Friday, March 23, 2007

Yes, My Lady: Binding of the Mouth

Edge play is erotic role-playing near or at the "edge" of a submissive's or even a Dominant's limits. Often edge play fantasies live in the realm of fantasies that are enjoyable to think about but do not really want to happen to us. But, then a fantasy comes along that just eats at you and eats at you and suddenly the fantasy falls into your realm of the "maybe's" and shortly thereafter, it becomes a definite "yes."

Playing near the edge of fear, isolation, control, and nonconsensuality is hot and the closer to the edge you get, the hotter it becomes. The play might be something that has an element of danger to it, like being gagged. Dominants use gags to render their bottoms speechless, which has a great psychological impact. The gag is a helplessness toy. The closer a certain type of SM play is to helplessness, the more the SM community considers the play advanced, and possibly, edge play.

The use of a gag falls under the type of SM play known as Sensory Deprivation. Sensory Deprivation is an exercise in isolation. By depriving a bottom of her/his speech by using a gag, the Top is releasing the bottom from certain responsibility. During a sensory deprivation experience, which may involve the use of a blindfold and earplugs to deprive the bottom of sight and hearing, the bottom is able to float in the eroticism of the scene. However, the bottom must be secure in the knowledge that the Top is looking after her/him -- the Top having the bottom's safety and care in mind.

For the novice, the sudden loss of speech can be terribly overwhelming. This blockage or interference of speech and breathing through the mouth can be very disorienting and may lead to panic. If you would like to gag your bottom, make sure it is on your bottom's "yes" list too!

A responsible Top can do Her/His best to eliminate physical risks involved when using a gag. However, one cannot eliminate the emotional risks involved. After all, this is part of the attraction to sensory deprivation play like using a gag: you just can't control how the play is going to affect you and why. The emotional risk in using a gag is the unknown factor in edge play. For instance, you do not know how you will react to being gagged, having no access to clear verbal communication, until your Top shoves a gag into your mouth.

Gags are popular items to increase feelings of helplessness but also to stop a person from talking and that is where the "danger" lies. Certain particular gags can present a physical danger to a bottom. For example, the most popular, "the ball gag," is the one shown in bondage photos everywhere. It's usually red or black and has buckles or a strap of some other fastening device running out of either side to tie behind the bottom's head. Although considered to be very sexy as well as functional, this is the type of gag that can flood the bottom's mouth with saliva and cause him/her to choke. The ball gag inhibits swallowing by holding the bottom's mouth open, which causes the bottom to produce more saliva. Since the bottom cannot swallow because his/her mouth is being held open, this is where the danger comes in.

However, if your bottom is a chatterbox, you can gag him/her safely and effectively with one of your scarves, panties, or stockings. Tie a large double or triple knot in the center of the chosen item, and then tie it behind or on the side of your bottom's head. Try not to use your favorite silk scarf for gagging. Silk or nylon hosiery tends to slip and pull the knots very tight -- so tight that you will be unable to untie them to free the bottom. You may have to use scissors to release your bottom, thereby ruining your silk scarf. (If you must use a silk scarf, by all means, use your bottoms!)

Put the knot in the bottom's mouth and tie the ends behind her/his head. Or, place the knot on the side of the bottom's head if you are going to have him/her lie down. The fabric will soak up the saliva. Instant gag! Keep in mind, however, that no gag can stop a bottom from making any noise at all -- grunts and muffled screams will still emerge; so, don't count on your gag enabling you to do heavy pain play while your roommate dozes lightly in the next room!

Gags require special care in selection -- a too-large gag can leave a bottom with a sore jaw, or even choke him/her if it holds the mouth open too far for comfortable swallowing. The part that goes into the mouth must be firmly attached to the part that goes around the head so the bottom cannot swallow or inhale it.

Formal gags include the "bit" or "bar" gag, which is like the bit in a horse's bridle and much less harsh on the submissive's mouth than a ball gag. A pipe gag is a set of leather straps connected to an open section of pipe, which goes in the mouth, holding it open. Talking is inhibited but the mouth is available for other uses. You might want to consider surprising your new toilet slave with some of your lovely urine...with prior mutual consent, of course!

Many advanced players in the scene believe that a responsible Top should avoid using a gag the first few times they play with someone. As a Dominant, you may need ongoing, clear, verbal feedback from a new submissive. Furthermore, a gagged submissive will have trouble expressing a verbal safeword. Therefore, a non-verbal safeword should be negotiated, agreed upon, and verified. One non-verbal safeword is having the submissive hold a ball in her/his hand. If the submissive drops the ball, that means s/he has signaled the use of the safeword: the session has become too intense.

You can bind the mouth, but you cannot bind the spirit! Have fun, play smart, and push your limits.

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