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AUTOEROTIC deaths in Australia are uncommon, with only 44 being recorded over seven years – substantially fewer than in the US.

Forensic pathologist Professor Roger Byard reviewed the national coronial database for all cases in which death had been attributed to sexual asphyxia or autoerotic death – an unintentional lethal event occurring during solitary sexual activity.

Professor Byard, from the University of Adelaide, found 42 males and two females died this way between 2001 and 2007.

The causes of death were listed as asphyxia or hanging in 40 cases, traumatic injury or perforation in two cases, and electrocution in a further two cases.

“Classically, death results from malfunction of equipment that was used to augment sexual activity, often by inducing hypoxia,” he wrote.

The annual incidence of fatal sexual asphyxia in Australia was calculated to be 0.3 per million population, compared to