Paraphila is an umbrella term used to cover the family of philias. In sexology, it is sometimes more widely used to cover atypical sexual interests or deviances. While the word paraphilia may seem alien, the philias it encompasses may seem slightly familiar. Think fetishes and unusual desires and you're on the right track!
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
What is it about balloons that brings out child-like excitement in people of all ages? I asked my son what the appeal of these airborne vehicles of fun and he replied: "They're fun because they're so bouncy!" I admit to feeling slightly bouncier myself in their presence. They draw on memories of childhood and their spherical form encourages many a silly game...oh and their helium as well!
There are some, however, for whom they appeal in a purely adult way. Sophia, a 26-year-old office assistant, confessed: "I'm get totally turned on by balloons. The only way my boyfriend can give me an orgasm is by rubbing a balloon against my pussy. I know it can't be normal but it feels better than sex."
While Burlesque stars such as Blaze Starr made the balloon striptease famous, it appeals to a much-wider audience than the balloon fetishist with it's audience involvement and the element of the tease.
Sexpert Katherine Gates writes of her discovery of the 'looners': "When I first discovered the balloon fetish on the Internet I felt like a virtual Indiana Jones hacking through the website jungle seeking information-age buried treasure on a mission to unearth new niche kinks from the sexual underground. When I followed a link to Balloon Buddies, Ltd. Bringing Balloon Lovers Together Since 1976, I knew I had stumbled upon the mythic “lost tribe” of undiscovered fetishists. Here was a classic fetish that as far as I knew no researcher had ever documented."
Considered by some as a subset of the latex fetish, looners enjoy sensual feast that balloons have to offer. From it's skin-like nature to its unique scent which for many fetishists on its own is a turn-on. Katherine Gates points out: "The balloon itself is a perfectly opaque metaphor, flexible enough to suggest breast, cock, body, face without ever limiting itself to one single interpretation. It's this flexibility and capacity to expand to contain many meanings that makes the balloon such a good fetish object."
'Loonatics' find arousal rubbing up against balloons, masturbating while inflating them or using them as sex toys in quite, well, eye-opening ways. As an inflatable with a breast-like quality, it draws parallels to both lactation and bresh expansion fetish. For balloon voyeurs, it is not so much the pleasure that balloons gives that turns them on as much as the pleasure of watching someone being satisfied by one.
Unlike many fetishes, there is no gender or sexual orientation divide with both straight and gay men and women enjoying this type of latex love. More interestingly, the divide appears when the "to pop or not to pop" question comes into conversation on forums such as Balloon Buddies. While some looners prefer for the pop to occur "naturally" through overinflation, others prefer either introducing other fetish items such as a lit cigarrette or a stiletto heel to cause explosive levels of excitement.
For the enthusiast and those looking to put bang back into their sex life, a vast quantity of visual material is available on the internet: from the innocent clothed woman sat on a balloon to the not-so-innocent balloon cum dildo.
I don't think I'll ever quite look at the balloon with childlike innocence ever again....