A gag is generally something which is inserted into the mouth to:
Styles of gag
Common styles of gag include:
- Dildo-style (thrust into the mouth)
- Cloth (e.g., twisted towel, handkerchief, bunched-up panties) - see figure 1
- Ball gags (commonly a ball on a strap. The ball is placed in the mouth and the strap is fastened behind the head) - see figure 6
- Ball gags with holes (like some plastic practice golf balls) which allow breathing while keeping the mouth open and limiting ability to speak
- Tape gag - adhesive tape across the mouth - see figure 3
- Ring gag - a large ring held in the mouth by straps to hold the mouth open - see figure 4
- Pony bit - see figures 5 and 7
Many gags have some form of strap which can be fastened behind the head.
In pony play---where the bottom or submissive is compelled to be attired or to behave in the manner of a pony---a bit may be placed in their mouth to allow them to be controlled and directed, and this can also function as a type of gag (see diagram on the right).
In BDSM use, a horse's or pony's bit is usually something like a short thick rod (made of tough rubber) which runs between the teeth, and which is held in the mouth by means of a strap.
In practice a horse bit is usually too large for a human mouth. A pony bit is usually more the right size.
There can be humiliation component to gags, as someone who has their mouth held open by a bit or a ball gag is unable to swallow, and depending on their position (if bound), may not be able to prevent themselves from drooling.
Gags present a number of opportunities for penetration:
- The most obvious is that the partner's mouth is held open and something is forced inside. The gag itself can be particularly symbolic, such as when it is a dildo-type gag, or when it is underwear (such as panties)
- The top or dominant is also controlling their partner's ability to speak and/or breath
- Humiliation (see above)
Gags are frequently used in combination with bondage. Thus, the person with the gag in their mouth is unable to remove it or spit it out themselves. This can cause safety issues in a number of ways:
- Breathing problems. If the gag itself completely blocks the mouth (such as ball gag, dildo-style gag, or cloth gag) then it's up to the nose to handle breathing. This may become blocked leading to unconsciousness or death. Nose blockages can occur due to:
- Allergic reactions (e.g., pollen blowing in the window, house dust, something in the gag itself, etc.)
- Cold, influenza, or other illness
- Side-effect of other activities (e.g. a portion of the cloth gag makes its way free of the mouth and gets in the nose, mummification which restricts the nose, etc.)
- Choking. Particularly in the case of cloth gags (especially panties) or dildo-style gags, the throat may become irritated and the person vomits. With a gag strapped in place, this can lead to numerous complications, including suffocating on their own vomit
As gags frequently are used to restrict or prevent speech, a person having difficulty may not be able to report problems to their partner orally. Some other form of safeword should be arranged.
In all cases, someone wearing a gag who cannot remove it themselves, such as when they are tied up, should not be left alone.