Comments

  1. says

    Isn’t this type of sex a relic of the past? And why can’t film writers let it go? I’m thirty-one now, lived downtown SF all my life, and have never gone to a park bathroom specifically to find sex. I went to the park to toss a Frisbe or play soccer, softball, tennis or ride my bike through.

    I could be totally wrong. Maybe this is where all the gay sex is today but I sure don’t see it.

  2. unruly says

    I’m with David in NYC. This is trapped in some world at least 10-20 years ago. A world without the internet (and iPhones, etc.) Or this is just someone’s fantasy that hot guys are frequenting gross public bathrooms.

  3. Nat says

    “This was cast all wrong. Hot 28 year olds looking for love aren’t the ones getting beej’s in men’s rooms. At least not in 2012.”

    This.

    Bathroom cruising largely endures because of men who have serious issues with their sexuality, and can’t or won’t use the internet to hook up.

    Then there are also complete degenerates who think a space as gross as a park washroom is as good a place as any to have a sexual encounter.

  4. james says

    From reading in the newspapers and police reports, Atlanta seems to be a hotspot for this type of activity. Lots of married men still “cruise” as well as the gay-for-pay guys needing a little $ for a drug fix.

  5. RONTEX says

    Agree, other than a plot device for a porn film, this seems an outdated concept better left behind. I get the “seediness” could be exciting to some but I think there must also be an element of shame involved? The more we come out and live in the open, the less I see a need for this.

  6. Rick says

    “Bathroom cruising largely endures because of men who have serious issues with their sexuality, and can’t or won’t use the internet to hook up.”

    Oh, my God–I love the way some of you claim to be all about non-conformity and allowing everybody to just “be who they are” and yet make unbelievably judgmental statements like this that don’t even have any empirical basis to them.

    And are you seriously suggesting that the Internet has created some sort of gay social Utopia? People lie habitually on the Internet, there are many dangerous people lurking on the Internet, and, on top of that, it is a terribly inefficient way of trying to get laid…..you have to make a special effort to go meet a single individual who may or may not even show up and may or may not even be remotely like what they claimed to be like.

    I am not endorsing bathroom sex, but to get on one’s high horse about it is beyond amusing.

    And as for the film being unrealistic, what do you expect from a film about gay male life being made by a woman? She is about as likely to get it right as some of you are to get acting like a woman right, no matter how very hard you try to do so.

  7. Bill says

    I have yet to watch it, but is the gay bathroom sex compared and contrasted to unsavory heterosexual sex acts? Let’s start talking about how heterosexual folks also have dirty, public, online, multiple-partner, non-traditional, non-procreative sex. It’s not just gay people no matter how much people would like to represent us as such.

  8. Caliban says

    I think it’s more complicated than that. Yes, park and restroom cruising is a relic of the bad old days when the vast majority of gay men were closeted and/or married and that was the ONLY place where they found other men like themselves. (In fact there’s a documentary, “Tearoom” that uses covert footage shot by the Mansfield, Ohio police in 1962. That footage is sad and desperate but somehow oddly touching too, stolen moments of forbidden intimacy.)

    But listen the GOP and Christian Right (same difference) campaign rhetoric and ask yourself how much things have really changed for a large swath of the country.

    One thing that’s rarely talked about in news stories about “gay park sex” is how the vast majority of men arrested in those stings are married or straight-identified, not openly gay. For them it’s STILL 1962. Just a few years back in a town near me, a married man was arrested in just such a sting and his name printed in the newspaper. The night his name was printed he shot himself in the head. Another man arrested in the same sting died of a heart attack.

    I’m not saying park cruising is good or anything, but that it’s another instance of American prudery and repression, a failure to take human nature into consideration. And the sting operations ARE homophobic and use entrapment. If two men f*ck in the woods or deep in the bushes and no one is there to witness it, who exactly has been harmed? In some European countries they decided there was no compelling public interest in funding such police campaigns and set aside certain parks for the purpose.

    I don’t have AN opinion about it, I have several and they don’t all agree. But there’s more to the issue than knee-jerk condemnation allows.

  9. Andalusian Dog says

    I’d like to point out that it is legal in Spain to have sex in public, as in parks etc. Straight, gay, whatever. As long as you are not disturbing others, you can do whatever you wish. Seems healthy and logical, right?

    I don’t think sex in park restrooms in the US is as much as a relic as everyone has made out here. I am inclined, like others, to believe that it is mostly straight-identifying men who engage in bathroom sex with other men, for the most part, although I know many gay men in the 20s and 30s who have or have had public restroom sex.

