Current Reports on Autoerotic Deaths—Five Persistent Myths
- 513 Downloads
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).
KeywordsAutoerotic 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This article does not contain any unpublished studies with human or animal subjects performed by the author.
- 1.Sauvageau A, Geberth VJ. Autoerotic Deaths. Practical Forensics and Investigative Perspectives. CRC Press: Boca Raton; 2013.Google Scholar
- 2.Simpson K. Forensic Medicine. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins; 1947.Google Scholar
- 5.Hazelwood RR, Dietz PE, Burgess AW (eds). Autoerotic fatalities. Lexington Books, DC Heath and Co, 1983.Google Scholar
- 6.Hazelwood RR, Burgess AW, Groth AN. Death during dangerous autoerotic practice. Soc Sci Med. 1981;15E:129–33.Google Scholar
- 9.Sauvageau A, LaHarpe R, King D, et al. The Working Group on Human Asphyxia Agonal sequences in fourteen filmed hangings with comments on the role of the type of suspension, ischemic habituation and ethanol intoxication on the timing of agonal responses. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2011;32(2):104–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar