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Studio Gum Delivers
Travis reviews some exciting latex gear which he purchased from Studio Gum
Story by Travis Fletcher and Leta. Photos by Mark
25 Sep, 2004
ust like receiving presents on Christmas morning, I was very excited to take delivery of a heavy package from Studio Gum. My order had finally arrived! I'm a mature adult, but I don't mind saying
that I felt a child-like sense of anticipation while I waited in line at the Post Office, and a tingling sensation shot through my body when I signed the receipt for the heavy cardboard box. Little did the counter person know, but the contents of this the box would provide experiences that would far outweigh even the most exciting release of new postage stamps!
Recently, I’ve been working on a large bondage project which requires a specific type of inflatable latex bag, so I began my search by contacting Regulation Ltd. Their workmanship is exceptional and their web site images drew me to them.
Leta is cocooned between the layers of this heavy Studio Gum bag. Special rubber 'sleeves' within the bag hold her arms at her sides and render her hands completely useless. Once the bag is completely inflated, there is no escape.
I was very impressed with the quality and selection the offered and had found a latex bag that close to what I was looking for, but the problem was that my particular needs would require some extensive modifications to the patterns they offered. While I was poking around, Mark and others suggested trying Studio Gum so I went to their web site and immediately found the item I was looking for! It would fit my needs with only slight modification. While I was there, I also began looking at some of the other items they offered and was struck with the versatility of their equipment as well as the manner in which their designs were executed.
The items I purchased are as follows: (A) - an inflatable sleep sack in 2 mm thickness, with face and genital openings, (B) - A convertible hood and accessory kit, (C) - A ‘hypoxia hood’, and (D) - A 5 mm thick latex helmet with mouth opening.
I soon discovered that the process of making large orders through Studio Gum was somewhat of a challenge, thanks to the company being in Vienna, Austria. Unless one speaks Austrian or German, there is somewhat of a language barrier and so I had to be patient and try not to become frustrated, for they didn’t understand my needs straight away. However, this being said, I was very happy for they always asked by return e-mail if their understanding of my requirements was, in fact, accurate. All of the e-mail contact I had with Studio Gum was fairly rapid and I felt confident that my requirements were being properly and carefully dealt with … and then … the waiting began. Studio gum has a 4-6 month delivery time on large items and I would come to realize why, but more on that later.
I received an e-mail from them about a month before the shipping date, to advise me that they were now working on my order. A few last minute questions were handled, then they began the actual creation of my design. About a month later - a little over 4 months since the order had been placed - my order arrived. Everything made it through US Customs in good shape and with the added benefit of no questions or additional duty to be paid. Given the post 9/11 climate, this was a little surprising, but very happily accepted. All of the equipment I’d ordered was very well packed and there was no damage.
The quality of the gear was First Class. Their workmanship was excellent throughout, and only the best of materials and fittings had been used. At this point, I realized why there had been a 4 month wait for gear from these folks, and am very glad I’d waited, even if somewhat impatiently. I’ve reviewed, below all of the pieces of gear I received. Each of piece has strengths and faults that reflect the individual items, and not Studio Gum’s quality as a whole.
Travis laying out his Studio Gum Sleepsack on Mark's Bondage Table.
The sleep sack is very well conceived and the design has been executed flawlessly. Their ‘stock’ version comes with a side zipper that goes all the way to the toes, and only a short section at the bottom of the foot that does not unzip. This enables the occupant to very easily be placed inside, but my design for the sleep sack was modified slightly to include interior arm sleeves. The result of this is that the wearer must slide into the bag before it is zipped closed, while at the same time inserting their arms into the sleeves. Of course, even without the addition of the sleeves, the occupant would require assistance to be secured in the bag, and for the inflation.
The internal sleeves could have been a bit longer, maybe another 3 inches or so. With the bag partially inflated the short sleeves make it possible for the occupant to still reach the genital opening - which is not good...   However, once the bag is inflated fully, this movement is completely eliminated.
