Playboy article on sexual choking

Sexual choking uncovered in Playboy

Amanda Pasciucco was interviewed for a Playboy magazine article about sexual choking.

So You’re Into Choking…

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One of the common questions I’m asked, both as a woman and the Playboy Advisor, goes something like this: “My girlfriend is into choking. What’s up with that?”

As someone who occasionally enjoys a little light gripping of the neck, that question is something worth exploring because, to be honest, I don’t have the answer. In fact, the question alone brings up feelings of internal shame and embarrassment. Is there something wrong with me? I’m not alone in my confusion. As one man told me for this story, “I like choking, but question women who want to be choked too hard. That’s not because I’m judging, but because I wonder why anyone would want to feel like they’re about to die?”

To come to grip with this increasingly popular sex act—which in its varying forms ranges from breathplay to erotic asphyxiation—I decided to speak with six experts on the subject.

One thing that stood out right away is this important warning: Erotic choking is dangerous no matter your level of engagement or expertise. Before we dive into the physiological and psychological factors at play, let’s start with safety.

Across the board, experts urges extreme caution “We get a lot of mixed messages because of the depiction of it in porn,” says certified sex therapist Kimberly Resnick Anderson, “but sexual choking or breath play is really dangerous. Even in the BDSM community, it’s never safe. There is always a lethal risk.” “Because of the risk, the absolute safest way to practice this activity is to keep it as a fantasy,” Heather McPherson, a licensed marriage therapist explains. “Breath play, erotic choking and erotic asphyxiation are generally terms recognized under the umbrella of edgeplay. This type of activity is recognized as high-risk even for experienced individuals.” And clinical sexologist and psychotherapist Kristie Overstreet says, “The only way to ensure safety is to not participate in this at all.”

But if you still insist on experimenting with breath play, certified sex therapist and author Amanda Pasciucco says to “take a class on the subject. Choking is an easy way to have fun and explore with a partner, but there is definitely a safe way and a dangerous way to choke. Whatever you do, do not put pressure on the trachea.”

McPherson advises, “the person performing this activity should be trained in CPR, highly educated in the physiological effects and keenly aware of the risk involved. It’s important to stay attuned to your partner’s responses and to communicate to each other throughout the experience. Discuss all of this long before play takes place and establish a verbal safe word and non-verbal safe action.”

So what exactly is going on physiologically when a person gets choked? Well, you’re literally robbing your brain of oxygen. “This could bring about a lucid, semi-hallucinogenic state. Hypoxia can occur if you reduce oxygen intake or if you reduce blood flow to the brain. It can make a person lightheaded, giddy and can allegedly intensify an orgasm,” explains McPherson. The rush of oxygen after the release of a choke timed with climax can create “a different kind of orgasm that isn’t replicated in vanilla sex or masturbation,” says Overstreet. “The pleasure-seeking center of the brain gets pushed into overdrive during erotic choking. Pushing the limit and walking the thin line between breathing or not breathing can send a powerful surge of endorphins throughout the body.”

The psychological effect of erotic choking is almost more powerful than the physical, although the interplay of sex and death and chemistry is what makes this practice so intoxicating. One man confessed to me, “I’m in to it giving but I hate receiving—talk about control issues.” A woman said, “For me, it gives me the ability to just lose control for a little while. I feel like I’m always in such control of whatever I’m doing it’s nice to be able to release and let someone else have the ability to take over for those few moments.”

This woman’s experience reflects a pattern observed by the experts working with thousands of individuals for decades. “For women who are being choked, it’s liberating to give up control and trust someone with your life,” says Anderson. “For men who enjoy choking it’s about what a woman is willing to let him do and the fact that this woman trusts him with her life. Both sexes get off on getting as close to death as you can—and cheating it.”

“Through my years of experience with my private practice I have learned a great deal about the correlation between one’s sexuality and their beliefs and attitude on death. An example: many individuals who fear death have a fear of sex. One’s own relationship to death is almost always reflected in one’s sexuality. This includes fetishes such as erotic choking,” says Dr. Stephanie Hunter Jones.

