I.                   5 types of autoerotism

a.       Masturbation, due to its commonality, is not included in the bizarre category of autoerotism activities

b.      Autoerotic asphyxiation

c.       Aquaeroticism

d.      Chemical eroticism

e.       Suffocation


II.                Autoerotic asphyxiation

a.       “Sexual hanging”

b.      Different types of bindings are used around the neck

c.       Many different ways of practicing it


III.             Aquaeroticism

a.       Practitioner will deliberately place themselves in water, with the intent to simulate drowning

b.      Collateral evidence will assist in making sure it isn’t a homicide


IV.             Chemical Eroticism

a.       Practitioner will use chemicals to induce a sense of lightheadedness, a giddy feeling, and other sensory apparitions. Freon is a commonly used chemical.


V.                Suffocation

a.       Considered the “safest” form of autoerotic behavior

b.      Usually done with a partner through the use of a “safe word.”

c.       Still risky, but the other person can possibly save one’s life.


VI.             Traits and Characteristics

a.       There are no real stats that are considered representative

b.      Gender

                                                              i.      Males are more likely, but women use different circumstances and settings, so it may go underreported

c.       Age

                                                              i.      Appears to be a younger-person activity, but it could be because this is when a person will usually first attempt the activity, and if successful they will get better at it. Hence the amateur young people are more likely to have an accident.

d.      Race

                                                              i.      Generally the reported cases involve Caucasians. However statistics are missing to really support this claim

e.       Social Skills

                                                              i.      Reports show that practitioners were shy, introverted, and often had few friends

                                                            ii.      Another report, however, states that some are considered overachievers, with good social skills

f.       Suicidal Tendencies

                                                              i.      In many cases, the person has suicidal tendencies

                                                            ii.      Police will comment on the practitioner’s feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse about what they have done. Lines in diaries such as “I’m sorry I am this way” and “Please don’t tell my parents. Let them think I was just tired of living.”


VII.          Scene Analysis

a.       Gender

                                                              i.      Women will often practice acts in their bedrooms or bathrooms

                                                            ii.      Seldom will women become involved in autoeroticism outside or in open areas

                                                          iii.      Women won’t move furniture or use sexual paraphernalia as do many male practitioners

b.      Crossdressing

                                                              i.      Crossdressing is prevalent with males

                                                            ii.      Women don’t crossdress for the same reasons as men; for women, it is a matter of fashion or comfort, but for men it is a sexual matter

                                                          iii.      Men are either in “high drag” which is completely dressed in women’s clothing and “low drag” which is usually a man dressed in a few articles of clothing such as panties and a bra

c.       Mirrors

                                                              i.      In many cases mirrors are positioned somewhere in the visual field of the deceased

                                                            ii.      Mirrors are especially prevalent in situations involving crossdressing. This way the person can imagine themselves to be anyone they want to be. This feeds into the fantasy system of the individual

d.      Pornography

                                                              i.      Pornography is present in many cases of autoeroticm

                                                            ii.      The kind of pornography will also reflect he fantasy of the individual

                                                          iii.      Pornography isn’t always present with a female practitioner

                                                          iv.      They will have two types of pornography:

1.      Commercial variety that can be purchased at an adult store

2.      Homemade videos of previous experiences

e.       Genital Binding and Body Marks and Bruising

                                                              i.      Males will use rope or some binding device to constrict the penis and testicles

                                                            ii.      Also looking at other marks will let one know if they usually bind themselves. Common places to look at are the wrists and ankles and neck

                                                          iii.      Also bondage is a common practice, especially with males

f.       Diaries and Writings

                                                              i.      These provide collateral evidence for the investigators

                                                            ii.      Often the practitioner will keep a record of all the times he has attempted the activity as well as different methods




Holmes, R. M., & Holmes, S. T. (2002). Psychological profiling and rape. In Profiling violent crimes: An investigative tool (3rd ed.). (pp. 172–184). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


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