A while back a friend asked me if I had ever heard of “looners.” I hadn’t. He went on to explain that ‘looner’ is short for ‘ballooner’ and was code for people who had a sexual interest in balloons. I still don’t know much about ‘looner’ culture other than the fact that whether or not it is acceptable to pop the balloon(s) during or after the ‘deed’ is a very controversial issue within the ‘looner’ community (yes, there are anti-popping and pro-popping factions) and typing ‘looner’ into google image search will turn up tons of images of naked people with balloons (It seems the looners buy lots of porn — a slightly more publicly acceptable sample of ‘looner’ porn can be seen at right).

I’m not against ‘loonism’ (if that is a word). It is certainly kind of bizarre and I doubt I would be able to prevent myself from laughing if I caught someone ‘looning,’ but, honestly, it seems harmless enough (unless you happen to be a balloon I guess).

One of my first questions about ‘looners’ was, “What did these people do before balloons were invented?” My friend rolled his eyes heavenward and said that such strange questions were ‘typical’ of me… but I really do wonder if the fetish for a particular object can predate the object. I’m not sure when rubber or latex balloons were first invented… but if you were a ‘looner’ who had the misfortune of being born in a time before the inflatable objects of your desire were available, would you wander the world, unhappy without knowing why? Or would you transfer your feelings of affection to some other object? The ancient Chinese apparently had silk bags which were sent aloft by flaming material suspended underneath— would the early ‘looner’ have desired a floating, fiery bag of silk instead of a squeaky latex balloon? I read that the ancient Romans used to inflate the bladder of a slaughtered animal and kick it around for fun — were there Roman ‘looners’ who took the sheep bladders home for more private amusements?

I don’t know if there is an answer to these kinds of questions… I just feel compelled to ask them. Any ‘looners’ who happen to read this, please respond.

4 Comments on “Looners”

  1. James says:

    I don't have any sort of problem with people having harmless fetishes of this sort. It's certainly none of my business, regardless. But:

    ” other than the fact that whether or not it is acceptable to pop the balloon(s) during or after the 'deed' is a very controversial issue within the 'looner' community”

    That, on the other hand, sounds pretty fucked up! Maybe some folks just have to have that sort of strife, involved in their sexuality. Or, maybe I'm just reading too much into it.

  2. I dont get it. What do they do with the balloons?

    Is the thrill from being out of breath from blowing up the balloons?

    Colour me mystified.

  3. limpey says:

    Sir Larkins wrote: “What did these people do before balloons were invented?”
    I posed this question to my scholarly partner and her answer was, “Paraphelias are tricky.”

    Hah hah. Yeah, I think I like to pose such questions just because they are fun to think about, rather than hoping for a serious answer. Some people just really like balloons, I guess. Mayybe when they were a kid at a birthday party they got a boner while watching a clown make balloon animals? Its like something out of an early John Waters film.

    …Also, the whole pro-popping vs. anti-popping divide kinda reminds me of the divisions within the OSR (clones vs. original rules, to take but one example… It's funny how humans can always find wedge issues, no matter how small or niche their communities…

    Get a pack of OSR geeks in the same room and ask them whether one should use ascending or descending AC and then watch the blood and fur fly!

  4. anarchist says:

    My guess would be that this kind of thing would arise from a childhood experience, so if balloons weren't common household objects no one would have a fetish related to them.

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