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A Little Drool Never Hurt Anyone: Basics of Gags and Gagging

Author: Norische

Filed in: how-to, gags, toys

Gags come in a variety of different styles, sizes and materials. There are two basic reasons that one uses a gag, to keep the mouth open or to keep the mouth closed, other than that their function is quite limited.

The most common definition of gagging is:

a : to restrict use of the mouth of by inserting a gag
b : to prevent from exercising freedom of speech or expression
c : to pry or hold open with a gag

Courtesy of the Merriam - Webster Dictionary

Most people assume that by gagging someone you are referring to putting something in the mouth in order to keep an individual from speaking. This is however a limited definition, and not necessarily accurate.

There are three general categories in which most gags may be placed. The first category consists of Intrusive gags, these are gags in which an object is place in the mouth and secured by some means, commonly a strap of some form. The second category consists of Barrier gags, in which some form of barricade is being placed over the mouth completely, such as tape, leather or a metal barrier. The third type is a Spreader gag; this type of gag is normally put into use in an effort to maintain the mouth in an open position, this type of gag if frequently used in medical procedures where the mouth must be open and available.

Intrusive gags are undoubtedly the most common, and generally what everyone thinks about when gags are mentioned. This category has several different types of gags included in it. The ball gag is one of the most basic forms of gags, it may consist of a rubber, leather, or plastic ball that is placed within the mouth and secured, most commonly, by leather straps.

The second type of gag in this category is the bit gag; this gag consists of a bar that fits into the mouth and is held in place by a metal or leather apparatus or strap; this gag's design is based on the common horse bit. The portion that is placed within the mouth can be constructed out of metal, rubber, or in some cases wood. This form of bit is also commonly seen to have straps adjoining either side of the head as a method of directional instruction, just as an authentic horse bit would have.

The third type of gag that is found within this category is the inflatable gag. This gag is normally based on a representation of a penis that may be inflated to fill the mouth, this gag may be held in place by a strap or by what appears to be a barrier gag of sorts, normally a flat leather or rubber surface that the inflatable gag is secured to.

The fourth type of gag in this category is what I label as the handyman's gag. This is any object that just happens to be handy and is utilized for the purpose of restriction of speech. Several things fit into this category, worn underwear, nylons, silk scarves, an ace bandage, a pacifier, doggy toy or even a pony whip, the list is limited only by the individuals imagination.

There is one additional type of intrusive gag that I would like to add to this list, it is what I call the drool gag. This type of gag is specifically designed to humiliate. The most common drool gag consists of a whiffle ball (practice golf ball), that is secured in place by a leather or rubber strap. The holes in the whiffle ball will guarantee freedom of breathing, which is especially good for mouth breathers or individuals that have sinus problems. However, these same holes do not allow for the seal around the ball to prevent saliva from escaping, hence the slave/sub is forced to drool all over themselves. Messy yes… but so interesting.

Barrier gags are normally external only and do not place anything within the mouth itself, although as described above the inflatable gag does have a barrier of sorts that is associated with it. The most common barrier gag is tape, duct tape to be specific. This barrier is easy to use and no messy clean up. The one problem with this type of barrier gag is that some individuals have an allergic reaction to the adhesive used in tape, therefore make yourself a mental note to ask about allergies before you grab that role. Also keep in mind that with tape over the mouth, breathing is available only through the nose, keep a close eye on your slave/sub and monitor breathing at all times, gags are good… the ER is not.

As you get a little more unique there are metal barrier gags, these are normally used for the sheer theatrical effect of the harsh metal. A metal plate contoured to the victims face is formed to fit over the mouth with as much comfort as metal will allow, this gag is normally held in place by leather straps. Although I have seen this gag artistically made entirely from metal, molded to the victims head for a tight fit and contoured to allow no leniency, the beauty of these pieces is wondrous although they are a little on the pricey side. At one BDSM fashion show that I attended a young man was wearing such a gag, made out of exquisite steel, his did have one interesting addition... spikes. Across the plate region of the gag was a menagerie of spikes in a variety of sized, ranging from ½ inch to 1 ½ inches in length, the effect was dramatic and very definitely the rage of the event. Selling for only $1800.00 this gorgeous little stocking stuffer was a gem, with its matching body harness and gauntlets.

For more of a realistic barrier gag, leather or rubber is normally the material utilized for this useful little tool. Both rubber and leather can be molded to fit the victim's contours quite easily, and the comfort level for these materials is far greater than for the metal barrier, if the slave/sub\'s comfort is an issue in any manner. The practicality of these gags far outweighs the theatrical effects of the metal gag in my opinion, but then again that is merely my opinion. These gags normally can be purchased from $50.00 for the more basic models to $200.00 for the ornate or personalized forms. These gags can be created with a message across the mouthpiece, "BRAT", "QUIET", and "SLAVE" are just a few that I have seen. I have also seen a beautiful barrier gag that had the BDSM symbol tooled into the leather with a beautiful black rose behind it. The price for this gag was only $285.00 and to this day I wish that I would have gotten it, or at least gotten the artists name, unfortunately I have yet to find another or even one that could match the artistic nature of the exquisite craftsmanship.

