A guide to Nitrous Oxide for Dom/mes & subs.
After the unexpected popularity of My previous blog post "A guide to poppers for Dom/mes & subs" which you all expressed gratitude for in great numbers (I am flattered thank you!) I figured it was time to do something similar for another popular intox substance, Nitrous Oxide. I feel it is of particular importance to cover this substance, as it is something that is widely abused in the UK, not just by the kink scene, but also among young people & party/festival goers. The abuse of this gas nationwide has shot through the roof, to the point where we are now able to know much more about the long term affects of using Nitrous Oxide and the consensus is - it can be considerably more harmful than poppers.
So if we're going to continue seeking, using and offering this gas in our kink sessions, we have a responsibility to be as risk aware of this practice as we are of everything else we do.
WHAT IS NITROUS OXIDE?
Nitrous oxide is a colourless and odourless gas that is used as a propellant, as a fuel oxidiser and a sedative. It has a wide range of legal uses from catering, dentistry & midwifery, to mechanics & even rocketry.
Recreationally, Nitrous Oxide is also known or referred to as Nos, N2O, Noz, laughing gas, hippy gas, whippets, crackers and balloons.
In the UK it is a restricted substance, meaning that while it is legal to purchase and use for the intended purposes, it is illegal to buy and use for recreation, however, at time of writing there is no existing stringent regulation currently in place to assure that it is only purchased for it's intended purpose. It can be easily purchased from specialist sites and even on ebay with nothing more than an age verification and reasonable explanation of why you wish to purchase it.
It can only be purchased in smaller/portioned quantities by the general public though, only mechanics and medical services have access to large gas tanks, most commonly it is bought in its catering form of small silver canisters that are used in professional whipped cream dispensers, most of us will have seen our streets littered with them at some point.
It can also be purchased in mini gas bottles with a maximum of 640 grams, Dominants who offer Nos intox tend to use these more than the smaller canisters though, as it is less fiddly and time consuming to dispense from the mini bottles. However, the Nitrous Oxide is contained under much greater pressure in a mini bottle than a canister, so a pressure regulator valve is required to dispense the gas from a mini bottle. Again the mini bottles are usually used for catering, and so the pressure regulator valve specific for these mini bottles is designed to attach to the gas bottle on one side, then to a whipped cream dispenser on the other.
HOW IS NITROUS OXIDE INHALED FROM THESE SOURCES?
Nitrous oxide is stored at extremely cold temperatures of -40°, so it should NEVER be inhaled directly from it's containment unit. Balloons are the most popular method for inhaling the gas, whether it's party balloons for street users, or rubber rebreather bags in the kink community.
In street use, with the small canisters, you can purchase something called "crackers", they are small steel tube containers with a screw on lid that are just big enough to fit a single canister inside. The screw on lid consists of a small spike on the inside, that will pierce the canister nozzle as you screw on the lid tightly and a little hole that allows the gas to pass out of the cracker container. Before screwing the lid on to the cracker, you stretch the opening of a party balloon onto it ensuring that the balloon opening is firmly secure around the cracker lid, then as you screw the cracker lid on, it pierces the canister within and releases the gas through the hole in the lid directly into the balloon.
Once it is inflated you remove the balloon from the cracker lid holding it firmly at its opening so the gas doesn't escape, wait a minute or so for the gas to warm up, then inhale it directly from the balloon.
Due to the freezing temperature of the gas, it is normal for the cracker container to get extremely cold as you release the gas from the canister, it is recommend to wear gloves for this operation, especially if you repeat it multiple times, to prevent your hands getting freezer/cold burns and frostbite from the crackers.
Within a kink setting, we generally use a much more complex rig system, (hands free is best so we can be doing other wicked things to you at the same time!) you can buy custom rig systems for the dispensing of Nos, Enfettered.com have a rig with a built in canister cracker, otherwise it is possible to create a system at home and it will normally always start with a whipped cream dispenser.
The large silver piece on the top left of the dispenser displayed is the gas inlet, that piece screws off and allows you to place a small canister inside, which will be pierced as you screw that piece back on, allowing the gas to be released into the main dispenser bottle. Otherwise, you can remove that piece entirely and screw on a pressure regulator valve in it's place to fill the main dispenser from a mini bottle instead. The pressure regulator valve will take the gas from the mini bottle and force it into the main dispenser bottle. The gas is then released from the whipped cream dispenser through the white nozzle to the right by pressing on the lever below it.
We do not inhale the gas from directly from that nozzle however, the steel or aluminium design of these whipped cream dispensers does not allow for the cold gas to heat up sufficiently for inhalation, (and much like the crackers the whipped cream dispensers will also become extremely cold to touch) so from this dispenser it must first pass through a hose and rebreather bag system. This requires the use of another valve, unfortunately the valve used in the example below which used to be available from thekinksters.com appears it is no longer available for sale and I have been unable to find one similar, but enfettered.com specialise in breath play and intox rigs so could perhaps make a custom one if you want to set up a similar rig.
