MEMBER ARTICLE: Getting “Thunderballed”

MEMBER ARTICLE: Getting “Thunderballed”

from Recon News

21 August 2019

By DivemasterDaddy

Unpacking the fetish of scuba and its gear

My first, earliest, and most dominant fetish to this day is scuba gear. As a young boy I would watch classic films and TV shows from the 1950s through the 1970s such as Thunderball, Sea Hunt, and The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. I'd scour the TV Guide for late night showings of these movies and other shows (this was way before VCRs, DVRs, and the Internet). Watching strong, masculine men such as Sean Connery (as James Bond), Lloyd Bridges (as Mike Nelson), Burt Reynolds (in Shark!), Robert Urich (as Jim Street in S.W.A.T. and later as Robert Gavilan in Gavilan) clad in tight, slick rubber wetsuits was the first sexual trigger that ignited my young libido. I dreamed of suiting up in gear alongside these divers as we prepared to do a back roll and enter the alien world of the sea. The gear that they donned and was required for their very survival – tanks, regulators, masks, fins – only added to their super hero-like personas as they dropped beneath the surface to fight alien creatures, battle villains, plot and carry out undersea missions, search for sunken treasure, or penetrate wrecks. These adventures tested their mental and physical abilities and often placed them in compromising life-or-death situations. These strong visual images of masculinity inspired my intense and life-long fetish for all things related to scuba diving.

It was several years later (1995 to be exact) before I would be able to bring my fantasy to life and become a certified scuba diver. In my confined water and open water class sessions I could barely contain my excitement, and I was conscious of what was stirring below my weight belt as I learned and practiced all the skills. The collective sensations of being submerged in water, hovering weightless, breathing off my regulator and tank, feeling the tight hug of my wetsuit as water seeped in, and listening to the hiss and gurgle of the bubbles that I was making were sensory overload. To this day any dive I make gets my testosterone pumping and my libido surging on both conscious (when I'm diving recreationally) and subconscious (when I'm in a professional environment) levels.

For me, scuba is the height of masculine expression in what I like to call "naturally occurring gear" – gear that is designed for an actual industrial or commercial working purpose rather than for a sexual fetish. We gear heads have appropriated gear across numerous other categories – police and firefighter uniforms, sports kits of all varieties, rain gear, cowboy gear, construction gear – the list goes on and on. While scuba gear remains a relative niche in the larger fetish world, through my journeys I am discovering more and more guys – divers and non-divers alike – who share my affinity for scuba and its gear around the globe.

In putting together this piece, I wanted to dive deeper (pun completely intended) and explore why the combination of the gear and the multiple sensations of scuba diving draws some of us so strongly to it at such a visceral and primal level. The first area I sought to unpack was the relationship of scuba gear to other antecedents and corollary gear items across the fetish landscape.

Scuba gear's relationship to other fetish gear

In my opinion, wetsuits represent the most obvious and direct relationship to the larger category of rubber, latex, and neoprene gear. Early wetsuits from the 1950s through 1970s (and into the 1980s) were made of shiny black rubber with a neoprene backing. It's no stretch to see how rubber or latex suits resemble the wetsuits we divers wear. For more advanced divers, drysuits offer the ultimate protection from the elements. While newer drysuits are made of cordura (a synthetic material composed of nylon and other composites), older versions and current industrial versions are made of vulcanized rubber with canvas backing. Our drysuits (especially the rubber ones) draw a direct line to hazmat and other heavy-duty full body gear designed to protect the wearer from harsh or even deadly contaminants. Most scuba gear heads opt for the rubber versions made by manufacturers such as Viking, DUI, and the old-school favorite, Aquala. I have a DUI myself.

The masks we use that allow us to see underwater – half masks that frame our eyes and nose, full-face masks such the EXO or AGA that enclose our entire face, full commercial helmets such as the Kirby Morgan used primarily in commercial and industrial diving – correlate directly to fetishes for the Self Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBAs) that firefighters use, gas masks used in military special operations, or other gear that confines our faces and heads. Our regulators and tanks provide life support in the form of compressed air and allow us to breathe and remain underwater for our missions. It's no stretch to connect these apparatuses to other breath control devices and similar scenes (but outside of fantasy role play we always observe the first rule of scuba diving: never hold your breath!)

To help us float weightless underwater we divers use a variety of vests, jackets, and other riggings broadly called buoyancy compensation devices (BCDs for short). Our BCDs are connected to our tanks via a high-pressure hose that allows us to add and subtract air to and from our vests to achieve neutral buoyancy. For me, this gear compares to harnesses and other safety vests that assist construction workers, loggers, pole climbers, and other blue collar professionals who need to be anchored to or suspended from something. (They also remind me of the jet pack that 007 used at the beginning of Thunderball.)

