Welcome to our latest feature, Queerty Query, where we’ll be raising questions and asking you to weigh in. Sometimes they’ll be funny, sometimes they’ll be serious—it all depends what the chatter around the water cooler is.
Today we’re looking at a topic that’s been debated within the gay-male community for years: public sex.
Before you could easily walk into a bar and chat someone up, before the advent of Grindr and Manhunt, gay guys had few opportunities for intimacy—leading many to turn to public parks, men’s rooms and other cruising grounds to find sex.
Though times have changed, and finding a partner is as easy as turning on your cell-phone, the cruising culture is seemingly still thriving: A five-year undercover campaign in Palm Beach has resulted in the arrest of more than 600 men since 2006. In January, a fundamentalist preacher and a police officer were among those arrested in a public-sex sting operation in Tampa’s Peace River Park. Just this week, 18 men were arrested in Los Angeles for turning a public rest room into a makeshift love shack.
Are these men victims? Is public sex essentially a victimless crimes? Or is it unfair to commandeer public spaces for what should be private activities. (Lord knows we don’t want to see a straight couple bumping uglies in Central Park.)
Are tearoom trade and the like just part of gay culture or do they hold us back from making advances in the struggle for our rights?
As a counterpoint, San Francisco writer and porn star Conner Habib wrote an essay in Salon defending rest-stop trade as an act of political and sexual transgression:
For the man who is unsure of his sexuality, or unsure of how to tell others about it, for the man who has a family but feels new desires (or old, hidden ones) unfolding inside of him, the website and the phone apps are just too certain of themselves. They’re for gay men who want to have gay sex. Sex at the rest area, instead, abolishes identity; there’s a sort of freedom there to not be anything—instead, men just meet other men there; men who want the same sort of freedom…
I live in San Francisco now, and there’s more acceptance here of sexuality and identity than anywhere I’ve ever been. There’s also very little anonymous sex. “Anonymous” sex here means meeting a man online or on Grindr or at the bar, learning his name, going back to his apartment or mine. It’s not a bad thing, of course, but I miss being a nobody at an in-between place, a no-place. Here, I have to be somebody, everything is so defined around the edges. At the rest area, I could just be a body, be there for some other body that I didn’t know, that was longing for the sort of comfort and love that only no one, nowhere could give.
So, should public sex be accepted as a permanent part of the gay-male identity or relegated to history’s garbage heap? Make your presence known in the comments!
Did straight people suddenly stop having sex in public? I’m confused as to why this is being claimed as part of just the gay-male identity.
the other Greg
A secluded section of a public park at midnight is a lot less “public” than the men’s room at the beach at noon. Many big-city police departments make the distinction, but a lot of Queerty comment-ers seem mystified by the difference.
For me, it all harkens back to that old saying about consenting adults behind closed doors doing as they so choose. While I don’t advocate public sex in which non-participants are unwillingly exposed to such acts, I would like for society to take on a more relaxed attitude about private/discreet sexual encounters within a larger public setting.
@JH: I have the same question. Especially how it is associated with the gay-“MALE” identity. Would I, as a female, be treated with as much hostility for openly engaging in sexual acts with another woman? Of course not.
I don’t like the idea of public nudity or sex, but I also don’t like that the perceptions (and penalties) vary depending on gender and sexual orientation.
It has been proven time and again that almost 100% of men busted in these types of stings at bathrooms/rest stops identify as straight and are usually married.
Shame on Queerty for associating this nonsense with the gay community. Shoddy reporting as usual.
Yes. No one should have Sex in public. It’s indecent and gross. Have some respect for society and at least enough enough class to get one of those pay by the hour hotel rooms.
Public sex for gay men is sort of an outdated idea, really. It was a thing in the 70s and earlier when there were ways for men to otherwise meet and hook up, and being out without fear of a loss of social status was more prominent. Now, men have dating web sites, apps, etc to meet, and more gay men are out, and in public relationships. The social forces the were largely driving tea rooms in the 70s are basically gone now.
I’m not suggestion people shouldn’t have public sex because of this, but the question of whether they should just seems to be a bit dated, even in light of these arrests. Public sex is much less transgressive now than it used to be. Now, even as a fellow gay man, I have to wonder why they just don’t get a room.
I have seen more straight public sex than gay public sex, in fact, I have never seen gay public sex with my own eyes.
I had to read this twice. Queerty is not saying that public sex is exclusive to the gay-male identity BUT it is part of SOME gay men’s identity based on what Conner Habib wrote.
As far as bathroom sex, gay or otherwise, becoming history is very unlikely. so long as people are horny and want to cum without having to learn the person’s name who helped them achieve this they will seek to have public sex EVEN if they know that it might land them in jail.
I have mixed feelings on this matter. I guess, in my personal opinion, if the public place the men are engaging in sex is private and nobody can see what’s going down (or who’s going down), then who is it harming? On the other hand, if they are engaging in sex in a public place where other people can see what’s happening (especially young children) then it’s probably not a good idea. I would have the exact same opinion, if it was two women or an opposite-sex couple.
How is this even a question?
