Erotic asphyxiation is the intentional restriction of oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal. It is also called asphyxiophilia, autoerotic asphyxia,hypoxyphilia, or breath control play. Colloquially, a person engaging in the activity is sometimes called a gasper. The erotic interest in asphyxiation is also classified as a paraphilia. “The carotid arteries (on either side of the neck) carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain. When these are compressed, as in strangulation or hanging, the sudden loss of oxygen to the brain and the accumulation of carbon dioxide can increase feelings of giddiness, lightheadness, and pleasure, all of which will heighten masturbatory sensations. Historically, the practice of autoerotic asphyxiation has been documented since the early 17th century. It was first used as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.The idea for this most likely came from subjects who were executed by hanging. Observers at public hangings noted male victims developed an erection, sometimes remaining after death (death erection), and occasionally ejaculated when being hanged. Note that, however, ejaculation occurs in hanging victims after death because of disseminated muscle relaxation; this is a different mechanism from that sought by autoerotic asphyxiation practitioners.