Gooners, Goonettes and the Origin Of the Goon State

By Mark Hay

Gooners, Goonettes and the Origin Of the Goon State zipper magazine collage art

Over the last few years, “gooning,” a particularly ecstatic sexual practice, has exploded out of the fringes of the erotic internet and into mainstream consciousness, courtesy of a wave of memes and social media chatter. In 2022, the prominent porn star Angela White notably released a big studio scene openly “inspired” by the “Gooner fan community”—that is, people who engage in gooning. And in early 2023, Clips4Sale (Zipper’s publisher and parent company) created a “GOONING” video category; a Clips4Sale spokesperson described it as “the first new major fetish of the 2020s” in an interview with VICE.   


Yet for all the buzz around the term, many people in the mainstream world only seem to have a vague grasp on what it means.  On what gooning is, or how someone goons

Because of the underground nature of this kink, not much is widely known or agreed upon, even among gooning aficionados

The State of The Goon


“Defining gooning is actually quite hard, because it’s different for everyone, really,” said PornosexualDevotee,* a gooner who moderates a gooning forum with over 125,000 members.


But he and every other gooner Zipper spoke to agreed they’re all united in their pursuit of the goon state—a level of ecstatic pleasure so intense that it melts away all of their inhibitions, self-control, and awareness of the wider world. People reach the goon state, they explained, by edging right to the brink of orgasm, over and over. Unlike with edging though, the goal of gooning is not to charge up a monstrous orgasm, but to live ‘in the goon’ as long as possible. 


“Gooning is allowing yourself to surrender to pleasure, and letting your body do what it wants to do in that moment,” added a gooner and gooning content creator who goes by Gunnar.* 


A few gooners consider this a solitary practice. But most say that community is a key aspect of gooning. On forums like Reddit, they share gooning stories, encouragement, and advice, and on platforms like Discord (which is especially big with gooners) they also organize one-on-one or group virtual gooning sessions, watching the same porn and/or each other, and hyping each other up while masturbating. Many digital communities also facilitate in-person gooning meet-ups, although not all gooners participate in these, preferring to keep their gooning a digital only affair. 


While many gooning spaces are overwhelmingly cis-male, Catherine Duffy, a cis woman who writes about her gooning experiences on her site, Whoreuro, and runs adult industry consultancy Kink Consult, said that goonettes are growing ever more numerous and visible. Sally,* a trans gooner, adds that there are plenty of trans and nonbinary people in the gooning world as well. Anyone can goon, everyone Zipper spoke to stressed, and be part of the goonosphere. 


But beyond these core constants, gooners differ on everything from the meaning or significance they find in the goon state, to the focus or form they think gooning communities and practices ought to take. Some gooners describe the goon state as a borderline spiritual experience, likening it to meditation or tantra, for example. Others argue that, as gooning temporarily suspends any self-consciousness and deeply internalized stigmas and fears, it’s a state of sexual liberation that helps people freely explore their sensual selves. Others still describe it as simple recreation.


Some gooners believe gooning can involve the occasional ruined orgasm, and that people can and should cum at the end of a session. Others believe that orgasms of any form are antithetical to gooning, and will engage in orgasm denial at the end of and between sessions, all in the service of reaching a more profound and prolonged goon state. Some believe that gooning can be a casual and sporadic practice, and that a session could be as short as half an hour. Others believe that it takes at least an hour to reach a good goon state, that gooners ought to try to go as long as they can—up to days on end—and even that true gooners goon as consistently as possible. Some believe gooning is all about masturbation, either on your own or in the company or with the assistance of others. Others believe that it’s possible to goon in partnered, non-masturbatory sex. “You can also goon in someone’s throat while they give you a blowjob,” argued Gunnar. 


“I’ve been told gooning can happen during partnered, penetrative sex,” added Jason Armstrong, a gooner who’s been writing about the practice for a wider audience since at least 2016, when he published Soloxexual: Portrait of a Masturbator. “But I have never seen that depicted in porn.” 


Niche communities also focus their individual and shared gooning on one or more specific kinks or fetish identities—on reaching the goon state via the guidance of a dom, for example, or through mesmerism. In theory, gooning “can intersect with every kink,” Gunnar argued, as anything that gets you aroused and zoned in can help draw you to the desired headspace. So there is a staggeringly diverse array of gooning manifestations and sub-communities. One gooner, who asked to remain totally anonymous, went so far as to argue that he “wouldn’t put everyone who goons under one umbrella” as that would “overgeneralize complex and fluid” experiences. 

A Brief History of Gooning


“I’ve tried to research the history of gooning a bit,” said a gooner who goes by Gooner-Tay,* and who runs a small but vibrant gooning forum. “But because of the underground nature of this kink, not much is widely known or agreed upon,” even among gooning aficionados. 


