It’s a term rarely used by the BDSM community, yet ‘gimps’ have still managed to creep into popular culture. From Pulp Fiction to American Horror Story, plotlines have built a false reputation of gimps as deviant characters with dark motives.
Clad in enclosing suits and full-head masks, it’s not just the physical identity of a gimp that is a mystery. What do we actually know about the origin of the gimp? And what’s the appeal?
What is a Gimp?
A gimp is an extreme, BDSM sex slave dressed in a full-body suit and is usually male.
Bondage or ‘gimp suits’ are often made from PVC, rubber or spandex. While leather is also used, its inelasticity does not allow for the highly desired, tight fit.
The purpose of the suit is to almost act as a second skin. It is designed to completely cover the body and usually also includes the hands and feet. If it doesn’t already come with an attached hood, the wearer will add a bondage hood or ‘gimp mask’.
This clothing demands the deepest form of surrender. The suit may be plain or it may include anchor points, such as rings or buckles, for fixing bondage restraints.
Because of its tight fit, the suit restricts the body to impair movement, speech and sight. It is highly likely that is how gimps came to have their name; the original definition of a gimp is a derogatory term for someone who is disabled or has a medical condition resulting in physical impairment.
What is for certain, however, is that Pulp Fiction’s infamous line “bring out the gimp” sparked this double-meaning. It is unknown whether Tarantino intended the line as its original, derogatory meaning or deliberately used it to describe the masked man dressed head-to-toe in leather.
The Fetish Behind a Gimp
Much like thigh high boots or a leather catsuit, a gimp suit objectifies the wearer, giving them the inhumane status of a sex toy. One of the most extreme type of fetishists, gimps are not seen as sexual partners. For many, the appeal of being in a full-body suit is for mental gratification rather than physical satisfaction; unless there are suitably placed openings, genitalia is inaccessible during wear.
Stripped of all identity, the gimp is nothing but a faceless object. This anonymity makes a gimp suit the ultimate clothing for total submission. Removed of everything that makes them human, their fetishes can be taken to the extreme. For those with pony or puppy fetishes, these suits can be the key to getting into full character.
Sealed off from the outside world, the mind is trapped. This allows the gimp to completely focus on serving their Master. It requires the deepest levels of submission and absolute, unfaltering trust.