Yes, it’s time for everyone to stop having sex in public. Gay, straight, whatever, it’s disgusting. If this kind of thing is part of your identity as a human being, you’re probably a very gross human being.
The fact that this behavior has so many defenders is downright sad.
Have these people ever been to spring break? Huge amount of str8’s banging their brains out, I’ve seen a str8 couple having sex in the middle of the day in front of Bannana Republic in Seattle, so please its far from being a gay thing.
fifty years ago there were sleazy gay men who often looked for sex in public restrooms. Sometimes the gay men were looking for some straight bit of trade to suck on. Other times they were simply looking for any available penis.
The practice is much the same today and is still sleazy.
Can you guys get off your high horse??? Since when has ANYONE ever walked into a public restroom and witnessed men having sex? Everyone is making it sound like just about anyone could walk into any public restroom and witness two men going at it. That’s NOT how it works. Yes, men have sex in public but do it in a manner where all activity stops before anyone witnesses it. If two men want to get it on while they’re in a bathroom stall, as long as there isn’t a possibility someone else can accidently view what’s happening, then STFU about it already.
I am sure these sting operations involved an undercover cop pretending to be a gay man trying to get other men to hook up with him.
And we’re not even touching the topic of secluded sections of parks after midnight. Until the police try to crack down on heterosexual public sex as they do with homosexuals then maybe you guys need to redirect your wasted anger at what the real problem is.
Again, let me ask ANY of you: Have you ever witnessed public sex without actually being on the look out for it? If not, again, STFU already.
Motel rooms and Bath Houses still exist right? Because this isn’t the middle of the 20th century anymore, and unless you’re and exhibitionist (as the Connor Habib article was written by a porn star), or have some other paraphallia why would you have sex in public? No one wants to chance upon your favorite position while walking their dog, no matter who or what you are. Get a room. And random hook ups if you’re unsure are easy, ask anyone. Kind of an archaic practice to need rest stops and parks.
I don’t think people read the artical well. From what I got, the crux
of writer is asking, is with the avalibility of Manhunt and Grindr and the many on-line sites, is it necessary now, 2012, for GAY men to be sexing it up in public restrooms/public parks ect…
I say no. Public restrooms/parks are just that. There not public sex places. Gay,
straight or otherwise, people need to learn self control.
And regardless of how these men identify and even if they are married to women, they are still engaging in gay sex.
Even asking the question shows the bias of our times. Why aren’t we asking the question about blowing bubbles or walking dogs? What’s so evil about public/semi-private sex that this is a legitimate topic of discussion? Who’s harmed?
Couple of things here: public sex (which in itself can be defined in a number of ways) is a question of how one feels morally about such things. I don’t think time has made a difference to such things, if you’re the sort of person who was offended about such things in 1964 you’ll still be offended by them now.
The more interesting question is why does it continue to occur? The answer is more psychologically complex than “ooh it’s just a bad habit that we haven’t been able to get rid of since we got all this stuff like equality and Grindr”.
Lastly – hets banging in public: always will be treated with a slappin’ on the wrist rather than a slappin’ on the handcuffs. Still a major double standard occurring, without a doubt.
Is this really being asked? Seriously? Public sex of any kind (gay or straight) should be frowned upon. Anyone who is having public sex deserves to be thrown in jail. Keep it in your bedroom.
I still have yet to hear of anyone walking in on someone having public sex…
Basically, IMO, the argument is futile if you can’t see public sex happening unless you’re trying to participate in it.
It’s another “let me control your life based on my so-called morality when what you’re doing in your life in no way affects mine”.
Guys who are having public sex SHOULD be arrested if someone walks in on them doing it. Otherwise MYOFB.
btw, I think it’s classic it’s a safe bet the guys here saying guys who are having public sex are the last guys anyone would want to have sex with, public or private.
As the facilitator of a group of divorced men who are gay, I think it interesting that no one blames the folks hiding in the closet for the public displays. Most of the ones caught are not OUT of the closet or marching in Pride. The reason they are not OUT is the public humiliation. Get rid of that and the public sex will diminish. It won’t go away any more than straight public sex will, but it will be better I think.
As a gay father of two I honestly have a problem with not being able to take my sons to a public park or to use a public restroom without first having to survey the area for sexual activity. Yes, I have walked in on gay men having sex – twice and both at roadside rest areas and on one of the occasions one of the participants was the state hired employee who “services” (no pun intended) the rest areas. The backroom of a bar or bookstore – go for it if you must but it’s usually going to be unprotected. Bath house or gay guest house – go for it. But public parks mid-day or department store or mall bathrooms? Get a room or go out to your car. But this also goes for straight people having public sex – close the door and I’ll never bother you.
um, “saying guys who are having public sex should be arrested are the last…”
What is really wrong with sex in public? I have just as much right to use a public park as hets and their bratty, screaming children. It offends me more to see breeders walking their strollers through gay neighborhoods than seeing public sex. Don’t put your morals on me.
Streetsmart – TWICE??? Um, yeah… Sure you have. Exactly what places are you visiting that you just happen to walk in on men having sex not once, but twice???
“Yes, officer, I don’t understand how, when I walked into a crack house, someone was actually smoking crack.”
