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What the heck is 'gooning'? A gay man explains the steamy solo activity

What the heck is 'gooning'? A gay man explains the steamy solo activity

What is gooning and is it safe to practice?

The "goon state" sounds like a great place to be!


The "goon state" sounds like a great place to be!

queer person in bed looking at phone


Let’s just get this out of the way off the bat: We like to touch ourselves. We’d also like to think everybody likes to touch themselves, but we’re not here to make assumptions or pass judgments.

What we are here to do is talk about a form of masturbation called “gooning,” which may be a new one for you or it might be something you’ve never heard of.

Read on to find out what gooning is and, more importantly, how to practice it safely.

What is gooning?

man watching porn and masturbating


Gooning is, in short, someone who watches hours of porn and masturbates the entire time, but never allows themselves to orgasm. The amount of time spent in masturbation takes them into a trance-like state where the concept of time and space disappears.

Such a state is known as a “goon state,” and it’s a deeply exploratory experience that’s similar to meditation. Gooning is also an extreme form of edging, which is where you continuously stimulate yourself without ever reaching a climax.

Why do people do this?

man touching himself at a table


There’s a number of reasons, as always, that people practice gooning. One reason is because when men orgasm, or when they ejaculate, it can be difficult for them to get aroused again, and thus gooning helps train their minds to move into that trance-like state so that other sexual experiences may last longer.

Besides that, it’s fun. The goon state activates both the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous systems that result in a lot of pleasure spots getting activated, including the part of your brain that makes you feel high or like you’re having an out-of-body experience.

How popular is gooning?

queer person looking at phone in bed


Gooning has been around for a while, despite its recent surge in popularity. As of this writing and according to Google Trends, the term was searchable as early as 2004, but didn’t start gaining any traction until more recent years, with the main boom starting out in 2022.

The United States, Australia, and Canada make up the countries with the most interest in the topic. Within the U.S. over the last year, Washington, Oregon, and the District of Columbia make up the top three regions showing interest in the topic, with New Hampshire and Oklahoma trailing right behind.

As for related topics, people are also looking more into mewing, which involves flattening your tongue against the roof of your mouth so the shape of your jawline changes. Facial expressions are part of the reason voyeurs enjoy watching people reach the “goon state,” and mewing is a technique that can help prevent you from choking on your tongue when you’re in that trance.

Is gooning strictly queer?

man pulling down his pants


Gooning may seem like something only gay men do, but it is not. Usually, gooning is practiced solo and is paired with watching porn. However, both straight and gay men sometimes have “bate buds” who get together and do their own thing separately, but still together. These interactions can occur either in-person or online.

That said, within the gay community, it isn’t uncommon for sex parties to have variations of gooning and edging so everyone reaches that hypnotic state, and some people even have dedicated “Goon Caves” for gooners to disappear into if not everyone shares the interest.

What are some potential dangers

carrot and eggs as a penis


For the most part, one of the biggest things gooners have to be mindful of is addiction. Sex, mastubration, porn, and everything else that goes into gooning can become a compulsive behavior. If you’re getting less and less out of it each time, it may be a good time to give it a rest.

Also, locking yourself up in a room and touching yourself for hours may sound fun, but it also means you miss out on life for all of those hours. Think about some other ways you can spend your time, other things that bring you joy, and lean into that.

In the meantime, don’t shame yourself for your interests. Gooning is really only an issue if it starts to negatively impact your life and prevent you from having any real-life experiences. As with everything else, balance here is the key to your success.

Other positive aspects of gooning

man pleasuring himself


Yes, we’ve always got to put out the warnings about not letting yourself get addicted, but that doesn’t mean gooning can’t be pleasurable. That is the main reason people practice it, after all.

One of the more positive things that can come out of gooning is gaining a better understanding of your body and how it works. It can also help you understand the difference between an orgasm and an ejaculation, which are not always one and the same.

It can also help you be a bit more open-minded in general, especially if you start to interact with other gooners. As you explore your body, you may awaken sexual fantasies you never knew you had, which could lead you to some of the best sexual experiences you’ll have.

Anything else I should know?

woman using laptop


As mentioned above, allow yourself a little freedom and work to let go of any shame you feel around the idea of gooning. Almost everyone, especially men, likes to masturbate, and it isn’t out of turn for you to want the masturbatory experience to last a little longer.

Do your best to remain conscious, even when you’re in that trance-like state. Remember that gooning isn’t the same as tantric sex, and the use of porn is one of the biggest factors to it.

Apart from that, just enjoy yourself. Explore your body, explore your edge, and find what feels good for you. When you find that, don’t be afraid to share it with your partner. As long as you find the balance, you’re good to go.

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Andrew J. Stillman

Contributing Writer for

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.