Female Inflation and Sexual Arousal: a Historical Overview

Date Written: 


by Latecomer



Anthropological surveys have established that certain Polynesian groups were the first societies to make an explicit connection between inflation and sexual arousal. These social groups possessed matriarchal clans which counted among their duties in the community the conduct of coming of age ceremonies and fertility rituals. In the typical initiation rite which the female elders administered to young women, the initiate had to establish her good standing in the village under questioning by the local matriarch council and was also weighed to demonstrate that she was “big enough for fulfillment” (requiring a Body Mass Index corresponding to an “obese” designation). Serial blowkisses were then administered by the group against a background of fertility chants. The initiation rite was concluded when the young woman was sufficiently inflated to experience her first orgasm.

There is also evidence of the inflation/arousal connection having been made at some time in the past in the context of middle-eastern bellydance societies.  Apparently, group-administered blowkisses were used not only as initiation rites for new members but also as a regular practice among the members to maintain their bodies in an enlarged state- a practice that continues in some dance troupes to this day. In analogy with the Polynesian practices outlined above, these group-administered blowkissing ceremonies served as an important ritual to strengthen social bonds within the troupe before their performances. It is also a fairly common present-day belief that pre-dance orgasms lead to superior performances on stage.



The commercialization and distribution in the United States of helium for use in toy balloons in the 1940’s gave rise to the practice of helium inhalation from balloons for entertainment purposes. The mild degrees of inflation and arousal afforded by balloon breathing established the inflation/arousal link and the practice inevitably escalated into direct inflation by helium tanks, which allowed greater inflation and more intense arousal. As such, the deliberate pressure-breathing of helium from balloon tanks constitutes the first modern example of inflation to produce orgasm in young women, and its popularity led to a swift rise in the incidence of near-suffocation accidents, which could be brought on by as little as thirty seconds’ worth of pressure-breathing pure helium. The dangers inherent in this practice were not addressed until the introduction of helium/oxygen rescue gas mixtures, as described in greater detail elsewhere in the inflation literature.

More frequent reports of arousal by inflation began to appear after the Second World War, when air pumps and hoses first came into popular use by recreational swimmers and divers. As a safety measure, it was common practice at swim schools at that time to use pressurized breathing air supplies to adjust the buoyancy of very obese young women who were too fat to float on their own. Swimmers who had been subjected to “buoyancy enhancement“ in this way sometimes reported mild to moderate degrees of arousal when inflated. Reports of intense arousal and orgasm came from young women whose buoyancy enhancement equipment had been accidentally maladjusted so as to inflate them uncontrollably. Until the development of less accident-prone equipment, young women who required buoyancy enhancement would typically wear reinforced swimsuits with limited elastic, so as to minimize inflation during accidents.

The same pressure-breathing respirator systems used for buoyancy enhancement were also used to help extremely obese young women breathe normally during dance aerobics or other forms of exercise. Here again, accidental or deliberate maladjustment of the breathing air pressure settings or failure of the pressure regulator would cause the girl to involuntarily inflate and experience arousal.

Another common practice during the initial post-war years was for swimming pool lifeguard crews to use whole-body inflation by pressurized gas or air pumps to re-float young women who had accidentally sunk and were insufficiently buoyant to return to the surface on their own. In contrast to swimmers on the surface, divers were required to wear swimsuits with extra elastic panels sewn into them, so the rescuers could inflate them as fully as possible if needed. Sinking victims rescued in this manner reported moderate to intense arousal while inflated.  

During preparation for surgical procedures requiring general anesthesia, the malfunction or improper adjustment of the patient’s anesthetic gas supply would sometimes cause inflation, with the semiconscious victim exhibiting signs of arousal during the incident. Observation of this effect led to the widespread misuse of anesthetic gas respirator pumps by anesthesiology nurses, who deliberately inflated themselves to experience both inflation arousal and intoxication by gas.  This practice became common enough by the late 1950’s that hospitals and clinics were forced to restrict access to anesthesiology machines by medical personnel to prevent theft of same and unauthorized use.  



Both in the pool and on the dance floor, dangerous pranks in which the victim was inflated against her will also occurred. The most common method was to restrain the victim while holding the breathing valve on her respirator in the LEAK TEST position while it was being worn. This caused the sudden application of full air pressure to the mask or mouthpiece so the helpless victim could not exhale. Full-body inflation administered in this way usually caused loss of bladder control before arousal could develop. In response, respirator manufacturers attempted to redesign their equipment to make it more tamper resistant and/or to prevent the leak test setting from being selected while the straps holding the mask or mouthpiece were tightened, but such measures were generally easy to circumvent. Misuse like this became so widespread that in some states, laws were passed in mid-1950’s to prohibit the sale and distribution of breathing assistance apparatus for use by overweight girls which did not contain measures to prevent or discourage malicious misuse.