Sorry, but you’re completely full of it. So let me get this right. There are so many men having gay sex in bathrooms that just don’t care about getting arrested that they’ll continue to have sex no matter who walks in on them.
Again, you’re full of it. No matter who it is having public sex they damn sure don’t want to get arrested and make damn sure to stop the activity when someone walks in in case that person happens to be a cop.
While I agree that American society needs to have a more accepting view of sex in general, anyone (including myself) should be able to go to a park (or anywhere in public for that matter) and not have to run into people having sex. Heterosexual, Homosexual and everything in between.
I don’t care who or what it is. I understand public sex is alluring but keep it to private property, in a car or somewhere that people who don’t want to view your sexual acts don’t have the chance of running into you.
Someone has had to of ran into someone having public sex, otherwise how would anyone know it’s even occurring? Just have some respect for other individuals.
Donald E. Hull
So many men, so little time…is that it? Use your intelligence and throw in a little compassion before letting it all hang out. We should ALL respect others sensitivities IF we expect others to respect ours…AND, especially when there are people of other persuasions and/or CHILDREN around.
Are you maybe going around and preaching this to heterosexuals who are having public sex?
I am sick and tired of people coming in here and getting on their high horses when NO ONE is witnessing any of this public sex going on. And you can totally tell who is completely full of it when they say they’ve seen it going on.
Let me remind you about how horrible it would be to get arrested for public sex. The people who are doing it are making sure they’re not about to get busted.
It’s just obnoxious. If you don’t agree with it then don’t do it but to sit here and make it sound like gay men are having huge orgies in public restrooms is just offensive. We’re a bit smarter and swifter than that and know how to avoid getting arrested.
btw, this should be my last posting.
Let me just say ANYONE who is having public sex to the point where anyone can walk on them SHOULD be arrested.
However, all of us know that’s not happening.
I lived for 10 years in the Netherlands, where they actually patrol certain parks at night, not to arrest men for having public sex, but to protected them from mugging. But our culture is likely to never to be that accepting, so anyone wishing to have gay public sex in the USA is advised to be extremely careful. If a restroom is getting as busy as this one appeared to be, then it is likely to have come to the notice of the authorities. Use your brain guys, not just your cock. Is it worth it to be branded as a sexual offender for the rest of your life for a bit of exciting public sex? In the end I don’t think it is. This is a land of conservative sexual values and since we live here we have to deal with it.
Maybe we should just stop thinking that sex is a shameful thing. Sex is a beautiful thing that should be shared with as many people as possible. We need to get over the idea that sex is something dirty and must be done in private. Share your love…it’s a beautiful thing.
I live in Sydney, whose queer heartland is Darlinghurst. I get annoyed when I see lots of hetero couples holding hands on the streets there, disproportionately to what you see elsewhere. I means the bloke is feeling that unless he is claimed he may get targetted. As for public sex by gays, ho hum. We’re not more out there that str8s are; it should be: live and let live.You are still publishing stories of teens in schools getting targetted for wearing anti-homophobia tshirts, our basic rights are still being negotiated.
I lived for 10 years in the Netherlands, where they actually patrol certain parks at night, not to arrest men for having public sex, but to protected them from mugging. But our culture is likely to never to be that accepting, so anyone wishing to have gay public sex in the USA is advised to be extremely careful. If a restroom is getting as busy as this one appeared to be, then it is likely to have come to the notice of the authorities. Use your brain guys, not just your penis. Is it worth it to be branded as a sexual offender for the rest of your life for a bit of exciting public sex? In the end I don’t think it is. This is a land of conservative sexual values and since we live here we have to deal with it.
32 replies and Dan hasn’t responded. Was he ever going to?
Why ask a question and not reply to any of the answers?
I find this format very offensive – you’re basically setting up a hamster wheel for your readers – write something inflammatory or dramatic – let the readers out of the trap, sit back and watch them run around the track after the hare. In the meantime the author has vanished and Queerty sells advertising space based on hits (and comments?) etc.
If you ask a question come back and engage with those who reply.
the other Greg
@Evji108: There’s a park in Boston like that (in the Fenway neighborhood) where the police hang out nearby to prevent bashings, but not to bust the activity. Been like that since the ’80s, & I doubt it’s the *only* US city where there’s a situation like you describe. But again, that’s at night, not daytime.
It’s quite surreal reading some of these comments. Some of you make me wonder if you can actually read.
Sex in public regardless of straight, gay or questioning is against the law and for a good reason. The fact that we as gay men will be plastered all over the news when caught should give us pause when even considering the act. I guess we can boast we have at least one thing in common with straight celebrities in this regard. Have I ever seen it? Yes, in park bathrooms and even on the dance floors of clubs.
As for the porn star defending rest stop trade, well…
the other Greg
@chuckles: “Sex in public regardless of straight, gay or questioning is against the law and for a good reason.”
What’s the good reason, in your opinion? (Just so we don’t have to guess!)
And can you define “public”?
Like that’s gonna happen, excuse me, Golden Ruler, lol Why Gay; Haven’t you heard of DL, ask every fagot on here; BI is in even if you retch when you see clams! lmaso, Queers are gonna do what they want, it’s nature of the perverse.
