Current Psychiatry Reports

, 16:430 | Cite as

Current Reports on Autoerotic Deaths—Five Persistent Myths

  • Anny SauvageauEmail author
Problematic Sexual Behaviors (JP Fedoroff, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Sexual Disorders


Autoerotic deaths are defined as accidental deaths that occur during individual, solitary sexual activity in which some type of apparatus that was used to enhance the sexual stimulation of the deceased caused unintentional death. In the Western countries, the incidence of these deaths is of approximately 0.5 deaths per million inhabitants per year. In this paper, five myths about autoerotic death are explored. Myth #1: the manner of death in autoerotic death is usually accidental but could also be suicidal or natural (reality: by definition, all autoerotic deaths are accidental). Myth #2: autoerotic death can happen with a sexual partner (reality: by definition, autoerotic deaths are solitary activities). Myth #3: an escape mechanism must be found at the scene (reality: there is no escape mechanism to be observed at the scene in the majority of autoerotic deaths). Myth #4: all autoerotic deaths are related to asphyxia (reality: not all autoerotic deaths are related to asphyxia). Myth #5: masturbation is an important component of all autoerotic activities and therefore all autoerotic deaths (reality: evidence of masturbation at the scene is a rare finding).


Autoerotic death Autoerotic asphyxia Hanging Plastic bag Escape mechanism Manner of death Accident 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Anny Sauvageau declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any unpublished studies with human or animal subjects performed by the author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EdmontonCanada

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