Meet the gay men who get turned on by sitting in a paddling pool full of gunge
Gunge tanks were a once staple of low-budget kids’ TV – but for this subsection of gay men, they are something very different indeed.
“If you ask most people, it’s things like Get Your Own Back, Noel’s House Party… it started there, and it led on”, volunteers a man known via his online fetish username, Lycrastee.
Another, known as 1982j, agrees: “It was everywhere on children’s TV growing up.”
But for these men, gunge tanks are more than just a vintage throwback to ’90s TV.
They give up hours of their weekends at ‘gunge parties’ – carefully covering their living rooms in plastic sheets, filling paddling pools with gooey substances, and diving in together for a sexual thrill.
So what actually is ‘gunge’, and how do you make it?
“There is a range of gunge substances you can play with”, a man known as Rialto1 explains to filmmakers from fetish website Recon.
“Lots of people have their own favourites. They range from savoury lumpy foods at one end, to cream and jelly, and the synthetic stuff which is more of a generic slime.”
The synthetic substances vary from gelatine-based powder to vegan alternatives like tree cellulose, which is also used as an ingredient in Mr Kipling’s cakes.
“Setting up for gunge play can be the biggest [portion of time]”, Rialto1 adds. “A small session can just be in the bathroom… but as you get bigger and move it into other rooms, plastic is needed to protect stuff, and pools and things.”
He adds: “It can go anywhere from an easy session that’s instant to set up to needing half a day, so that you can protect everything, and so that you can relax and forget about it when you’re actually playing.”
Speaking to Recon, the men explained that they once thought they were alone in their gunge fixation, but internet sex sites have helped them find others with similar interests.
1982j explains: “When you hit the internet and find people [with the same interest] you realise this isn’t me being weird, there’s actually quite a lot of other people into it.
“What started off as a couple of buckets has evolved into this insanity.”
What the men do actually do in their gunge-filled paddling pools, of course, opens up an entire universe of possibilities.
Noel Edmonds will be horrified to hear that some gunge parties even take steps to recreate gameshows, complete with trivia questions to decide who gets gunged.
One of the men adds: “It might be asking questions, and if they get them wrong then they get gunged… after that it ends up with a bit of a free-for-all, and everyone getting covered and just playing around, really. Having a good time.
“It’s about being covered and the sensation of having it all over you, and feeling other people in a different way.”
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For some of the men, the connection to public humiliation also allows for a dom-sub mechanic, with gunge replacing handcuffs or paddles.
“It’s mostly been a very sexual thing… I’ve been quite lucky that I’ve had partners that were into this as well.
“It’s fun, it’s very silly, but it can get quite erotic and quite hardcore if you can get the rapport right.”
We’re not entirely sure we’re onboard, but one thing’s for sure: What happens in the paddling pool stays in the paddling pool.