The system I have displayed here as an example works as follows, from the whipped cream dispenser nozzle there is a hose connecting it to a 4 way valve, there are 2 connection points -1 air in only and 1 air in/out on one side, and 2 air in/out on the other side, separated by an additional valve in the centre so a rebreather bag can be filled without the gas escaping through the valves on the other side. The green hose from the dispenser nozzle is connected to the air in only point, and there is a rebreather bag connected to the air in/out point on the same side, so as you press the lever on the dispenser the gas passes through the green hose to the valve and fills the rebreather bag. On the other side of the centre valve, one in/out valve has another hose attached to it, which leads to an anaesthesia mask (there is also the option to add in a poppers containment unit between the hose and the mask for double intox) and the other in/out valve is left free so that oxygen can be pulled through the system at the same time and breath can be expelled, or you can choose to block this off for full breath play control and to engage a total rebreathe system.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF NITROUS OXIDE.
Nitrous Oxide was first synthesized in 1722 by Joseph Priestly, in the late 1790’s, Humphry Davy experimented with the psychotropic properties, but it wasn't until 1844 that Horace Wells used nitrous oxide during a tooth extraction to demonstrate an insensitivity to pain. After that demonstration, nitrous oxide became used as a medical anaesthetic. Over a century after Davy, its potential usefulness in psychiatry was first recognised and the first researches in Nitrous Oxide for neuropsychiatry were conducted between 1920 and 1950, and it was also around this time that it started to be used in obstetrics and given to women during child birth.
In 1914 Nitrous Oxide was patented by American rocketeer as an oxidiser for rocket motors, because of its stability at room temperature it is also easier to store and relatively safe to carry on a flight. Throughout the 19th century other uses were discovered, such as in internal combustion engines, giving vehicle racers an advantage as it allows the engine to burn more fuel by providing more oxygen during combustion, and as an aerosol propellant widely adopted by the culinary industry as it was approved as a food additive for whipped cream and cooking sprays.
The use of Nitrous Oxide for recreation actually started among the British upper classes at the beginning of the 1800's, who frequently threw "laughing gas parties" but it wasn't until the 19th century when it was adopted for more common uses as previously described, that it became more globally available and took off as recreation across the world. The real boom in Nitrous Oxide for recreation however, didn't start until the age of the internet and online shopping. It was described as "widely available" in the 19th century, but that availability paled in comparison to that of the internet shopping era, and ever since then countries around the world have been dealing with exponential growth in the number of young people participating in it because it's perceived by them as a "safe high".
WHAT ARE THE PHYSICAL AFFECTS OF NITROUS OXIDE?
Unlike poppers, Nitrous Oxide does not give a feeling of intense rushing, it is a much lighter "high" which gives you a gentle floaty or vibrating feeling, it can make you feel light-headed, tingly in the arms and legs, warm, euphoric, and sleepy. Dizziness is an indication that there is too much Nitrous Oxide in your system.
It takes about 20 seconds to reach your brain, where it will begin to block neurotransmitters which causes an anti-anxiety effect. It causes the brain to release norepinephrine which within 2 - 3 minutes inhibits pain signalling throughout the body, it also increases stimulation to the pathway in the brain responsible for releasing dopamine, causing feelings of euphoria.
You can increase the sedative effect of Nitrous Oxide by decreasing the amount of oxygen you inhale at the same time, conversely, stopping the intake of Nitrous and flushing the system with oxygen will clear the system and eliminate the affects of it rather quickly. Though it is not recommended that you use Nitrous Oxide in conjunction with alcohol, there are no known drugs or medications that would cause serious issues when combined with Nitrous Oxide use, but it's use should be avoided by anyone with heart or respiratory problems.
Using Nitrous Oxide as a way to get "high" means there is a significant risk of overdosing, as the effects of inhaling a single balloon/rebreather bag only lasts a couple of minutes, so users will frequently take many hits to maintain the high. The signs of Nitrous Oxide overdose are:
tightness in the chest
eyes, throat, and nose irritation
hallucinations or psychosis
blue tint to the toes, lips, or fingers
increased blood pressure and risk of heart attack or stroke
increased heart rate
If an individual has too much nitrous oxide at once with limited or no oxygen, they may also develop brain damage, go into a coma or die. On average, 5 people die every year in the UK from Nitrous oxide abuse. If you are taking/administering Nitrous Oxide in your sessions in short bursts as a high, then you should ensure you take regular breaks and do some deep breathing to maintain high levels of oxygen in your system. If you use Nitrous Oxide as a sedative, then you should ensure that you attach pure oxygen into your rig system (which is legal and readily available to buy) so that you can regulate the sedative affect and quickly flush the system in the case that signs of overdose present themselves. Modern dentistry uses a mix of 40% Nitrous and 60% oxygen for sedation, doses involving 50% nitrous or more have been found to have undesirable side effects like nausea and vomiting. Professional Mistresses who are experts in the field of medical domination may use a medical machine called a titrator which allows you to set the precise dosage for each gas. You should also invest in a heart rate monitor so you can ensure that the sub remains stable, as he may not be coherent or in a position to let you know how he's doing.
