I commissioned this piece way back in November, and I’m so excited to be sharing it with you as the first guest post of 2021. When Astra (she/her) pitched me this idea, I was immediately excited because it represented an opportunity to learn about a kink with which I’m almost entirely unfamiliar.
But this piece is much more than just a story about an unusual kink. It’s also a powerfully personal tale of transition, growing into an identity, and falling in love with femininity.
This is quite a long one, but so fascinating. I invite you to grab a mug of something and savour it.
As always, if you want to help me keep bringing awesome guest bloggers to you, supporting via the tip jar is the best way to do that!
How I Found My Femininity Through Inflation by Astra Ebonwing
Transition is a Frightening Experience
I remember the day I got my first prescription for estrogen and spironolactone, the two main drugs used to transition from male to female. My doctor was in a flurry, writing medical notes that were complete bullshit.
“Your heart rate is too high and you need spironolactone to calm it. And then, an application of estrogen will ensure it does not drop too low,” she said to me as she was writing. “Yes, I’m making all of this up so your insurance doesn’t reject the request.”
When I told her my insurance actually did cover the drugs, she was flabbergasted. Very few types of insurance cover transition willingly. In 2007, there were even less options than there are today. She corrected the notes, still worried, but one hour later I walked out of the pharmacy with pills in hand. I was triumphant, but I knew I was about to follow a path of hardship. I’d have to be in public in women’s clothing. I had to master makeup, something I still struggled with at the time. I also had to walk through “the in-between,” that period of time where you look like a weird blob that doesn’t quite match to male or female clothes. The time when you wonder, “Do I look good enough to sit in the women’s bathroom and not scare the hell out of someone?”
I drove home with all of these thoughts in my head, took my first dose, and then grabbed the balloons out from under my bed. I stuck them in my bra, shoved my pillow under my clothing to puff up my stomach, and I snuggled up on my couch and turned on the TV.
In a flash, I went from a thin man to a maternal, very pregnant woman. I cherished my stomach, oversized breasts, and hips. I no longer felt frightened or scared. Every concern in my mind stopped.
This was me. This was who I was.
I closed my eyes and cried. I knew I had found the Goddess within myself. I used to fear my balloons and out-of-proportion self as much as I loved them. I felt like an outsider who had this weird passion of being in a very specific body that I didn’t think others would understand. I was scared someone would find out and that it would ruin my professional career.
But in that moment, I finally accepted myself. The look no longer felt like I was doing something dirty. I realized during that quiet time in my apartment that I was actually about to experience my own kink.
Parts of me were actually about to inflate – and inflate they did.
What IS Inflation Kink?
Look, I get that we’re not the largest or most well-known group of kinksters, so I thought I’d better include a section of explanation so everyone is on the same page with what this kink is and what it is not. We have, unfortunately, a lot of unique terms.
Inflation kink, otherwise known as expansion, is a sexual desire focused on the concept of “inflating” or growing parts of your body in some way. Expansion is an umbrella term for our kink, as it splits down into specific “shapes” of change in the body. “Full Body” is when a character becomes completely round like a balloon, “Hyper Hourglass” is an expansion of just the hips and breasts, “Hyper Preg” focuses on breasts and belly, “SSBBW” is short for “super-sized big beautiful woman” and you can easily guess what that is, “Weight Gain” focuses on literal weight gain, and finally, “Inflatables” are folks who want to be changed into big pool toys that are also, of course, inflated with air or a gas.
The growth always has a macguffin that works as a trigger for the scene. It could be as simple as a potion, a curse, or a piece of candy, or as complicated as a special machine or magical statue. At this point we introduce the medium, or the way the character is being changed. We can either grow naturally, where our bodies are just generating fat deposits like any normal growth, or be “inflated” (there’s the origin of the name) with gas, liquid, slime, etc. Different folks have different preferences for mediums. One may love the concept of a character floating in the air from taking too much helium, while another may enjoy the weight of water.
Scenes can be solo, where a participant chooses to change their own body, or between an inflator/inflatee, where one person causes the change and the other accepts it. This is the part that most kinky people will begin to understand: the power dynamics between inflator and inflatee. Inflator usually takes on the role of the Dominant, while the inflatee is usually the submissive. It doesn’t always work like that, of course, but that’s the most common dynamic.
Instead of restraints, like ropes or bondage equipment, we are our own restraint. By changing our bodies, we usually don’t move so well. Characters might get stuck in doors, rip out of clothing, squish into rooms that are simply too small, or the addition of gas or liquid in our limbs might keep us from bending. Of course, bondage can easily be added to our kink, so people are stuck not just due to the inflation, but also restrained by rope, cuffs, or other bondage equipment. While we can deal with pain in the kink, it’s usually overlooked and replaced by intense pleasure through change. Instead, many of us focus on internal pressure.
Everyone has a limit to how much they can be filled, and the character will feel that pressure rising and rising. The symbolism here is obvious: it’s a visual and internal orgasm. The timing of the final rush is usually centered on where the character finds their limit. Here we have two branching choices: stay safe in which the character orgasms and stops their growth, or pop where the character orgasms and “explodes” simultaneously. Many inflationist characters simply reform in some way, back down to their original size, and are ready to ride again.
