Cape Cod National Seashore Targets Sex in the Dunes


The Cape Cod National Seashore is teaming up with local officials this summer for a “public education” approach to a soaring number of citations for debauchery in Cape Cod’s dunes:

“An example of the complaints was a call reporting Wednesday that a 65- to 70-year-old man was flashing people at Herring Cove Beach, according to Seashore records. In a Sept. 19, 2007, letter, a New Jersey family walking with children in the dunes encountered ‘several couples and then a large group of men having group sex in the nude, including oral and anal sex right out in the open.’ In an August 2007 letter, a whale-watch boat captain leaving Provincetown Harbor with passengers reported seeing 20 to 30 nude men ‘playing around’ near Wood End Lighthouse. Other complaints describe Seashore visitors encountering public sex acts at Head of the Meadow Beach in North Truro and near a Seashore building off North Pamet Road in Truro.”

Said new Provincetown police chief Jeff Jaran: “It’s not acceptable, decent, moral behavior. There is a time to be discreet, and there are places to go and do those types of things.”


  1. Ian says

    “It’s not acceptable, decent, moral behavior. There is a time to be discreet, and there are places to go and do those types of things.”

    …yah, but it’s so much hotter in sand dune.

  2. Gio says

    No, it’s gross. I hope they’re all arrested. Is this kind of behavior the result of severe sexual repression? It’s sad to me that to so many people (both gay and straight) gay culture is synonymous with group and pathological anonymous sex.

  3. the queen says

    i think certain sections of beaches should be cordoned off to prevent families and children interfering with people’s right of the pursuit of happiness as guaranteed by the bill of rights or is it the constitution, i can never remember which…

  4. Derrick from Philly says

    THE QUEEN, dear, would you go on a date at the beach with GIO?

    And doesn’t the seagulls’ shitting get in the way? And all those damn used condoms and soiled tissues in the sand. No, outdoor sex is not for beaches–only public parks.

  5. Zeke says

    THE QUEEN, it’s neither, it’s the Declaration of Independence.

    It’s funny, this is the second time today on Towleroad that I’ve made this clarification.

    Just one more point of clarification, The Bill of Rights is part of the Constitution (the first ten amendments to it).

    ; )

    It’s good to hear a police chief responding to this problem in a reasonable and thoughtful way rather than going on a rant about homosexuality and perversion. I guess such a rant wouldn’t go over so well in P-town.

  6. RS says

    This is what happens when the straights move into traditionally gay areas. Shouldn’t they expect it? If you don’t like it then don’t look at it. I spend a lot of time on this beach and choose not to pay attention. If the parents don’t want their kids to see it, then bring them to Truro. As for the whale boat, beached whales can be a part of the view as well!

  7. Rad says

    There is a time and a place for everything; open-air orgies on the beach in full view of major shipping lanes and public walk ways is NOT the place.

    What really pisses me off the most is; I like to sunbathe nude. Just because I am laying out in the all-natural does not mean I am ready to fuck. P-Town has always been this tolerence of nudity in the outer reaches of the beach, but never the lewdness. These idiots who feel the need to both be naked and openly fucking in public just ruined it for the rest of the naturalists looking for a quite corner to get rid of our tan lines.


  8. Zeke says

    People have been having sex on the beach for decades! Now that the straights want to get in on the PTown lifestyle it’s not accepted. I’ve seen plenty of straight sex happening on the beaches also. Soon they’ll want to crack down on the the drag queens and the half naked men parading on Commercial St. Yum. Let them go to MV and Nantucket and push their carriages around. This hasn’t been a family friendly town in almost century. Stop poo pooing evryone’s fun.

  9. Derrick from Philly says

    ….and beautiful yella “queens” who don’t feel like dealing with emotionally needy gay men who keep falling in love too easily. …Still don’t want no sand mixed with the lube…SECRETAGENTMAN is right. Sex on the beach, and then to the hospital.

  10. D.R.H. says

    EVERYONE, including straight families, should have the right to enjoy nature in a public park. And I agree with RAD, just because I like to sunbathe nude does not mean that I am up for sex with some nasty, disgusting old troll who is creeping around me waiting to get lucky. I used to live near Cape Canaveral and the behavior of the a lot of the people there, including straights, but especially the gay men, was disgusting. Why does one have to wear a cock ring to the beach? Could never figure that out. And we wonder why gay men have such bad reputations.

  11. zeke says

    Please everyone, even my straight friends no where gays are going to have sex on the beach, it’s no secret. Maybe they should posts signs cautioning the ones that don’t know. I have a friend who sunbathes nude every weekend in PTown on the beach. If he doesn’t want the trolls near he just tells um to get lost. Tourists that are running into the orgies have to go out of their way to find them.

