Zipper’s Guide to the Goonosphere

by Mark Hay

Zipper’s Guide to the Goonosphere collage

“Gooning can be as simple as comfortably sitting in your room, putting on some porn, and edging for hours without cumming,” Shreya,* a gooner who moderates a South Asian-focused gooning forum with over 33,000 active members, told Zipper. But most gooning communities infuse the practice with a diverse array of kinky ideas and elements. 


These are some of the most common kinky threads in the modern goonosphere. Some gooning communities are built around one of these fetish foci specifically, while many mix and match bits and pieces of these kinky ideas and practices to shape their own unique visions of gooning. 


Bating and Solosexuality: Outsiders often assume gooning is just a facet of the bator world, which focuses on elevating masturbation from a sexual sideshow to an art, and often into the central focus of people’s sexual lives. (This overlaps with solosexuality, which Jason Armstrong, a prominent solosexual, describes as a preference for masturbation over other forms of sexual activity—but not all bators identify as solosexuals.)  Armstrong, a gooner who’s been writing about gooning since at least 2016, when he published Soloxexual: Portrait of a Masturbator, pointed out that some of the earliest gooning content seemingly did emerge within and circulate through bating communities, and that there is clear overlap between bator practices like “cockbabbling” and the babble that gooners engage in. This suggests that many common gooning tropes may be rooted in bating ideas and practices. However, while many gooners identify themselves as bators, this connection is not universal. 


Porn Stans and Pornosexuals: Some gooners say that they can get into the goon state just by focusing on their own bodies, on the sensation of masturbation. A few even see the use of stimuli like porn as a distraction, Armstrong pointed out. But a large number of gooners seem to feel that, as one gooner who goes by Afrikanking told Zipper, “to enjoy a nice long session you need good porn.” 


Many gooning communities run with the idea that porn is vital, and share tons of porn as goon fuel, urging each other to check out certain videos or performers. Some gooners, or entire communities, fixate on one porn star or adult content creator. These “porn stans buy every new scene from their favorite creator,” said Angel Au Lait, a content creator who focuses on making videos for gooners. “They repost stuff to get others to do the same. They … value the creator,” praising their content and encouraging them to make more in supportive rather than pushy ways, “and goon to them in a way that is elevated because of this parasocial connection.” 


Some gooners consider their intense focus on porn, and gooning sessions, a simple hobby—no different than hardcore baseball card collecting. PornosexualDevotee,* a gooner who moderates a gooning forum with over 125,000 members, told us that he spends loads of time “buying porn, learning new porn stars, watching enough porn to where you can recognize someone just from a tattoo or even their asshole,” but stressed that he also has a life, and a relationship, beyond porn and gooning. However, some consider themselves pornosexuals, people whose sexuality is focused on porn rather than other people. 

There are a few “unsavory” porn-obsessive gooning communities, Gooner-Tay,* a gooner who operates a smaller but still vibrant gooning forum, noted, in which people steal content, or “share pictures of people they know in real life” without their knowledge or consent, which “can spill over into involuntary porn.” But for the most part, Au Lait argued, porn-loving and pornosexual gooners are highly ethical and respectful in the ways they procure and share porn. So unsurprisingly, in recent years a fair number of adult content creators have started producing pictures and videos specifically to feed these conscientious fanatics. However, gooners often create their own content as well, and share it freely among their communities. 


People occasionally talk about gooner or gooning porn as a distinct genre. But this is actually an imprecise term. It can refer to porn memes and compilation videos featuring text or audio that urge gooners to keep masturbating, to get dumb, but not to cum, or offer them gooning guidance. It can refer to images and videos that focus on spiral patterns, flashing colors, and quick cuts. (More on that later.) Or it can refer to pictures, video, and audio of people engaging in gooning sessions, often while pulling extreme goon faces, which encourages or fuels other gooners. 


However, not all porn-loving gooners like gooning porn or use it as their fuel of choice. Nor are gooners the only people who enjoy gooner porn. There’s a substantial audience out there of people who just like the aesthetics or idea of gooning (but not the practice), and want to get off to it. No one Zipper spoke to would consider these gooner-lovers gooners themselves. 