Many of our pieces feature otherworldly elements, from fantasy to sci-fi. Very rarely are we grounded in reality: Our kink simply can’t function without the suspension of disbelief.
Practicing our kink in real life is done through various pieces of prop work, which we call rigs. Injecting fluid or gas into your body via any means is extremely dangerous, and therefore many of us stay away from that. Instead, the rig is created with multiple pieces of clothing layered together with a balloon or inflatable underneath. Some folks have the money to go further, using transgender silicone skin tops or bottoms so it looks like a person is actually inflating and can be nude. Otherwise, we’re clothed or use props that match skin tone.
Inflation is Based in Nature and Instinct
There are a lot of transgender inflationists. And I mean a LOT. In helping run SizeCon, the only adult convention dedicated to our niche kink, I was surrounded by more transgender women than I ever had been in my life.
Yet is any of that surprising? Our kink is based in change and transition. Inflation can be about the end state, sure, but so many of our stories and thoughts focus on the process. The tightness of the clothing as it strains around the person, seams popping, characters falling on their rears due to their inflation – all of that is visual change.
We, as transgender people, change. This kink is in many way a reflection of what many of us experience in our lives. And you may have noticed a lot of my recollections focus on feminine physical assets over male-coded assets. This is what I believe the core of my kink comes from. It is, in many ways, the celebration of femininity or maternity. Our puberty and our hormones change our bodies, grow our breasts, add that soft layer of fat to cushion us for a future of maybe producing a child.
It was wild for me to watch my chest grow, feel my skin get softer, and squeeze my growing rear into my skinny jeans. It was everything I had practiced in my kink for years and years, and it was legitimately happening to me.
Inflation kinksters love all shapes and sizes. Your body, no matter the form it takes, is beautiful. I remember that feeling of societal pressure to be that “perfect woman,” as so many transgender women feel, but I was able to apply my kink to dilute that poison. I was happy with how I looked, be it a large pregnant woman or a small, pencil-ish nerd. I had the power to tell society to screw off because that was not what I wanted. This supermodel image was, and still is, not my desire.
For Love, Cuddles, and Science
When I returned to the inflation kink in the hellish year of 2020, the community had changed. Originally, when I admitted to other artists and writers that I was transgender, traffic to my stuff super slowed down. Back in the early 2000s, our kink was like 90-95% male. Upon returning to our community last year, the split had severely changed. We are now closer to 60% male and 40% female, and we are immersed between the LGBTQIA+ and Furry communities. We went from “I don’t understand a transgender experience” to “Psh, welcome to the club.”
Body positivity had flourished while I was gone. It made perfect sense for us. We’re bouncy, a little hyperactive, and ready to squish into someone. Size only mattered if the word was “bigger.” We also finally united with the Giant and Tiny (think Lilliputian) kinks, forming the new “size community.”
The people whom I have met and worked with this year have astounded me. Their artistry and understanding of proportion and perspective is deep. One of my artist friends told me, “You can’t do inflation unless you understand our basic proportions.” He’s right. You need to know the basics before you can take them to extremes.
My friends are doctors, lawyers, retail workers, white-collar professionals like myself, cooks, game designers, research scientists, psychologists… So many of us just spout amazing knowledge of our basic biology. The community even has a scientific inside joke: the infamous Square Cube Law. The larger your volume, the more difficult you are to cool. Elephants actually have this problem: they are so large that their internal temperature can dangerously rise. This is why they blow water out of their trunks onto their bodies frequently, or roll in dirt. So, if you applied that to a giantess or an inflationist… well it can’t work. We damn this scientific law with laughter. Our community loves our knowledge of ourselves.
The personas we emulate are at the core of who we are. Care-free, loving individuals who love to squish or be squish hugged by our friends. Our characters hold devious smiles and throw their worries and cares to the wind. We love to change.
I know I loved my change. My emotions emerged, my depression subsided, and I am stuffed full of creativity. I joke that I’m “pregnant with ideas, I just gotta figure out birth.” Even that is an embrace of my internal feminine self. I never would have said that years ago. I would have been scared out of my mind to even admit that I felt like I was female.
Inflation showed me that I can love myself and be proud of my body. I don’t have to feel like I’m doing something wrong or bad, like I was trained to feel. My wife noticed it, actually. She always tells me, “You stand up straighter when you look bigger than 9 months. Your stance shifts. You’re confident.” She’s right. I finally do feel confident.
Throughout all of this, one thing stayed the same: our passion for feminine curves. I specifically never mentioned that back in 2006, when our community was male-dominated, a lot of the artists weren’t frightened of things like male pregnancy, or a man inflating and gaining feminine-coded traits like prominent breasts or soft skin. They were ready back then, just as they are now, to embrace that femininity within all of us.
We just have to be willing to listen to it.
About the Author
Astra Ebonwing is a professional writer, game designer, and video game producer. Her fiction work has been published in major video games such as Batman: Arkham City, F.E.A.R. Online, EVE Online, and others. She is honored to have contributed to iconic characters such as Wonder Woman and Superman. In the kink space, she is an inflation model and writer, with a new kink-based tabletop RPG debuting in 2021 called Wicked Wonders. When not inflating or playing a game, she can be found hugging cats, performing her duties as a Wiccan priestess, or joining live action role playing games throughout the United States. Follow her on Twitter and DeviantArt.