CRUISING for SEX publishes the largest free database of sex listings in the world. This is the archival blog of the late founder of the web site, Keith Griffth, who started this site.

05/25/09

Permalink 09:11:38 pm, by Cruisemaster Email
Categories: Sex, Public, Private

The Inappropriateness of Cruising For Sex

We're coming to the end of our first ever Cruiser Beware Month so the politics and rules of cruising has been much on my mind. Yesterday, sitting naked in a beautiful sauna, looking at the handsome and equally naked men around me, I had a thought that would surprise many who've known me for years: there are places where acting on sexual desires are just out of place and restraint should be followed. In fact, some places will prove better for your well-being if you turn-off sex for a few minutes of your day.

This sauna, a beautiful Korean-style facility in the 'burbs of Atlanta is very much the classic sauna experience. You can check in and stay for hours and hours. You're expected to be naked if you're in the wet areas, but you can put on the orange shorts they provide if you want to go into the public areas and order a meal or perhaps meet up with your friends of the opposite sex, get a haircut, or maybe do some work on your laptop using their wireless connection. I've been a few times and love the place for the relaxing atmosphere, the great scrubs they'll give you if you ask, and yes, for the men who are often very easy on the eyes. Yesterday, as I sat there checking out this naked, tall, skinny white boy, probably about 20, with his enormous, but flaccid penis, it felt just a little "wrong." Maybe I was over-stepping the implied agreement we'd made with one another?

I'd already been thinking about this from my own experience from this weekend and then I got this listing update for a YMCA in North Carolina where a Cruiser seemed beside himself that straight men had the nerve to go to his Y and, heaven forbid, sit in the sauna on a regular basis.

"Doesn't matter when you go: morning, mid afternoon, late afternoon, early evening. The same 20 or 30 guys will show up and sit in the sauna for 30 minutes. Gay guys are cruising, but nothing can happen. Sometimes it's almost like a tag team with these regulars."

As someone who has done my share of sexual play at the Y, including the infamous YMCA in San Francisco that served as the basis for the classic disco ditty, I always knew that people came to the Y for many reasons. Just as people come to a park or use the toilet for any number of reasons. Remember the announcement earlier this month about the way the Dutch had decided to designate portions of a public park as places reserved for sex, while other parts of the park were for kids and still others for picnics? If you've been doing this as long as some of us have (!), you can appreciate every place men meet has the potential to be cruisy. But just because of this doesn't mean it is always the smartest course of action.

For me, had that tall, skinny boy looked over and smiled, I'd have had a reason to introduce myself and invite him down to my motel room, but in that particular setting, the only on-site place we might have gone was into a bathroom stall, and even that seemed wrong. Some places should be all about relaxing, calming yourself down, and removing the mind from "normal" thought processes. I don't know about you, but for me cruising would totally mess up my chances of relaxation. It hardly needs to be said, but just in case here goes: cruising for sex is a great thing in most locales and under most circumstances. It is a normal and everyday occurrence for huge portions of the straight, gay and bi populations. But sometimes, like for example when all are required to be sitting close to each other in the nude at the sauna, maybe you should be contemplating the meaning of life and not the way that ass curves when he bends over to pull up his underwear?!

05/18/09

Permalink 11:17:08 am, by Cruisemaster Email
Categories: Sex, Editorial, Public, Private

Don't Unzip Too Often in The Toilet!

If this didn't involve a real man's life it could be comical. A man arrested in November 2007 in a toilet at a Daytona Beach Sears must go on trial following a ruling by the Fifth District Court of Appeal that overturned a previous ruling by a judge to disallow testimony from the arresting cop. That original ruling had said the cop had invaded the Cruisers privacy by peering into a bathroom stall. The explanation offered by the Appeals Court was that the arrested Cruiser had lost his expectations of privacy when he coughed, breathed heavily, played with his zipper and tapped his foot. The lesson to be learned: don't cough, zip your fly, or tap your foot while in a public toilet. Otherwise, you risk jail, fines and sex offender listing. Cruisers beware!

Imagine that merely moving your zipper up or down while in a public toilet is enough reason to allow an undercover cop to look into your stall, then haul you out and arrest you for, well, for what? Unzipping your fly in a toilet? The article I've read doesn't mention if the arrested guy exposed himself (heaven forbid you should expose genitals in a toilet) or propositioned the cop which surely is a crime, asking another adult to have sex with you?

