Autoerotic fatalities are accidental deaths that occur during sexual self-stimulation when an apparatus, device or prop that is being employed to enhance pleasure causes the death. Researchers only apply the term to unintentional deaths resulting from solitary sexual activity, not suicide or acts with a partner. The incidence of autoerotic fatalities in Western countries is around 0.5 per million inhabitants each year.
Autoerotic asphyxia is the leading cause. 70 to 80% of autoerotic deaths are caused by hanging, while 10 to 30% are attributed to plastic bags or chemical use. Both of these lead to autoerotic asphyxia. 5 to 10% are related to electrocution, foreign body insertion, overdressing/body wrapping, or another atypical method. Specific causes include the use of chemicals such as amyl nitrite, GHB, or nitrous oxide, and props and tools such as knives, oversized dildos, ligatures or bags for asphyxiation, duct tape, electrical apparatus for shocks, water for self-immersion, fire-making equipment for self-immolation, or sharp, unhygienic or large fetishized objects. Male victims are much more likely to use a variety of devices during autoerotic behaviour than female victims.
The subject has been treated in two books, Autoerotic Fatalities by Hazelwood et al. (1983) and Autoerotic Asphyxiation: Forensic, Medical, and Social Aspects by Sheleg et al. (2006).
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- Burgess, Ann Wolbert; Hazelwood, Robert R.; Dietz, Park Elliott (1983). Autoerotic fatalities. Lexington, Mass: LexingtonBooks. ISBN 0-669-04716-3.
- Edwin Ehrlich; Sergey Sheleg (2006). Autoerotic Asphyxiation: Forensic, Medical, and Social Aspects. Wheatmark. ISBN 1-58736-604-5.
- Sauvageau, A. (2014). "Current Reports on Autoerotic Deaths—Five Persistent Myths". Current Psychiatry Reports. 16 (1): 1–4. doi:10.1007/s11920-013-0430-z. PMID 24293152.
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- An Objective Overview of Autoerotic Fatalities
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- Byard RW, Eitzen DA, James R (March 2000). "Unusual fatal mechanisms in nonasphyxial autoerotic death". Am. J. Forensic Med. Pathol. 21 (1): 65–68. doi:10.1097/00000433-200003000-00012. PMID 10739230.
- Klintschar M, Grabuschnigg P, Beham A (June 1998). "Death from electrocution during autoerotic practice: case report and review of the literature". Am. J. Forensic Med. Pathol. 19 (2): 190–193. doi:10.1097/00000433-199806000-00019. PMID 9662120.