The Thrill of Risky Business: Public Sex exposed
Not so long ago, when gay bars and saunas were scarce and the internet had not yet come to dominate human communication, many gays partook in public sex, often out of lack of other options. Parks were one of the most common places for gays to find sex. Today, despite all these new ways for gays to meet up, public sex is growing in popularity and not just for gays. Those who partake in it today do it by choice and for the thrill of it. 2B takes a closer look at the phenomenon.
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Whether it’s in the public washrooms of a university, a movie theatre, or a shopping mall, in a parking lot, or outdoors in a park, any rarely-frequented spot is an ideal place for public sex. Couples and singles alike are becoming more and more turned on by this practice, perhaps due to its thrilling mix of voyeurism and exhibitionism.
From the screen to the cruising spot
Evidently, many single gay men and couples partake in public sex. According to many connoisseurs of the practice, the excitement comes from the risk of getting caught or from the fact that a voyeur might be peeking on the action.
The phenomenon is far from new in the gay community, but what is different now is there are so many other ways for gay men to meet other gay men for sex. Whereas before word of mouth was the primary means of finding out about popular public sex spots, there are now Internet sites devoted to mapping cruising spots and identifying what goes on there. Very popular with gays, the site squirt.org is a perfect example, with a section solely devoted to public cruising spots for thrill-seekers.
Defined by their visitors, these spots can be quite varied: whether it’s a public washroom in a university, a video store or a gym, the quiet corner of a park, train tracks to the east of Montréal, or a theatre, it’s surprising to see the number of places already established in the city. More than a hundred cruising spots are already established in Montréal, and the number continues to rise.
Most of these places have been photographed in order to allow new members to easily identify them. Visitors can comment on the accessibility of the site, its location and say what they liked and disliked about it. Regulars can indicate the most frequented times and can rate the spot on a scale of one to five.
The public sex phenomenon has taken a slightly different twist for heteros and even has its own terminology: dogging. Dogging, which is mostly practiced by couples, consists of having sex in a public place where others can view you. For example, a couple will have sex in their car, leaving the windows or the doors open to allow voyeurs to watch or even to allow for a third participant to join in. Many couples practice dogging to spice up their sex lives, or to reignite the spark in their relationship.
A happy mix of exhibitionism, voyeurism and swinging, dogging is a flat-out phenomenon in Great Britain, where it has grown rapidly in part thanks to the internet. The term dogging comes from the fact that certain men would claim that they were going out to walk their dog when they were really going out for some action.
The phenomenon is now popular in the U.S. and Canada, in Germany and France and continues to grow. In Montreal, there are only two spots that are known for dogging: the parking lot at Lac aux Castors on the mountain and in the Botanical Gardens in Parc Maisonneuve.
Discretion is Key
Evidently, sex in public and exhibitionism are illegal practices in Québec. It is therefore advisable to be discrete because getting caught could lead to a fine, or even being arrested, which could be humiliating. And out of respect, it is preferable to avoid places where there could be children for example.
Also, this type of practice could also be very risky for the transmission of STIs. One has to be prudent and protect oneself. And evidently, in case of outdoor sex, one has to be prepared for some inconveniences such as mosquito bites or sand getting into uncomfortable places.
Banner image: Wet Wood by Martin Douvil, oil on wood (2008) from the collection of ETRE MAG