The zipper pulls could also have been made a bit longer, but while I was working with the bag, I realized that this may have been done to keep the uninitiated from becoming overzealous and applying too much force to the zipper while attempting to
close it. The glue they used is very, very strong; creating a molecular bond that can not be released. Repairing a broken zipper (should one apply too much force) would be nearly impossible. The zipper pulls have holes in the ends, and so if needed, a piece of cord may be added to assist with zipping and unzipping.
Did I mention the glued seams were really strong? The reason I know this was that my bag had one minor flaw when it was delivered. A small amount of glue had
been dripped onto the bag's inter surface and glued a small patch of the inner top to the inner bottom, and this needed to be separated before the bag could be used. I’m glad the section was very small, for the glue created a bond that was not easily parted, but once done, I placed a small, unobtrusive patch on the thinned area inside.
My last, minor complaint was the color. Of those listed, “Clinical Red” had been my choice, however, the actual color is more orange then red. If you expect a deep, cherry red, you will be disappointed. This being said though,“Clinical Red” is still an excellent choice to help with the safety of the bag. It’s helpful, especially in a dimly lit play space, to know where the bag’s pieces end and other latex items begin.
Inner Helmet for the Convertible Hood
Accessories for use with Inner Helmet
Outer face-piece of Convertible Hood
From an engineering standpoint, the convertible hood and its accompanying kit are very well conceived. The front face-piece consists of a lateral cross-zip closure, while the inner helmet is a basic hood with rear zipper opening and mushroom "pin-type" attachment points for the blindfold and/or gags.
The inner-helmet is designed so that a zipper runs laterally across the hood from side to side, allowing different gas mask-style fronts to be attached. This makes the hood very versatile and fun to use. The edges of the lateral zippers line up perfectly, and the zipper itself is very easy to pull. The blindfold and gags fit accurately and the mushroom fasteners don't press into the head when the outer mask is attached.
The Full Monty!
The hypoxia hood is an interesting piece to be sure. Essentially, it is an anesthesia mask set inside a latex hood. It has been created with a rear zipper and fits very nicely, giving a great, basic gasmask-style hood. However, unlike a gasmask, the wearer breathes in and out through the same metal tube, so care must be taken not to use a breathing hose that is too long. This can create a potentially dangerous situation of rebreathing ‘dead expelled air’ because the exhaled breath will be passed out through the same tube as the fresh air when inhaling. (Gas-masks are made with check-valves which force inhaled air to be drawn in through a different port than the expelled air, so the wearer of the mask never breathes their own exhaled air)
The hood is great when used with the 5 liter expanding latex bag, and with this additional piece, the open end can be pinched off by a partner for gentle breath play. A cautionary note about breath play: Never play alone! Any type of breath play can be very dangerous, and this activity carries with it a higher risk of death than just about any other type of D/S play.
I purchased the hypoxia hood to be used with a hospital 'medical ventilator' which I own, which can be seen in other photos on this web site. Although the ventilator does control the pace of breathing, I do not consider it to be ‘breath play’ in the usual sense, for it does not restrict the persons ability to breathe for themselves at any time.
What the ventilator does do is to help move the subject into a very relaxed state of mind, where even their breathing is kept at a regular, loosely controlled pace.
Mark tests the Hypoxia Hood and its detachable latex re-breather sack.
The 5mm latex helmet with mouth opening was a more interesting item to fantasize about than it was to actually see and use. Due to the very thick latex, the mouth opening has a joint at the bottom that I’m not crazy about, but the overall impact of the item is visually stunning.
The closure of this hood is accomplished in a clamshell fashion, with the back being applied first. Depending on the size of your head the front can then slightly overlap the back when the edges of the front and back meet. The buckles are then drawn closed which securely connects the front half to the back. The workmanship and materials of this piece are excellent, but the nose is not nearly as pronounced on the inner surface as it should have been (for me), which leads to smashing my nose and preventing me from using the helmet.
Overall, Studio Gum most certainly has my two thumbs up for their quality, workmanship, and customer service, especially given the language barrier. I would definitely work with them again.
  Leta, a friend of Travis, has written the following essay describing her first explorations in the world of rubber and bondage.  