The threat of public punishment by involuntary inflation was sometimes used by teachers or coaches to enforce order and discipline in special swim and dance classes where breathing assistance or buoyancy enhancement respirators were in use. An example would be made of the “naughty girl” by restraining and inflating her against her will before her classmates, who looked on in horror as the hapless victim was humiliated by being blown up until she wet herself. In a clinical setting, doctors and nurses sometimes used the threat of inflation by misuse of anesthesia equipment to enforce patient compliance during exams and outpatient procedures.

This practice was also picked up by the teenage girls themselves who made a game of it at unsupervised sleepovers and summer camp settings. Typically, the fattest girl present in a group was selected as the victim, restrained by the others, and then forced to inflate by group blowkissing or by mechanical means (often improvised) until she was rendered immobile and incontinent.

Threats of inflation as punishment, coupled with the real risk of accidental inflation during diving, buoyancy enhancement, or breathing assistance, led young women of the time to view the use of breathing apparatus with fear and apprehension. This trend did not diminish until the cruel practice of inflation as punishment was outlawed and the reliability of the respirator equipment itself was improved. Only then could awareness of the link between inflation (when properly administered) and sexual arousal begin to spread.




During a brief period in late-1950’s, certain sex therapists favored furnishing orgasms in a clinical setting to obese young women as part of so-called “sex training” practice, and demonstrating typical body development during pregnancy via belly inflation during sex education classes. Medical device manufacturers entered this market with “therapy pumps” designed for sex training and pregnancy simulation, which pumped up the patient’s belly with a second hose while simultaneously administering anesthetic gases through the patient’s breathing mask or mouthpiece (to induce or facilitate arousal and minimize any discomfort or anxiety during inflation). These machines were subsequently banned because of rampant misuse, but in response to the ban a black market developed in devices such as the “Blimpette” and “Pussy Pump”. These were the first of the so-called “recreational inflators” which were designed specifically to induce orgasms by inflation.



In the early 1960’s, widespread interest in future space exploration led to the invention of  the weightlessness simulator, which consisted of an airtight rubber space suit with helmet which was then inflated with helium until the subject inside became “weightless”. A separate oxygen supply was connected to the helmet to prevent suffocation. “Hose switch” accidents (in which the suit was filled with oxygen while the helmet was pressurized with helium, causing full-body inflation and intense arousal) led to an attempted recall of the suits. However, the simultaneous invention of the sport of human ballooning thwarted the recall until after suitless ballooning (which rendered the airtight rubber suits obsolete) was developed a few years later. Despite the well-documented dangers associated with their use, original vintage inflation suits of this type have since become valuable collectors’ items, occasionally modeled at inflation conventions and the Inflation Olympics.

(For safety reasons, the Olympic rules require modification of the suit and helmet fitments to prevent hose switch accidents during officially sanctioned events. If the fitment modifications have not been performed, the Olympic rules state that the suits may only be inflated with compressed air. In any case, each girl modeling an antique inflation suit must be accompanied at all times by an observer, who closely monitors the well-being of the girl inside the suit for as long as it is inflated.)

 During a brief period after the release of the feature film “Peter Pan”, which introduced a large audience to the character Tinkerbelle, some young female viewers attempted to use helium balloons to inflate themselves so they could become weightless and “fly like Tinkerbelle”. This phenomenon was too brief for closer study at the time and there is little mention of it in the inflation literature today.

With the rise in popularity of Playboy Magazine and Playboy Clubs in the early 1960’s, the so-called “Bunnypump” inflator was marketed to prospective “Playboy Bunnies” to increase the size of their breasts and thereby improve their chances of employment. The use of these inflation pumps required a very restrictive costume to prevent the hips and/or waist from also becoming enlarged during inflation, an undesired side effect. Accidental or deliberate maladjustment of the gas pressure settings on a bunnypump would often burst the seams of the bunny costume, leading to runaway inflation and arousal. Similar experiences were reported during use of bunnypumps for breast expansion at so-called “figure salons”.



All of the mechanical inflation devices and methods described above allow a young woman to be inflated far larger than possible by “traditional means” (i.e., blowkissing), but at significantly increased risk of serious mishaps involving bursting or suffocation.  The demands for safety and comfort have supported the development of a wide variety of inflation pumps (and pump-specific safety measures) through which both the degree of inflation and the timing and intensity of the resulting arousal can be independently adjusted.

Inflation pumps of modern design include mode selection controls which can be set up for one’s choice of buoyancy enhancement, breast, hip, belly or general body expansion, diving and diving rescue, aerobic breathing assistance, sex training/orgasm therapy, pregnancy simulation, or ballooning inflation. Within each operating mode, the pumping action can be customized to accommodate a broad range of body weights and experience levels. The most advanced inflation pumps let the operator blend and administer a variety of gas mixtures so (for example) the resulting buoyancy, degree of inflation, and intensity of arousal can be fine-tuned with a minimum of undesirable side-effects.