Lumi Bast (@nugoyxi)
No people should be having public sex, besides in bathrooms, dressing rooms, etc if it’s discreet. I LOVE public sex in bathrooms, dressing rooms, etc. and I’m not visible to anyone.
What really is sad is when people fail to see that undercover cop operations to frame, snare and entrap innocent people are as much of a civil rights issue as marriage and adoption.
The dutch courts being much more reasonable instead of prudish have ruled that nobody can be charged with public indecency if they could reasonably expect that no-one was around to be offended. An arrest like this could only be legitimate if a third party complained.
In most cases, there would not be any “crime” if there weren’t any cops around snooping on people and cock-teasing them in order to arrest them.
I personally find the thought of having sex in a public toilet very non arousing. However, in the past I have had sex (very discretely) in the bush behind our local gay nudist beach. It was great fun and as I said very discrete, carried on in an area that the general public knew is a gay beach. However, I may appear hypocritical but I would never have public sex or condone having public sex in a general use community park as I do not believe I should impose myself on the general public who – it’s bad manners.
those of you who like public sex find it appealing cause it’s the forbidden fruit. If it became legal, you’d move on to another hobby.
@the other Greg: I assume you’re referring to the Fens. I’ve seen public sex there when I was walking my puppy late at night.
@Michael: Hello Michael. That was spectacular! I cannot believe the many pinch-brained attitudes being expressed here in.
@Bipolar Bear: Here, here, my friend.
This is just the corporate prison industry making hella money off arresting gay men. The prison system is what needs stopped, not human sexuality!
Public sex is perfectly legal in Germany and Holland and probably some Scandenavian Countries. It is not as popular as pre-Grindr, pre-Manhunt etc, but still attracts a lot of men and still gives the thrill of the hunt.
For starters- deserted moonlit beach @ 3AM. My BF and I had been having a romantic walk and decided to get frisky.anyone want to tell what’s. So terrible about that. One of my dearest memories wild and invigorating. (Tho sand does get EVERYWHERE 😉
Prohibition doesn’t work. Education does.
Each new crop of young people need to learn about sex. They need to learn about preventing pregnancy, diseases, relationships, and all of the social issues that go with those. Ok — gay men don’t get pregnant, but all of the other stuff still applies.
In Europe and most of the rest of the world, they try to educate their kids.
Only in the United States, we try to prohibit. We try to prohibit sex, and we try to prohibit even learning about sex.
It doesn’t work.
Everytime I hear about men getting busted for sex in public, it’s always OLD self-loathing closet cases that identify as straight. Normal straight AND gay people don’t need to sneak into a public bathroom looking for anonymous sex. The ones that do this always turn out to be messed up in the head.
Yes, they should stop. It’s almost traditional, from the days when we had nowhere else to go. But those days are gone. And most importantly, public sex is terrible pr for us.
The title of this Queerty article is misleading. It is NOT just gay men who have sex with men in public. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that at least half of them are bisexual or straight in their orientation.
How can a straight-oriented guy have sexual relations with a man? Libido. Libido in men is very strong.. Sexual behavior in men is determined not just by their orientation but by their libido. A straight man can get satisfaction from a man because it’s his libido that is being satisfied even though his orientation may be exclusively to women.
I’ve had friends who get it on in parks constantly (there are quite a few in Utah that are notorious for it happening all day and night). All I can think of is taking my child into a park restroom & hearing moaning. Straight or gay. It’s gross. Period.
Here in Lubbock, a gay man, the local head of Planned Parenthood, was accused of hitting on a 43 yr old man and flashing his junk in a park restroom. I know him, and don’t know what exactly happened, but this was about the time PP was getting racked over the coals by the anti-abortion crowd…. who’s to say a fundie didn’t follow him into the restroom, and snap a pic on his cell phone, then call the cops to make the accusation? I don’t know, but I do know I’m leery of being set up in this town after this incident. I’ll go into public johns only with a buddy now… sad but true.
People shouldn’t have public sex around cops and children.
Let’s see…. We just read about 600 men arrested in one restroom, but Michael says we all know it’s not happening. Hello???
I had the experience not long ago of walking in on it in a busy park. Noontime. 100 feet away a family was having a reunion. 100 feet in the opposite direction, children playing on the swings.
When I opened the door, I was stunned! I observed five urinals, and ten men. I’m serious! And five of them were on their knees, and the other five were standing with their pants unzipped, and we’re apparently enjoying the “service.”. When I opened the door, ten sets of eyes stared at me for a moment, and I guess they realized I meant no harm, and immediately continued about their “business.”
Mind you, I was not offended. But the person entering could have been someone deeply offended, or one of the nearby kids, or even a cop. I think we all need to be more respectful of others in public. At the same time, I have to say that I am really annoyed that my tax dollars are being spent to have officers trying to set-up stings in the middle of the night. What a waste of our limited resources.
You were not offended? Maybe you need to re-think your priorities.
Urinals are for pissing in, not having sex in. Nevertheless, I understand the congruence of urinals with the standards of these men. Couldn’t get any lower….
