Erotic asphyxiation is the restriction of oxygen to the brain with the intent of heightening sexual arousal. The behavior is classified as paraphilia in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual , while "gasper" is the colloquial term for someone who engages in the practice. Physically, the act has been explained to cause the heightening of sexual pleasure because a lack of oxygen supply to the brain can increase particular sensations, including the pleasure derived from orgasm. Furthermore, documented as having been practiced since the early 17th century, erotic asphyxiation used to be suggested as a treatment for erectile dysfunction since subjects who were executed by hanging were noted to develop an erection.
He had hanged himself. Oddly, his head and shoulders were suspended from a noose only about three feet from the floor and his legs and torso were in a reclining position. Pornographic magazines were found, open, next to the body. At the inquest into the young man's death, the coroner, Dr Peter Dean, recorded an open verdict. He was not convinced it was a case of suicide.