Gags All Shapes and Sizes : Review & Video

To Muffle your slave

Using gags in BDSM scenes is often given a back seat compared to things like restraints, Shibari, wax play etc. However gags come in all sorts of flavours and so we thought it would be useful to have a brief guide to the different types and their pros and cons. It’s by no means exhaustive or definitive, and as usual, we welcome comments, but it should give anyone new to gags an idea of what’s out there and how best it might suit your BDSM Scenes.

Plain gag
Much loved by television villains who want to shut granny up whilst burgling her home, this type of gag is the simple twisted-cloth-through-the-mouth type. Ideally, the fabric should be about three feet long and at least one foot wide. The length is to make sure you’ve got plenty to tie behind the head with, particularly with men whose heads are generally bigger. This should leave a pair of tails which are good for pulling your sub’s head back. Silk, satin or cotton are good (cotton gives a bit more body to the gag part but can mark the skin a little). Whatever the fabric, make sure it’s washable as all gags which hold the mouth open cause drooling, and this one will get very wet.

Knotted gag
In principle this is the same as the Plain Gag except that a large knot is tied in it to force the jaws open. This increases the feeling of vulnerability in your sub. You can increase the size of the knot to your requirements. Make sure you leave a little breathing space, though. The larger the knot, the less the sub can speak and the more uncontrolled the drooling will be.

Ball Gag
Ball Gags are often the most favoured types of gag and give the impression of the mouth being penetrated. A well-fitted gag should sit just behind your sub’s front teeth and keep the tongue in place. Because of this there is not so much need for the strap to be too tight and a good snug fit will be enough. A ball gag will tend to produce huge amounts of salivation. This is because the jaw is held open and so swallowing is impossible. This is a very important part of gag play for me because it represents another loss of self-control for my sub. Because of the amount of saliva produced care should be taken to make sure it can drain away and so tying your sub on her back is not a good idea as it could result in choking. Some balls have holes in to facilitate draining. Ball gags come in different sizes and materials from hard plastic to soft rubber. Very prolonged use can lead to jaw-ache so bear that in mind as pretty much everything your sub says will sound the same whether they’re complaining or not.

Head Harness and Ball Gag
This is basically the Ball Gag with a full harness and chinstrap to hold it fixed in place. This type of gag doesn’t allow for any movement and gives a much better ‘bondage’ sensation for more restrictive play.

Ring Gag
Ring gags are simply a ring with straps which holds the mouth open so that you sub can be used orally as her Master pleases. They can be a bit of a Marmite item with some subs feeling very uncomfortable with them. This isn’t so much because of the drooling or vulnerability – far from it, but because of the ring itself. Usually made of steel to withstand the forces of the jaw they are hard and uncomfortable on the teeth and damage to teeth and crowns can sometimes occur. Padded ones are available and can work well, the leather or rubber padding offering protection. The downside it that this reduces the size of the hole. However for vulnerability they are tops.

Inflatable Gag
These are essentially a rubber bulb fitted to the inside of a large flat gag. An inflation bulb hangs down at the front which usually has the air release valve as well. Although these gags look unsightly and cumbersome they are actually quite comfortable and lots of subs enjoy them. The slow inflation can be very erotic and a good introduction to larger gags. They are sometimes fitted to face masks and gas masks/respirators for full facial bondage.

Dental Gag
These are basically a ratchet device which fits around the front of the face and holds the mouth and jaws open (see video above). Much more effective than a ring gag they are also designed to protect the teeth. I prefer this gag because there’s no restriction to any part of the mouth and I can use my sub as I please. Also it does not muffle the voice. One thing I enjoy as the ratchet clicks is watching my sub’s eyes open wider as they wonder how far this thing is going to go.

Padded Gag
A more gentle alternative to the harder gags, and so better for beginners or couples looking for a softer play, the padded gag is a much more comfortable device. Usually made of leather with a soft padding they don’t disable the jaw quite so much (provided how tightly you fit it, of course) and make speech a little more comprehensible. I tend to use these on subs who like something to bite into during punishments.

Bit Gag
Based on the bridle and bit used with horses, this gag usually has the bit made of rubber or leather covered plastic, giving the sub something to bite on, although they are not as soft as padded gags. Harder ones of plastic are also popular. They cause some drooling but, because the jaws are not held wide open the sub is more able to swallow and have a little more control. Speech can also be a little easier with this type of gag, so, on the whole, a good gag for corrective scenes. Pretty much an essential for pony-play, too.

Cock or Penis Gag
A much more invasive variation on the ball gag this gag has a short penis-shaped protrusion which penetrates the mouth and can feel very, very erotic! They come in varying lengths (don’t we all!) and can be a real turn-on if the cock goes all the way to the back of the mouth. Do beware of choking danger if the penis hits the gag reflex as this can cause real problems if it causes vomiting. By and large these gags are too short for this but some Masters can get a bit enthusiastic. Your sub will soon tell you. One way or another.

Tape Gag
This is OK if you are doing hostage play scenarios but as a gagging device, tape is not terribly effective in my opinion. Duct tape, parcel tape, even carpet tape. There can be too many problems with tape, particularly if your sub has sensitive skin or is allergic to the adhesives used. Any kind of make-up will stop the tape from sticking and if the tape is too sticky it can take a layer of skin off with it. Stick to traditional gags. (no gag intended).

Video Credit: DTSW on Vimeo

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Mark Tomblesen

About the Author … Mark Tomblesen is a Creative Director with a digital media firm in London. He has worked in the video and DM fields since the mid Nineties.

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