What is a ball gag?

Very commonly found in a wide variety of smut, a ball gag is a BDSM (Specifically bondage) implement that is used to encourage silence in a submissive or bottom. Ball gags are identifiable by some manner of, well, ball attached to a strap or harness designed to hold said ball in between the bottom's teeth (At the front of the mouth) or behind the teeth in the middle of the mouth. Attachment/strap/harness styles, ball sizes, ball colors, ball materials, and the like all vary considerably, depending on what the erstwhile dominant or top is looking for, and what the bottom can tolerate.

A ball gag will not silence a bottom. If air can pass through the nose, the larynx can work its magic and sound will be produced. They are mostly to serve as a reminder to shut up, function as a sensation toy, or prevent intelligible speech.

Ball sizes and materials.

There are four primary materials that are used to construct ball gags. Rubber (Possibly latex rubber) is very popular in the porno crowd. Jelly, which is usually some sort of rubber-like amalgam that is softer, squishier, more colorful, and less durable than rubber, makes an excellent beginner gag, as it has a lot of give and comes in pretty colors. Plastic gags can be solid and hard or constructed like a whiffle ball, so as to allow copious amounts of drool to pass through the gag, for those in the crowd who are really drool afficinados. Foam rubber gags are probably the least attractive of these to own, because they are hard to clean and degrade quickly, but they are very soft and pliable. I have also seen gags made of rock, such as granite and metal, but those are very hard materials that are not really suitable for a proper gagging except as a decorative measure.

Gags made of other materials exist in the same general shape as ball gags: A leather ball gag is routinely called a stuffed leather gag and a more oval-shaped rubber or leather gag is referred to as a penis gag. Some gags are inflatable and ball-shaped. I have not seen any ball gags made out of silicone, which is a dang shame. Silicone is a great material, and would make an excellent ball gag.

There are three primary sizes of ball gags commonly sold on the Internet:

  • Small: Approximately 1.5 inch ball diameter. Good for smaller women. Some ball gags which have the ball on a post to push it into the middle of the mouth use this size for larger people because the middle of the mouth can't get as large as the front of the mouth.
  • Medium: The standard size, approximately 1.67–1.75 inches in diameter. These are mostly what you'll see floating around catalogs.
  • Large: For big guys, these measure about two inches in diameter, which is a satisfying size that will stretch smaller mouths quite a bit.

Other sizes are:

  • Extra small: Maybe 1.0–1.25 inches in diameter, I frequently see these made from whiffle golf balls. Anyone who would use a medium gag or bigger can probably close their lips around this, defeating any drooling that you may want.
  • Extra large: Up to 2.5–3.0 inches, these are serious jaw stretchers. I made one once out of a super sized high bounce ball. It didn't need a strap, as the jaw stretched wide enough that the teeth alone held it in.

I recommend that most people start with a medium or large gag, but the size that is appropriate should be fairly intuitive for most people, I would guess. The larger the gag, the more it muffles.

Attachment styles.

The three primary types of ball gag attachments that I tend to see are straps, harnesses, and panels.

A strap is the typical ballgag attachment method. A thin leather strap, 0.5–1.5 inches wide, is somehow inserted through the center of the ball. The ends of this strap are brought behind the head and secured with the top's preference of buckle, lock, or whatnot. I am a fan of gags that buckle or tie on, as cinch style strap connections are a pain to use. The primary variant of the strap that I have seen is to use a cord instead, perhaps made of some cheap leather like rawhide. These will chafe badly. While they highly emphasize the shape and size of the ball, they will hurt and make your bottom grumpy.

A harness starts with a strap but involves other straps to really tie that sucker down onto the bottom's head. These are sometimes called trainers, as they make the gag significantly more restricting, and resemble something much closer to whole-head bondage. Frequently, trainer harnesses will include a strap that goes under the chin in addition to one or two straps that go up over the top of the head. Frequently these can lock on. Buying one with good quality leather is important.

A panel attachment uses a leather strap, plastic panel, or some other hard object that sits in front of the ball rather than penetrating through the ball. This pushes the gag much deeper in the mouth, but frequently obscures the view of the ball and the lips. Many ball gag lovers will tell you that there are few things sexier than lipsticked lips wrapped around a ball gag that's slightly too large for the bottom's mouth. On the other hand, these will really shut someone up effectively.

The harness-style strap arrangement can be combined with a hard panel attachment. This results in a very restrictive gag arragement.

Strap sizes and materials.

Two main choices here. Leather and rubber. Leather is far and away the most common strap material for gags of either harness or simple styles, as it tends to be soft and rather forgiving, but still strong. It also smells great, especially when it's new. When shopping for a gag, look for soft leather, as this leather is going to be pulled against the corners of the bottom's mouth, and leather that has hard edges looks sexy because it holds its shape, but it will make your bottom bleed.

Rubber, on the other hand, is sexy for many fetishists and is waterproof, which is great for the all-weather sort of BDSM enthusiast (Or just for people who like to play in the bath). Rubber tends to be significantly harder-edged than leather, which will lead to more chafing, and perhaps the aforementioned bleeding. It also will not wick moisture away from the skin the way leather can, and it will get kinda yucky if it is heavily sweated on or whatnot. In general, you can expect to be able to make use of a rubber-strapped gag for much less time at a time. While leather gags can be worn for hours, or maybe even an entire day, a rubber gag should probably be taken off for a while every hour or two to let the skin breathe.

Care and feeding.

How do you clean one of these things? Truth be told, since I'm usually not worried about germs in my own activities (Since I only have one partner), I just hit the ball with some very hot water for twenty seconds or so, wipe things up with a clean towel, and set the toy out to dry. Other methods of cleaning involve using an antiseptic such as rubbing alcohol to kill the nasties. Some materials just are not sterilizable; however, such as foam rubber. All in all, you should not be sharing your gag with all that many people, so just keeping it from getting gross should be a matter of little concern.

Using a ball gag.

So I've written a lot, but I haven't told you what you should DO with a ball gag. Fortunately, I get to cop out a little here, as I would not dare to instruct the prospective sadist or top in how to secure His or Her bottom. However, some general safety guidelines are a good idea, so here's some stuff to look out for:

Make sure that the gag ball is properly sized for the bottom's mouth. This should be a no-brainer, but a bottom with a correctly sized gag can wear it for a long time. Try all day. It's fun! Watch as the bottom tries to shut his or her mouth after the gag comes out and discovers that it now hurts to close the mouth! Whee!

Don't let your bottom choke on drool! Choking is bad! Really. If the sub can't swallow at least some of the drool, it's going to seriously reduce the comfortable wearing time of the gag. You may want to invest in a ball gag with a tube in the middle to allow evacuation of all that spittle if your bottom has trouble with this.

Tie the gag on as tight as it needs to be, and no tighter!
Ah, heck with it. Crank that sucker in! The bottom won't be able to complain about it, anyway.

Buy good stuff. Junky leather will ruin your day. Almost all ball gags will have the leather strap rubbing at least a little against the corners of the bottom's mouth. This will eventually hurt, lead to bleeding, blistering, crying, moaning, and the like. I don't consider gaping mouth sores to be good pain. I kinda hope that you don't, either.


Gags are fun! I love them, and I encourage you to try them out! If your neighbor is very loud with his girlfriend, like an old flatmate of mine was, you may want to consider discretely leaving a ball gag laying around where he will pick it up and use it! Chew on them! Drool a bit. Go mmph! mmph! It's a blast!

This whole node was written off the cuff with no reference material save my own debaucherous experience. If anyone has any suggestions for updates, please feel free to message me and let me know! Life is a learning process.

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