Mouth Gags 101

When I saw that “gags” would be the theme for Kink of the Week, I realized I had never seen a “buyers guide” for gags. As a BDSM gear consultant, I’ve had several questions when it comes to gags. Some about alternatives for latex gags, others about determining the right size, and I’ve helped others find the right match for them, or their submissive. So, I thought.. why don’t I write one myself?

What is a mouth gag, and why would I want one?

Simply put, a mouth gag consists out of two parts: one part goes into the submissive’s mouth, and the other part is used to make sure it stays there, and doesn’t accidentally slip into the throat. Most gags are placed between the teeth, and then the strap is fastened behind the head. There are three kinds of mouth gags: ones that keep the mouth open (excellent when you’d like to use your submissive’s mouth), ones that fill the mouth (to muffle sound), and ones that go over the mouth (more visually attractive than effective). A mouth gag is often used in combination with other BDSM elements, like bondage, humiliation or torture. But they also come in handy when you want to hard fuck your submissive, but don’t want the rest of the street to hear it.
Wearing a mouth gag, or seeing your submissive wear one, isn’t only practical, it can be a huge turn-on. Wearing a mouth gag can increase the submissive’s sense of helplessness. Often, wearing a mouth gag also causes uncontrollable drooling, which many people find incredibly sexy. Others feel aroused by the way it sounds when a gagged submissive tries to speak. Depriving a submissive from the ability to speak can also be a reminder of the submissive’s place: he or she is subservient to the Dominant, thus not allowed to speak (if the Dominant so pleases).

Types of mouth gags

Click on the name of the gag for an image to appear.

  • Ball gag: one of the most common types. Muffles sound quite well. Also available in a hard plastic with little holes, called a wiffle. Will often cause uncontrollable drooling.
  • Ring gag: also a common type of mouth gag. Instead of a ball, there is a ring between the straps, allowing oral sex (considering the ring is big enough). Will cause the submissive to drool.
  • Spider gag: similar to the ring gag, but has extra hooks on the side of the ring, making it impossible for the submissive to flip it. The ring often is interchangeable, to be able to accommodate the size of the submissive’s mouth, or what is being inserted through the ring.
  • Bit gag: often associated with pony play, because it looks very similar to a horse bit, but can be worn during any kind of play. Consists out of a bar held by straps which fasten behind the head. Not very effective when it comes to preventing speech.
  • Gag harness: instead of a strap fastened behind the head, this gag is part of a harness encircling the head. Used by Dominants who are looking for objectification, humiliation or additional attachment points for bondage.
  • Medical gag: made of stainless steel, this gag is made to provide full access to the mouth. Speaking is difficult when wearing one, but it doesn’t muffle sound much.
  • Penis gag: a phallic shape, designed for humiliation by letting the submissive suck on it during play. Either inflatable or solid. Sometimes similar in design to a ball gag, other times paired with a ring gag.
  • Rope gag: similar in placement to a cleave gag, but instead, multiple windings of rope is used. Go for a soft rope if you’d like the submissive to be “comfortable”, or a rougher rope for more of a torture element (but beware of scratching the lips).
  • Muzzle: resembling the muzzle worn by animals, this one is popular amongst those into petplay. They are usually made of leather, one piece covering the mouth, and straps keeping it in place. Sometimes it also restricts jaw movement. These gags are known to have a strong psychological effect on some people.
  • Tape gag: placed so it covers the mouth. Cannot be removed in seconds without causing intense pain. Simply do not recommend trying this one.
  • Panty gag: safe to use if attached to some kind of strap (some stuff them in stockings and use the stockings as the “strap”). The fabric will muffle sound very well.
  • Inflatable gag: has a “balloon” which is placed in the mouth and then inflated. This is the riskiest gag to use (some even discourage using it) because of the risk of over-inflation.
  • Cleave gag: often a scarf which is put in the submissive’s mouth and then tied in a knot behind the head. Famous from old western moves. Muffles sound a little, but the submissive will often be able to spit it out.
  • Funnel gag: consists out of a funnel, with a tube attached (which goes into the mouth). Often it has straps attached to keep it in place. Used to force someone to drink something, and also used in watersports. Very risky to use though, since the submissive may choke.
  • Forniphilic gag: designed to objectify and humiliate the submissive. Different tools can be attached, like a dildo or an ashtray, making the submissive able to serve the Dominant using his or her mouth.

