Reading List: The Gooner's Handbook

Wynward H. Oliver shares his masturbation insights.

Reading List: The Gooner's Handbook

Wyn Oliver has a new book - it's called The Gooner's Handbook.

A recent guest on the Naked Men Talking podcast, Wyn is sharing his insights about masturbation.

In the conversation, Wyn talks benchmarks for bators, liminal spaces, and the downside of performative pleasuring.

Listen to the episode

Wyn, good to see you again.

Pleasure to be here, Gareth, thank you so much.

Before we go any further, we should probably be clear what we're talking about. For the uninitiated, what is a gooner?

OK, it takes me a whole book to explain.

Give me the short version.

Yeah, it can be complex and contradictory, but in a nutshell, I would say that gooning is a bator who is unafraid to lose his inhibitions.

To me, all sex, whether it's solo or partnered sex - and we are definitely considering bating and gooning as part of the sexual continuum - all sex to me is twisted and transcendent. It's dirty and divine. It's base and rarefied.

So it has both those highs and lows inherent in it.

A gooner to me is somebody who's willing to be primal and feral and animalistic with their bate. Sometimes we say, it's caveman time.

Now, being that way, you're doing that without any fear, without any self-censoring, without any judgement, without any shame.

Even if it may look dumb, it may appear ridiculous, it may appear stupid. You want to be spontaneous, you want to be free, authentic, impulsive, wild, vulnerable, raw.

That, to me, are the elements of gooning.

Gooning is one aspect of the masturbation experience - would you describe it as peak self-pleasure? Is gooning what we should all be aiming for?

You are correct in saying that it's one aspect of this vast, ever-evolving bating experience, and I think you can see how much it's evolved really in just these last 10 years.

I try to pinpoint in my mind when I first heard the word gooning - I'm sure it was on the phone-sex chat lines and I knew right away what they were talking about. It made sense to me.

Even the term bator hasn't really been around that long. 

I think I was doing some form of proto-gooning when I was nine years old and taking my father's dirty, sweaty underwear out of his hamper and putting it on my face and masturbating away.

Gooning has been going on for millennia but we're now just starting to talk about it, starting to really have a discussion of what it means.

So is it peak self pleasure?

I would say it can be peak self-pleasure, but it's also unnecessary and counterproductive to make gooning or bating or any of its aspects a competition or a hierarchy.

I think we go wrong when we start doing that.

To me, pleasure is pleasure. So whatever makes you feel good, have at it. In the book, I'm just trying to expand possibilities and widen people's perspectives.

Last time we spoke, we were talking about your book Homo-work, which you describe as your masturbation manifesto. Let's look at this book. What was your inspiration to focus your attention on gooning?

It's the educator in me. It's that retired college teacher who is constantly wanting to open minds and open hearts. I could also add “open hard-ons”.

I want gooning, like all learning, to be self-exploration.

The problem is, and why I wrote the book, is that I see a lot of misperceptions about gooning as well as a lot of questions about gooning. 

I have 51 years of bating experience - I'm going to be 60 this year, I started at nine years old, so I know what I'm doing.

I'm not here to tear down anybody's goon, I'm here to build it up.n I'm not here to criticise, I'm here to inspire.

One of the things that you tackle early on in the book is the perception or the understanding of what is gooning - highlighting what you could describe as performative gooning. Could you talk a little bit more about that and why that was important to you? Who sets the rules about masturbation? What differentiates mind blowing masturbation from going through the motions of what you think is expected from you.

Yes, I approached that head-on right at the beginning of the book.

There are no rules. Maybe people think there are rules, but there are no rules and there is no script.

That's how I think we've gone wrong with gooning.

I am not the gatekeeper of the goon. There is no right or wrong in gooning. There is no judgement. There is no fear. There is only you.

When you ask me about gooning being performative, yes, I think that most of the gooning that I see is very performative. It's boiled down to the same 10 gimmicks - lolling heads, contorted cringe faces, rolling eyes or crossed eyes, hanging tongues, drooling mouths, the requisite flexing of the biceps, the arms, akimbo chimp scratching, soles together, and the daffy pointing at the penis.

For me, those things ring false.

It needs to be organic.

I’m interested in your perspective on the role that online communities play in this? BateWorld is such a fundamental part of the online gooning and bating experience. If everyone on BateWorld is rolling their eyes and sticking their tongue out, doesn't that sort of set the standard for how everyone does it?

Well, first of all, shout out to BateWorld because what they do is marvellous and that site is an amazing resource.

But when you ask me, what's been perceived as gooning, has that really defined gooning for a lot of people? I think it's done just that, yes.

I want to redefine gooning and I want to refine gooning.

We have guys out there who are simply bating, but they're saying they're gooning. And again, I'm not the gooning judge. I'm not the gooning gatekeeper.