n March of 2004, as many people do, I turned 40 years old. I woke up one morning feeling stifled and trapped not only in my career but also in my sex life. I had access to the web and one night after a bottle of wine decided to do a little exploring; eventually finding a couple of
B&D web sites. I’d often had bondage fantasies so I explored the sites trying and find something that might make me feel alive again.
I knew my friend Travis was active in the BD/SM scene and decided to call him. The phone calls were exciting and fun and he answered questions and challenged me, but I didn’t know where to take the emotions I was experiencing at the time.
Travis assists Leta into succeeding layers of the Convertible Hood, ensuring that she is comfortable and safe during every stage.
Leta begins to sense, comprehend, and enjoy the sensation of this intense Studio Gum rubber experience.
I can’t remember the month of our first play session … but my husband was away on business in Germany and I had time on my hands, and so spent much of it looking at numerous BD/SM sites. Most were unsatisfying because they contained little concrete information and seemed to be more directed towards ‘for hire’ services such as phone sex or Pro-Dommes. Many just wanted to suck a monthly payment from my credit card for images and stories of dubious quality.
In my frustration, both mental and physical, I once again called my friend Travis and through our conversations and his techniques of persuasion I moved a little closer to the edge of making a decision to actively pursue my desires.
A few more months went by, and once again my husband was in Germany so I called Travis, and this time he happened to be home. Little did I know at that point that his entire home was dedicated to bondage and bondage play. He’d told me this many times, but I simply didn’t believe him, until he invited me over to see for myself. When we finally arranged for a meeting he first gave me instructions that required the purchase of a certain sex toy, which I found pretty challenging considering that the store I’d have to visit was closing in less than an hour, and I lived 45 minutes away. The excitement of failure or success drove my adrenalin through the roof, and so, being an avid motorcyclist, I jumped on the fastest street bike in my stable in order to complete his instructions. This was not the worst of the situation though, because I then had a 2 hour ride, in rush hour traffic, to get to his home and play space after my secret purchase.
The encapsulation process begins. Travis tucks Leta fully into the sleepsack and prepares to inflate it. The inflatable Sleepsack is similar to a conventional sleeping bag, but consists of two latex bladders - one on top and one on the bottom - which can be individually inflated. Think of this arrangement as a latex "submarine sandwich", with Leta as the filling.
The bag is zipped closed and ready for inflation.
Travis inflates the bottom bladder first, and this acts like a conventional air mattress, lifting Leta off the table about 4 inches. Once sufficiently inflated, Travis attaches the hose to the top bladder.
The top bladder slowly inflates, compressing Leta like the filling in the above mentioned sandwich. The air compressor was quite noisy, and as a result Travis had to check in with Leta by yelling loudly "Are you OK?"
"What did you say?" Leta yelled back through the hood.
"I said, are you OK?" Travis shouted.
"What about LA?"...
My excited and emotional state was something I hadn’t felt since the first few years of my marriage, but don’t take this to mean I don’t have an incredible marriage, because I do. However, as with most relationships, time, work, and personal tribulation had taken a toll on our marriage as well as our sex life.
The ride to his house was one of the best I’ve ever done in my life. Just the adrenalin rush made me feel incredible, and the play hadn’t even started yet! Or had it?
My mind raced when I considered what the possibilities were, but when I arrived, I calmed down while we discussed some ground rules. No intercourse was only a small part of our talk, and I appreciated the time, effort, and consideration of Travis for explaining where he was coming from. The explanations were done out of respect for my marriage and they reflected the way both Travis and I saw my BD/SM experimentation.

