I have to admit: I'm a screamer. I'm sometimes glad that I work from home because most neighbors are gone during the day, which means they rarely get to hear me have orgasms.

Unfortunately, when I get frisky beyond business hours, my entire building might just be in on my orgasm. Especially when I have a partner helping me get there. (Assisted orgasms for the win!) So, my lovers (especially the dominant ones) tend to like to keep something around to keep me quiet: a gag.

Gags are interesting instruments. Most don't really quiet you down that much. They may make it hard to enunciate your lover's name, but you can do all the loud, incoherent screaming you want. Other gags, however, are pretty effective at silencing you completely.

Whether you're trying to humiliate, increase access to a partner's mouth, or simply shut them up, there's a gag type for you. Here's an overview of the most popular types of gags, what they do, and some safety warnings.

Ball and Bit Gags

Ball and bit gags are among the most common gags used in BDSM play. They're not particularly effective at silencing (you can still be pretty loud with them), but they do a great job of limiting your bottom's ability to speak clearly. Their shape also stops the bottom from being able to swallow their saliva, making them drool uncontrollably.

Ball and bit gags are considered pretty safe since they don't go all the way into the mouth. However, smaller is always safer. You can also use a hollow plastic ball (such as a golf practice ball) to ensure constant air flow. Bit gags can damage the lips of the wearer as well, so avoid rough play if using one of those.

Open-Mouth Gags

Sometimes what you want is not so much to restrict your bottom's speech, but rather to have unfettered access to their mouth (for medical play or forced oral, for example). Gags of this kind include ring gags, tube gags, spider gags, Whitehead gags and Jennings gags.

These gags are excellent for air flow and give the top complete access to the bottom's mouth. The bottom won't be silenced, but they'll have a hard time speaking clearly. Some of the medical-type gags can hurt gums and lips, so make sure to learn how to use them properly before giving them a try.

Stuffing-Type Gags

If you want to silence your bottom and possibly restrict their breathing a little (ALWAYS keep an eye on your bottom while using such gags!!!), you might want to look into stuffing-type gags. They go from the simple stuffing of underwear in your bottom's mouth to expensive inflatable gags.

By stuffing the inside of the mouth, you make it impossible for your bottom to move his or her tongue and pronounce words. It's also pretty effective at reducing the volume of his or her screams.

When playing with stuffing-type gags, make sure to agree on a visual safeword and to keep a close eye on your bottom. If the stuffing makes its way into your bottom's airways, you'll want to remove it as fast as possible so your bottom doesn't, you know, die. Safety is your first priority, always!

Tape Gags

Often used in combination with stuffing, tape gags are the ultimate solution if your purpose is to keep your bottom completely silent. Without the ability to move the lips, your bottom can only wimper from his or her throat. Duct tape is a popular choice, but the glue on it can badly damage the skin, so try using masking tape, medical bandages topped over with medical tape, or bondage tape instead.

Tape also restricts breathing, so the safety precautions mentioned above apply here as well. Always make sure that the nose is free of obstructions so your bottom can breathe.

Specialty Gags

Specialty gags refer everything that doesn't quite fit into the above categories. Muzzle and harness gags, corset gags, penis gags, and service gags (gags that include external add-ons like a dildo, a serving tray, a toilet brush, etc...).

These gags are a bit more advanced and have specific aesthetic or practical purposes. They'll fit into one or more of the above categories.

Safety When Using Gags

Using gags can give your scene enhanced erotic power, but it also requires more attention to safety, as your bottom cannot usually clearly express that something is wrong. Agree to a visual safeword (dropping a ball or a bell, tapping the floor or wall, making and releasing a fist several times) and check in on your bottom regularly. Especially when breathing is restricted, panic can set in really quickly, and a panicking human is several times stronger than normal.

When used safely, gags can be a lot of fun! They add a dimension of control and humiliation that appeals to many kinky people. Plus, if you choose the right gag, you can spare your neighbors the humiliation of hearing about what a great time you're having.