Broadly, many folks suspect the practice of repeatedly reaching the edge of orgasm in the pursuit of what we now know as the goon state predates the emergence of the term gooning. No one’s sure when, where, or why someone first coined or popularized that term to describe the practice. But many folks cite a 2005 Urban Dictionary definition of gooning—“getting so into masturbating, or jacking off, that the dude becomes a total goon; becomes stupid on his own cock”—as the earliest documentation of the term in roughly its modern usage. It draws on goon’s early 20th century American slang meaning, a dumb person, and puts a focus on what people who are deep in the goon state often look like: Slack-jawed and vacant, as unto a stereotypical goon. 


This focus on the image of a dumb goon seems to reflect a widespread (but not universal) focus that’s developed among gooners on goon face, a visual representation of a person’s descent into the all-consuming goon state—of the loss of their senses and awareness. It usually involves going cross eyed and letting one’s mouth hang open, their tongue hanging out and spit running down it or out of the corner of their lips, and is often accompanied by supposedly mindless babbling. (Some people just make noises like grunts and yips, Anton, a gooner who shares gooning content with well over 10,000 social media followers, explained, but others “repeat genital-focused phrases, such as ‘I love my penis,’ which they sometimes stylize as ‘penus’”.)  Several gooners insist that they make this face, and these sounds, without thinking about it. But others acknowledge that they consciously affect a goon face, because playing the part of the goon helps them let go of their minds and inhibitions and get into the goon state. Some even buy mouth guards to help them “retract their cheeks,” Anton added, which makes “making gooning faces more comfortable and different,” more extreme than usual. 


The great purge of Tumblr of 2018 seemingly wiped out several key early gooning communities, robbing us of a vital history. But a number of  gooners  we spoke to said they first encountered the term between 2016 and 2019, which suggests that’s when it had a solid enough meaning and base to make gooning a thing, rather than one niche term for an older, unnamed practice. They stumbled on gooning as a term, idea, and activity while exploring other kinks, fetishes, and sex acts there were interested in at the time, such as edging, jerk-off instructions (JOI), and bating, as well as hypnosis into primal or vulnerable states, humiliation and degradation concerning one’s body or sexuality, and all sorts of submission and domination (dom/sub) play and dynamics. 


Most people Zipper spoke to seemed to assume that the kink that led them down a rabbit hole to gooning was the one that inspired or incubated the practice, and built so or joined communities focusing on that kink as integral to the meaning and practice of gooning. But others, like Gunnar, don’t really see gooning as its own distinct kink. Instead, he views it as “a practice that can be applied” to any type of sexual activity. Sally similarly describes gooning “an umbrella” term for a ton of distinct kink-intersecting approaches to reaching the goon state. 


Gooning seemingly took off as a digital culture thing in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several folks Zipper spoke to explained that, during the lockdowns, they wanted to find new ways to masturbate—to make solo sex more fulfilling and interesting. They inevitably stumbled across gooning and, rather than explore it through the lens of another kink or fetish, started searching for “gooning” specifically, then joined the communities that felt right to them. 


“While in lockdown… I found a popper training video,” Anton recalled. “There were some guys masturbating and just huffing poppers. No big deal. But there were also some guys doing stuff I had never seen, which made me both confused and horny. There was a suggested video with the word ‘gooning’ in it, so I clicked, and there was this guy with ball stretchers masturbating while he was grunting and rolling his eyes. I found that video extremely hot and kept digging for more of that content—which at the time was still very niche. It was difficult to find any gooning videos on regular porn sites. So I went on Twitter to discover a whole gooning community.” 


The rapid explosion of interest in gooning in the last few years has led to attempts at mass commodification that flatten out everything interesting about gooning. Goddess Lola Minaj, who describes herself as a goonette and makes content for gooners, complains about the overuse of the “gooning” tag for “simple stroke and blow” videos. And Gooner-Tay laments the rise of OnlyFans accounts and social media bots that overuse the term goon, but don’t seem to understand it. “The syntax and context is all wrong,” he noted. “Gooners don’t ‘goon girls. They don’t ‘goon on tits.’” 


But for now, this influx of faux gooning content hasn’t made much of a dent among consumers, especially in the gooning community, which remains as wonderfully wild and diverse as ever. 

* To protect individuals’ privacy, Zipper  has changed several people’s names in this article, and/or omitted mention of the specific communities they are involved in, or other possible identifying details.


Thanks to the gooning content creators Angel Au Lait, Goddess Goldy, and Mistress Waltrude, who also provided insights on the gooning community that helped in the creation of this guide.

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