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Can blowing into a woman's vagina kill her?
November 5, 2004 2:38 PM   Subscribe

Dude, we need to talk about this right here. According to Columbia University’s health Q&A Internet site, "When air is blown or forced directly into a vagina... an air embolism... could form, which can be fatal." WTF? Anyone know any more about this or have any first-hand knowledge?
posted by pwb503 to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Yes the number one cause of death to women is air in the vagina.

It is a highly unlikely, but probable occurence. It occurs when there is too much air in the bloodstream -- like the article says. You can achieve the same results by sticking an IV in your arm and blowing air into it.

Unless you have one of the air dusters stuck up your girlfriend I seriously would not worry.

"Large boluses of air (3-8 mL/kg) can cause acute right ventricular outflow obstruction and result in cardiogenic shock and circulatory arrest."

I'd believe anyone would be hard pressed to find an actual occurence of this happening. But being the first would be really funny. I mean can you imagine having to call your girlfriend's parents and explaining what happened?
posted by geoff. at 2:59 PM on November 5, 2004


err "but not improbable"
posted by geoff. at 2:59 PM on November 5, 2004


Oh... hmm....

"Patient incidents involving orogenital sex during pregnancy and hydrogen peroxide ingestion have been reported, although rarely."

But it is during pregnancy, when one assumes air is more easily passable through dilated veins.
posted by geoff. at 3:02 PM on November 5, 2004


I have heard of it happening with pregnant women. See here. And here. I'm trying to find an actual instance of someone dying from this, but no luck so far -- I know I've read of it, but it's kind of a hard thing to google without coming up with, well, you know.
posted by JanetLand at 3:08 PM on November 5, 2004


I do sort of wonder what people are up to to make this such a hot topic, but perhaps I'd be happier not knowing. Anyway, I ran across someone discussing it here a while back too. Hope it helps.
posted by fvw at 3:26 PM on November 5, 2004


Yeah, it's something that for some reason is in boldface type in every pregnancy book, as if you don't already have enough to scare the bejesus out of you.

Before hitting the "pregnancy book" stage of my life, I'd read quite a few books on sexuality (for the articles, of course), and never once ran across this phenomenon.

So add "no blowing in the cooter" to the list of things you can't have during pregnancy, along with sushi and unpasteurized cheese.
posted by padraigin at 3:37 PM on November 5, 2004 [1 favorite]


It was covered in More of The Straight Dope

As I recall, the story involved a pregnant woman who died from an embolism she got in just this way. Her husband was apparently pretty reluctant to tell the doctors that they'd been having oral sex (and likely thought it wasn't relevant, I'm sure) and once they got it all sorted out it was too late.
posted by stefanie at 3:59 PM on November 5, 2004


i'm a little freaked out that there seem to be a fair amount of male mefi regulars who didn't know this. believe it, it's true: don't blow into your partner's vagina, mmkay? :)
posted by ifjuly at 4:14 PM on November 5, 2004


Whoa. News to me.

In my experience it's fairly common for some quantity of air to be forced into the vagina during normal intercourse. Is that something to watch out for? I guess I'll assume that fucking isn't generally lethal to women. That assumption has held so far. It's certainly never occured to me to inflate her orally.

Somehow this reminds me of the Hemingway story "Hills Like White Elephants," wherein the male character tries to talk his lady into an abortion, characterizing it as "Just a quick little procedure to let the air in." Does this have some relation?

Sorry to freak you out, ifjuly - but thanks for adding a dose of scorn to my learning experience. You should work with kids or something.
posted by scarabic at 5:09 PM on November 5, 2004


I've heard about this, but I've always been under the impression that you'd have to hook her up to a high-pressure air hose, like at a gas station, with a good seal, in order to really do any harm. In fact, I'd venture to say that you could do real damage by forcing a high volume of air into *any* orfice. In other words, exhaling onto your partner's vulva isn't going to hurt, maim, or kill her. Chill out.
posted by bonheur at 5:46 PM on November 5, 2004


scarabic, i don't mean to be that snippy. really. i'm genuinely surprised a lot of people have apparently gone, woah!! to this, that's all. most run of the mill sex advice columns cover this territory at some point or another (sue's talk sex show comes to mind) and i think it's good at least it's come up. i meant it more in a, now ya know kind of way. now ya know. ;)

besides, it probably doesn't come up much because yeah, people don't generally think inflating their partners is hot. good thing i guess.
posted by ifjuly at 6:10 PM on November 5, 2004


