I don't get this, I see it on crime TV programs a lot, they stuff a cloth in the mouth of someone so they can't scream/shout for help.

I put a sock in my mouth once, it was pretty easy to push it out with my tongue, gg.

So is this nonsense? I can't see it working unless you put tape over it.

  • makes me think of cowboy challenging to a duell another one, oddly enough the guy drawing the gun at first always loses :) Jun 7, 2011 at 12:48
  • The threat of violence can prevent people from pushing out a sock with their tongue. Otherwise a person under high high psychological pressure might cry instinctively.
    – Christian
    Jun 7, 2011 at 16:33
  • 8
    Yikes! This is a very bad idea! Blocking the mouth with a gag, duct tape, a harness, etc., could be life threatening if the subject needs to vomit -- if the passage is blocked, then that vomit (which would plug up their nose and may also enter their lungs) could interfere with their breathing, causing them to suffocate. Jun 7, 2011 at 22:33
  • 4
    @RandolfRichardson which is why in erotic bdsm play where gags are commonly used the standard rule is to NEVER leave a gagged person alone, even for a minute.
    – jwenting
    Sep 5, 2016 at 11:23
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    Make intelligible talking difficult, yes. Make silent, no. As long as you can press air past your vocal cords (a.k.a. "breathing"), you can yell (at surprising volume even if you can breathe only through your mouth). Anecdotal, and please don't ask. :-D
    – DevSolar
    Mar 16, 2018 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


According to this paper,

Poor velopharyngeal closure will affect speech but is not a matter of great concern in regard to swallowing.

Now, if I read it correctly (entirely possible that I did not), then the velopharyngeal closure is a complicated way of saying "mouth". So getting something in there will affect your ability to scream.

Now the second part, can you get something in there not easily dislodge with a tongue? Hopefully this is easily enough observed that I won't get hit for references. If you open your mouth as wide as you can, you will observe that you can still pull it open more with your fingers (though it hurts) and when you release it will return to the prior gap. So yes, you can cram enough in there such that your tongue cannot deliver enough force to dislodge, though a sock may not be enough.


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