Choke hold

The wife of a man who died during autoerotism is denied his insurance.

Published January 4, 2001 8:32PM (EST)

A recent insurance dispute led to what was perhaps the first time the words "an autoerotic asphyxiation" were used before the German Federal Supreme Court.

This unfortunate and bizarre scenario began when a man tied his wife's scarf around his neck and the handle of a door, hoping to elicit the much-anticipated sexual sensations wrought by self-stimulation during asphyxiation. It is not known what exactly occurred. Did someone open the door? Was the knot tied too loosely? Did he have second thoughts? Whatever the misjudgment, the man succeeded in strangling himself to death.

Greed could have been the motivation. Or perhaps she was touched by the fact that her scarf was used. In any case, the man's loving wife sought to claim $15,220 from the man's insurance policy. Sure, it was kinky and weird, but it was accidental. He wasn't looking to kill himself, just have a crazy orgasm.

The family's insurance company thought otherwise and refused to pay the premium, on the grounds it was not liable for self-inflicted injury. Unfazed, the widow appealed her case all the way up to the Federal Supreme Court. Reuters press reports do not describe how this dignified judicial group was educated on matters of kinky autoerotic choking -- audiovisual aids? perhaps a field trip? -- but after reviewing the unseemly incident, the court sided with the insurance company.

In a grimly worded statement, the court said, "As he took this action to limit his supply of oxygen in order to heighten his orgasm, he intended to diminish his bodily functions."

By Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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