Breathplay (or otherwise known as Autoerotique asphyxiation) is a sexual fetish which is part of the BDSM play.
It is usually used during sex or masturbation by choking yourself or your partner to get high (you get a special kind of high due to the low oxygen rate in the brain) and achieve bigger and better orgasms.
Breathplay has a lot of variants like hanging yourself while masturbating for men but it can be dangerous and even be fatal, like David Carradine’s case who died during doing so, or the playful choking during sex or even hardcore BDSM latex suits and plays.
Origin of the term
Breathplay started to spread around the same time as BDSM, which has later spread/developed variants, thanks to the curiosity of people with a kink for similar sexual activities.
Spread of the term
Breathplay is a sexual fetish so it is very popular with those who have kink for it.
Due the huge number of porn websites and porn videos you can find, and also thanks to the book called “50 shades of grey” and the movie adaptation it spawned, BDSM became popular with the “regular” women audience.
So naturally the porn industries saw a huge profit in popularizing BDSM, which has made it even more widespread.