Yes, AIDS was a devastating hit, one that made us fear the sexual spaces we used to roam. But other social changes contributed. The closet drew many men to bathhouses where they could cruise freely before returning home to their wives. For them, bathhouses were a necessity — spaces frequented out of need and desire. Gay life has changed since then. This is often true. Let go of your needless ageism and try something new.
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There is something great about being naked in a gay space. Bathhouses are a dichotomy.
City parks were once the cruising grounds for gay men. In New York in the s, public parks where places where you could not only find a hot guy but bang him in the bushes too. Parks are harder to cruise today. Police patrolling has amped up, and there are obvious safety risks to cruising parks at night.
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Antonio Da Silva has a thing for public cruising. The Portuguese director makes short films that blur the lines between documentary and pornography, art and voyeurism — which means his films are great. While a trip to Portugal or Limanakia Beach in Greece another famous gay beach sounds awesome, outdoor cruising and nature sex can be found in the United States too.
And while you might not be able to have sex on the beach itself at least not in the daylight , you can still find a partner to take home. A note on the Pines: I must here give a word of caution. Public sex always invites the risk of getting caught by someone other than a voyeur or hot participant. Law enforcement, unsuspecting passersby, and happy children can stumble by.
While this risk is totally part of the fun, getting caught can land you in jail. A cursory history of gay New York must include the West Side piers — a gay landmark that, for many gay men in the '70s, was the epicenter of the art and sex movement that happened between Stonewall and the onset of the AIDS epidemic. Shelley Seccombe, "Sunbathing on the Edge, Pier 52" , contemporary archival digital print, source: Like all other parts of gay culture, gay bars have changed.
Many of their playrooms have been converted into well-lit lounges or additional bar space — a fact that makes me die a little. And you guessed it hookup apps have all but gutted these spaces of the crowds that used to flock them.
New York Gay Cruising Areas
But the quintessential gay bar — that tawdry dive with a rainbow flag in the window and a glory hole in the bathroom — is important, because long before chat rooms and mobile apps, gay bars were some of our original cruising zones. Sexual overtones aside, gay bars were places where we could meet, organize, let loose, and foster community. I almost never go to nongay bars, because I give my dollars to spaces that exist for me. Keep our sanctuaries alive!
But first, a clarification: The beauty of dancing in a room full of gay men and typically getting high with them is something I can hardly describe. When I have those nights, I feel part of a gay tradition that started in the pre-AIDS sex reverie, survived a plague, and is still alive today. Different scholars, homos, club kids, and gay partiers will argue when dance clubs really came into being, but their significance in gay culture and gay cruising is undeniable. Their bathrooms have long been homes to cruising and gay sex. Large department stores — particularly the tragically understaffed kind where you can topple over a pile of bedding sets and no one will notice for hours — often have unstaffed fitting rooms and lots of places to hide.
Anywhere you can possibly find privacy or meet other men can become a cruising zone — particularly the menswear section in your local department store.
24 Public Places Where Gay Men Cruised
I had to pee badly and, after some searching, I found a restroom on the second floor. As with many mall restrooms, you reached this one at the end of a long hallway after a couple right and left turns in other words, you have to really look for it. There was one other guy in there, standing at the urinal.
Normally I am pretty perceptive, but this time I really had to pee. The guy was standing at least one foot back from the urinal and I could see every inch of his massive cock. When I looked up at his face, he was looking directly at me. We shared a triangle of gaze between my eyes, his eyes, and his dick. This lasted until he stopped peeing and shook his dick 12 or 13 times before he slowly and begrudgingly pulled it back in his pants.
The whole time I was wondering, Why is he standing so far back from the urinal like that? It was a massive missed opportunity — no pun intended. Cruise-heavy mall bathrooms are pretty common. Many adult video stores have private video booths, but if the one in your city does not, the gay section is where you want to be. While you are casually scanning the dildos, sex toys, and gay DVDs, check out who might be scanning you.
I applaud the guys who make hookups happen simply from exchanging glances with the men they pass on the sidewalk. Doing so takes game, body-reading skills, improvisation, and guts.
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- Above: Alex lurking in a park.
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The eyes are on you. Second to circuit parties, gyms are some of the most erotic places in the world. A place where sweaty guys work out in minimal clothing, strip in front of each other, take showers, and sometimes sit together in a steam room is going to be a gay cruise zone — how could it be anything else?
Some gyms will have a stronger cruising vibe than others, depending on the neighborhood. Gayborhood gyms are almost asking for public sex, while gyms in smaller towns and conservative communities might be higher risk. In general, though, you are bound to face some repercussion if you get caught by a staff member. Many people, myself included, like to people-watch at coffee shops.
Coffee shops are places where you can retreat from the bustle of life, read a book, do some work on the computer, and sip your overpriced lavender mocha. A good coffee shop has a feeling of de-stress and coziness. And since I love being around men — their presence automatically makes me feel comfortable, like being in a locker room — I love coffee shops in gay neighborhoods. Cruising comes naturally to these places, since people-watching and cruising are basically the same thing, and what better way to lick the foam off your lips than having someone lick it off for you?
The blocker restricted sites according to keywords. Unzipped, Attitude, and The Advocate were my first signs of gay life; the first proof I had that others were out there. Armstrong, my life was changed forever. I grabbed the book and ran to the restroom. I sat in a stall for an hour, turning the pages slowly, trembling. Some of the best cruising happens in places where you least expect it — at museums, art galleries, theatres, libraries, and the opera.
At these places, stay primed and ready, and go with your instincts if you are getting a cruising vibe from one of your fellow fine art patrons. He is not studying the Mame poster behind you. Linger until everyone has left the restroom. Bend him over in the bathroom stall or, better yet, find some austere and dramatic place you two can tuck away for some privacy.
You might miss the first 15 minutes of Act Two, but nothing ever happens in the first 15 minutes of Act Two. Maybe it is located in a gayborhood, or maybe it is the one business in your conservative town where you can be yourself. Visit often, be friends with the people who work there, and keep an eye peeled — ready and restless guys are around every corner. I knew my barber was a keeper the first time I sat in his chair: Zero on the sides. Unlike all the straight barbers I have had in the past, my barber is a 6-foot-tall sweetheart who knows exactly what haircuts gay men are wearing these days undercuts, fauxhawks, pompadours, high-and-tights.
But what he did not know is that his shop is total cruising zone. That is, until I filled him in.
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Many barbershops are cruising zones, especially if they have gay-heavy clientele. As we wait, we are watching men being groomed, knowing that at some point we will be up there, turned and swiveled for the guys to inspect from every angle. Following the logic of the barbershop, any waiting room can be a cruising zone.