Ball Gags 101: Why We Love Them & How to Stay Safe

If I was trapped on a deserted island with only 3 sex toys, one of them would probably be a ball gag. 

A ball gag is one of those things that just immediately adds more heat to sex. Your partner’s mouth stretched wide around a pretty ball, their moans and gasps muffled and desperate? Unf! Begging your partner to pretty please let you come, but all that comes out is nonsensical grunts? Mmm!

Whether you’re using a ball gag while exploring bondage, as part of a power play dynamic, or just for slutty decoration, there are some things you should keep in mind. 


What are ball gags used for? 

Ball gags are used to muffle speech and obstruct your mouth. This makes them a fun addition to denial play, wherein you want something (perhaps your partner looks delicious and you’re desperate to go down on them) but you allow a partner to delay (or completely withhold) gratification. 

Most ball gags also cause drooling, because your mouth is kept wedged open. This can feel slutty (look how dirty I am) or even degrading. Many people enjoy experiencing (consensual) humiliation during the safety of sex, because beneath the embarrassment you know it’s just a game you’re enjoying with your partner(s). Drooling around a gag can also feel sexually empowering, because it’s such an ironically erotic image. 


How can you use a ball gag safely?

  1. Start unbuckled. The very first time you use a ball gag, I suggest you don’t fasten it! Just hold the ball in your teeth (securely – they can be choked on) and either fasten it loosely or let the straps hang loose. That way, if you get anxious, don’t enjoy it, or your jaw starts to ache, you can immediately spit it out. 
  1. Establish other ways to communicate. Because ball gags limit your ability to verbally communicate, it’s important to make sure you have other means to express yourself. Safewords (that is, another way to say “stop” during kinky activities) can be non-verbal:
  • A firm head shake or turning your head to look away 
  • Holding a bell or noise maker 
  • Dropping a heavy object from your fist
  1. Don’t use ball gags alone. You can’t yell for help while gagged. Even if you wear them unbuckled, they’re a choking hazard. When playing with a partner who is gagged, never leave them unattended. Not even to grab the lube!
  1. Limit your play time. Ball gags impede easy breathing, strain your jaw, and continuously well up saliva. Any and all of these things can cause trouble over time. Be attentive of your ever-shifting limits. 
  1. Don’t try new things while gagged. As tempting as it might be to pop in a ball gag before trying pegging for the first time, don’t! Whenever you’re exploring a new kink or sex act, you need to be able to clearly communicate with your partner(s). 

What should I look for in a ball gag?

Ball gags are simple in design, but the smallest tweaks can make a big difference in function! For example, some ball gags have holes in the ball to increase breathability. I personally only buy ball gags that have silicone straps attached to the ball, because regular fabric or leather straps can irritate the edges of my mouth. 


A few things to keep in mind when looking for the best ball gag for you: 

  • How large is the ball? 
  • How firm is the ball material? (Silicone can come in a bunch of different firmnesses, but it’s generally softer than plastic balls.)
  • Are the straps long enough to fit my head? 
  • Are the fastenings made with nickel (which some folks are allergic to)?

Don’t forget that if you have any questions while shopping, you can always contact us! Wouldn’t wanna get stuck on a deserted island with a ball gag you don’t love ;)


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Betty Butch (they/she) is a queer sex and relationships writer. By blogging about their experiences as a fat, trans, autistic person, they hope to help change the narrative of who has sex and what sex "should" be. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram.


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