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A scold’s bridle is a type of gag used historically as a form of punishment for those labeled slaves, witches, or nagging women known as scolds. Modern versions of the scold’s bridle are sometimes incorporated into BDSM play.
A scold’s bridle is made up of a metal muzzle embedded in a cage-like frame enclosing the head. The muzzle section has a bridle bit that enters the wearer’s mouth and pins down their tongue. Historically this bit may be spiked to ensure the wearer’s silence. The scold’s bridle locks at the neck.
A scold’s bridle is often called a brank’s bridle, or branks for short.
Just like the historic scold’s bridles, modern BDSM scold’s bridles are used as a form of torture and humiliation, although this humiliation occurs more commonly in a private setting today. Scold’s bridles were most often used on women, but today they are equally likely to be worn by men.
Scold’s bridles are commonly used in BDSM play to help "tame" submissives who become "too vocal" in their opinions, just like the original scold’s bridles were often used to silence opinionated women. The scold's bridle can help reinforce feelings of submission within the submissive partner and feelings of power for the dominant.
As a scold’s bridle is a solid metal structure, it is very difficult to escape from. It should only be worn by a consenting adult and precautionary measures, such as establishing a safe word, should be practiced. The gag is very effective at impairing speech, but as it leaves the mouth open, a person wearing a scold’s bridle can still make noise.