Having sex in public is obviously indecent. No matter who is doing it. Stuff happens though. I understand the whole being confused, stuck in a situation, whatever it may be etc…
My main concern is think of the cleanliness of the said public sex locations… I feel like thats a reason not to do it in itself….
@Jawsch:@chuckles: “Sex in public regardless of straight, gay or questioning is against the law and for a good reason.”
The good reason is _______________.
The LGBT community at large tends to be more sex positive, IMO. Compared to us, for the most part, straight people are prudes on this issue.
However, that being said, there is plenty of straight sex in public. I know, because I’ve seen it. Girls blowing dudes in the allies of bars and whatnot. But, because heterosexuals do not have the same stigma that homosexuals do, they get away with more on every level, including this one.
It’s all about what we want, I think. There will always be closet cases for whom even manhunt or grindr or whatever is too risky, so they take to toe tapping and park cruising instead. There is no way to stop it. No matter what rights we get, there will always be those closeted people in hetero marriages who need total anonymity and go this route. In short, we have to accept that this culture is here to stay.
@Allen D.: You know what else is really gross that goes on in a bathroom? Pissing and shitting. Oh noes! The CHILDREN!
Dirty Ole Man
I outgrew tea rooms in the 1960’s. I never understood the fascination with smelly sex. Get a hotel room!
Just show me the pictures and we can call it even.
Why are people still doing this? With the advent of technology and more acceptance, this is no long necessary to “get off.” This behavior (and reputation that come with it) is not helpful in the fight for equality. Every time someone gets caught doing this it damages the reputation of all gay men, propitiating the thought that gay men are only concerned with sex… however they can get it.
I find “public acts” indecent and immature… something you would do in high school or college and joke about later in life, not something fun or exciting as an adult. Maybe this attitude is derived from my “new generation” of thought (I’m 23) and my firm belief that there is no reason to be in the closet and therefore no need to sneak around in public bathrooms and parks.
Point is: Yes. It’s time to let this outdated, tacky, and reckless “tradition” die. It’s time to move forward, not stay planted in our past.
@Trent Abroad: I think it is your age. Even someone less than a decade older than you- I am 31- remembers much more extreme consequences for being gay than you would. Seriously, we have made many strides since say, 2004 or so. However, folks in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond might be on the hook to the tune of a marriage, mortgage, kids, and whole life where even an internet tryst via Craig’s List is too much to risk. That’s something your generation never had to endure, and I am grateful for that, and you should be too. However, try to have some compassion for those who are stuck and cannot come bursting out of the closet for the fear of life ruining consequences.
No. 34 · Evji108 wrote, “I lived for 10 years in the Netherlands, where they actually patrol certain parks at night, not to arrest men for having public sex, but to protected them from mugging. But our culture is likely to never to be that accepting,”
What they seem to have in the Netherlands is three classifications of behavior – legal, illegal, and “tolerated”. The “tolerated” category does not exist in the U.S. (the land of “zero tolerance”). In the Netherlands, they realize that you cannot legislate “perfect” human behavior, so they let people go a bit “wild” in specific settings. Thus, you have the “scandalous” red light district in Amsterdam where prostitutes hang out in small little boutiques, with a red light indicating if the business is occupied with a customer. It sounds outrageous, but it is carefully restricted to specific locations. A family with children does not have to worry about prostitutes setting up shop next door because the prostitutes are basically restricted to certain areas. “Tolerated” does not mean “legal” – you can’t do it everywhere – but the “softer” boundaries mean that Dutch society has less sharp edges than U.S. society so that fewer people get hurt.
They use the same approach for drugs, treating marijuana, which you can get in specific shops, differently than “hard” drugs, which are completely illegal to sell. The result? People who want to try marijuana end up getting it from someone who is not selling highly addictive drugs, not someone who using marijuana as a “loss leader” in order to get them addicted to heroin. It may sound bad, but the use of really dangerous drugs is less than in neighboring countries with stricter drug laws. Also, any addict that wants help can get it without being treated as a criminal.
@Kevin: This is a closet case or stright problem. I’ve been to many gay bar’s that have easy viewing urainals with mirrors ect… no sex goes on there, they piss and meet.
I’ve been the hypocrite on this topic saying public sex is wrong for many reasons including the rather simple and illogical ‘going against social norms’ and it promotes having multiple partners which can be risky for the ill informed gay man. However, I’m a recent college grad that attended one of the most conservative public universities and I definitely took part lol. So did my straight friends. Grindr wasn’t eliminating the need for public sex, just giving you a preview of the man and creating more locations/opportunities.
The library was a great location especially when you needed a study break. I was in the closet, lived in the dorms for a few years, and couldn’t have sex in my room because there was always a roommate or friend of a friend there for no reason. It was frustrating. So study carrels, chemistry building restrooms, labs, libraries, and Recs(gyms) turned into great locations. Now I have my own place, I’m out, and so public sex isn’t needed. But I understand why some ppl take part. And thats my spiel
@Kevin: I agree completely and having done 3 years of HIV outreach, I talked to many men in those settings. Almost none of the men we spoke with identified as gay or bi. Most were married, most had children, many had grandchildren, and many did not want to be characterized as gay or bi, both of those seen as stigmas they wished to avoid through the anonymity of sex in public parks and restrooms. It wasn’t unusual to hear them throw the terms “fag”, “faggot”, or “queer” at others, including those of us doing outreach.
