Prevalence and characteristics of choking/strangulation during sex: Findings from a probability survey of undergraduate students

J Am Coll Health. 2023 May-Jun;71(4):1059-1073. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2021.1920599. Epub 2021 Jul 9.


Objective: In a random sample of undergraduate students, we aimed to: (1) establish the prevalence of choking and being choked; (2) examine demographic and situational predictors of being choked, and (3) examine demographic and situational predictors of choking someone.

Participants: 4168 randomly sampled undergraduates at a large public U.S. university.

Methods: A cross-sectional, confidential online survey.

Results: We found that 26.5% of women, 6.6% of men, and 22.3% of transgender and gender non-binary participants reported having been choked during their most recent sexual event. Additionally, 5.7% of women, 24.8% of men, and 25.9% of transgender and non-binary participants reported that they choked their partner at their most recent event. Choking was more prevalent among sexual minority students.

Conclusions: Choking is prevalent among undergraduate students; implications for college sexual health education are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Probability
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Students*
  • Universities