  12. Sebastian says

    I have never figured this need that some men have for sex in toilets or on a beach, and, in sight of the public like some sort of animal. I don’t want to see two men, two women or a man and a woman getting their groove on in a public place, get a room, or get the police to bust them.

    My buddy in West Hollywood would find creeps having sex on his lawn after the bars closed, condoms on the street, etc, until the police cracked down, as they should.

  13. says

    it is absurd to read people who comment that the straights are ruining the fun – and that outdoor sex in public spots should be tolerated.

    We try to have inclusion in the protections of the law, but that goes both ways. We can’t fight for our rights while saying we shouldn’t have to abide by other laws of decency. THis isn’t pick-and-choose.

  14. LOL says

    “In an August 2007 letter, a whale-watch boat captain leaving Provincetown Harbor with passengers reported seeing 20 to 30 nude men ‘playing around’ near Wood End Lighthouse. ”

    ZEKE please tells us how you feel about this. I know that you feel the straights are invading your town, but one family friendly thing you can do in P-Town was sullied because of an ORGY and they weren’t looking for it.

  15. Nick says

    Thank You Dan B! I couldn’t agree more.

    Public Sex in general (gay or straight) is not tolerated. In some states you can be charged with as a sex offender for participation. Who wants that?

    P-Town’s new chief is really well spoken about this whole issue.

    And let me clarify, nude sunbathing is “a horse of a different color” when talking about raunchy sex on a beach during the day. Nothing is more embarrassing than walking around a corner and seeing people fucking (as per my last trip across the Breakwater in p-town)

  16. D.R.H. says

    ZEKE – It’s called class. It wouldn’t matter if they’re orgy was on the moon. If they’re doing it in public, it’s indecent and trashy. Get a life.

  17. Derrick from Philly says

    Has it ever occured to y’all that these straight folks may be EXAGGERATING the incidents of public sex occruring on public beachers during the day-time.

    No, I don’t believe in fucking in front of innocent bystanders either, but public cruising can come in handy for those of us who do not want relationships.

    It is excrutiating to go to some damn bar, waste money on liquor(you already have at home), waiting for someone decent to talk to you–then, going through the trouble of bringing him home, not really enjoying the sex, and having to let him sleep in your bed all night. What’s even worse, you may feel the obligation to make him breakfast.

    All that trouble could have been avoided with just a couple of hours in Central, Prospect, Malcolm X or Fairmount Park.

    And don’t tell me about computer hook-ups–you don’t know what the fuck you’ll end up with.

  18. the queen says

    i think cape cod should hold an annual fuck fest right on the beach, imagine the revenues it would generate…. the more public sex the better i say, (i like to watch anyway) and more sex for trolls please — everybody eventually becomes a troll don’t forget that… and it certainly would improve morale here these days in light of further foreclosures, gas @ $5.00 a gallon and the floods in the midwest … could this all be god’s judgement on us?

  19. LOL says

    P-Town used to be classy, wth happened to it?

    Evan, the overlords are only trying to force the gross slutty gays out not the classy decent ones.

    But thanks for lumping me in with those gross homos that help people lose respect for those of us who want to break out of the second class citizen status, it’s much appreciated

  20. Zeke says

    They’re doing it in a secluded area not in public. It’s not about “class”. Some of the people are pretty well respected in the gay community. I own a summer home in Ptown I don’t live there, but I do consider it mine. I don’t have sex outdoors or in large groups. I’ve been in a relatioship for 24 years since I was an undergraduate, but what 2 adults do behind close doors or behind tall reeds in a secluded area is none of anyone’s business. If a whale watching boat saw a group of men “playing” on a beach then they weren’t whale watching because they’d be looking in the wrong direction.

  21. Gio says

    Man…Derrick from Philly…what a bleak life you must lead…how utterly depressing…and Zeke, where do I start? “…but what 2 adults do behind close (sic) doors or behind tall reeds in a secluded area is none of anyone’s business.” Are you for real? How are you comparing what goes on behind closed doors with sex IN PUBLIC?

  22. Will says

    OOOOO, PLUH-LESE someone think of the children!!!!!

    Man, talk about a bunch of verklempt sex negative homos. Yes, you heard me, sex negative. You know the score when you go to P-Town and to the beaches, the secluded, takes 20 minutes to walk from the road/parking lot beaches. My sex, in the open, I’m just so shocked.

