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Gag (BDSM)

(Redirected from Ballgag)
A model wearing a ball gag

Gags are used by some people as part of some BDSM activities. There are a variety of possible motivations for this.

Some people are sexually aroused by the sight of gags, or activities involving gags. One specific paraphilia relates to scenes on television in which the captor gags the damsel in distress to prevent her from screaming for help. Some people are sexually aroused by such seemingly mundane imagery, even if there is no nudity or sexual act present, sometimes going as far as to search video stores and websites for certain scenes.

Other people appear to find being gagged increases their sense of helplessness within a BDSM scene, and desire to be gagged for that reason. Dominants enjoy gagging their submissives because many of them see it as a form of humiliation, rather than a silencing technique.

Table of contents

Safety

Gagging someone is highly risky, as it involves a substantial risk of asphyxia, both from the gag itself, and also from choking or vomiting and being unable to clear the airway; particularly if the subject's nose is blocked by some condition such as the common cold or catarrh or flu or the effects of a beating. In practice, simple gags do not restrict talking much. Gags that are effective enough to prevent communication are at risk of restricting breathing, and therefore can kill. Gags that prevent communication may also prevent the communication of distress that might otherwise prevent injury or death.

A gag that stops the subject from making understandable speech, does not necessarily stop him/her from making a loud inarticulate vocal noise to call for help. Thus, a pattern of noises, such as three such noises in rapid succession, is sometimes used as a safeword by BDSM players. It is also common to use an additional non-verbal safety mechanism, such as a solid object held in the hand, which can be released by the gagged person as a sign that they are in distress, or some other non-verbal signal.

Types of gag

OTM (over-the-mouth) gag

This type of gag is often described in fiction as preventing the subject from speaking, using soft materials like scarves and bandannas. In practise it does not completely silence the subject. The long scarf or bandanna is pulled over the subject's mouth and tied at the back of his/her head. Images of OTM gags, usually applied on women, had been prevalent since the television serials from the early 1900s. For this reason, the OTM gag is associated with the typical damsel in distress. It is also sometimes called the "detective gag" because many of its first appearances were in crime serials.

Cleave Gag

Suzy Parker in a Tarzan episode.

A safer variation of the OTM gag is called the cleave gag. Instead of being tied over the bottom's mouth, the scarf is pulled between his/her teeth. A thick scarf is used to hold his/her mouth open, much like a ball gag.

Ball gag

A ball gag is usually made of rubber or silicone in the shape of a sphere with a strap passing through its diameter. Ball gags are mostly used in BDSM activities, but they have been observed in the media, especially in a humorous or bizarre context. Pulp Fiction, Scary Movie and Candyman 3 contain ball gag scenes, and they have been observed at least twice in The Simpsons, and have even been featured in a video game, True Crime:Streets of L.A.. In use, the ball is strapped into the mouth behind the teeth, with the straps going around the head to secure it in place.

Ring gag

A model wearing a ring gag

A ring gag is a similar device to a ball gag, except that the ball is replaced by a hollow ring. This is both safer from the viewpoint of preventing the risk of choking, and also allows access to the mouth.

Bit gag

A bit gag is a gag-like device used in certain human sexual practices. It bears a passing visual resemblance to the bit used in a bridle for a horse, and much of its sexual value stems from fetishistic symbolism in human pony play.

It consists of a bar that is held in place in the wearer's mouth by straps and other hardware. Unlike the metal bit of a horse's bridle, the bar of a bit gag is usually a soft rubber cylinder. It is ineffective as a gag, at least insofar as preventing speech is concerned, although it will make it somewhat more difficult for the wearer to produce coherent speech. Occasionally reins are attached. Because of the possibility of injury to the lips, the bit gag is not really suitable for rough play.

Stuff gag

A stuff gag is very similar and works in the same way as the ball gag. The bottom's mouth is stuffed with handkerchiefs, scarves or bandannas rolled into a ball, acting as a stopper. To lower the chances of choking, the stuff gag is never pushed all the way into the bottom's mouth. Instead, a large part of it hangs out of the mouth, allowing the top to pull it out easily when he/she has to. Sometimes, to further ensure that the gag does not accidentally slip deeper into the bottom's mouth, the top may use a larger gag.

The stuff gag is first seen on television, most notably Chinese period dramas, where it is lambasted by members of the BDSM community. While it works in preventing speech, a person who has been stuff gagged can easily spit it out by pushing it with his/her tongue. However, it is for this reason that the stuff gag is one of the safest gags to use during self bondage, as the person with his/her hands tied can still spit the gag out if he/she feels any kind of discomfort. The risks of asphyxiation and choking are still present for someone who is not careful though.

OTM gag over stuff gag

This combination prevents speech and cannot be removed by pushing with the tongue. There is a greater risk of asphyxiation and choking than with either type alone.

Bandit gag

An OTM gag that covers the nose, and is commonly used in Japan and on many cartoons. Without packing it is not very effective.

Muzzle gag

A muzzle gag works in a similar principle as an OTM gag, only that they are usually made of leather, are fastened around the head with buckles and straps, and cover the lower part of the face. They have different shapes and colors, depending on the manufacturer.

Tape gag

2 women tapegagged and cuffed to iron bars
Anne Archer in The Log Of The Black Pearl

A tape gag is, as the name suggests, a type of gag that involves the use of sticky tape. The most commonly used types are duct tape, gaffer tape and PVC tape between two to three inches wide. Tape gags are the simplest gags to apply to a bottom, as a top only has to press a strip of tape over the bottom's closed mouth to effectively prevent him/her from speaking. Sometimes a top may decide to use more than one layer of tape, or he/she may even wrap a long strip of tape around the lower part of the bottom's head, covering the latter's mouth while ensuring that the gag will not slip off. On some occasions, a top may add a comical touch to the gag by applying two strips in the form of an 'X'.

For the subject to survive, his/her nasal passage must be clear, and not obstructed by causes such as the common cold or catarrh or flu or the effects of a beating.

Though ball gags and bit gags are preferred during bondage play, tape gags are often used when both are not available. The top may also use tape during a roleplay where a ball gag will be inappropriate; for example, a kidnapper and captive scene that does not immediately lead to sex or kink.

Note: Tape gags have the same risks of other gags related to asphyxiation and choking and the inability to call for help in an emergency. No-one should ever be left alone when gagged. You are responsible for your own and your partner's health. See also safe, sane, and consensual.

See also








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