It’s Kink Month at Allure, and we’re talking all about the niche fantasies and fetishes that get people off. After you’re done reading about ’loon lovers, be sure to check out our full kinky lineup.
What comes to mind when you hear the word “balloon”? Perhaps it’s a birthday party or dance floor filled with balloons, the movie It, or a memory from a childhood birthday party, or maybe you noticed Jemima Kirke wore a dress depicting the word “looner” to the 2019 Met Gala and wondered what that means. For some folks, a balloon is an erotic object — a source of much pleasure and delight.
The balloon fetish community calls themselves “looners,” and they demonstrate the many shapes sexuality and kink come in. While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when balloon kinks hit the scene, it’s likely it happened as soon as people had access to them, which happened around 1824, when a London-based scientist named Michael Faraday invented rubber balloons.
The next year, Faraday partnered with a rubber company to sell make-your-own-balloon kits. In the book Deviant Desires: A Tour of the Erotic Edge, published in 2019, author Katharine Gates describes first learning of the fetish over 20 years ago through a website called Balloon Buddies. While the fetish has thrived in online communities since the ’90s, it has likely existed as long as rubber balloon manufacturing has been a thing.
Below, let us pop some myths about what exactly this fetish is — and what it isn’t.
What does a balloon fetish entail?
As with any kink, there is no one-size-fits-all model for looners. According to Brandon, known as TheBalloonGuy on the kinky social media site FetLife, there are “poppers” (those who enjoy the sound and experience of a balloon popping) and “non-poppers,” who admire the balloons and dislike seeing them popped. “I am in the middle ground, a semi-popper, in that I love seeing members of the opposite sex interact with balloons, including popping them,” Brandon says. “But I find it difficult to pop balloons myself. I love being teased with balloons and effectively melt into a squirmy puddle of gooey submissiveness if someone is coming very close to popping a balloon.”
Former porn star, writer, and comedian Alia Janine recalls filming a balloon fetish scene seven years ago in which she was in a big room filled with balloons. She blew them up, rubbed them, and played with them, but was instructed not to actually pop them. “[The balloon fetish audience] likes when they’re squeezed, but for this particular film they didn’t want them popped at all, which was hard for me because I have very long nails,” Janine says.
The film she was shooting catered to the non-poppers. Balloon fetish porn is available for all kinds of fetishists. In addition to the teasing, non-popper porn Janine starred in, there are films filled with beautiful people mostly riding massive balloons in sexy outfits and sometimes popping them — sometimes to the performer’s surprise. “I was excited to try it, but I was not prepared for how fun it was. The blowing, and popping, there’s a strange ‘wait for it’ playful kink there,” says indie porn star and owner of troublefilms.com Courtney Trouble. “What I didn’t expect was that feeling a balloon up against my [clothed] crotch and waiting for it to pop would actually make me have an orgasm. It did.”
Within the D/S (dominance and submission) power exchange, dominants can enjoy balloons as well. “For me, balloon fetish is all about tension and release. I love to use the threat of popping balloons as fear play,” explains Mistress Couple, author of The Ultimate Guide to Bondage and headmistress of La Domaine Esemar.