    Look, any gay man who complains about this is just someone filled with self-loathing that someone might think they are doing the nasty. All guilt by association. You nude sunbathers don’t want to partake, then don’t. But also don’t act like prissy queens that someone is getting their rocks off. I have never witnessed where a guy was sunbathing and minding his own business suddenly being in the middle of an orgy.

    I’d love to see how you’d all react to many beaches in Europe that make P-Town look like sex abstinance central.

  23. Derrick from Philly says

    Oh, Gio, please. I’m doing just fine…remember I’m fifty, not thirty. Gay love does nothin’ much for me. Most of the gay guys I know who want relationships are in fuckin’ therapy. Going to a psycho-therapis because they can’t find nobody to love….better take your horny ass out to Fairmount Park. I tell them that they might as well try a root-worker (Voodoo)rather than some nerd with a degree in psycho-therapy. Buy a toy!

    “bleak life”

    Please…all I have to do is place a Bette Davis DVD in the machine, turn on the TV, open a bottle of good Kenturky Bonded Bourbon, and I’m fine, Bro.

    Don’t cry me, Brother Gio…Bette Davis is immortal…..

  24. Alex says

    I summer in Fire Island and I have yet to see a 30 person orgy in the meatrack. I will let them know they are all doing it wrong and that P-Town is winning the public sex contest. LOL.

    I do think with all things there should be a sense of decorum about this. Some of these cruisy beaches are quiet and out of the way and i’ve yet to see anyone doing anything ridiculous on them. And likewise, there really should be places off limits to kids and parents should abide by that.

  25. JZN says

    I am conflicted, while I have no desire to see people having sex in the reeds, bushes, or dunes. I really enjoy having sex with my partner, of many years, in the reeds, bushes, on balconies, beaches, and or dunes. And never once I have I invited the public to watch. There are ways of being discreet about these sort of things and there is something super hot about outdoor sex. Sorry if I am setting back the gay movement thousands of years.

  26. rudy says

    Most of these reports of alleged public sex are probably over-hyped (yeah, a redundancy) by straights who view the mere existence of gay men as “flaunting” our sexuality. My partner and I used to frequent the P-town gay-dominant beaches early-on in our (now) thirty year relationship (marriage in all but name). We were young and in love (in lust also) and would frequently sport (through no stimulation other than mental/hormonal) huge hard-ons while sun-bathing/swimming (no shrinkage problems here)on the beach/ocean. Although we were engaging in nothing more erotic than putting sunblock on each other’s back (gotta love those fair skinned Irish genes; I am Hispanic so sun exposure only turns me “vidriado”), we often received stares from straights who “stumbled” into our section. Several times a day we would be asked by homophobes to curtail our behaviour, but I always laughed at their furtive admiring glances directed at our buffed-out bodies (ah, youth!). But frankly, it wasn’t our faults that the wife’s panties would get wet or that her husband would get an erection looking at us, and I often told them so when the evidence was that obvious. I do not condone public sex (by straights or gays) but I also condemn homophobes’ accusations of sexual behaviour when it does not exist.

    As for my buds, Zeke and Derrick, back off little twinks. They have more integrity (and wit) in their little fingers than you have in your little dicks.

  27. Suzie says


    I can tell you from personal experience that it ain’t just gay men having sex in the dunes at the Cape.

    As a bisexual teenage girl in the 70s & 80s I and many of my straight friends had more than our fair share of dune sex in Wellfleet, Truro, and Ptown too. Did it again when there with my (now ex)husband in the 90s and early 00s. And my friends who are year-round locals (mostly straight) do it all the time too.

    There’s absolutely nothing new or unique to the gay community about sex in the lovely Cape Cod dunes. I’m sure it’s a tradition that’s been ongoing since well before the Pilgrims hit the area, and I’m sure it will continue long after the uptight schmucks currently with their panties in a twist about this are long gone.

  28. Suzie says

    By the way, I should add that there are plenty of places to do it in the dunes that even during the day are well-shielded from prying eyes unless they’re standing right on top of you. So it’s fairly easy to do so and still be fairly discreet.

    Should people have sex out in the open on the beach where any family strolling by can see? Of course not. But again, there are plenty of secluded spots in the dunes where one can have virtually complete privacy.

  29. Derrick from Philly says

    Thank you so much, SUZIE, for clearing up all this foolishness. Some of these proper gay guys are worse than old school marms.

    The guy that said, “…not be a second class citizen…”

    Oh, man, you must be the whitest man who ever came on Towleroad. When you gay, you aint special, honey.

    And as far as “beached whales”–we already covered that topic on prejudice against heavy people weeks ago. So, shut up!