”Often, we do things sexually because we know it turns our partner on. That fact in and of itself can be a turn on for us—knowing that we (our bodies) are supplying the pleasure,” says Dr. Debra Laino. “The control of taking someone’s life (breath) away and then giving it back to them is exhilarating for some. For some it is the depth of love making, which includes a different level of trust and intimacy.”

The vast majority of the 30 women I interviewed enjoyed an occasional light erotic choke, but that seems to be the threshold for most women; less than a third of them express an interest in exploring anything beyond that such as ties or a full choke. My girlfriend summed it up in a nutshell when she said, “Powerlessness, trust and pleasure.”

The BDSM community’s mantra is “Safe, Sane and Consensual.” One man broke that down saying, “For me, as an element of a power play, erotic choking can be fun. As someone who is dominant in the bedroom, I can be into choking with a few essential things in mind: a suggestion by my partner that it is desirable; establishment of a safe word and safe action (three taps on my hip or a pillow; and sufficient awareness of human anatomy. Always focus pressure on sides of neck and avoid pressure to trachea.”

It’s the latter that you must take precautions with during breath play. It’s all too easy to accidentally cause real injury while role-playing. In order to avoid injuries and misunderstandings, make sure it’s always consensual; if a man I didn’t know that well started choking me, it would scare the shit out of me.

Make sure you do your homework. Find an expert to teach you the correct way to engage in breath play. Many local sex-toy shops offer classes in various forms of kink and there are many “experts” online—but as you would when shopping for any kind of expertise online, exercise caution and be discerning about whom you might meet in real life.

“This can be a dangerous pleasure. Never use alcohol or drugs when engaging in this play,” says Jones. “Remember, this type of play can become highly addictive and as with all addictions, can leave an individual with a craving of needing more and more to satisfy them.”

But if just reading this piece gives you a half chub, there’s nothing wrong with you. If you want to explore it, that’s perfectly natural, and I highly recommend it—but do so with caution.




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About Life Coaching and Therapy

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a therapy and coaching practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible. Multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systematically-trained and licensed therapists!

Get to know our founder and owner, Amanda Pasciucco, (a.k.a. The Sex Healer) PhD, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist (CST) that has developed innovative therapy programs and therapy videos that get results.

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help all clients who visit us for a variety of personal, relationship, intimacy and sex problems.

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do


Finally! They are considering having Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) accept Medicare!


Please cosponsor S 1879 and HR 3032 to support Mental Health Access in Medicare
Legislation to add MFTs as Medicare providers has just been introduced in the US Senate, and was introduced in the US House of Representatives in June. Please follow the directions to urge your Members of Congress to support Medicare MFT coverage by cosponsoring this important legislation. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact AAMFT at


The new Netflix show, To The Bone, has been said to be triggering for those who have eating disorders. Anyone have any thoughts on how they could have made the show better?

Newsweek – Teens having less sex!

Teens today are having less sex! But are researchers asking the right questions?


Some experts, such as Amanda Pasciucco, a certified sex therapist with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and author, argue that something far more insidious is driving a decline in sexual intercourse: easy access to free porn. “Now you can just go on your phones,” she says. “It’s very easy to just Google something, and it’s much easier to have sex with yourself than go through the anxiety of having sex with someone else.”



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National Donut Day

National Donut Day (GET HELP) isn’t very exciting for those with eating disorders…


Story by Meaghan:


I want to tell you about this guy that  I met. I’m not going to use any names because I feel it could really ruin someones reputation. Him and I met about ten years ago. You could say that our relationship has been pretty serious, always ups and downs but when push comes to shove he really has always been there for me. I was a freshman when we met, he has taught me so much about life, love and happiness. He taught me about strength and persistence. He taught me how to love myself, even when I wasn’t very lovable. He taught me self-care, taking time for myself. Throughout high school we had lunch together almost every single day. Once we went to college, things got kind of complicated you could say. I wanted to be alone and figure myself out, and he wanted to support me. I’d push him away and then call him back whenever I needed him. He comforted me when I was scared. He guided me when I felt I couldn’t make decisions and always gave me the greatest advice. He’d constantly show me who my real friends are and push away every negative person that got in my way.


