Dan got into the shower, washing himself. Holly said she would clear up the mess they had made after the pump-to-pop in the sleeping bag. He still couldn’t believe what Holly did for his birthday. They had had a few sessions with balloons before but nothing like this. Last time they had a blow-to-pop race with twelve inches, it was fun but Dan didn’t know Holly would get into it, she must have been practicing. After a few minutes Holly enters the bathroom, completely naked, holding a red balloon. It’s deflated but looks like a 16-inch.

“Ready for a bit more fun?” She says in a sexy voice.

Dan feels his heart starting to race. Holly steps into the shower with him and takes the shower head off.

“What are you doing?” Asks Dan.

“You’ll see.” She places the neck over the balloon, it starts to fill with water.

“Sit down, you’re going to enjoy this.” She says.

That was an excerpt from a story written by Wildheart, a senior member of a ‘looner’ forum called blow2pop. Looners are people who have a sexual attraction to inflatable objects or the act of inflation, deflation or bursting. Looking online I found vast quantities of YouTube and XTube videos exhibiting this exotic fetish, and forums for like-minded people to share experiences. Like most well-established fetishes, looning comes with a nice set of terms to describe specific activities or subgroups. Looners are separated into two main groups, ‘Poppers’ and ‘non-poppers’.

A popper is an individual who derives satisfaction from bursting inflatable objects. This can be achieved in a variety of ways and enjoyed for a multitude of reasons. Poppers enjoy activities such as popping balloons underfoot, hugging and squeezing balloons tight until they burst. Another popular one is B2P or blow-to-pop; this is inflating the balloon, usually by mouth until it pops. This is generally done with ear plugs so not to damage hearing as the noise can be loud, especially when playing with larger balloons. Others are aroused by the idea of popping balloons with pens, pencils, pins or knives, and often have a preferred object for popping. From reading popping stories, it looks like a lot of the sexiness lies in the anticipation. For the B2Pers, the uncertainty of when the balloon will pop plays a big role, so it’s sort of an abstracted form of sexual teasing. Like a lot of kinks and fetishes, there seems to be an element of catharsis involved too. The sudden change of state from order to disorder seems to bring with it a sense of release, which fits into the sexual dynamic.

Non-poppers are inflatable fetishists who don’t have any interest in the bursting of inflatables. Whilst having a lot in common with poppers, their interest lies solely in the objects. A common theme is the rubbing of inflatable objects on the body or genitals, inflating them with a pump, or deflating them. Inflatable pool toys, love dolls or airbeds are often ridden or sat on for satisfaction, with some custom-made to include a ‘love hole’, although this is an uncommon feature.

I saw a lot of fantasies about being in collapsing bouncy castles, or involving the ‘riding down’ of an inflatable, which is basically sitting on it until it’s out of air. The sound of the air rushing out of the object is apparently quite a turn on. There were also those who liked the idea of sitting on something as it was pumped up, with some having preferences for types of valves, with Boston valves being a common favourite.

The derivation of pleasure seems to stem from a wide range of stimuli, but for most looners it is about the feel, smell and sound. It’s hard to pin down exactly what is sexy about a fetish. If you could, it probably wouldn’t be a fetish. I guess inflated things have curves and shapes kind of like butts, legs and boobs so that’s probably part of it. As for the smell and sound, past experiences can shape people in extremely complex ways. Most people on these forums believe that their interest started very early on, with some remembering specific childhood experiences. One user wrote about a balloon being popped in his face at a birthday party, which led to a life long phobia of balloon popping, but a strong sexual affinity for balloons and inflatables. This type of story is far from uncommon in the looning community. They even endearingly describe people with this relationship to inflatables as ‘Phobics’. It seems that, whatever the reason, looning runs deep. For one man, it ran deep enough to destroy his marriage. Sharing these feelings doesn’t always end up going well, but for the vast majority of cases, the partners tend to be at most indifferent. In some cases they’re even willing to indulge, so it doesn’t always end in tears.

Whilst I’d be lying if I said this isn’t bizarre for my standards, I know for sure that it’s not hurting anyone (beyond maybe causing a slight ringing in the ears). So if you’re a looner, popper or phobic, just know that you’re not alone. Be yourself and loon on, you crazy diamond.