Finally, the fins we strap on transform us from land-based bipeds into frogmen – aquatic creatures who can glide through the water like amphibious creatures using our webbed feet to propel us forward. Like the boots that make the cowboy or the cleats that make the football player, our fins complete our conversion.

Scuba sensations

Many scuba gear heads (like me) revel in the overwhelming ways that scuba engages most of our nine (yes, you read that right) senses. [In my research for this article I discovered that some branches of science add four additional senses: thermoception (sensing heat and cold), equilibrioception (sensing balance and gravity), proprioception (sensing overall body awareness), and nociception (sensing pain)].

Vision (sight). For some of us (yours truly included), simply seeing a diver geared up from head to toe is enough to send us into orbit. For others, seeing a piece of gear in isolation will give them a big old boner. For example, I knew of one guy who had an obsession with big dive watches, another obsessed with fins, and a third who went crazy seeing a man's lips wrapped tightly around his regulator.

Audition (hearing). The gurgles and bubbles that our regulators make as we exhale under water also holds a particular auditory thrill for some divers. Sound traveling through water produces particular sets of plunks, plops and hollowed out decibels that ring in our ears an remind others that we're far from the surface. (Think of auditory deprivation scenes and you'll get the picture.)

Tactition (touch). The sense of being encased in all the gear – wetsuits hugging our entire bodies tightly, or our drysuit compressing around our groin, masks strapped tightly to our face, regulator mouthpiece shoved into our mouths, fins fastened to our feet: we are underwater warriors ready for battle, one with our gear.

Gustation (taste). For non-divers, salt water can seem like an awful tasting medicinal mouth rinse. For other divers, we live for the salty brine that seeps into our mouths and the residual salinous film that it leaves, and we can taste in our beards as we exit the water. The rubbery taste of our regulator's mouthpiece holds particular thrill for some divers and could be correlated with other types of mouth restraints and the play that goes along with them (for example, football and boxing mouth guards).

Olfaction (smell). Dive gear produces some very distinct smells, most prominently the scent that neoprene wetsuits and rubber dry suits produce when they're hung together in a dive locker or other enclosed space. It's the scuba diver's equivalent of someone who gets off on the scents resident to a gym or locker room. Taking this one step further, those of us into man scents (pits, feet) can be propelled into frog hog heaven when the odors a diver produces mix with his gear.

Equilibrioception (balance & gravity) and proprioception (body awareness). I spoke earlier about buoyancy, one of the fundamental skills that every diver needs to master. For divers, achieving weightlessness can produce a euphoric sensation of being suspended in an alien environment. I also believe this sensation that diving produces takes us back to our primal, pre-birth gestation periods when we were in the womb.

Thermoception (heat & cold). While I've not encountered anyone (so far) who gets aroused on either the heat or cold that we divers experience when we're underwater, I am never one to rule out a new dimension of our fetish! With that said, there are some guys (yours truly included) who love to gear up and sweat it out on the surface before we get in the water.

Nociception (pain). Similarly, we divers are hyper aware of various types of pain we can experience and train carefully to avoid or treat various conditions: ear or mask squeeze and cramps being the most common. But like guys who are into medical scenes and other scenes in which inflicting mild pain is a component, I would imagine there are at least a few out there for whom the pains of diving (whether intended or unintended) are a turn-on.

Getting "Thunderballed": Sex in scuba gear.

While not impossible, having full-on sex underwater in all our gear can pose some challenges to the uninitiated, though it is not impossible. Warm water diving is probably the most conducive, especially when wetsuits are thinner and perhaps easier to unzip and access our "johnsons." More common scenes (especially in cold water environments) typically involve us getting enough friction going between our suits and our members to spill our seed in our suits. Using two-piece wetsuits (shorts and a vest) or appropriating other fetish-specific neoprene gear (such as carpenter-style neoprene shorts) facilitate easy access to getting off at depth. Many kinky divers also gear up to varying degrees on the surface and incorporate our scuba gear in land-based sex, or in shallow water environments such as pools or hot tubs.

I hope this piece has help to shine some light on a (not-so) small but very strong global fetish community. Over the years, and thanks in huge part to the Internet, we scuba heads have been lucky to identify and connect with each other and learn that we're not alone in our particular fetish. I want to thank Recon for the opportunity to explore the underwater world that makes me and many other kinky divers tick. We'll see you on the bottom. The Divemaster will be waiting for you….

DivemasterDaddy is a PADI-certified Divemaster from Palm Springs, California where he lives with his husband, SPECTREFrogman, who also is a diver.

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