It is not recommended to use Nitrous Oxide by yourself, you should only do so under the careful supervision of an experienced intox professional, one of the more common problems with recreational Nitrous Oxide use that the NHS has reported, is people passing out and seriously hurting themselves, breaking bones, hitting their heads etc. As the use of Nitrous Oxide inhibits pain and anxiety, if you are using it by yourself it will be hard for you to realise when your body is in difficulty as a result of intoxication. As I mentioned earlier in this post, Nitrous Oxide has a very cold temperature of -40°, so should never be inhaled directly from it's containment unit without allowing it to pass through a system that gives the gas the opportunity to warm up to room temp before inhaling, it doesn't take long, but if you don't allow it to warm up first it can cause frostbite to your nose, lips, tongue throat, vocal chords and lungs. The gas is also pressurised, so attempting to inhale it directly from it's containment unit at such high pressure can also tear your lungs!
WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF FREQUENT NITROUS OXIDE INTOXICATION?
The most serious thing to be aware of when it comes to frequent use of Nitrous Oxide, is that the gas actually changes the composition of any vitamin of B12 you consume for several days after using Nitrous, so that it can no longer be absorbed by your body. B12 plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA, so a B12 deficiency has some serious implications.
Some of the things that a deficiency can cause are:
Anaemia - The body is unable to make enough healthy red blood cells, leading to fatigue, achiness, dizziness, an enlarged liver, yellow skin and potentially heart failure and stomach cancer.
Nerve Damage - Nerves are all over the body so this can cause widespread and serious issues like loss of balance, slow reflexes, paralysis, loss of sense of smell and taste, bowel and bladder problems and deteriorating vision. Nerve damage is currently the highest reported long term affect of frequent Nitrous oxide use by the NHS, with many young people freququently abusing the substance over a prolonged period of time experiencing spinal deformities, degeneration and eventual paralysis if left untreated!
Brain damage leading to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, insomnia, trouble thinking clearly and extreme paranoia. It can also cause memory loss, speed up the rate at which your brain shrinks with age and increase your risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.
Infertility and birth defects - being responsible for the production of DNA means that a B12 deficiency can cause errors of DNA make up in your semen and eggs, so whether male or female, even if your fertility is unaffected the chances of birth defects and disabilities are very high.
Osteoporosis - a weakening of the bone density and structure leading to breaking bones easily.
Vitamin B12 comes from animal food sources like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products, all things that most people eat quite a lot of, and huge amounts of excess B12 can actually be stored in the body by the liver for a long period of time for use later, so it can take a couple of years of not absorbing any more B12 before your body will start to fall into a state of deficiency and you begin to experience these symptoms. Nitrous Oxide use will only render B12 un-absorbable by your body for up to a few days after you used it, so if you are only using Nitrous Oxide once or twice a month in your sessions you're unlikely to get anywhere close to depleting what is stored in your liver.
It never hurts to take some B12 supplements to replenish what you lost in those few days after usage, but it's particularly important if you are vegetarian or vegan and aren't eating a lot of B12 naturally. (B12 can be synthesised from bacteria for supplements so vegetarian/vegan B12 supplements are possible and available.)
If you have been using Nitrous Oxide several times a week for several years already, you are likely already in a state of B12 deficiency and if you continue with this frequency of intoxication then these outcomes are inevitable, taking B12 supplements will not help because the Nitrous Oxide prevents it from being absorbed by your body. You should cease your use of Nitrous Oxide immediately and seek medical attention. You will need to inform your GP of your extensive Nitrous Oxide use so they can assess how best to replenish your B12 effectively and as soon as possible to prevent the onset of these health issues.
In addition to the depletion of vitamin B12 and all the issues such a deficiency can cause, other long term affects of frequent Nitrous Oxide intoxication can include:
ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)
weakened immune system
The increasing abuse of Nitrous Oxide, and the health implications for young people that have arisen as a result have led the NHS to push UK authorities to do more about it. I have it on authority from a private source that west midlands police are currently working on a campaign against and crack down of Nitrous Oxide misuse, so it could be that more police forces from other localities follow suit, and as we still have an attitude of prohibition rather than harm reduction here in the UK, I can see it leading to Government intervention and stricter regulation of Nitrous Oxide access.
It could be that in the next couple of years it becomes impossible to source Nitrous Oxide outside the legitimate industries in order to offer it in sessions, but in the meantime, professional Dom/mes, sex workers and members of the chemsex community should be weary of advertising that they offer this kind of intox service, I'm told that the police are aware that this is a service offered by prodom/mes and we may well be included in the crack down if it is taken up by more police forces as it is being in the west midlands. I hope that you have found this guide informative and useful, and that it can help people to continue to play safely while aware of the risks. If you would like to provide a link to this article as a resource on your own site (or My poppers guide for that matter), please feel free to do so.
Lashings of love, Domina Jemma xxx