This is a concept I knew nothing about until I watched Queer as Folk. My favorite character, Brian, was having an emotional crisis and started scarfing, or tying a scarf (or piece of material) around the neck while masturbating. This is supposed to restrict the blood flow to the brain and increase the pleasure of orgasm.
Brian: If I want to experience the joys of scarfing, what the hell business is it of yours?!
Michael: It's my business cause I'm the one that will get the call from the god damn cleaning lady who finds you hanging from the rafters with a fucking boner!
The medical/psychological term is called autoerotic asphyxiation, and its popularity is high among young males. Accidental death has occurred due to the nature of hanging one’s self to achieve the desired sexual satisfaction. The person looses consciousness and the self-rescue mechanism fails. It is unknown how many suicides are actually botched attempts of scarfing but it is estimated about 250 to 1000 deaths a year. Among famous celebrities who have died during such practice are David Carradine, Michael Hutchence, and Sada Abe.
The practice of autoerotic asphyxiation has been documented since the 17th Century and was used as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. People noticed that males being hung would produce an erection, sometimes even ejaculating after death. When the carotid arteries are compressed, the lack of oxygenated blood to the brain and the increase of carbon dioxide induces a semi-hallucinogenic state called hypoxia. Combined with the euphoria of an orgasm, the rush is highly addictive.
The thought of scarfing, for me, sounds a little like playing Russian Roulette. I would never judge any adult who tempted fate with practicing scarfing, but perhaps it would be better to be with a partner so that if anything were to go wrong at least there is someone to help. But then again, perhaps it’s the thought of self bondage which also heightens the pleasure. All I’ll say is just be careful of cumming while going…