    He’s great, he’d go shopping with me, out to eat, parties and even take me on little vacations. He’s perfect right? The only thing is he insisted that we kept our relationship top secret. However I was treated like a princess, so it was worth it. Wouldn’t you kill for a relationship like that? Having a man that stands by your side for ten years even if it’s just in the role of a friend. Someone who is honest, who fights for you, who is patient and waits for you to discover yourself? Someone who is willing to wait for you and as soon as you are ready, he’s back, like nothing ever changed.


    How lucky am I? I’d say very. I found my Prince Charming at such a young age and the best part is I knew he’d never, ever leave me. No matter how poorly I treated him. No matter how stubborn I was. No matter how many other relationships I got into, I always knew he’d be there. He would never let me be lonely. It’s a dream come true.


   There’s a flip side though. This guy, as much of a dream that he is also did some pretty terrible stuff to me. Do I keep him or do I let him go? That’s where I need your help.


   When I say he taught me how to love myself, I mean- he told me what I needed to do to be beautiful. Make-up, hair-dye, tanning, gym memberships, and the latest ‘diet’ trends. When I was scared he’d teach me control, like “If you ever want to get anywhere in you life you have to learn to punish yourself when you do wrong.” When I was getting dressed he’d tell me I’m ugly, and that clothes will never ever fit me. If I had a friend or a significant other he’d find ways to push them away because the only love I needed was his. He’d help my avoid awkward social gatherings and fight with my loved ones so I could ensure keeping him around. He HATED seeing me in dresses, it just wasn’t a pretty site. He’d comment on how my calves were too big and my thighs shouldn’t touch. He’d convince me that no one loved me, no one cared. Whenever I was alone he’d keep me company. Whenever I was with people he would always be right.there.


       He made me sick. I never wanted to leave my house, I couldn’t work, I couldn’t sleep. I was scared and nervous, I couldn’t make a move without him noticing. I wasn’t allowed to cry, or be angry, or be anything but “happy.” If I felt anything else, he’d become enraged, he wouldn’t leave me alone. he convinced me that I’m not worthy. I was fat. I was ugly and he always had to be number one in my life. He gave me what I wanted, attention. He was manipulative, he made me cling to love. He was intimidating, constantly reminding me that I had to earn the body image I longed for. He was always there for me, he loved me despite my longing to be beautiful, despite always failing him.


     Does this still sound like a fairytale? Is love like that worth it? If love means something different to everyone shouldn’t I accept this man? I should love him back. Here’s the scary thing though, I don’t. I’d be lying to you if I told you I even wanted him around. Honestly I want him to leave forever.


   Don’t you want to help me get away from this man? Once we break up would you want to watch chick flicks and eat ice cream out of the carton with me? Why could I so easily tell a friend to get away from a relationship like that but I’m stuck? Can people really convince you of all that? How many second chances do I have to give someone?


   Now, what if I told you this man doesn’t really exist. What if I told you I completely made him up? Would you get me a one way ticket for the crazy train? Here’s the thing. He does actually exist. His name is Ed. He lives in my brain and everything I just told you is very true. When I told you we met for lunch every day, I meant in the bathroom. Ed is an eating disorder. It’s a mental illness. My body isn’t perfect, and  I rarely go to the gym. But if I was dealing with a break up and you showed up with ice cream, I’d have to refuse because it’s just not worth the extra calories. It’s always there. I’ve been fighting this for months, you could even say years.


   Eating disorders are the cancer of the mental health world. The only difference is there isn’t a chemo or radiation. It’s just as deadly. For an eating disorder I am the chemo, the radiation, the strength and the cancer. It effects your muscles, slows your heart rate down, reduces your bone density and can even cause heart disease. Anorexia nervosa has the highest fatality rate of any mental illness. Eating disorders are a daily struggle for ten million females and one million males in the United States.


