A gag is usually a device designed to prevent speech, often as a restraint device to stop the subject from calling for help. This is usually done by blocking the mouth, partially or completely, or attempting to prevent the tongue, lips, or jaw from moving in the normal patterns of speech.
Sometimes a gag is shown pushed back between the victim's front teeth into the mouth ('cleave gag'), or with a hard ball in its middle ('ball gag') or reinforced by pushing small cloth items or even underwear into the mouth ('stuff gag'). This is common in BDSM, but in practice these sorts of gag can usually be got rid of by working the jaws about and/or pushing with the tongue, and they often do not stop the victim from making a loud inarticulate noise to call for help.
A gag is sometimes worn during some bondage and BDSM Roleplay sessions. Gags are usually associated with Roleplay involving bondage, but that is not necessarily the case. The person who wears the gag is regarded as the partner playing the Submission side of the relationship, while the one not wearing one is regarded as the one taking on the Domination roll.
People wear a gag for a variety of reasons. Some people derive erotic pleasure from a gag, either in a Sub or Dom role. When combined with other physical restraints, the wearing of a gag can increase the wearer's sense of helplessness and anxiety level within a BDSM scene, by depriving them of a means to influence the progress of a sexual activity through speech. Some people enjoy the feeling of surrendering the ability to speak to another person in an activity.
For some people, gags have connotations of punishment and control, and thus can be used as a form of humiliation. It is considered that wearing a gag without restraints is an act of humiliation, as is an open mouth gag. Some fetishists are sexually aroused by the sound gagged people make when they try to speak, or by seeing a person drool uncontrollably.
The type of gag that is used will depend on the tastes of the parties, to the type of roleplay scene, as well as what is on hand at the time and safety considerations. Some gags are designed to fill the mouth in some manner, while others are designed to provide access to the mouth by forcing the mouth open. Gags may be classified as over-the-mouth type, mouth stuffing type or mouth opening type.
When a person is sexually aroused by gags, it may be considered a paraphilia. One specific paraphilia involving a gag relates to video depictions in which the captor gags the damsel in distress to stop her screaming for help. Some people are sexually aroused by such imagery, even if there is no nudity or sexual act present, or even if the victim is only gagged but not restrained in any way. The 1981 made for television film "Terror Among Us" (IMDB Link) has become a cult film among gag fetishists for its lengthy portrayal of bound and gagged women
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