Safety: things to consider before using a mouth gag

Gags are often bought without the buyer having actual knowledge about what he or she should be looking for, and, maybe even more importantly, not be looking for.
1. Never purchase a gag that doesn’t have some kind of strap attached to the piece that goes into the mouth. Loose ‘gags’ can be swallowed with dire consequences.
2. When purchasing a ring gag make sure the ring has been wrapped with something, like leather, or it may be damaging to the teeth.
3. Purchase a gag that you’ll be able to remove in seconds, in case the submissive starts feeling nauseous.
4. Make absolutely sure your submissive doesn’t have an allergy for latex. You really don’t want an allergic reaction during play.
The legendary Jay Wiseman wrote, in his book SM 101“Using a gag substantially increases the risk involved in BDSM.” Let me explain what he means. Of course, the players involved in a scene should have a safeword, to end the scene when they, for some reason, are not comfortable with it anymore. But when a submissive is wearing a mouth gag, he or she will not be able to call the safeword. Thus, to minimize the risks, agree to use a non-verbal safeword. One that works well is the “ball method”. The submissive takes one small ball in each hand (some other objects will work, too). When the moment comes the submissive wants to slow down (“orange”), he or she would drop one ball. When the submissive wants to completely stop the scene (“red)”, both balls would be dropped.
Another thoughtful statement Mr. Wiseman made in his book: Many people think a bound person should “automatically” be gagged. This is absolutely not so.” My guess on why people think a person should be gagged when in bondage, is because it’s often done like that in porn. Be honest.. how often have you watched  porn with a gagged submissive that wasn’t bound? If you’re already more experienced in bondage, and would like to add another element, go ahead and see what it feels like. But if you’re still new to BDSM, I highly recommend either wearing a mouth gag or being tied up, before trying both at the same time.

  • On that note, never use a mouth gag the first time you play with someone.
  • Make sure you’re up-to-date on the submissive’s health before even considering to use a mouth gag. Do not use a mouth gag when the sub has a cold (or is dealing with anything that makes it impossible to breathe through the nose, such as allergies).
  • If the submissive has problems with the jaws, reconsider using a mouth gag at all. If the problems are not severe, and you’d like to give it a go, proceed with absolute caution, taking very small steps, and monitoring the submissive even more closely than you normally would.
  • The most important safety tip is: never leave the submissive alone when he or she is gagged.

Follow all the guidelines mentioned above, and I can assure you you won’t have to worry anymore about the additional risks Jay Wiseman wrote about.

Deciding on the size of your mouth gag

So, after having read everything on why you would want a gag, safety matters you should consider, and which types are out there, you’re probably ready to get one of your own. I encourage you to! As a submissive, I can tell you it adds a very humiliating element to any BDSM session. To tell you the truth, I think anyone should own at least one.
Do you have a good idea of the type you want to look for? Great! There is one important thing left to do, before you head over to your favorite store and buy one: making sure you’ll purchase the right size. What size a gag should be is easily overlooked, resulting in.. a gag that is too small to do it’s job properly, or so big the submissive can’t even wear it. Use two fingers pressed together. Stick them into your mouth (or the mouth of your submissive), horizontally and then again vertically between your teeth. Notice what it feels like. If it feels good to the submissive (especially considering the jaw comfort), measure the width of those two fingers pressed together, and you have an estimate how big the mouth gag should be. Two fingers shouldn’t be too big for most. If you feel the gag should be larger, try the same method but with three fingers.
This is not a very accurate method, but will definitely help you estimate how big or small the gag should be. You’ll have a way better chance purchasing the gag that’s right for the submissive.

Where to buy a mouth gag

When purchasing a mouth gag, make sure to invest your money in buying one from a reputable company (as with all gear). This way, you are making sure the gag will withstand the pulling and biting and won’t come apart. If you’d like to go the custom route, we can work with you to make a gag that suits your personal needs and taste (all you need to do is send us an e-mail). If you rather buy one off the shelves, then I highly recommend purchasing from Stockroom. They carry a wide range of different types (all of the types mentioned in this article actually, except the panty, cleave and funnel type). Stockroom has been around since 1988, has good customer service and stock products of decent quality.

P.S. See the buttons floating on the left of this post? You can use them to share this article with your friends! Give it a try, and please leave a comment if you have any questions about mouth gags after reading this article.

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