The next barrier gag is sometimes considered to be a more of a hood; this type of barrier is similar to the Hannibal Lector mask that was seen in "The Silence of The Lambs" this type of gag is meant to restrict jaw movement without actually restricting speech. This type of gag is good if you are wishing to enforce the slave mentality on someone, in which they are forced to ask to eat, ask to drink, to smoke, to do anything that would include their mouth. It also does have a theatrical flare to it and can be an interesting addition in role-play as well. This type of gag consists of a jaw piece that will cover from the base of the nose, over the mouth and under the chin. Normally the mouth area has some form of opening, such as a zipper, a section of holes, or an opening that is barred by metal bars worked into the leather.

Spreader gags are made for the specific purpose of opening the mouth and allowing it to be made available and used at the Dominant's whim. These gags are commonly made of surgical steel and available from a variety of medical supply shops, due to the fact that they are primarily used in medical procedures.

Within this category there is the common O-gag. This gag is constructed of an o-shaped device made out of rubber, or metal, and frequently covered in leather for added comfort; there are normally leather straps attached to either side of the O that may be fastened behind the head. The O is placed within the mouth, spreading the jaw wide and the straps will pull the lips back and out of the way. This gag can be purchases or made in a variety of sizes to allow for various levels of comfort.

The next types of spreader gags are the Whitehead and the Jennings gags. These are actually medical devices that are made specifically for medical practices. Normally they range in price from $40.00 to $125.00 depending on the quality. Both of these gags consist of a surgical steel frame that is placed within the mouth, the authentic medical devices do not come with straps but the can be altered to include them or you can purchase them pre-made at most medical fetish shops/sites. The general frame work on both the Whitehead and the Jennings gags are basically the same; however the Whitehead is normally adjustable with either a ratcheting system or a spreader bar that will lock in place. The Jennings gag is based on a very strong spring system, it is quite strong enough to keep the mouth open of even the most stubborn slave/sub.

The cost of a gag can range from a couple of dollars for a rubber ball and rope to make one yourself to hundreds of dollars, depending on your eccentricities. The material that they are made of range from, metal, leather, rubber, even plastic, silk and other cloth, the list is endless as is the imagination, and thankfully exploring the vast selections within these categories is so much fun.

There are a couple of safety issues that must be discussed before you explore the use of gags.

Some gags are meant to restrict the use of the mouth, and in such cases breathing may also be compromised so keep a close eye on the slave/sub at all times. Again speech may not be a necessity but breathing definitely is.

Gags are very personal items, for sanitary reasons I recommend not using the same gag on different individuals unless you are absolutely positive about your sanitation methods. Clean all metal, rubber or plastic parts with alcohol, steam or boiling may cause damage to the piece and is not an absolute method of sanitizing without a medical autoclave to guarantee the level of sanitization. The leather portions of the gag may be cleaned using leather cleaner, but unfortunately you cannot guarantee the sanitation of leather even with a proper cleaning, therefore I do not recommend sharing any gag that is made of leather between individuals, unless of course you have multiple slaves/subs in which case you undoubtedly know where their mouth has been.

As I stated earlier when using tape or adhesive backed gags you must make sure that the slave/sub has no medical issues with the adhesive prior to use. An allergic reaction may be as harmless as redness in the exposed areas to as dangerous and swelling of the bronchial and obstruction of the air passageway or anaphylactic shock. The use of tape is a quick and easy solution but it may lead to a long night in the ER and a lot of inventive explanations.

There is another medical reason behind the restricted use of gags, specifically gags that spread the jaw or are designed to keep the mouth in an open position for an extended period of time, this is called temporomandibular joint (jaw joint) disease/disorder, or TMJ for short. It is estimated that 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorder, a condition in which the temporomandibular joint does not function properly. This is the joint that connects the temporal bone (the bone that forms the sides of the scull) with the mandible (the jaw bone). We use this joint more frequently than most of the other joints in our bodies. Every time we talk, chew, bite down, or swallow we put the TMJ to work. This condition produces pain in the muscles and joints of the jaw that can radiate to the face, neck, ears, and head and even the shoulders. There also may be difficulty opening the mouth all the way, or maintaining an open mouth for any period of time. This is a progressive disorder and so the longer it goes untreated the worse it gets. Individuals that have this disorder can use a gag but they are restricted to the use of a bit or barrier gag, which does not force the jaw to remain open or stretch the muscles of the TMJ.

When using a gag the mouth frequently will become dry and this will induce coughing or chocking, therefore keep a glass of liquid handy with a straw just in case.

Gags can be an interesting addition to any scene and used in such inventive ways during role-play, however do keep in mine safety, and use them wisely.

As with any article this is just my opinion, take what you will and leave the rest. If you wish to contact me, my email address is


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