The couple that was found had made the mistake of enjoying their moment of hypo-oxygenated orgasm together.

Common sense suggests that this is not the sort of thing you'd want to do together, and certainly not at the same time, for obvious reasons.

I realize it sounds a bit silly to use the blog for a "public service announcement", but I don't expect the CDC to go around putting up posters saying something like this:

Kids, if youre going to play around like this, play safe. Don't do it alone.

And if you're a solitary practitioner, don't try it at all. You might like it, and it might very well kill you.

No orgasm is worth dying over.

posted by Eric on 06.05.09 at 09:00 AM


Kids, if youre going to play around like this, play safe. Don't do it alone.

Hypothetical question posed to a hooker(s?) in Bangkok.
Kwai Chang Kane wants to get freaky and you go along and all of a sudden you notice he's dead.
Do you?
A. Run Away
B. Run Away
C. Run Away
D. Run Away.
E. All of the above but only after running away.

I'm not saying he wasn't alone, I am saying I would doubt it based on all the evidence I've seen. That evidence being that he was in Bangkok, Thailand.

You can get pretty much find whatever sexual deviancy you want there, why beat off when you can have a few people beat you off?

Veeshir   ·  June 5, 2009 12:19 PM

Don't take my comments the wrong way, it looks as if I always disagree with you. I don't, I usually agree with you.

I very rarely write "Wut he sed" so if I disagree with one aspect of a post, that pretty much means I agree with the rest of it.

You know, except in this instance where the part I disagree with is the point of the post.

Veeshir   ·  June 5, 2009 1:44 PM

Well, the details are of course subject to speculation.

Cowardly prostitutes aside, I think my point is still that it's a lot safer to not do this sort of thing alone.

Eric Scheie   ·  June 6, 2009 10:25 AM

Michael Hutchence, anyone? Actually both Hutchence and now Carradine symbolize a pretty awful dilemma, particularly for someone in the public eye: How would you rather be remembered, as someone who took the cowardly way out of life by committing suicide... or as someone who died while masturbating?

Joshua   ·  June 6, 2009 5:21 PM

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