   You see, I’m far from alone. This IS serious. Anyone can struggle. This “relationship” I’m in is just as serious as an abusive relationship, it’s similar to having an addiction to heroin. Except I’m addicted to the feeling of having an empty stomach. I physically can’t JUST have one more bite. I can’t just STOP my desire to be a size 0.


    I can’t just call the police and say I’m in danger. I have to become smarter than my own mind. I have to face challenges every day because I can’t just run away from food. You can’t escape your own mind, or your heart.


    I’m okay and I’m surviving. Every day brings new struggles and new accomplishments.It’s not easy- but the moment you realize that recovery is worth it everything changes. The fight becomes worth it, the exhaustion becomes worth it. And in the end, you gave up a relationship and you may feel lonely. What you gain is irreplaceable though.


   You gain a clear mind, an adventurous spirit. You gain love- maybe not from others but for yourself, and the others will follow suit. Loving yourself means happiness, confidence, strength, courage and compassion. You gain pride, you gain insight, you learn how to actually fight.


   This doesn’t mean Ed won’t call, or text, or show up in a commercial, or even knock on your door he may even barge in. However he will find someone happy to be eating ice cream out of a carton because they can finally enjoy good company. Because that’s my decision and getting rid of him, gives me back control of my life and after all isn’t that what I wanted from the beginning?


   Be brave, take chances. Talk about your struggles with loved ones. Seek help, because being able to think and make decisions for yourself is worth far more than fearing life. I’m 24 years old, I’m no longer claiming to “have” an eating disorder, because I am far too busy recovering from one.

Spelling Bee

The #spellingbee is trending! The person who won could “visualize” the word before even spelling it! If we as adults could visualize our goals in this same way, I think we would be achieving more wins in life!

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Better Sleep – CNN Feature

Headspace Article!

“We’ve all seen the hundreds of articles that promise “mind-blowing” sex. And maybe you’ve even bookmarked a few to refer back to later, only to find out that the quick tips and methods have failed you, yet again.”


Click the link!



I was asked the question recently about “what is a pornosexual?” I have heard people say that they have a sexual interest in their porn, and that is it. They report that they are not interested in sexual activity while in person and their whole sexual life is alone with their pornography.


Go and read the full article for yourself. Click right here.

Thirteen Reasons Why

#thirteenreasonswhy you should see a sex therapist.


  1. Most couples issues are sex related anyway!
  2. Sex is an overlooked source of eating disorder issues.
  3. Because you are embarrassed about your body.
  4. Spruce up your routine sex life with your partner.
  5. To find out what turns you on.
  6. Explore your sensuality and what that means to you.
  7. Find juiciness within your mundane life.
  8. To love how your body looks naked.
  9. Because learning the human anatomy and how it works for pleasure is interesting!
  10. You’re not having sex with your partner daily!
  11. To get more powerful and frequent orgasms.
  12. Introduction into alternative lifestyles.
  13. To learn how to become tantric.
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Body Image

Body Image by Meaghan


Body image in an ideal world for me would not exist. Stressing about a temple you were given seems foolish to me. Yet every day I wake up and lose my mind of how unfortunate my “temple” is.


“Why can’t my thighs be smaller and my stomach flatter?” I think. “Why can’t my arms be toned and my face be less round?” I often wonder if anyone can see the difference that I see. Do they see also that I’ve gained weight, or is it just me? How long am I going to sabotage myself for the body that I want? When will my temple be enough for me?


When your soul starts to speak louder than your brain, that’s when. When I begin to rely on my soul self as the leader of my temple all will be well in my world. Body image for me in an ideal world won’t be prominent. I won’t wake up in the morning and body check to hate myself but rather to glorify myself. Saying things like “my legs are here to help my do my job, they get me from one point to another.”


By feeding my body I am giving it fuel not making it far. In an ideal world I’ll be proud of the body that I have. I will realize all that my body does for me. I’ll be thankful for the gifts it offers me and the strength it gives me.