I don’t think this is a G-A-Y issue. I think it’s a much larger psychological issue. We called these men MSM, but I think they’re just cowards.
I think sex in public toilets and parks is vile, there is no need for it, it should be a criminal offence, and people doing it should be put on the sex offenders register, Im gay and i feel that this sort of behaviour sets the gay community back, it focuses on the sleazy side rather than the more normal side of being gay, which is those people that arent just focuses on sex, Im not saying that straight people dont do the same, but we dont have equal rights, so everytime a celebrity or who ever get caught , it gives the haters room to stoke [ the i told you so] Which is insulting to those of us that find this sort of behaviour wrong, in the same way that the prostitution industry is wrong, and they arrest punters dont they ?
I was the king of this, and at the time, it was all out of necessity. Like many, I was married; it was before the days of the internet. It’s more complicated than simple “public sex,” and tagging it as such is not really accurate. It’s not public sex that we’re talking about here, it’s public cruising. Even if the sex happens on public property, it’s not PUBLIC if the sex is happening somewhere off in a hidden area, away from all other activity.
What always annoyed me is the double standard. If a straight couple decided to sit on a bench, or lay together on a blanket together–pumping and grinding, that was fine. They were simply being “romantic” together. But watch what happened if a gay couple did that; it’s suddenly lewd behavior. Keep in mind, it’s not sex we’re talking about here, but simple hugging or kissing. Perhaps today it’s different LEGALLY for two men/women to make out together on a blanket somewhere in public, but I’m certain it would still cause a scene unless it’s happening at a gay pride event. As far as full blown SEX is concerned, to see it happening OUT IN THE OPEN in a public place where anyone can see as a passer by, I doubt if it happens that much.
Having said that, cruising and sex CAN get out of control, which are the cases we still read about in the papers. There’s always someone who can’t control their behavior and goes too far winding up arrested. I don’t think woman cruise the same way guys do, I don’t know why that is. Perhaps they do, and it’s not as obvious. But the guys who were smart about it, would cruise public places and use them simply as a meeting place, always asking “Do you have a place to go?” and carry on from there.
I DID IT FOR YEARS, until I simply didn’t have to do it anymore. I have to say, I met some of the nicest and ironically, HONEST guys during that time. They came from every type of background you can name, both professionally as well as socioeconomically. Blue collar, white collar, straight, gay, married; they were all there, and they all were looking for the same thing. A quick fix with the possible outcome of a future friend with benefits. Perhaps it’s a risky game to play, but these are adult choices that many indulge in, even though they’re in a committed relationship. No one wants to hear that, but hey–stuff happens, and it’s not likely to end.
As far as any of the nay sayers are concerned, […”get a room…I think it’s disgusting, you’re all a bunch of liars and cheats…etc] I think you’re being extremely naive. Now, with the internet, if people are going to cheat, it’s easier than ever; we all know that. But for anyone that’s cruised the web looking to meet someone, we all know how frustrating that can be. People lie, simple as that. At least when you see, meet, and talk to someone in person, you know immediately whether or not you’re interested; there’s no game playing, at least as far as first impressions are concerned. It’s the same as meeting someone in a bar. Unless we’re drunk out of our minds, we know immediately whether or not someone’s “our type” and whether or not we’re interested. But the problem is NOT EVERYONE CAN GO TO A GAY BAR. They’re either not accessible, or for some other reason, we just can’t go to one. In that case, if someone can’t go to a gay bar, and is tired of the dating sites, WHERE AND HOW would any gay person [especially if they’re not out] meet one another? The gym? At work? Church? Maybe a family match maker! Good luck with that.
Public sex, cruising, whatever you want to call it, and no matter how you view it, has a purpose, and there’s a cause and effect as to why it exists. There’s still a lot of discrimination as far as it’s concerned, as well as a lot of foolish indiscretion among it’s participants. But to label it as wrong or unnecessary is simply naive.
Are you serious with this, Queerty? I guess David H. took all credibility with him when he abandoned this ship.
Straight people have sex in public all the time. Like gay men having sex in public, it is merely tasteless. It should, perhaps, earn you a fine and a “move along”. An arrest? A record? Having your face in the paper? When I see that happen to straight people, I’ll consider whether it’s ok to happen to gay men. Until then, shut the hell up and leave us alone.
Yes, it is time. If by “time” you mean 30 years ago.
If our acceptance into mainstream society is contingent in adhering to some Judeo-Christian morality then WTF? If dudes wanna get it on in a park why should I care? This notion that in order to be accepted we should “follow the rules” is nonsense.
I’m heading to a local rest stop this evening on my way home. What’s so wrong about a “blow and go”? No muss, no fuss. Nothing is done in public, so stop all this whining about people seeing what’s going on!
Please inform my newly married nephew and his wife that they can no longer have sex in elevators, meat lockers, storage facilities, cars, boathouses, water towers, the beach, rest stop bathroom, air plane toilets, train toilets, and a parking garage. These are the places they told me about. Who knows where else they’ve done the nasty in public.