I used to date a nurse who refused to have sex while in water (swimming pool or whatever) because, she says (and this is very foggy in my mind), the pumping action can force air into the vagina at an unsafe velocity due to the suction created while submerged. (Obviously, I'm a scientist in real life). I'm probably completely remembering it wrong (and it was probably water and not air), but her description was sufficiently horrific that I never again suggested to anyone that we have sex in water and have refused when prompted.
posted by dobbs at 6:29 PM on November 5, 2004


Anyone know any more about this or have any first-hand knowledge?

Yes... [sniff] my first love.

But seriously, if this were true, women would be putting their life at risk every time they inserted a tampon. Hell, ever heard of a queefe (female fart -- bad spelling me thinks). I think the key is quantity and velocity of the air. Don't try and inflate her like a balloon.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:45 PM on November 5, 2004


(This is the type of conversation that would benefit from anonymous commenting. I will forge ahead nonetheless)
Being a woman, I have some experience with the care and maintenance of a vagina. I have also had the (relatively infrequent, but recurring) experience of discovering the presence of air "in there", which usually disappeared without incident (except for the occasional, and aptly named "pussy fart").
I was told that the problem is with air in the uterus, which would have to get through the cervix from the vagina. Usually the cervix is tightly closed, except during the end stages of pregnancy (and sometimes during arousal).
posted by nprigoda at 7:14 PM on November 5, 2004


i'm a little freaked out that there seem to be a fair amount of male mefi regulars who didn't know this.
Count me a female MeFi Regular who didn't know this. But then I don't think I would ever consider having my husband try and 'inflate' me.
posted by rhapsodie at 8:34 PM on November 5, 2004


AskMeFi: assume that fucking isn't generally lethal to women.

But in regards to the issue at hand, count me among the men who have never heard of this phenomenon.
posted by davidmsc at 8:44 PM on November 5, 2004


Here.

And people, if you haven't heard of this get off the net now. You're sheltered.
posted by justgary at 9:17 PM on November 5, 2004


Yep, I've been knowing about this for a long time. It's probably safest to just assume it's better not to experiment on your own.
posted by taz at 2:05 AM on November 6, 2004


refused to have sex while in water (swimming pool or whatever) because, she says (and this is very foggy in my mind), the pumping action can force air into the vagina at an unsafe velocity due to the suction created while submerged. (Obviously, I'm a scientist in real life).

My ultra-scientific response is: huh? There is no air underwater.

justgary - I'm glad to provide this moment of superiority for you. No really, it's on me. You can get the next one.

uh... incidentally, if I weren't on the net last night - I'd still not know about this, nor would my girlfriend
posted by scarabic at 10:13 AM on November 6, 2004


I used to date a nurse who refused to have sex while in water (swimming pool or whatever) because, she says (and this is very foggy in my mind), the pumping action can force air into the vagina at an unsafe velocity due to the suction created while submerged

I thought that the main reason sex under water it's not always fun is that water can wash off lubricants (natural and otherwise) and sex would end up being, paradoxically, a bit on the dry side

but the real question is, there's probably thousands (literally) of things that one can do when in proximity of a vagina: who in the fuck would dream up to blow air into said vagina???

insert a "WTF" in 72-point Bodoni here
posted by matteo at 10:58 AM on November 6, 2004


This is the first AskMe where I'm laughing reading every answer. Well done guys.
posted by wackybrit at 9:41 PM on November 6, 2004


matteo - there's probably thousands (literally) of things that one can do when in proximity of a vagina: who in the fuck would dream up to blow air into said vagina???

He has a point - is this something that women want? I'm willing to learn...
posted by thatwhichfalls at 7:33 PM on November 7, 2004


I first read this in "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)."

That book is so full of misinformation, urban legends, and outright lies that just the fact that this was in there makes me suspect that it's completely false. I don't believe it - I find it preposterous. For one thing, among others, if it were true, hysterosalpingoscopy could not be be performed, as it requires inflating the uterus with pressurized gas (CO2, I think.)
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:01 PM on November 7, 2004


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