In an ideal world body image won’t be the forefront of every advertisement. Women won’t compare but actually encourage each other to rise above. Body image will take a back seat; women will love every body. Bodies will be celebrated for what they do and not what they look like.


Everyone will treat their body like a temple. Preserving it. Loving it. Honoring it. Worshipping it for the challenges it faces every day. Our bodies should of be nourished, and loved, and honored.


My body is a temple it deserves the best. It deserves an apology because, my body doesn’t need to go through hell on a daily basis just to meet non-realistic beauty standards. It serves me. It gets me to and from where I need to be. It cars my heart and soul. It helps me gain strength and develop knowledge. It radiates goodness. My body is my temple it deserves the love I so freely give everyone else. In an ideal world my body would be loved.


Peace. Freedom. Mindfulness. Fun. Sleep. Are all examples of things I can focus on if my mind isn’t focused on weight. I could do yoga for strength instead of burning calories. I could leap across the dance floor and feel like I’m flying as opposed to heavy. Being involved in a conversation rather than the ones in my head. Enjoying a meal without worrying about how it’s going to effect me.


If I let go of my focus on weight I’ll be able to live again, without that burden of being heavy of fat. If I take my focus off weight and bring it inward I’d be able to see my strength. I’d be able to focus on my smarts, my intellect, my courage. If I stopped focusing on weight I’d be free. Free from the chains that constantly tie me up.


I’d be able to live the life I imagined as opposed to being tied down. You can’t trust a disease that wants you dead; and I don’t plan to. Between death and life, I choose life- and that’s why I have to focus on anything but weight. From this day forward, I’ll focus my attention on health. On life. On living and laughing. I can focus on yoga, dance, and photography. I’m going to focus on recovery and my ability to help others. Weight will no longer define me and weight won’t won’t hole me back anymore. My no’s will mean no and my yes’s will mean yes, and I’m choosing to say yes to life and all it has to offer me.


Body Image Therapy: Learn to Love Your Look

Positive Body Image: Learn to Love Your Look


About Life Coaching and Therapy

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a therapy and coaching practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible. Multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systematically-trained and licensed therapists!

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help all clients who visit us for a variety of personal, relationship, intimacy and sex problems.

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Amanda Pasciucco, Sex Therapy, gender hartford, west hartford gender, west hartford race, west hartford divorce, west hartford dating, west hartford new marriage, west hartford parents

Cosmopolitan Magazine

I’m so excited! I just got interviewed by Cosmopolitan magazine this morning! Due to the fact that I’m a certified sex therapist, I got to make a statement on the trends of hair… below the belt. Luckily, I have done research on this topic before, as it is one of the questions I get asked frequently in private practice. Stay tuned… as the story will be featured in the sex and relationship segment of Cosmo in the near future!

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The Joy of Sunshine

The Joy of Sunshine


By Amanda Pasciucco, LMFT, CST


As soon as the sun starts shining, the world gets happier. Recently, it hit 60 degrees in New England, and it seemed like everyone was more cheerful. I noticed more people smiling, individuals being friendly and courteous, and a diminished sense of “rushing” or “urgency” around me. I appreciated the sudden shift in energy and decided to delve into understanding this sunshine shift.


My recent experience. I was blessed with the privilege of retreating to the beach recently. I decided to go on a solo excursion to enjoy the peace of the water and basking in the glorious sunlight. I had my apprehensions before going: the cost of getting in, the crowds who would have the same idea, and my fear of bees swarming. I decided to forget about that and just take time to appreciate the opportunity.


I arrived (there was no cost to enter), I made my way to the beach (there were barely any people around), and I relaxed (only flies… no bees). I looked around and truly appreciated the moment that I was in. I felt so thankful for that moment where the sun was beating on me, I had nothing to do, and I could just enjoy the sights, sounds, and feeling of that moment. This sense of peace stayed with me throughout the entire rest of the day. I never felt so calm and at ease as I did when I made a conscious effort to be mindful and present within the sunlight.