Meanwhile, we continue to see stories and features in the media about the pleasures of public sex for straight people. You can see some recent examples here including the Philadelphia Weekly piece encouraging straight men and women "'to Betsy Ross' [which] means having sex on the American flag. As in, 'I Betsy Rossed my girlfriend at the Betsy Ross House.'” Another is to read the piece at the New York Times-owned About website where straight couples are encouraged to consider public sex to keep their sex lives exciting.

The gay establishment has essentially abandoned men who cruise for sex, but I would argue that you can't abandon these men if you want to rid society of homophobia. It is clear from any rational observation there are differing standards for public sex as it pertains to a man and a woman having consensual sex and 2 equally consenting men engaged in public sex. For men, merely tapping your foot or unzipping your fly in a public toilet can get you in situations that a straight person has no fear of enduring. The last great bastion of allowable homophobia is in the realm of how we treat public sex in the legal and justice system. If we truly intend to make homophobia unacceptable in our society then this issue must be confronted by the gay establishment with the same degree of determination accorded struggles to banish homophobia from the workplace, marriage, and adoption.

05/14/09

Permalink 11:31:25 am, by Cruisemaster Email
Categories: Editorial

Craig Caves

Craig Newmark had an opportunity to lead on the issues of prostitution, free speech, and policing the Internet, but it appears he caved. I say 'appears' because the recent announcement by Craig's List, being publicized as a decision to ban ads for prostitution, isn't really that at all. Instead, they'll re-name the section, monitor every ad, and charge more money. But adult services are just that: services involving consenting adults and an exchange of money. Dress it up in new clothes, but you still have ads promoting an illegal activity. Call it 'sensual massage' if you prefer. Talk about 'happy ending', too. But the customer is going to get off and it shouldn't be the business of government. Alas, we live in a country where prostitution is illegal and when one of the busiest websites had a chance to push this debate they chose not to for now.

I can appreciate that Newmark was feeling the heat. Attorney General's in several states were plotting to go after his business, claiming it had become nothing more than an online brothel. One state, South Carolina, went so far as to demand he remove words and pictures that might be considered obscene among South Carolinians. But this is hardly the first time business has been threatened with legal action and often those threats have led to costly litigation and even jail time. But we didn't get the freedoms we enjoy today without paying dearly for them. The issue of free speech was mostly a phenomenon of the 20th century and while it is hardly a settled matter, most advances we've made came in our life time and often because some purveyor of so-called adult materials took on government. Craig Newmark had his chance and he backed down (for now). Costly it would have been, but I've seen one claim that the website made between $81 and $100 million in 2008, up from $55 million in 2007 [source for the numbers can be found here]. I've also read many of Craig's public comments and observed his sayings via Facebook and the man is all about being involved in changing government, taking citizens initiatives to change the world, etc, etc. He is very much a shining example of San Francisco grassroots progressive politics. Thus it really came as a surprise that he appears to have given up so quickly when threatened by big government.

This latest change in policy will not stop those state governments who recognize a popular target that can get them media exposure and advance their careers. This website could become a similar target someday, too, so I have a personal stake in all this. Of course we don't make $80 million plus at CRUISING for SEX so our options to fight would be far more limited. The choice not to fight is something Craig Newmark will have to live with. All I ask of him is this: if you don't have the stomach to stand up to the bullies when they target you then please get off that soapbox and stop speaking of the value of being involved in government.

05/11/09

Permalink 09:57:29 am, by Cruisemaster Email
Categories: Sex, Public, Private

Oklahoma City Park Sex Stings Raise Many Questions

As I've reported previously, there has been a big sting operation in Oklahoma City in the last few days and weeks. The story has been covered by the local media including the local daily, The Oklahoman. This followup article appeared late last week from reporter Ron Jackson in which the reporter posed followup questions about the arrests:

http://newsok.com/park-sex-stings-raise-many-questions/article/3368231?custom_click=lead_story_title

I suggest there are a few more questions Mr. Jackson should be asking.

-- In the first paragraph of your article you indicate undercover police are used in these stings after implying that there is "lewd" sex happening in plain sight for anyone to see. If this is true, why must cops not only go undercover but also solicit for sex -- two facts reported on by your newspaper? Surely if the sex is as "in your face" as your piece claims, the police could easily walk in and make arrests in full uniform.

-- Can you cite any examples of children who were traumatized at seeing men having sex in these public parks? At men talking among each other in a public park? At men sitting in their car eating a sandwich as your reporting uncovers?

-- Both men you interview who were arrested tell you they were simply engaging in conversation at the time of arrest. Shouldn't you ask the police and DA what is illegal in talking in a public park during daylight hours?

