Sunday, December 23, 2007

Gay men seek straight men in public restrooms

In an article appearing in the Advocate's year end issue by Benoit Denizet-Lewis From The Advocate January 15, 2008 entitled, Public Sex Confidential

Denizet-Lewis asks:

So what is it that still drives some in the gay community out of the bedroom and into the Bathroom?

And the article is a well-researched response to some of the reasons. One is how compelling it is for gay men to find straight men in public bathrooms:

One powerful motivating factor for many gay men seeking sex in public
places is the belief that they will find the ultimate sexual prize there:
“straight” men. You won’t bump into many married or self-identified straight
guys in gay bars, but you will find them in public sex places, where they
believe their anonymity is best protected, and where they can get
no-strings-attached gay sex without the hassle of having to actually talk to gay
people (many public sex encounters are done without exchanging a word).

“The reality is that gay men are tripping over each other in public
places to service the guys that carry themselves in the most masculine way
possible, the guys that they believe will then go home to their wives or their
straight lives,” says Joe Kort, a psychotherapist and the author of 10 Smart
Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives.

“Straight guys are the ultimate unavailable man, but for a few minutes
in the darkness gay men can have them. And for many gay men it’s the first time,
and the only real place, where they will feel seen, accepted, and validated as
sexual people by straight men. But in the context of public sex, it’s a twisted
form of validation.”

Undercover cops looking to arrest men engaged in public sex understand
that appearing straight carries currency in parks and bathrooms. Richard
Tewksbury’s study “Conversation at the Oasis” -- published in the March 22,
2007, issue of The Journal of Men’s Studies -- details the following
conversation between a cruiser and an undercover police officer on a park nature

Suspect: You come down here much?

Officer: This is my first time. I just heard about it on the

Suspect: You’re a good-looking man.

Officer: Thanks. My wife thinks so too.

The study surveyed police records of 127 cases of public gay sex in a
California city between 1995 and 2005. Tewksbury found that awareness of the
potential for arrest “does not appear to deter cruising activity,” which might
explain why Couture and others don’t believe that Larry Craig’s arrest will keep
men from seeking out public sex. On the contrary, Couture says. “Thanks to good
old Larry Craig,” he tells me, “every man in the United States now knows exactly
how to go about getting sex in a bathroom.”


Mike Airhart said...

I'm curious to know what proportion of men having public sex are really gay, and what proportion of gay men are having public sex. Have studies been done to measure both questions?

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