A gag is a device sometimes worn during sexual bondage and BDSMroleplay. Gags are usually associated with roleplays involving bondage, but that is not necessarily the case. The person who wears the gag is regarded as the submissive partner, while the other is regarded as the dominant one.
People may wear gags for a variety of reasons. Some people derive erotic pleasure from a gag, either in a submissive or dominant 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 rendering them unable to speak during sexual activity, which some people enjoy.
For some people, gags have connotations of punishment and control, and thus can be used as a form of humiliation. To some, wearing a gag without restraints is still 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 used depends on the tastes of the parties and the type of roleplay scene, what is available at the time, and safety considerations. Some gags are designed to fill the mouth, 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 gag paraphilia 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.
Gagging anybody is very risky, as it involves a substantial risk of asphyxia if the subject's nose is blocked while wearing a gag. Using a gag on somebody who is ill or has a common allergy (including sensitivities to cologne or perfume) is also quite dangerous, as most gags make it difficult or impossible to breathe through the mouth. Vomiting and choking also pose a risk, since they further block the airway. A gagged subject should never be left alone.
In practice, no gag is effective enough to silence someone completely without inhibiting breathing. Most gags that prevent the subject from making intelligible speech still permit loud, inarticulate noises to call for help. Thus, a pattern of noises, such as three grunts in rapid succession, is sometimes used as a safeword by BDSM players. It is also common to use an additional non-verbal safety mechanism, such as a solid object held in the hand that can be released by the gagged person to signal distress.