The use of gags in BDSM play usually occurs within bondage and fantasy roleplay scenarios. A gag renders the wearer unable to speak and come in many different varieties, with most filling the mouth or being designed to force the mouth open. The type of gag used is largely dependent on personal preference, what type of roleplay (if any) might be included in the scene and if there are any safety considerations that need to be taken in to account.
Gags are often used in combination with other types of physical restraints and are usually associated with play that involves certain types of punishment and control. Using a gag can enhance a feeling of helplessness during a scene as well as increase erotic pleasure. Some people fetishize the sound gagged people while some are also turned on by the uncontrollable drooling that occurs with certain types of gags.
Let's take a look at some of the more common types of gags and other play-specific types of gags.
The ball gag is the gag that most people can easily identify. It gets its name from the ball (usually made of rubber or silicone) that is positioned behind the teeth in the mouth of the wearer, gagging them. The positioning of the ball in the mouth forces the mouth open and renders the wearer unable to talk but still able to make sounds. The size of the ball can vary and they typically have a strap that goes around the circumference of the head to secure it to the wearer, but can also come in more elaborate harness styles. A variant of the classic ball gag is the wiffle gag which has holes in it to increase airflow.
Bit gags are styled after the mouth bits found in horse bridles and are typically identified by the bar placed in the wearers mouth. The bit can come in different materials and thicknesses but is usually made from a soft rubber. Similar to a ball gag, the bit is placed behind in the mouth of the wearer, behind the teeth, and will have a head strap to secure it.
O RING GAG
The ring gag is essentially the same as a ball gag except it replaces the ball with a hollow ring. The ring provides access to the inside of the mouth, increases airflow and decreases the risk of choking. The size of the ring can vary widely and, if big enough, can have objects inserted through it and directly in to the mouth of the wearer. The wearer is also able to flip the ring to a horizontal position if desired.
The spider gag is a variation of the ring gag which features hooks to stop the ring from being flipped horizontally.
DETECTIVE & BANDIT GAGS (Over The Mouth and Over The Nose Gags)
The detective gag is sometimes simply called an over-the-mouth (OTM) gag and has been featured consistently in crime fiction since the beginning of the 20th century. It is typically associated with the "damsel in distress" archetype and is made out of a scarf, bandanna or piece of material that is placed on top of the wearers mouth and tied at the back of the head. Because it is placed on top of the mouth, the ability for the wearer to make sound is not as restricted as when they are wearing a gag that has some inner-mouth feature. The bandit gag is essentially the same as the detective gag except it covers the nose as well as the mouth.
The funnel gag gets its name from the funnel and tube that leads into the wearers mouth, usually used to force the wearer to drink a fluid. It is strapped to the wearers head and both the style of funnel and straps can vary in elaborateness. These gags should be used with caution as there is a heightened risk of choking during such forced drinking.
A forniphilic gag is any type of gag that has the main purpose of objectifying or humiliating the wearer. While ready-made different types of forniphilic gags can be found, often they are comprised of a muzzle-style gag with a mouth piece used for attaching different tools to. The most common type of forniphilic gag is the dildo gag, with the dildo being either facing inward, outward or both. Other types of tools that that are used with forniphilic gags include toilet and floor brushes, feather dusters and ashtrays.
Different types of medical gags are used in bondage and can be used to enhance the theme of the play session. Medical gags provide unlimited access to the mouth and essentially stop all speech. The most common types of medical gags used are the Whitehead gag and Jennings gag.
The muzzle gag is similar to the over-the-mouth/detective gag but is usually made of leather (or some other sturdy material) and can feature different harness styles. The muzzle part of the gag covers the mouth but can sometimes extend around the cheeks, chin and up to the nose like in an over-the-nose/bandit gag. Depending on the style of muzzle gag and the type of straps the gag features, the actual muzzle part can restrict movement of the jaw and immobilize the head entirely.
A pacifier is a gag simply by design and, within the BDSM sphere, is typically used in ABDL, ageplay or humiliation play. Sometimes a pacifier is called a 'paci' for short or a 'dummy' because of it's association with infantilism. The inner-mouth part of a pacifier is typically very soft and because of this the pacifier is one of the less 'harsh' variations of a mouth gag. Depending on the context that the pacifier is being used, it can be strapped to the wearer to prevent removal or simply left as is.
Stuffing the mouth for a gag effect is highly effective and can range in levels of intensity. Filling the mouth with object(s) to restrict speech makes the practice of stuffing very similar to the ball gag. Almost anything can be used to stuff the receiver's mouth - from different pieces of materials, other non-digestible items and even food - though soft textile materials are most commonly used. The stuff gag should never be pushed too deep into the receiver's mouth and typically their is a large portion of the stuffing hanging out of the mouth. Using larger gags also further reduces the risk of choking. Often stuff gags are accompanied with other over-the-mouth gags (cloth, tape, etc) to secure the stuffing in place and prevent the receiver from spitting it out. When secured with OTM gags, the risk of asphyxiating does increase and so should only be done with caution.