recreation

Anonymous Sex + Endless Lube: Welcome to the World of Gay Sex Clubs

clubpeek

I sat fireside with a portly, rosy cheeked man puffing a stogie while he regaled me with stories of yesteryore. We might have been models for Norman Rockwell but instead of a den in a small New England snowcapped cottage, we were just two of the many men at one of the west coast’s most hardcore gay sex clubs.

Slings, glory holes, jock straps, assless chaps–it’s all about easy access here unless you’re trying to talk to management. Due to the nature of their business, staff members of sex clubs are rarely willing to speak on the record. Most of these clubs were illegal operations in past lives, so there remains a nostalgic reticence to do anything in the public eye. Not to mention, the confidentiality of their customers is paramount to their prosperity. Although this Southern California club is legal, I have changed names to protect the anonymity of staff and patrons. This club is so legal, in fact, that the building it’s in was selected with the help of members of the Vice Squad and Building Safety Enforcement. Regulations for a legal “encounter establishment” include certain proximity from schools and residences.

With a Plexiglas partition between us, I told the cashier I was there to see Glen, the longtime manager of the club, who is a friend of a friend. “In the microphone,” the cashier gruffly ordered me. Crouching down I spoke carefully into the microphone, “Is Glen around,” I asked, tempted to order fries with that. “I’m Glen,” grumbled a burly man as he emerged from darkness. “I’m a friend of Rob’s from the bar next door,” I explained. “He said I might be able to talk to you about…” Glen interrupted me. “Step to the side,” he said looking annoyed. Speaking into my second microphone of the evening (“We’ve got a spill in Sling Two, spill in Sling Two,” I imagined), I carefully stated my intentions for seeking him out. To my surprise, he invited me right in. We sat on the patio, by a blazing fire pit, while other patrons refueled before their romp. Endurance, I would learn, is crucial.