The consequences can be fatal if sex games get out of hand.
There’s a fine line between pleasure and pain. Though, for some, they’re the same thing. But what if the pursuit of that pain becomes fatal?
Recent years have seen a number of famous people die at their own hands.
In 2009, American film actor David Carradine was found dead in a Bangkok hotel room, with a cord tied around his neck and genitals.
In 2005, in Oldham, far-right National Front leader Kristian Etchells died when he fastened a kettle flex around his neck to heighten his solo pleasure.
And, also in the UK, TV presenter Kristian Digby died in 2010, in what was thought to be a solo sex game gone wrong – depriving himself of oxygen to get a sexual high. A plastic bag and belt were near his body.
But what happens if one partner kills the other by accident during a sex game? If both have consented, is it manslaughter, misadventure – or murder?
Some cases are clear cut.
Take Sada Abe and her lover, Kichizo Isihda. On 18 May 1936, they were having sex. As usual, Kichizo, known as Kitchi, begged to be tied up on the bed.
Sada obliged – only, in an unexpected frenzy, she strangled Kitchi and cut off his genitals.
After he’d died, Sada wrapped up Kitchi’s dismembered penis and kept it in her handbag.
Days later, she was arrested. Sada admitted killing Kitchi. She said she’d done it because she loved him so much. She was convicted of second-degree murder and mutilation of a corpse and sentenced to six years in prison.
But some cases are less simple, and the willing participants in bondage-sex gone wrong have had to fight to maintain their innocence and freedom…
Alun Williams, then 47, had a peculiar fascination. He wanted to know what it felt like to be mummified. So he asked his friend, Richard Bowler, 35, to help.
On 20 August 2014, Alun went round to Richard’s flat in Dover, Kent. Richard then wrapped his friend Alun in clingfilm, from head to toe. But Alun suffered a massive heart attack.
It wasn’t until the following morning that Richard called the emergency services.
‘It’s a bit embarrassing,’ he told the operator. ‘It’s my friend… We had a bit of a kinky sex game and he’s stopped breathing… He’s on my bed… He’s got clingfilm wrapped around his body…’
Richard Bowler was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence for failing to monitor or check on Alun after wrapping him up. He was jailed for five years.
Shot in his latex bodysuit
Edouard Stern was a handsome billionaire who enjoyed the high life in the South of France. A family man, it seems he also enjoyed sadomasochistic sex with his lover, Cecile Brossard.
But for her, their relationship was about more than kinky sex. Cecile was in love with Stern. And to prove his feelings for her, she asked him to transfer $1million into her bank account.
He did so, then he asked for the money back. When Cecile refused, Edouard became angry with her.
‘One million dollars is a lot of money to pay for a whore,’ he said to Cecile.
Perhaps not the wisest of comments when the banker was sitting with his hands tied, wearing a full latex bodysuit.
Cecile shot him between the eyes with his own handgun.
As he somehow staggered to his feet, Cecile shot Edouard twice in the torso, then finished off the billionaire with a bullet to the temple.
In June 2009, Cecile Brossard was found guilty of murder – not the lesser crime of passion – and sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison, escaping a more severe sentence because of diminished responsibility.
A deadly bond
James and Rebecca Bargy liked bondage. But in 2008, it all went wrong.
James, 29, asked Rebecca, 25, to bind and gag him in a kinky sex game. He was wearing nothing but a pair of women’s tights when she pushed the gag ball into his mouth and wrapped his head in a thick, heavy-duty duct tape, leaving only holes by his nostrils.
Then Rebecca left James there for 20 hours, while she was with another man she’d met online. It was part of the game.
James would free himself by the time Rebecca returned from her casual encounter – only this time, James suffocated. A tragic accident.
But some thought Rebecca had killed James deliberately. That she lured him into a sex game where he was totally vulnerable, and then suffocated him.
Her motive? She’d found that new man online.
Rebecca Bargy was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. She faced 20 years behind bars.
Rebecca maintained that what had happened was part of a kinky sex fantasy.
Jurors agreed, and found her not guilty of second-degree murder. However, she was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and received 18 months in prison.