  30. jmg says


    Although I disagree with you almost always on race and politics, I am consistently in agreement with you on sex stuff, as well as on the never-ending straight-acting gay vs. out-and-out queen and how they interact with society and the media.

  31. Zeke says

    For the record, NONE of the comments by ZEKE beyond the first two have been from me (the original ZEKE).

    I disagree with many of the things that this person is saying and don’t want people to think that his comments are coming from me.

    To avoid confusion I ask that the new person using the screen name ZEKE add something to your name (like ZEKE2) to distinguish us apart.


  32. anon says

    Wouldn’t you know it, every time I have sex on the beach, inevitably, some parents wander by with their kids and they always say the same thing: “Now, honey, don’t frighten the whales.”

  33. says

    Here we go again, buying the het propaganda and policing ourselves. (Trans arguments, anyone?)

    The claims of families stumbling on gay sex orgies in public are almost always fabricated.

    In my experience, these “orgies” NEVER happen in a PUBLIC easily accessible place. The universal geography of gay beach sex places is as follows: first comes the family clothing-required beach, then you walk 15 minutes over sand/rocks/bushes/woods to the mixed nude beach, then 15 more minutes to the gay nude beach then 15 more minutes over even more impassable terrain to where the gay “public” sex starts.

    These places need to be protected by some law. Let us have special reserves, with signs posted (like you have on the internet) warning people who don’t want to “stumble upon” the sex to turn back. They can do that kind of thing in Europe, at least in the Netherlands, where gays successfully protested the removal of bushes from a cruising area in a city park.

    Straights have the rest of the whole f**king world to themselves. Let us have a few acres of dunes at the end of the world!

    Thank you Derrick, Queen, Rudy, and Zeke (whichever one it was) for being sex-positive.

  34. Owen says

    I have had to be outright rude to some of the cruisers there at the beach in P.Town. I’m there for the beach, period. You can’t even glance for a moment at any of the trolls because they get the idea that you are interested in hooking up, when actually you are just looking for a spot on the beach. Then, for about 5 minutes they linger around you until either you tell them to fuck off, or you have to run into the water to escape the harassment. It’s gross, not a right and it’s asinine to believe you have a right to have sex in public. I, as well as many others, I believe, no longer spend our money in P. Town because of this. Clean it up and get a room.

  35. says

    Mention public sex and the judgments inevitably start flowing, many of them having little to do with the case at hand (no pun intended).

    I haven’t seen what goes on in the PTown dunes (alas) but in my experience the “public” sex straight people–and some gay people–love to complain about is usually far from public and far from their precious innocent children. If they could object to gay sex behind closed doors, they’d probably do that, too.

    People–gay and straight–have been having public sex since time began. Liking it does not automatically make you sad or desperate or unable to score in a bar (lord knows, only pretty people go to bars). If you don’t like public sex, don’t have it. If you don’t like to see it, there are plenty of places where you won’t. I’ve no doubt there are tacky, unattractive people roaming the dunes, but there are tacky, unattractive people roaming everywhere. C’est la vie.

    There’s a big difference between two guys fucking on a children’s playground and two guys (or twenty) having sex behind piles of sand and reeds in one of the gayest (once upon a time, at least) places on earth. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be common sense restrictions, but much of the blanket moralizing is more about personal predilections than public protection.

  36. tommy says

    Read some of the homophobic comments on the comments section of the Cape Cod Times article. Funny how with a NEW POLICE CHIEF comes new (and probably spurious) “complaints” by straight families and even all of a sudden whale watch boat operators. Its been going on for years, but now with the new chief, there are suddenly complaints – to fit right within his zero-tolerance (and very homophobic) policy. Funny how he doesn’t mention cracking down on straight sex, which does occur in the straight section, where families are a helluva lot more likely to wander.

  37. rikard says

    I know I’m late getting to this, but I’ve been at the beach for a week (seriously). What about gay families? Any gay parents OK with their kids stumbling in on an orgy? I understand the public outrage, and I think the town is taking a reasonable and measured response. I’m fairly average sexually. Turned on by the idea of public beach orgies, but content with the fantasy since the reality poses significant risk.

  38. mike says

    It is simply amazing that there are some people who would defend public consensual sex–whether it be gay or straight. It’s in bad taste, it is decadent, and it is indecent. I’m no prude and raunchy sex is raunchy sex and has it’s time and place. But if you have to have it in such a brazenly open manner, you need to get psychiatric help. You’ve got issues and they ain’t about some constitutionally-protected freedom of expression.

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