I didn’t know what a looner was in 2012. I didn’t know what a looner was in 2011, either. Somehow, thanks to a mixture of fortune and good old fashioned naivety, I’d managed to stumble through 32 and a bit years of my life without ever knowing what a looner was.
And then, two days into 2013, I found out. Thanks a lot 2013, you dick.
A looner, it turns out, is a balloon fetishist. I discovered this by watching a preview tape of a new documentary. In one scene, we’re introduced to a 30-year-old American man who harbours feelings of romantic love for balloons. His house is full of balloons. Sometimes he’ll put balloons up his T-shirt and revel in how they feel against his skin.
In his free time, he’ll go around rescuing balloons from places of peril, like second hand car dealerships. When he brings them back to his house, he’ll kiss them and tell he loves them. It’s weird. He doesn’t even draw faces on them first, like normal people do. The show basically wasted my entire day.
First I thought about buying some balloons to see what they’d be like to kiss. Then I decided not to. Then I remembered that we’re supposed to submit images with these posts, so I bought a balloon and blew it up and photographed myself kissing it, which is much more difficult – both practically and emotionally – than I had anticipated.
Then I discovered the existence of poppers – people who become sexually excited at the though of popping balloons – which led to me spending a few hours wondering why nobody had written a sitcom about a looner and a popper who are forced to live together with hilarious and ultimately tragic consequences.
And then, fatally, I disappeared down the Wikipedia rabbithole. I looked up looners, you see. And at the bottom of the page was a ‘See Also’ section that linked to similar fetishes. So I clicked it. And then I clicked some more.
Before I knew it I was nipple-deep in sexual fetishes.
And they were all such adorable fetishes, too. No punching people, no having sex with animals, no dressing up as babies. Just good. clean, weird, borderline-horrific fun. So, to try and claw back some level of productivity from my lost afternoon, I decided to recount my findings to you. You’re welcome:
BODY INFLATION - ‘The practice of inflating or pretending to inflate a part of one's body,’ Body inflation basically works by you wearing some tight clothes, putting a balloon underneath your clothes, inflating the balloon and then, I dunno, having a wank or something. Either way, the key part of this seems to be enjoying the sensation of your body getting larger.
Coming out of the Christmas period, my body has got exponentially larger in the space of a few days, and I can’t say that I care much for the sensation. Perhaps I should start using balloons instead of loads of cake. Perhaps THAT’s the secret.
INFLATABLE DOLL - ‘A type of sex toy in the size and shape of a sexual partner for aid in masturbation’ Ugh, no. Everyone knows what a sex doll is - it’s a doll that you have sex with. Some are inflatable, some are made from more realistic material and all of them look exactly like your mum.
Although they may be ridiculed, I have a strange sort of appreciation for people who use sex dolls. I’m far too much of a wimp for it. I always get put off by the grisly one-two of a) the heartbreaking realisation, halfway through the act of withdrawing your penis, that you’ve just been fucking a doll and b) dragging it to the bathroom afterwards to grimly scrub the sperm out of its holes.
But sex doll users have no such qualms. They’re not phased by these fripperies. In a way, they’re all heroes. I’m pretty sure that, if it wasn’t for people who have sex with dolls, man would have never made it to the moon.
AGALMATOPHILIA - ‘a paraphilia involving sexual attraction to a statue, doll, mannequin or other similar figurative object’ Now this is just completely unacceptable. Horrific, even. If you’re sexually attracted to statues, then you’re essentially turned on by the thought of angry old generals on horses covered in bird shit, and that’s pretty niche.
And it’s no better to be attracted to mannequins. Apart from the ones which have nipples and no faces, because that’s actually quite sexy. And I’m completely against the idea of anyone harbouring any sort of sexual feelings towards dolls, unless it’s me and I’m 20 and we’re specifically discussing the Hear’say Myleene Klass doll that I used to own. In my opinion, that’s OK.
ROBOT FETISHISM - ‘a fetishistic attraction to humanoid robots; also to people acting like robots or people dressed in robot costumes’ Now we’re talking. ‘A fetishistic attraction to humanoid robots’ basically means ‘Do you want to bum The Terminator?’ The answer, obviously, is yes. Especially if Bicentennial Man watches.
What’s more, ‘A fetishistic attraction to people dressed as robots’ means ‘Have you ever gone to the South Bank during the summer holidays and wanked at a street entertainer?’ And, really, who HASN’T done that?
CONCLUSION: these fetishes aren’t nearly as bad as they seem.
Stuart will be live-tweeting his three-way with The Terminator and Bicentennial Man on Twitter @stuheritage.