Christopher White, Ph.D., is an expert in sexual and reproductive health with over 25 years of professional teaching experience. He’s also a huge proponent of public sex.
“I had my first gloryhole experience in 1990, when I was 19,” he writes in a new op-ed titled Sexploitations: Glory Hole-Alujah! “Bored one night in the dorms, a friend and I decided to check out the adult bookstore near our university.”
After that, he says, he was hooked, going back night after night.
The art of gay cruising dates back decades, to the days when “homosexual conduct” was illegal, gay bars didn’t exist, and bathhouses were places people actually went to bathe. Men had to be creative with how they hooked up, meeting up in public parks after dark or empty bathrooms under the cloak of night.
“Years later, the art of anonymous gay sex has changed dramatically, mostly for the better,” he writes. “But I find hook-up apps take the thrill, the anonymity, and the immediate pleasure out of the game.”
White says he doesn’t like all the back and forth, the banter, and figuring out the logistics of who hosts and who travels.
“I prefer cruising,” he says. “I like walking into a public restroom and noticing too many men hanging about with a nervous, expectant energy.”
“No one exchanges names or makes small-talk.”
The “real thrill” of cruising, White says, was “following a hot guy: the waiting, the peeking, the hunt, the anticipation. The cruise. Part of the excitement is the chance of being watched — or getting caught.”
Despite the rise of apps like Grindr, Scruff, and Tindr, White says the cruising scene is still thriving, you just have to look a little harder for it.
Cottaging, cruising, visiting the tearooms, or whatever you want to call it often takes place on college campuses and in shopping malls, parks, and rest stops on the highway. You can also find guys cruising on beaches, wooded areas, on the street, and in adult bookstores.
He believes every gay man ought to give cruising a try once in their life.
“When you’re ready to try something a little more exciting,” White writes, “put on some loose shorts or tight jeans, and head to a local cruising spot.”
Have a fun, sexy time, and remember to stay safe — both from physical danger and by protecting yourself from STDs and HIV. And don’t forget that public sex is illegal in most places, so don’t get arrested. Happy hunting, boys!