Today, I came home to find some messages to letting me know about a friend who passed away yesterday. Out of respect for his partner, for his family, and for the fact that I am only just hearing about this now, I choose not identify who has passed. He was a friend from Europe that I had met and played with while I was living on the east coast, and had stayed in touch with him since.
What I just heard was that it was in fact something related to play in some way, which is very sad as well. The numbers of friends that have died in similar circumstances in the last few years is truly horrifying (see my previous post here). It is starting to become a numb feeling with each one, especially given how much I have gotten into edge play myself over the last couple of years.
Truthfully, I have to wonder how much have I contributed to that with this blog, especially with the heavy breath play videos. My openness that I do in fact play with poppers, including the kind that have been directly involved in some of these deaths, is that something I need to modify?
After coming to terms with the sadness of this friends death, it is hard not to be angry. Our of respect for this friend I won’t be angry at him, but I know my thoughts are already turning to the next person that is out there. How many warnings does it take, how many safety courses created by communities only to be under attended will there be, what will it take to get everyone to see that they need to be careful, to know how to play safely without death. When will it be clear that no orgasm is worth dying over.
And at one point do we say, you are stupid for letting this happen to you.
After one similar such death a friend approached me in the bar one night to chat about the circumstances of how our mutual friend had died. It was rumored that spray poppers were the culprit. Then this boy that I was chatting with shows me a can of the same poppers in his pocket and asked me if it was, “too soon.” Knowing that this boy doesn’t play with others (thinking there were no real kinksters in Seattle) I asked if he was using those by himself. He said that he had been.
To which I said, “We all feel bad that X has died. It is tragic that such a senseless death happened when it didn’t need to happen. So we all feel bad for X. But after knowing what happened to him, if you accidentally kill yourself by playing with that shit by yourself, no one is going to feel bad for you. We are going to think you are an idiot.”
And then, I walked off.
Each time it happens to someone else since I said that I haven’t felt they were idiots. I haven’t been angry that they were so careless.
I just feel sad.
I am left only to wonder what can be done to make this stop. To teach others to play safe so we don’t have to go through this again. I wonder if there is more that the clubs, organizations, contests, vendors or kink websites can do. I wonder if there is more that everyone can do to help our brothers in the kink world not from paying to high a price
I tell everyone I play with not to play with spray poppers of any kind on their own. I try to show those that I play with the lessons I learned over the years from others on how to play safe. I put warnings on my videos that have some. And I try to make sure that this blog is as informative as as I can make it on how to have safe play.
What I need to decide is, is it enough.
Will any of it ever be enough to make it stop so we don’t lose another?