Note to self: get out in the sun more often!


The science behind it. In earlier times, people spent most of their time outdoors and in the sunlight. We know that, now, we spend much more time indoors, thus we refrain from getting the necessary amount of Vitamin D. The importance of this vitamin is to keep our immune systems working hard to fight off infections and to support bone growth. In addition to providing us with Vitamin D, sunlight triggers the circadian rhythms (our awake-to-sleep cycles). When sunlight hits our optic nerves, the brain slows down on its release of melatonin (the hormone responsible for sleep) and increases our serotonin (which is responsible for wakefulness and feelings of happiness). After the sun sets, this cycle reverses. The more sun we get, the more serotonin the brain produces.


Sunlight = Happiness. In addition to the scientific part of it, there is also a psychological factor. We tend to associate sunlight with vacations and tanning with days off from work. This mental state leads to a happier self. Due to both the psychological and scientific aspects, I believe I have my answer as to why the world just seems happier when the sun comes out. Look forward to a summer of friendlier faces.

Breaking Up

By Amanda Pasciucco, LMFT, CST


I am here to talk about getting over the pain and struggles you encounter after breaking up.


Breaking up absolutely sucks. We all know it! So… how long do we lay in bed, eat ice cream, and cry? Well, that is different for everyone. But, I promise, you can get over it!


Step 1 – Re-write the story. We all need to come up with the reason of why this happened. Whether we are doing the break up or we were broken up with, we need to know WHY! Until we find out the “why,” we will keep going over and over the details in our mind. So, take some time and find out why it happened. Then, leave it alone. Even if it was your bad attitude, your partner left you, so now give them space and change your attitude for the next partner you will have.


Step 2 – Do not be obsessive. Get out of the crazy mentality of “stalking” your ex. Please, please delete them from all social media. You really don’t need to see what they are doing or have them know what you are doing. The quicker you begin to unravel the life you had made together, the better it will be.


Step 3 – Accept the facts. Being aware of what happened and not getting attached to your negative thoughts and feelings will ultimately bring peace. A breakup is a traumatic event and it is difficult to self-reflect at times. Things like meditation, yoga, therapy, and prayer can help you become more self-reflective AND can help give you some grounding during a chaotic time.


Step 4 – They were not the perfect partner. No matter who they were, they were not perfect. No one is; therefore, you can find someone else. Even if it feels like they made life better, there are other people out there to meet that will have the same effect. I promise, there is more than one person out there for everyone.


Step 5 – Look to your future. You are a whole individual and you are not defined by your romantic relationships. You need to find you self-identity without a partner. What do you like to do? Bowl, hike, martial arts, painting, drama club, archery? Action is faster than any thought… so instead of thinking all day, join a group and DO something.



Chronic Complaining

This trend must stop.

Numerous acquaintances come to me with their complaints and problems, and when they find the solutions, instead of solving them, they just keep complaining. Nothing is more frustrating than people who are negative, complain, and refuse to stand up for themselves to change the current pattern of their lives.


In the beginning, I would sit and listen. I would offer my services to listen or give them my perspective on the issue. After months of realizing people are complaining about the same issue and not doing anything about it, I have finally decided I am not going to use my time to enable constant complaining.


I feel blessed to have been raised in a family where complaining without action towards a solution was unacceptable. I have yet to meet anyone whose constant complaining has done anything positive to resolve the situation. I realize that having bitterness and aggravation towards life problems never gets anything done.


If someone tries to talk to you about his or her problems but refuse to make any changes, then you should refuse to listen to their complaining. It takes too much mental energy to try helping people who are not willing to help themselves.


If you have friends, co-workers, or family like this, it is time to stop the pattern. You must recognize that people who are chronic complainers are not going to take your advice, because they are stuck in the pattern of complaining. Let these people deal with their own stress and refuse to take it on as part of your life. You will be a much happier person if you keep yourself out of that dynamic.