-- You quote the DA, David Pratter as saying "If you have two consenting adults, go get a place and do it in private.” Again I ask: why, then, were some arrested for simply talking to a cop? Perhaps the men believed they were arranging a hookup that would be taken elsewhere such as a private place?

-- The article reveals that in all the cases of men arrested recently, not one charge of a crime has been filed against any of them. Yet your newspaper felt the need to publish their names and photographs. Do you routinely publish the names and photographs of everyone arrested but not yet charged in your city and county for an alleged crime?

-- Police Master Sgt. Gary Knight insists "This isn’t about targeting gay men." Did you ask for proof to back up his claim? Please take a look at police records and see how many sting operations are carried out in your city and county to arrest straight men and women who engage in conversation in a public park. How many examples can the police produce of straight people who have been arrested and charged under similar circumstances in the same time period?

-- If merely talking in a public park is a crime, what about making out on a bench at the mall? What about men and women who have full-on sex in their cars on the streets of Oklahoma City? Can you cite recent examples of police stings to stop this "lewd" behavior? Please don't confuse prostitution stings with the stings carried out in your public parks since no one is claiming these men engaged in prostitution. Assuming you can cite stings involving straight people, did your newspaper publish the names and photographs of these men and women?

It certainly seems to this observer that the police routinely focus on arresting men seeking sex with other men while turning a blind eye towards all the public displays of affection we see daily from straight people. This might have been borderline legal when sodomy laws were in place in many states in this country, but sodomy laws were ruled illegal by the US Supreme Court some years ago. Asking for sex, talking about sex -- even gay sex -- is not a crime in Oklahoma City. Since no one has yet claimed money changed hands at Hobie Point, Trosper Park and Will Rogers Park, any comparison you might make should not include prostitution stings. The point I feel compelled to make is this: If public sex is a crime for any of us, it should be a crime for all of us. Public records can easily confirm if, in fact, laws are being applied equally in your city and county.

05/06/09

Permalink 10:23:15 pm, by Cruisemaster Email
Categories: Sex, Public, Private

Geez, Can You Go Get a Room?

This being Cruiser Beware Month, the subject of who gets arrested and why is very much on my mind. The other day I blogged about the couple who were detained by police for fucking on the lawn outside the residence of the Queen of England. The point was how they were kept by police long enough to sober up and then released with just a polite warning and how that kind of response differs greatly in the way two men would be treated in similar circumstances. But perhaps I'm missing another equally important point. Maybe the straights don't have a clue how to use common sense and discretion. The examples are piling up almost daily:

-- from the Santa Cruz Sentinel: "Police cited a man and arrested a woman who allegedly were having sex on the front lawn of [Santa Cruz, CA] City Hall late Wednesday morning. The couple was still going at it when officers arrived. Police reported they were nude from the waist down."

-- from Toledo on the Move: "Police [in Novi, MI] say officers answering a report of indecent exposure found an unclothed man and woman apparently having sex against a wall [on a sidewalk]. The couple told police they'd been drinking."

-- and of course the reports we've already cited, the couple doing it full-on on the lawn at Windsor Castle in London.

All three of these examples were reported in the last few days! The thing about gay cruisers is they don't really have much desire to be seen by anyone so you'd hardly expect to see two men doing it on the lawn at City Hall or Windsor Castle. Some do want to put on a show but even they usually only prefer a willing audience, a few other cruisers standing nearby to watch a couple go at it at the Wind Mills in San Francisco comes to mind (I confess, I was in that group). Many reports from news media this time of year about crackdowns in local parks include footage of nearby residents expressing shock that this sexual activity has been going on so close. Well, you're shocked because the men doing it didn't do it out in the open. Hello? That is a big point to be recognized: we don't want to include anyone who isn't a willing participant.

I'm sure if we wanted to dig into the reasons for the way we behave as opposed to the way straights behave it wouldn't take much time before we got to what I imagine is central to this: privilege. Straight, hetero privilege. They're so privileged, even the more tolerant among them are clueless that they take sexual freedom for granted. Gay guys are, sadly, struggling with shame, many even years after they come out. Society doesn't exactly put much energy into praising male-to-male anal sex.

Lots of political arguments could be made on the subject of who is sensible about their public sex and who is not; who attempts to shock and who tries not; who cares about public sensibilities and who doesn't give a darn. But how about we start with this simple statement as fact: men who cruise for sex with one another are almost always considerate of those around them and hardly want to 'flaunt' their public sex to the public.

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