Gooning explained

What is Gooning & Why it’s Having a Moment

If you’re chronically online like me, there’s a chance you’ve heard a little meme word sprinkled into conversations recently: Gooning.

Whether it’s your favorite Twitch streamers, YouTube comedians, or edgy posts on X (formerly Twitter), gooning is truly having a moment.

Sex positivity, hurray! But… what the heck does it even mean?

Gooning VS Edging

Ironically, before we get to discussing gooning, we have to discuss a related term: edging.

Edging is the practice of indulging in sexual pleasure, but trying to prevent yourself from climaxing as long as possible. Think of it this way: if we compare sex to a lovely meal at a restaurant, edging is holding off till the end of the meal to have dessert (lest you spoil your appetite). 

Edging isn’t just a kink/fetish, tho.

It’s actually more incorporated into our average sexual experiences, especially with partners! You know how some people might try to think of “unsexy” things like baseball or bankers in order to prevent themselves from cumming too quickly? That can be seen as a type of edging. You’re essentially attempting to extend the sexual pleasure by taking yourself to the very edge but not over the threshold (aka sploosh).

People edge for a huge variety of reasons, largely because it allows them to remain in that sexual pleasure headspace for longer and enjoy sex longer. For most people, sex starts to lose its glimmer after they come. This is pretty normal! The body moves into the “refractory period”, like feeling full after eating a delicious but filling meal.

It’s more common for dick-wielders to experience a significant refractory, but it happens to everyone. People with vulvas don’t have the same type of refractory period as those with penises do, but there can be a hypersensitivity that leads many to feel exhausted and disinterested in sex.

Gooning: A less than scholarly definition

Finally, this leads us to “gooning”.

Some people find that being really horny is almost like being high; their rational minds have been shut off, and they can indulge in the blissful sensations of feeling sexually stoned. Anxiety and limitations disappear, and the day’s discomforts go by the wayside: there is only the sexual desire.

Gooners overwhelm themselves with hours of pornography and jerking off to achieve this lascivious state of no-nutting nirvana. This is the state of mind “gooners” aim to remain in. Armed with their choice of pornography or erotica or sex toys, they stroke without climaxing to keep themselves horny and mindless for as long as they humanly can.

Where did the term come from?

You’ve no doubt heard the term “goon” in old mobster movies, or classic American novels in high school. There’s even a Seann William Scott comedy about a hockey enforcer called just that!

Gooning typically refers to “a dumb person”, and was often used to mean a beefy, strong but not-so-smart hired thug.

So why the jump into masturbation?

It’s tough to say! Gooning has largely been a virtual-only fetish, one done solo and without the knowledge of the people around the gooner. Therefore, finding the origins of the word and its association with edging has been nearly impossible. We do have some information from the ancient years of “the early 00s”.

As Mark Hay writes in “Gooners, Goonettes and the Origins of the Goon State”, most people cite the 2005 Urban Dictionary definition as the first official definition of gooning: “getting so into masturbating, or jacking off, that the dude becomes a total goon; becomes stupid on his own cock.”

As a term, gooning has spawned many off-shoot words or phrases that are entirely niche to the community. Sure there are terms like “goonette” which refers to a gooner who is a woman, but there’s also “gooncave” which is a portmanteau of “gooner” and “mancave” (and an active subreddit!). A gooncave is the sacred safe space that a follower of this lifestyle will use to hide away in, and will often decorate the room with as many posters or screens playing loops of their favorite pornos on loop. 

There’s also “goonface” which is the expression of pure brainlessness and bliss that gooners aim to achieve, an expression that sometimes includes drooling or talking gibberish due to how high off their own supply they’re feeling.

So, why do people do it?

Gooning can be anything from a way to indulge in some solo kinks on a night off to becoming an entire lifestyle or fetish. 

There is a near transcendence that happens to gooners where you rid life of complications and focus on a single purpose: becoming a self-perpetual sexual ecstasy generator.

People watch gooning videos which encourage them to buy more subscriptions or sex toys, and those products offer them encouragement to return back to the goonverse to indulge in a bit more. 

Speaking of the goonverse, gooning is also extremely social! People are encouraged to openly share links to their favorite porn, talk and “trigger” fellow gooners on Discord or Reddit, or proudly show off their dedicated gooncave setups. (The rule seems to be: the more monitors you have, the better.) 

I think this one is ready

People talk about it online… a lot!

I think this social phenomenon of gooning can be best exemplified in a post on r/EdgingTalk subreddit, where user AlarmedHour said in a post titled “A gooner family”: 

“As gooners, we should never consider a fellow gooner/goonette as a stranger, even if we don’t know their names. They are our family in our lust filled strokes. Together we stroke, together we can turn our brains to mush, and together we bask in porn and lusts sweet embrace. Never forget, you are no longer alone in your pleasure.

Is gooning striclty for men?

Gooning also seems to blur the lines of sexual orientation and gender expression.

If you scroll through r/gooncaves, it isn’t hard to find images of people (ahem) in the middle of enjoying their lavish lust palaces. What might surprise people is how often these people are wearing “women’s” lingerie, or are masturbating next to their female partners while also wearing the same short skirt and thigh highs.

While it’s largely a cis het male thing, this is shockingly a space on the internet where everyone is welcome.

There’s a whole subdivision where trans women can thrive, though maybe not for the purest of reasons. Gooners and goonettes are encouraged to fall deeper and deeper into sexual “debauchery”, but the fact that there’s an idea that trans porn stars are considered “more degenerate” to enjoy feels like some internalized transphobia being expressed in somewhat more “socially acceptable” ways.

Even the most masculine beefcake gooners have been known to indulge in sissy fetish play, and there is definitely significant overlap with the hypnosis kink community. Anything that can help a gooner to achieve that goonspace state of mind and remain there is encouraged.

This is also why recreational drugs like cannabis, or prescription medications like Adderall or Vyvanse are often discussed in the gooning community to help keep a practitioner as horny as possible.

Why did it get so popular all of a sudden?

While gooning has been popular for a few years now, it truly began to take off during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we were no longer able to meet, mingle, and have sex in person, people had to get creative to get their rocks off.

Plus, I mean, we were all trying our best to distract ourselves from the world-changing pandemic raging outside. Hiding in your own private dick dungeon full of porn and toys is one way of avoiding thinking of the dangers lurking outside your front door.

Gooning has become so popular that entire categories on porn sites have been made and dedicated to voracious gooners. It’s become so popular that Clips4Sale spokesperson Avery Martin told Vice it was “one of the first new major fetish of 2020s”. (Congrats gooners!)

Goon responsibly

After all this, what’s your take on gooning and those who love it?

Is gooning a kink? Is it a modern take on tantric practices? (Would Sting love or hate it?)

Regardless of why you partake in gooning, make sure that you’re doing it as responsibly as possible, ok? Take breaks, drink water, and touch some grass for a bit! 

And please, for gooning sake, wash your sheets and keyboard.