There was a classic sociological study done years ago called “Tea Room Trade” by Professor Laud Humphrey. It caused quite a stir in academic circles with his personal documentation of public sex by men in restrooms.
I get it too
Attitudes regarding sex in the U.S., as reflected in some of the comments here, are not sane. Some of you talk as if accidentally witnessing some consensual sex could harm the person seeing it, yet you as a society are all hunky dory with exposing your children to the vilest possible things in violent video games and movies. No wonder the society is so often considered socially backward in more enlightened parts of the West.
By the way, almost all arrests for public sex are not for sex that would have been visible to the public at all, but for actions or suggestions only visible or audible to the cop who is doing the entrapment by encouraging his victim to commit them.
I anxiously await the article about straights having public sex . . . like in the stairwells at my office, or on the beach, or in the backseats of their cars, or etc.
@Kevin: I am sure your figures are WAY OFF. It is undeniably a gay thing.
@young prude: Sorry young prude, sounds like you grew up in a closet or at least a vacuum and want to stay there. Must we be such desperate assimilationists to hetero fictions that we give up a basic instinct and natural activity for at least the last 5000 years? For what, some parental, church or social approval?
@Peter: Because it is a beautiful, spontaneous thing –unlike shopping the photos and bs on the internet sites.
@Red Meat: You are really missing something.
@young prude: YES YOUR RIGHT
@JayKay: No, your pathetic,brain washed, puritanism is what is SAD.
@Jordan Sakai: What incredible prudes! This is what we have struggled for? To have self righteous, prudish homos condemning others. Pretty simple and very ungrateful.
@Jon: Thank you Jon, and what you says goes for homos with kids like “streetsmart”.
@the other Greg: A park in Boston? Try the main public library right in the stacks. It is wild, beautiful and great fun.
@Trent Abroad: Yes, and one I suppose is to assume that you prefer to shop on the internet for human bonding rather than encounter men in person. These young pinheads are certainly a spoiled, priggish, and unnatural lot. There have been sexual orgies in public for the history of human kind. I certainly think iit is a lot healthier and far more exciting to cruise and have sex in public.
@Trent Abroad: Yes, and one is, I suppose, to assume that you prefer to shop on the internet for human bonding rather than encounter men in person. These young pinheads are certainly a spoiled, priggish, and unnatural lot. There have been sexual orgies in public for the history of human kind, and at some times they were vast bacchanals. I certainly think it is a lot healthier and far more exciting to cruise and have sex in public.
The ? is: Is it not only time for GAY MEN but straight couples to stop…and yes…it is time for public sex to stop
I personally don’t engage in public sex with strangers or people I do know. Ideally it sounds fun and exciting, but in reality, it’s kind of sleazy and I don’t want any diseases. It’s one thing to be with a partner out in nature and have some moments of intimacy and another to be cruising for sex in filthy stinking public restrooms. Also, if the police have nothing better to do than stake out public restrooms, I don’t want to be part of the next round up. Besides, I thought that closeted men are the ones who find public restrooms a perfect opportunity to get some slap slap tickle tickle? Then they go back to their wife and kids and some go back to Capitol Hill.
@Jon: Love and sex aren’t the same thing. Sometimes there are loving feelings when having sex, but sex in itself is a stand alone. Men can have sex just to get off and there’s no love involved. Sexual relations with another person should be a private thing. I don’t necessarily want to see some people naked or having sex. So keep it to yourself because after a long day at the office, I don’t need to see that.
i’m afraid it always has been, and will continue to be, a part of gay-male culture, even when technology replaces the original need for it. damron guides started out as mimeographed lists of cruisy spots for travelers, and still include “at your own risk” sections to this day. saying it must end just makes it more forbidden, more taboo, and as soon as you make something taboo, the rebel in all of us will want to break it. it’s the adrenaline rush of the hunt, coupled with a charge against “the man,” since we’re managing to have sex in “their” public spaces, and i don’t think publicly saying it shouldn’t happen, will prevent the private activity from continuing, as usual.
as for cruisy spots, i swim by and see who’s fishing, but never actually bite. i’ve met some fascinating people, just as friends, on the outskirts of areas known to be cruisy. i’ve asked older men in public parks what certain areas used to be like, and have been amazed by the long-term reputations of now tamed, domesticated urban parks. cheers,
Nobody should be having sex in public! End of story. I don’t care if you’re banging a girl, a guy or a dog- GET A F*CKING ROOM
That entry on how supposedly great anonymous rest area sex is shows why we’re losing rest areas for their intended purposes. The idea of a sort of park you can just pull off the highway and, well, *rest* in, as well as use the bathroom, without having to go to a business (which, admittedly, there were fewer of when rest areas were created) was a good one. I *like* rest areas, and make use of them when traveling, and it’s shameful that, for so many of them, what happens is that first they’re overrun by people looking for sex (or drugs), then people not interested in those stop going, then they’re closed entirely in the name of law enforcement. Result: no rest areas at all.
