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Thoughts and safety tips about gags

Frank © 2003

Stating the obvious? I wanted to add something of value to the Dark Connections website, but what could I possibly offer? After thinking for a bit I thought it might be useful to offer some thoughts, and practical tips, on the safe use of gags.

Some of my words below may seem like stating the obvious, and I certainly do not wish to patronise others who have experience of these things. However I write these words as someone who has been tying and torturing (consenting!) women for more years than I care to calculate! In recent years I have also been fastening gags in the mouths of models for photographic purposes. Can you believe that some of these models are not even aware that bondage as a sexual fetish exists until they meet me?! In any case, I believe it is very important to know what you are doing when you fasten a gag in the mouth of a bound woman.

Proper gags are uncomfortable and potentially dangerous I believe the most important point is that all truly effective gags are uncomfortable to wear, and they can be potentially dangerous if not used with care.

For the benefit of those among us who have never tried to wear a gag themselves, let me describe the risks and discomforts that can ensue.

Unable to speak The first thing that becomes apparent to a bound slave when she is gagged, is that she can no longer communicate properly using words. Ball gags, and inflatable gags, can be extremely effective, and they are not at all like the laughable "gags" you sometimes see in films on the telly. I have often laughed at the sight of a beautiful lady silenced by a piece of cloth tied through her mouth. These may may look elegant, but they don't stop a slave from talking. Also ineffective are the 4 inch long strips of adhesive tape that you sometimes see silencing the starlet in an old B movie.

A "properly" gagged slave cannot talk properly, although the effectiveness of the gag depends on a number of factors, and the gagging is seldom total. These factors include the design of the gag, how tightly it is fastened, and the (relative) size of the slave's mouth. In some cases she may still be able to mutter coherent words, but when a gag is really effective she cannot even do this.

However she can still communicate information about her condition by sounds she makes, and by her body language. Voluntary and involuntary sounds of grunting, whimpering, and even sobbing are deeply meaningful. Moreover the manner of her struggling is a valuable guide to her condition. Perhaps most important of all, and in my opinion the most erotic, is eye-to-eye contact. I have some wonderful memories of eye-to-eye contact with gagged women who were suffering extremes of pain and sexual arousal!

Increased feelings of helplessness and vulnerability From the above it follows that to really gag your slave, you need a good gag of an appropriate size, and it must be properly and tightly strapped into her mouth. Her resulting inability to speak meaningful language immediately makes your bound slave feel much more helpless and vulnerable, simply because she cannot talk to you. Therefore she cannot tell you what is worrying or hurting her, etc. This increased helplessness and vulnerability, and her increased dependency on her Master, would normally increase the helpless sexual arousal of a true submissive (in my humble opinion - otherwise why do it?)

If you don't have a real gag to hand, and you want to get an impression of what this may be like, you can experiment on yourself with a golf ball, or even better, a squash ball. But you must make sure it is pulled well back into your mouth to get a proper impression! Some gags are significantly large than a squash ball as well, so don't forget that!

Fear Assuming the woman is tied down, or fastened in some way so she is helpless, this means that unless she really trusts you, in a sadomasochistic scene she will be much more prone to feelings of fear, or even panic. She is also forced to put all her trust in the person who is in control of her. How much faith does she really have in the judgement and skill of the person who has her helpless, and completely at his (or her) mercy?

I think it is extremely important to remember this if you are inflicting pain on a woman in this position. Unless you know each other very well, and a deep trust has been built up between you, you must watch out for signs of rising fear or even panic in your helpless submissive. Things are quite different for her now; she is in the midst of experiencing her true helplessness, and she cannot tell you about it. She realises, deeply, that if you exceed her limits, not only can she not stop you, but she cannot even tell you. Of course she can scream and struggle, or burst out sobbing (or maybe "burst in sobbing" would be more appropriate, since she is gagged), but she cannot tell you anything.

Difficult to swallow It also becomes impossible for a properly gagged woman to swallow properly, and this leads to a consequent build-up of saliva in her mouth. Again you can test this with a squash ball (or even a satsuma). You will find you can swallow, but it is not possible to get rid of all the saliva that starts to build up in your mouth. This becomes very uncomfortable for the lady wearing the gag, and most women will find it humiliating when the saliva starts dribbling from their faces in long sticky gloops! Whether you like these gloops or not seems to be a matter of opinion. Some members of my website ( love them, and others loath them. Personally I like the increased humiliation for the woman.

Danger of choking This build up of saliva, apart from being a discomfort and irritation to the woman, is potentially dangerous if she is fastened on her back. To get a taste of this, try putting some water in your mouth without swallowing it, then a squash ball, and then lie on your back! How long do you want to stay like that? Constant attention is required to prevent the water from going down your airway, which would have obvious consequences!

For this reason it is unadvisable to leave someone in this situation unattended. I would say NEVER do it, but there may be some experienced people into edge play that find the risk sufficiently stimulating ... and who am I to dictate what other experienced people should do to each other if they both really want to?

Be that as it may, NEVER do this to anyone who cannot breath freely through their nose!

Retching As if that is not enough, gags that go deeply into the mouth can make the slave retch, just as if you tickle the back of your mouth with your finger. I have an inflatable gag which is prone to doing just that, and I always use it with great care. However, because of its stringency and effectiveness, I would say it is one of the "best" gags I have. It is certainly one of the most effective.

Of course a gag like this amplifies any problems due to a build up of saliva. Imagine being fastened on your back, unable to say anything meaningful, unable to breath through your mouth for fear of choking, with the constant presence of a solid object at the back of the mouth making you want to retch. This situation can be very intense, and many people will find such a scene highly erotic for this very reason. However it could also be extremely scary if the slave does not have complete confidence in the skill and judgement of her Master (or Mistress).

Experience I have written this in order to share my own experience of health and safety issues related to the use of gags in BDSM. Of course, there is no substitute for your own experience - both experience-in-general, and specific experience with your submissive partner.

In all of the above I have referred to the fastened captive as a woman. Of course all the above applies if the bondage slave is male, also!

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