“Delicate and soft and smooth… the bigger the better.'”
— Julius on the topic of balloons
My Strange Addiction is always good for a cringe. The TLC show was broadcasting the oddest corners of humanity — from shocking fetishes to freaky eaters — long before the internet took over. And so it’s no surprise that the reality TV program has led to some of the kookiest videos on YouTube. One of the classic clips? Julius, the man who is sexually attracted to balloons.
‘My Strange Addiction’
My Strange Addiction premiered in 2010 and highlights those willing to come forward with any crazy kink, twisted desire, and abnormal habits. Experts have weighed in, saying that the behaviors highlighted are not necessarily all “addictions.” Diagnoses vary. Additionally, some featured subjects were accused of being scammers who wanted 15 minutes of fame. And that’s shocking in itself because… is this really the program you want your name attached to?
Over the course of six seasons, My Strange Addiction viewers had front-row access to gnarly tales of OCD, psychosis, schizophrenia, trichotillomania, paraphilia — and much more. Exploiting real-life conditions, the premise of My Strange Addiction was voyeuristic to say the least. And it made for some of the trashiest 2010’s binge marathons you can imagine: a TLC specialty.
Paraphilia is considered an atypical sexual attraction, usually including extreme and/or dangerous activity. And to be blunt, it was those episodes focusing on strange sexual addictions which have gone down in tacky TV history. Strange Sex, a similar docuseries, also ran simultaneously on TLC.
The Ultimate Balloon Fetish
In 2013, My Strange Addiction highlighted 62-year-old Julius, a man who is sexually attracted to balloons. Yes, balloons. Julius’ segment of the full episode, “In Love with Balloons/Face Mask Eater,” can be viewed above. His desire for balloons frankly, and lovingly, with the cameras.
Speaking about the origin of his balloon love affair, Julius remembers the first time he discovered his attachment to those inflatable, bulbous, floating sirens… Julius was hospitalized when he was four years old and received a blue balloon gift from his mother. When a nurse popped the balloon that night, Julius found he was inconsolable. Now, as an adult, he even participates in balloon rescue missions. The inherent sadness of a deflated balloon affects Julius much more than most.
“When I see a beautiful balloon, my heart starts to flutter and I get aroused… when I’m holding one, y’know hugging it and kissing it, it’s like being in heaven.”
During one interesting moment of the interview, Julius says the larger weather balloon offers “more to love.” But it’s not always such a lighthearted affair. Julius’ nephew, an addiction counselor, seeks to help his uncle address his balloon devotion during the course of the show. Julius, though, is resolute in his way of life. So it also might surprise you to hear that Julius also has a human wife. Sadly, we do not hear from her on My Strange Addiction. It would be fascinating to learn about her side of the story, living in that colorful, balloon-stuffed household.
In all, it seems that Julius’ family is fairly accepting of his lifestyle. Though I doubt they invite him to the children’s birthday parties.
Other Balloon Fetishes
My Strange Sex also featured a balloon fetish episode, linked above. (Peruse through the YouTube playlist and you’ll find all kinds of shocking pics regarding other object sexualities. And from the sound of it, balloon fixations, in particular, are not so rare. On My Strange Addiction, Julius discusses two camps of balloon-lovers: poppers and non-poppers. He, of course, is a non-popper, so deeply appreciative the round and delicate form of a good balloon.