@desdemona: banging a dog? Wtf is that about?! Sounds like a dumbass Santorum supporter to me. Ignorant prick
Hmmm…I don’t know.I engaged in public when I was 16 and 17.Thinking about it now,I don’t think that the place to do it.Couldn’t help myself then.
It’s not gay men that keep this going anymore, we had our time, pre-AIDS, and that is well documented. Most of the people doing this are closeted men (like I was when I was a teen and in my early 20’s) – many of whom live str8 lives with wives, children, etc. This kind of thing will never go away until society gets rid of the stigma of being gay. Until people feel like they can be gay or bi and not be ashamed, they will always find secretive ways to find the companionship they yearn for.
@tazz602: @tazz602: Well said! Gay people in their 20s today just don’t get it. They don’t seem to realize that the stigma hasn’t gone away yet, and the biggest thing of all is that a lot of people can’t get it through their heads that gay people get married trying to overcome and hide the fact that they’re gay. The simplest and most “strings free” approach– with no paper trail to finding sex– is cruising, where ever that may be. Get rid of the stigma, let being gay become a non secretive thing, and this whole issue will go away.
“QUESTION: Is It Time For Gay Men To Stop Engaging In Public Sex?”
Yes, along with every other permutation of people that engages in public sex.
I sometimes get squicky feelings about sex in public places, but then that reminds me what a product we all are– our whole culture– of oppressive Victorian so-called-“morality,” how we’re all either ‘in bed’ with it so to speak, even if we’re reacting against it.
Our bodies are part of our being, and sex is a natural function of our bodies. So if we are ‘good,’ then what makes anything about sex ‘bad’ or shameful? As long as no one’s being harmed by it– that is, as long as it isn’t creating sanitation/health issues for third parties, and as long as no one is being coerced or raped– what actual harm is done by people having sex outside their bedrooms?
Trudeau said during debates about decriminalizing gay sex in Canada that the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation. Well we’re citizens, the nation’s standards are the peoples’ to set, so if we were all to say “here’s an idea, to hell with our sexuality being cooped up into one room, to hell with the state telling us to compartmentalize it or hide it away– the state has no business policing our sex at all!” then this wouldn’t even be a question. If people didn’t consent to this puritan notion that our bodies are dirty, impure, disgusting things that traumatize children and whose use offends “God,” we could get together and tell the government and the finger-waggers that we demand and exercise the freedom to be sexual beings, period.
As long as it’s all consensual (including those in a position to ‘participate’ by watching, that shouldn’t be forced on anybody against their will either), and people clean up after themselves, y’know what– I think everybody should have more freedom to do as they will. We managed that way for tens of thousands of years before “moralizing” prudes got their grubby hands on the steering wheel of society and veered us onto the shoulder; certainly we could adapt to a new (or a return to an older) measure of ‘decency,’ if we actually wanted to claim our birthright as good, embodied, sensual beings.
@Ken S: “(including those in a position to ‘participate’ by watching, that shouldn’t be forced on anybody against their will either)”
And THAT’S why public sex is a bad thing. “Public” means that anybody could come along and witness your having sex, whether they wanted that or not. By having sex in a public place, you are denying them consent.
I’ve never understood how this happens exactly. I’m talking about men having encounters with men in rest rooms. I’m talking about places like heavily traffic venues like airports and rest stops. Do two men go into the same stall? One gives a blow job to the other? It would be easy to tell if two people are in the stall I would think. When Larry Craig was arrested years ago it baffled me as to how all this happens.
@Kevin: So some guys identify as straight and are married to women. So what! Gay is as gay does. Why can’t we just respect people’s right to be left alone.
Some of the hottest sex I have ever had was in a large college library. The library was huge, 7 stories high, and it was well known amongst gays students that the 6th floor men’s room was the place to meat (pun intended!).
There was no library employee on the sixth floor, and I fondly remember seeing as many as 6 or 8 college boys exchanging furtive glances and then pairing off in the rather small men’s room. On one memorable evening, there were 4 of us in the restroom at the same time exchanging hand-jobs and blow-jobs!
Ahh… so much fun!
To each, his own.
When I was about sixteen, I was taking the NYC subway to someplace, and before leaving the station, I went to the men’s room to take a piss.
I walked up to one of the urinals, took out my dick, and began to piss….it was then that I saw a crude drawing on the wall I was facing, of an erected penis and the words: “If you want a blow job, show it hard”, then I became aware of several men hanging around in there as though it was their club room. I was very uncomfortable, and though gay, not in the least bit attracted. I wanted out of there immediately, and actually caught me dick in the zipper as I rushed to get out. luckily it was just a catch, and I was able to recover from the hurt, and as I walked out, a really tired looking old queen, asked me,”Whats your hurry”? I never forgot that. I’ve been approached many times, and a lot of those times, I was agreeable, but a NYC subway piss stinking john full of degenerates is not one of them.
There’s a simple way to cruise without getting into “trouble”
Just walk along any busy street, and after you’ve spotted someone coming in the opposite direction, try to make eye contact, continue walking for about five to ten steps, turn and look again at the fellow you just eyed.If he’s done the same, you probably have connected, if not continue on your merry way until you see another prospect…..believe me, eventually, you will score. Provided you are not so unattractive that, well you know what I mean.
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