But if they're saying they're gooning, I would like them to be, you know, doing something that is more authentic and also more satisfying to them.

Gooning is about letting go and being the you that nobody else can be.

Who are you specifically writing this book for? Is it about passing on your wisdom to younger generations? Is this an instruction manual for boys with boners?

I want this to be a book for everybody.

I wrote this book for newbies. I wrote this book for the old pros. I wrote this book for the curious sceptics because I know there will be people who are sceptical. There's something for everybody in the book.

But, writing this book, I learned the most about myself. You think you're writing it for other people, but it ends up coming back to you. 

The big lesson I learned was that gooning is a gift. Gooning is that rare occasion when we find ourselves temporarily in that in-between realm where we transcend all opposites and the primal and the evolved to become one.

That's a very rare thing. It's where the physical and the spiritual intermingle.

That’s such an interesting way of describing it - it's almost that liminal space, it links back to a lot of the work that people do around Tantra and the mystery schools and the way that sexual energy can be used to connect to different parts of our psyche. It really helps to actually unpack why is gooning powerful - because it's inherently powerful, we're tapping into something that's bigger than ourselves.

I think these conversations are important. We learn so much about ourselves and each other when we have these conversations.

One of the topics that you explore in the book is the role of fantasy and kink and how that can be part of our masturbation experience. Can you talk a little bit about how fantasy can help to unlock the pleasures of gooning?

Fantasy is an escape from reality.

It's not a longing for an alternate reality. You want to leave the reality space. Fantasy is your hall pass from your everyday respectable life. You get to say, think or do anything you want when you fantasise.

Gooning gives you that freedom.

Last time we were talking about your work, you read us an extract talking about one of your earliest masturbation experiences. Is there something from the Gooner's Handbook that you could read for us today?

I would be delighted. This is just a portion of the chapter on addictions:

The solution I found to managing my beloved addictions is to create some form of overall balance.

It's OK if the scales tip to one side or the other from time to time.

It's also fine for me to ache for a bate while out with friends.

You see, I value my bate by maintaining its power in my life, but in only one part of my life.

Plus, I enjoy the bate more from having stepped away from it.

I've found a form of respect for my addictions that when they begin to be anything less than pure joy for me, I take a break.

But the minute I completely deny myself, that's when I'm in trouble.

I protect my bate because biting and especially gooning is comforting to me and a respite from the shroud of racing thoughts and incessant worries obscuring my everyday mind and wearing me down.

Gooning is a means of release and abandon within a life consumed by calculations, control, and conservatorship.

When I hear folks chant “get out of your comfort zone”, I want to cry out: Why would I do that? My comfort zone is comfortable! I spent a long time creating my comfort zone. Why would I ever stray from it?

And yet, when I take my bate to the level of gooning, I do indeed venture out of the safety of my comfort zone and find myself in a land of pure release.

When I'm gooning, anything can happen, and often does, at least verbally.

Except the best part is that I don't have to worry like I usually do about any worst case scenarios because my bate is my safe space.

I'm swaddled in my goon cocoon.

Whatever happens, happens, homie.

Then, when the goon is over, I often think: What the fuck was that?

Even better, I sometimes think: Who the fuck was that?

But I know who that fucker was.

Me.

The real me.

Well, at least as real as any other parts of myself.

Yet Gooner Wynward isn't all of me.

When I'm back to Wynward, the husband, son, brother, friend and neighbour, I often don't ever want to repeat what came out of me during my last goon session.

That shit was fire and fun, but weird as fuck - until I do want to repeat it because I always do, sooner or later.

Often sooner.

And here we return to the addiction part of bating and gooning.

We want it so badly.

It's a driving need screaming to come out of us, even if it's sometimes frightening.

We want it again and again because it feels so damn good.

Which makes our minds a whole lot clearer when we have to go back to the daily grind or even to the other non-sexual pleasantries of our life.

We're better for the release.

I don't just mean that exhilaration and liberation that results from an orgasm, which is always marvellous.

I also mean the thrill of the act of letting go.

To me, you know your goon was awesome when the goon itself was better than the nutting.

Can you see now why gooning is so addictive?

So it makes sense to label our fervent, relentless desires and compulsions as addictions, even though most of us are perfectly capable of not jacking off, not sniffing poppers, or foregoing a fetish for a few days while we have house guests.

Thankfully most of us aren't strung out on meth, although I have done my fair share of meth-play too.

I get all the benefits from an addiction without any of the nasty side effects.

Well, maybe just a popper headache.

What I didn't expect from my addictions until I began gooning was that I'd become addicted to the addictions themselves, and that I’d come to crave being a slave to my kinks even more than getting off on the kinks themselves.

I don't just goon to undies or hotties or poppers.

I goon to being addicted to those fetishes.

You see, I fixate on the fixation even more than on the fetishes themselves.

Weird, huh?

Circular, huh?

That's gooning.

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