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Savage Love: Breathless 

Dear Dan,

I have two female sex partners who want to be breath-play dominated. I know the practice is dangerous, and I employ the rules of consent and communication a pro-Dom escort friend taught me. But is there a legal release document we could sign that protects consenting adults in the event of an accident or death?

—Ruminating About Consensual Kinks

Restricting someone's air intake is always dangerous, RACK, and while we all too often hear about people dying during solo breath play, aka "auto-erotic asphyxiation" (an activity no one should engage in ever), we rarely hear about someone dying during partnered breath play. (I recently discussed partnered breath play with Amp from Watts the Safeword, a kink-friendly sex-ed YouTube channel. Look up Episode 533 at savagelovecast.com.)

That said, RACK, someone can't consent to being strangled to death by accident.

"The lawyers in my office discussed this, and we agree that there is no way to 'waive' or 'consent to' criminal negligence resulting in substantial bodily harm or death," said Brad Meryhew, a criminal-defense attorney who practices in Seattle. "I don't think you'll find any lawyer who would draft such an agreement. Even if an agreement were executed, it is not going to constitute a complete defense if something goes wrong. There are principles of criminal liability for the consequences of our decisions, as well as public-policy concerns about people engaging in extremely dangerous behaviors, that make it impossible to just walk away if something goes wrong." Another concern: Signing such a document could make breath play more dangerous, not less. "A person who had such a waiver might be tempted to push the boundaries even further," said Meryhew.

And now the pro-Dom perspective...

"As consenting adults, we assume the risks involved in this type of kink," said Mistress Elena, a professional Dominant. "But if you harm your partner or they become scared, shamed, shocked, or, even worse, gravely injured, it's the Dom's problem. At any time, the submissive can change their mind. Some cases have been classified as 'rape' or 'torture' afterward, even though consent was initially given. It's our job as Dominants/Tops/Leads to make sure everyone is safe, consenting, and capable."

Dear Dan,

I'm a 32-year-old guy, my gal is 34, and we've been together for two years. Every time we get it on or she goes down on me (though not when I eat her out), my mind wanders to fantasies involving porno chicks, exes, or local baristas. A certain amount of this is normal, but I'm concerned that this now happens every time. When I'm about to come, I shift my mind back to my partner and we have a hot climax, but I feel guilty. Advice?

—Guilty Over Nebulous Ecstasy

I've been asked what biases advice columnists have. Do we favor questions from women? (No, women are just likelier to ask for advice.) Are we more sympathetic to women? (Most advice columnists are women, so...) Are we likelier to respond to a question that opens with a compliment? (Of course.) But the solvable problem is our biggest bias. Some people write in with problems that they'll need an exorcist, a special prosecutor, a time machine, or some combo of all three to solve. I could fill the column week after week with unsolvable problems, and my answers would all be variations on ¯\_( )_/¯.

Your letter, GONE, is a good example of the solvable problem—a letter likelier to make it into the column—and, as is often the case, the solution to your problem is right there in your letter. You're able to "shift [your] mind" back to your partner when you're about to come, and when you eat her out, your mind doesn't wander at all. My advice: Make the shift earlier/often and engage in more activities that force you to focus (like eating her out). Problem solved.

P.S. A lot of people allow their mind to wander a bit during sex—supplementing the present sensations with memories, fantasies, local baristas, etc. If it keeps you hard/wet/game and isn't perceptible (if you don't start mumbling coffee orders), your partner benefits from your wanderings.

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