Addiction Play: A fair number of gooners describe themselves as masturbation and/or porn addicts who can’t help but compulsively indulge in gooning sessions day after day, more and more—including Catherine Duffy, a notable goonette who writes about her gooning experiences on her site, Whoreuro, and runs adult industry consultancy Kink Consult. At times, she defines gooning as “the worship of porn” above all else. In addiction-focused gooning communities, people share stories about their inability to control their obsessions, their efforts to stop engaging with masturbation or porn, and their constant relapses. Often, members of these communities try to trigger each other into relapsing, encouraging them to give in to their addictions, and to embrace their descent deeper and deeper into a deviant hole.


“They love being reminded that porn is better than their potential girlfriends, canceling plans with friends for porn, being reminded that they only deserve porn,” said Au Lait. They might become “unable to get hard for anything but porn, or not be interested in real life relationships.”


This is one of the more controversial threads within the gooning world, which fuels the notion that, as Duffy put it, “gooners and goonettes [are] weirdos, sexual creeps, socially awkward, etc.” 


But in the vast majority of cases, this talk is all fetishization and kink play. As the writer Estelle Garrett of the Sexual Health Alliance explains, it takes sex- and porn-negative tropes like the notion that “porn will rot your brain and make you waste your life masturbating” and flips them on their heads, into something hot that people can fuck with and get off to. (Not everyone who engages in porn and masturbation addiction-play goons, but the overlap is common.) “Most gooners and goonettes I’ve met have been completely normal when it comes to socializing, knowing boundaries, and maintaining a healthy life outside of the lifestyle,” Duffy explained. 


“This is meant to be a fun fantasy and activity,” noted Sally, a trans gooner active in gooning forums,* adding that many memes urging people to relapse are not serious, but very insider-y jokes that play into a particular fetish. 


“While fetishization is great, real addiction is not,” Duffy stressed. “In the event that the lifestyle is becoming harmful to you and the people you care about, seek help.” (While most addiction experts and psychologists don’t think porn is addictive, or consider porn addiction a distinct condition, they note that it is possible to form a problematic dependence on anything.) Many addiction play-focused communities engage regularly in out-of-play conversations about mental health, ethics, and kink-life balance, and connect members with support and resources if needed. 


Overstimulation and Goon Caves: In order to banish any thoughts beyond the goon, some gooners attempt to flood their senses with stimuli. This may involve using tons of toys—“fleshlights and sex dolls, cock rings, VR headsets, psychedelic LED lights,” Mistress Waltrude, a self-proclaimed “muse for the gooning culture” and “findom televangelist,” rattled off. But often it involves the creation of a dedicated gooning space, shut off from the world, and filled with speakers and monitors (usually three or four but up to a dozen) blasting erotic content (usually porn but not always). “One of my favorite parts of gooning is assembling as many screens as possible, to watch as much porn content at once as possible,” Gooner-Tay explained.


“The overstimulated goon’s ideal set-up is being in a completely dark room, surrounded by wall-to-wall screens, playing tons of different porn, with wall-to-wall sound, tons of toys, lube, textures,” explained Au Lait. “They are absolutely lost in the sauce, and brainless from the flashing lights, bright colors, over-the-top and dramatic oiled-up porn that becomes their world. 


Some communities refer to dedicated gooning spaces as goon caves; their members often take pride and joy in sharing images of their cave setups with others. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the focus on blatant and open excess in overstimulation and goon caves, this facet of gooning has attracted much of the popular media coverage and meme making surrounding gooners overall. 


Intoxication: Overstimulation can involve the use of substances like poppers, boosting gooners’ sense of euphoria and arousal in sprints and stretches. But many gooners who aren’t looking to flood their senses also use poppers—and alcohol, cannabis, prescription meds like Adderall, or any other number of substances—to enhance their goon as well. Each substance contributes something different to the pursuit of the goon state. Amphetamines like Adderall can really focus people in on the singular experience and sensation of masturbation, for example. Meanwhile, alcohol and cannabis can “numb our brains,” as Gooner-Tay put it, which can help “get dumb.” 