Modern inflation pumps can be fitted with the user’s choice of “hose-end” appliances. The most popular styles and their common names are:

1)    the full-face coverage “gas mask” with either an oval, full-sized clear faceplate or clear plastic eye holes

2)    the “diving mask”, having a thick rubber gasket surrounding a circular faceplate that covers the eyes, nose and mouth

3)    the “oxygen mask”, which covers only the nose and mouth, usually made of clear plastic

4)    the “black betty”, a smaller anesthesiology mask made of black rubber and containing a built-in black rubber breathing bag

5)    the “scuba plug” mouthpiece with an annular lip seal and chin strap to prevent air leakage (commonly used with a nose clip)

6)    the “space helmet”, a clear plastic bubble that attaches to a soft rubber neck seal

7)    the “diving helmet”, similar to the space helmet but made of opaque material and having one or three transparent round viewing ports and a rubber neck seal

The neck seals on both helmet styles have zippers which allow them to be attached to rubber suits or other types of inflation costume. If desired, the two types of mask and the plug mouthpiece can be fitted with a soft black rubber breathing bag for extra comfort and reserve breathing capacity in case of a pump failure or a pinched air hose. The size and elasticity of the bag are chosen to accommodate the lung capacity and weight of the user.

Novice inflatees commonly train initially with full-face gas mask or oxygen mask-style gear with relatively soft “training” bags. As they grow accustomed to the sensations of expansion and become interested in the traditions and practices of one or another of the inflation ”schools” (see below), they graduate to more specialized gear. Almost all competitive inflatees (for example, contestants in the Inflation Olympics) prefer to use the scuba plug. If they elect to equip the plug mouthpiece with a breathing bag, a thick-walled, high-pressure “competition” type bag is used. Competition gear for girl ballooners usually consists of a full-face gas mask and a combination hose and tether. For free ballooning, in which the girl is fully inflated on the ground, disconnected from the gas source, and then released, a high-capacity, soft-grade “huffer bag” is used as a temporary breathing gas supply during her ascent.



By law, all inflation pumps currently marketed in the United States must include:

1)     a “save me” setting (also known as the “panic button”) which lets the pump be used to resuscitate an unconscious victim of a diving or ballooning accident,

2)     a “help me” setting which interrupts the inflation procedure and releases enough inflation pressure so a girl who is experiencing distress or discomfort during an inflation procedure can exhale without effort,

3)     an automatic pressure relief valve to prevent bursting, and

4)     a leak test interlock which prevents full pressure from being applied while the pump’s mouthpiece or mask is being worn.



At inflation exhibitions or competitive meets, inflation costumes are selected to fit the style of the inflation apparatus and the nature of the meet (aquatic event, ballooning competition, dance performance, dramatic re-enactment, fashion modeling, etc.). Most of the costume styles and themes are derived from the historical traditions of inflation practice as outlined in the first part of this paper and are summarized below:

1)    “Island Girl” (grass skirts, bikini tops, floral leis, sandals)

2)    “Bellydance” (various types and styles of traditional bellydance regalia)

3)    “Balleroona” (ballet tutu, leotards, dancing shoes)

4)    “Doctor and Nurse” (medical office or hospital uniform): usually worn with Black Betty mask, pleated black rubber hoses, etc.

5)    “Deep Diver” (full rubber diving suit and helmet, with optional one- or two-piece swimsuit worn over the diving suit)

6)    “Swim Class” (1950’s style swimsuit with pleated skirt, rubber swim cap, diving goggles): commonly worn in conjunction with Diving Mask and breathing bag

7)    “Skin Diver” (undersized bikini top and bottom for greatest freedom of movement, usually without swim cap, sometimes with diving fins): usually worn with Scuba Plug gear

8)    “Space Girl” (full rubber suit with space helmet, sometimes with ballet tutu)

9)    “Tinkerbelle” (ballet costume with butterfly wings)

10)“Playgirl” (Playboy bunny suit with rabbit ears, tail, spike heels)

11)“Sleep Over” (nightgown or pajamas): often worn with Scuba Plug and breathing bag



Author's Note: 

An imaginary history of a nonexistent effect: orgasms via inflation. There are many parts of this story that are only hinted at in the text. I hope other researchers will rise to the occasion and add to the narrative, filling in the gaps and sharing with the rest of us more important information and perspectives on this vitally important topic. 

I'm working on sketches to accompany this article but as yet I lack the nerve to share them. 

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  I like where this is going


I like where this is going latecomer.  With this and your "Intertwined Histories of Human Ballooning, Diving Rescues, and the Inflation Olympics: A Personal History”  I could totally see a mockumentary being made out of this (like District 9) because the descriptive and documented faux-realism behind it makes it feel like events that actually occurred.  Good work!





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Thank you, Booyajimmy

I'll gladly continue my reviews of the technical literature on your behalf, and furnish summaries. As I mentioned, the histories I have released thus far represent only the tip of the iceberg. There's a lot more beneath the surface, waiting to sink the Titanic... -Latecomer