The top bladder has two openings - one for the face, and one for access to the genitals, but Studio Gum Sleepsacks may be ordered with any combination of openings.

The toy I’d been asked to purchase was a vibrator called the “Magic Wand”, made by Hitachi. I was told - and soon discovered for myself - that this particular vibrator has 2 speeds … “Oh my God!” and “Oh SWEET JESUS!!”
From there we finally began to get into the experimentation and I was soon introduced to how comfortable some forms of severe restraint could actually be. Once I was decked out in a straitjacket and medical restraints, I came to understand that pain does not have to be a part of bondage at all.

Here we see Leta cocooned and ready for the next stage. What a sight! She told me that she felt warm, protected, cared for, and yet completely helpless. She also said that her bondage felt sensual, erotic, somewhat organic and as though she was enclosed by a second skin. Is this experience unconventional? You bet! Is it emotionally fulfilling? Yes! Would it be featured in the NY Times Sunday addition? Probably not, but then again... you never know!

Leta has now been completely immobilized and secured in the sleepsack. Travis attaches the air hose assembly, also supplied by Studio Gum. Note - there's actually no technical reason for twin intake air hoses - other than the fact that it looks really cool. I feel that symmetry is an important part of the bondage experience for both the Top and Bottom.

Now it's time for some fun, and without hesitation Travis brings out the infamous Magic Wand vibrator made by Hitachi.

"Oh My! That feels really good!"

In the jacket, the first emotion I experienced was a strange euphoria. Another strange feeling was that when my ‘Master’ (Travis) spoke to me, it had as much effect as a touch! That in itself was very frightening, and his words stayed with me well after the play was done. Although the physical stimulation is incredibly satisfying, the realization that a person, whether my friend or a stranger, could put my head and my body in that kind of a space, was incredible.
When my husband returned from Germany, I picked him up at the airport wearing an incredibly sexy outfit, for that evening we were going to a friend’s retirement party. Once there, I spent the night on the dance floor, even though my husband, unfortunately, does not dance. I had a wonderful time and felt sexier than I had in many years, even with no alcohol, then when the party was over we returned home and enjoyed a sexual marathon until the early morning hours. Needless to say, he was astonished that I was so interested, and in the weeks that followed we spent much time in the bedroom.
As time went on, unknown to my husband, I attended a local BDSM party. While I was there, they requested a volunteer. The Dom who needed the volunteer was a very scary individual and not anything like Travis, but for some reason I didn’t seem to care and so put myself forward. Over the next while, he used a wide variety of toys and soon had me screaming from the intense stimulation, something I’d never thought myself capable of, until then.
The result of giving someone pleasure and release while they are in bondage gear, of this magnitude and complexity, is that they will (hopefully) develop a fetish attraction to the gear and the experience. All the components; i.e. the tight latex, the gas-mask, the pungent odor of the rubber, and the extreme helplessness all become quite attractive and sexually charged. Leta has discovered a new world.
After the party I went home and did some very heavy soul searching, then finally decided to tell my husband about my extracurricular activities. I broke the news to him when we were out for a romantic dinner and discovered that his reaction was one of curiosity and some frustration.
To my surprise, and truth be told vast relief, he wasn’t angry at all. The following weekend I came home to find a hole in the bedroom ceiling. When I inquired about it, he told me that I’d find out in due course. We then went to a very nice restaurant and had dinner, as well as several glasses of wine. When we returned home he provided me with a small tunic, and told me to put it on and go lay on the bed and close my eyes. Uh oh! To my surprise my wrists were soon manacled in leather cuffs, then I was told to stand with my eyes closed, and before I knew it, I’d been fastened into a harness and suspended from the ceiling!
Extrication ... at last, it's time for Leta to be released. She has obviously enjoyed her first experience, and there will be more.
From that point on our story is like so many others concerning the discovery of BDSM. We started buying toys and learning how to engage each other in play. I feel excited that I’m learning more about my husband than I knew before, and that we have a new type of play
and relationship to explore and enjoy. This new voyage has made me far more aware of my own body, and has helped me to focus not only on what sexually excites me, but also provides a new and fulfilling way to view my marriage, career, and friends … all the aspects of my life that had become dull and common.
I’m very excited that Travis is still helping to ‘train’ me, as well as to open my eyes to other aspects of in BDSM play. My experiences with him do not take the form of what is usually thought of as ‘training’ in the classical sense of the word, but includes such things as technical information and introductions to scene equipment (gear) that most people are only able to fantasize or read about. People like Travis and Mark bring elements of bondage to a reality that few will ever experience, and I am grateful for the opportunities they’ve provided to me to experiment it in a safe and sane environment.
 

While I was relaxing after my release from the inflatable latex sleep sack, I became very inquisitive, staring around the room at all of the chains arrayed on the walls.