Hypnosis / Mesmerism: As many gooners consider the goon state a sort of trance, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they might use hypnotic practices and content to try to help them reach it. This helps to explain the prominence of strobing lights, spirals, repetitive phrases, binaural beats, and other forms of what Mistress Waltrude calls “visual mind fuckery” that pervades so much gooning content: These are all classic hypnotic tools—although to some gooners who aren’t looking to get mesmerized into the goon or familiar with these techniques, they can just read as a unique gooning aesthetic.  

Dom/sub Dynamics: “Gooning is inherently about surrendering control,” Au Lait pointed out. Plenty of goons simply surrender to the sensations in their own bodies, and “work on autopilot,” she added. But it’s also fairly common for goons to surrender control to someone else—to submit to a dominant figure or force that will guide their empty minds through the gooning experience. 


Some gooners consider themselves submissives to the abstract concept of porn, or to a gooning community. There are forums for gooners to open themselves up to the commands of anyone and everyone in the gooning world. (“Give me tasks, ask me questions, send me porn. Whatever you want. Limits scat, vomit, blood, public,” reads a recent post on one forum.) Others give in to “porn mommies,” either porn stars or more dominant (usually female) gooners who create content that encourages gooners to keep going, tells them how to touch themselves, and guides them through sessions. But people’s partners and pro Doms also get involved in one-on-one dom/sub gooning dynamics. Some Dommes have even developed specialized practices for gooner clients. 


Humiliation: “Many gooners enjoy calling themselves ‘losers,’ and like being called slurs and other derogatory terms,” Anton, a gooner who shares gooning content with well over 10,000 social media followers, explained. This humiliation can reinforce the idea that, yes, they are dumb goons, living in a dumb goon state. People often use degradation to reinforce Dom/sub and addiction play as part of their gooning experiences. This might involve “encouraging the idea that a gooner is a porn addict because they’re unfuckable,” explained a gooner who goes by DeepGooning, or because “their penis isn’t big enough, which plays to small penis humiliation” kinks as well. However, while humiliation flows into many sub streams of gooning culture and practice, some gooners are decidedly not into it. Some addiction play communities explicitly ban any content that involves humiliation, and will boot people who use vaguely negative language. 


Sissification: Cis male gooners sometimes adopt traditionally feminine characteristics, or wear women’s clothing, while gooning—sometimes of their own volition and sometimes at the behest of a Domme. They often describe this as part of their descent into deviance, fucking with popular tropes about porn and masturbation’s supposedly sexually warping powers. Some specifically say they are trying to emulate, or being transformed into, the female porn stars they watch while gooning—either as an act of worship and desire, or as a form of giving in to so-called corruption. 


Many straight cis male gooners also get into “forced or coerced bisexuality or homosexuality” play, added Goddess Lola Minaj, a goonette who makes content for “gooners [who] are straight and ashamed of their obsession with their cocks, or want to be feminized,” for similar reasons.  


But while there’s clearly a thread of gender fuckery and queerness running through gooning, not everyone engages with it in the same way. Rather than play with feminization, for example, some guys inhabit a boys-being-boys hypermasculinity that they may not usually connect with or live, making muscles towards anyone watching them and adopting a slovenly, broish pose. Some folks don’t engage with these parts of gooning at all. Gooning threads are full of confidently straight cis guys encouraging others in the queering elements of gooning, but politely declining to take part in any homoeroticism or gender subversion themselves. It just doesn’t speak to them. 


Sexual absurdism: The prominence of the goon face, and the over-the-top nature of gooning memes and spaces speaks to the humor that pervades most gooning communities—that’s arguably inherent in the idea of totally losing control and giving in to any sort of hyper-saturated experience. But some gooners lean into this absurdism, drawing it from the background to the foreground with acts like monkey gooning. This involves “basically acting like a literal monkey” while gooning, Anton explained, at times even “doing little jumps while squatting and making monkey noises.” 


Gooners also lean into the hypersexual aspects of gooning by masturbating not to porn, but to completely non-sexual things, like “a calculator, because of how stupid it is,” Au Lait added. “They can goon to a candy bar wrapper, to a piece of chewed gum… They will sometimes specifically search for things that aren’t ‘the norm’ when it comes to porn” and getting off. 

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