"What's this for?" I asked, pointing to a black metal track that surrounds the perimeter of the bondage table.
"Careful what you ask about!" Travis cautioned me with a smile, then explained that the tracks were used for attaching bondage stocks to the table.
“No way!"  I exclaimed, then before I knew it, the words were out. "Can I try them?"
 
Travis and Mark never pass up an opportunity to place a woman in bondage, especially when she’s so anxious and willing to try some 'serious' gear. Besides, this was an opportunity for me to experience Travis' new hypoxia hood which I had been eyeing ever since he had received it.
Tight-fitting hoods always increase the feeling of helplessness a wearer experiences during bondage play, for as humans, we have a keen awareness of our ability to breath, and anything that might obstruct it automatically triggers our fight-for-survival instinct. Hoods also act to trigger a claustrophobic reaction, but this hypoxia hood has a built-in breathing mask that sealed tightly around my nose and mouth, requiring my inhalations and exhalations to pass through the chromed metal tube at its front.
"No sooner said that done!" exclaimed Mark and Travis together. In what seemed like only seconds I had been chained to the table, the bondage stocks fitted, and I was awaiting the rest of the restraints.
Although my breathing was completely unobstructed and safe, the tight rubber seal around my face was a constant reminder that my breathing was being controlled by someone or something other than me. As soon as my wrists had been locked in the shackles, I was, of
course, not able to use my hands if an obstruction in my breathing path occurred. This acute awareness served to vastly amplify the awareness of my own helplessness, and the lack of ability to escape. The shackles and chains were far stronger than necessary and the fact that they were metal, added even more anxiety to my appreciation of being so utterly bound and helpless.
"Hey, what about my hands?" I thought. It had no sooner passed through my mind than I felt a cold band of steel wrapped around my left wrist and locked. Seconds later my other wrist had been similarly secured, and another thought flashed through my mind - "Oh, DAMN!"
In the photo to the left and below, Travis had secured a metal collar around my latex-covered neck, and this limited any movement by means of a pair of chains extending to the head of the bondage table. The metal collar further enhanced the effect of the latex hood and acted as a ‘choker’ by limiting my ability to mover my head freely.
I'm sure you’ll agree that the photo to the left is nothing less than intense, but both Travis and Mark constantly checked with me to make sure I was OK. They needn’t have worried. I was having a blast!
 
Finally, they had secured me fully on the table. I was delighted to feel the full effect of the stringent bondage and the tight latex hood.
At this point, most people who play with bondage of this magnitude slip into what is known as ‘sub space’, and that’s where I went; quite happily I might add.
Sub-space is the term used to describe the psychological passage into a passive and submissive frame of mind, but there may be other definitions, depending on who's experiencing the phenomena. All I know is that I was happy to be there... again.
Certainly, I realized that I was completely helpless, and my life, safety and well-being were out of my control; in the hands of those around me. But with that was the knowledge that they would care for and do nothing to endanger me; something that must be stressed.
Additionally, I was forced to submit to the restriction and control of the bondage gear itself; relinquishing my constant control and monitoring of my own destiny. The metal collar was snug around my neck and the harsh metal shackles and their chains refused to give me any relief at all when I tugged.
Then, on top of those sensations was that of the heavy stocks locked around my ankles, keeping my legs widely parted and leaving me vulnerable to the application of the vibrator. They may not have seen it, but a shiver of anticipation passed through my body and limbs while I lay there. There was no place for me to run or hide and I could only hope that Travis would be generous and kind to a poor, helplessly fastened maiden. He was ... and it was an experience of a lifetime.
And so here I was, finally, a place I'd longed to find, but one that had until now eluded me. Strangely, even though bound helplessly and totally vulnerable, I felt a freedom from the every day world I have never before experienced.
Click HERE for information about the author Travis.
Equipment List:
Latex hoods, gas-masks, inflatable sack - Studio Gum
Stocks and bondage table - home made
Metal shackles - Mister S
* When purchasing gear from these businesses, please mention that you saw their products featured on seriousbondage.com! Thank you!
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