    It holds no appeal for me personally, but I think many guys probably get turned on by the chance of being caught and/or punished. Given how people — straight or gay — play out what goes on mentally and emotionally for them through sex, I don’t think seeking sex in restrooms or other public spots should be judged at all. As soon as you take away the (gay) sex taboo that permeates our culture, public sex becomes just something else that people sometimes do with their privates. Who cares.

  10. Nat says

    Y’know Rick, I’m starting to doubt the sincerity of your statements. I’ve been having a Limbaugh-like impression as your comments have gotten more and more purposely contrarian.

    Or maybe like Bedwell, you just like to see defeat where others see victory.

    “Oh, my God–I love the way some of you claim to be all about non-conformity and allowing everybody to just “be who they are” and yet make unbelievably judgmental statements like this that don’t even have any empirical basis to them.”

    Please point me to some empirical studies on this phenomenon then. Because my impression of bathroom and park cruising – generally based on the men who have been arrested, as well as men who I have either personally conversed with or heard others converse about – is that it is replete with closeted men, typically in their 40s-60s. I’d venture that in a lot of cases, these men had formative sexual experiences in their teens or early 20s in environments such as this. That’s not all the purveyors, I’m sure, but I’d wager a lot that it’s a good percentage.

    As to non-conformity: there always have to be reasonable restrictions on allowable behaviours or actions. Legal restrictions on having sex in bathrooms doesn’t strike me as cutting to the core of our civil rights. We have no inherent right to have sex in public bathrooms, nor is there a substantive argument to be made for according us such a right.

    The law should be near absolutist in tolerating what consenting adults wish to do on their own property. But outside that, I endorse some restrictions.

    “And are you seriously suggesting that the Internet has created some sort of gay social Utopia?”

    No, but my version of utopia would never involve people hooking up for meaningless sex. But that’s my utopia. If others feel fulfilled by random sexual encounters, then I don’t have much to say on the issue, beyond encouraging a respect for public health by using protection.

    “People lie habitually on the Internet, there are many dangerous people lurking on the Internet, and, on top of that, it is a terribly inefficient way of trying to get laid…..”

    As I pointed out, that’s not really my concern, one way or the other. You can have all the freedom to try and get laid as much as you want in your own space. But keep it in your own space.

  11. jayjay says

    I think the film was more about the human condition/experience/interactions one has during their life highlighted by certain instances..a theme that a lot of filmmakers/artists are intrigued by.. the sort of social experimentation of placing a character in a certain setting and say what if xyz happened..so the whole bathroom thing to me has certain pertinence in making that juxtaposition between normality/intimacy against public/tabooed issues, rather than relevance to gays/gay culture in its current state. In a nut shell..she could have made it about a coffee shop but then it would just be a cute movie n I’m sure its been exhaustively explored. P.S. to say that stright ppl can’t make a good movie about gays and vice versa I think is generalizing and uncalled for since it’s a matter of taste and I for one liked brokeback.

  12. Nat says

    “If two men f*ck in the woods or deep in the bushes and no one is there to witness it, who exactly has been harmed?”

    I wouldn’t be necessarily averse to treating it as a regulatory offence. I still view it as morally blameworthy and thus rising to criminal law, but in pragmatic terms, a progressive system of fines and restraining orders would accomplish the same effect of discouraging the behaviour.

  13. tim says

    YooHoo…It’s a movie. Movies while offering some verisimilitude can’t give you the real experience and the director obviously knows that. What they give you are visual and aural experiences and then there is the experience of viewing this in a dark setting with a screen bigger than life….that is what the director is apparently after.

    Maybe you all should take another listen at the trailer. I mean listen. There’s a lot of talk and negotiation that is more complicated than tearoom sex. Furthermore the director is apparently looking into how to negotiate sex and possibly intimacy in a less than sexy or intimate place.

    This is theater folks not an invite to join me at Griffith Park at 3pm.

    And the whole anachronism argument has no place here. Should we not write theater looking at times past because they’re past…no logic there

  14. Scott says

    i never comment and never will again but i am 40yo, good looking, (hung) and have had some of the best sex and lots of fun in men’s rooms. And hooked up with guys of all ages, shapes, and sizes. It’s a choice I make, along with meeting guys online, crusiing the street, and going to bookstores and bathhouses. Judge all you want, but i’m having a great time and life is short.

  15. Hollywood, CA says

    Congrats on completing your film, an accomplishment in itself. However, i have to agree that it seems very outdated with the cast we see in the trailer. That kid would be on Grinder, Craiglist, Gaydar (that’s even dated), what have you because THAT’S the public restroom of this generation. However, if it was an older guy as the protagonist, that would make sense. Older closeted guy still stuck in the only way he knows how to have any kind of sexual fulfillment, gets busted by a cop he knows from church, work, etc… that’s what feels more current right now.

    But, like I said, congrats for finishing your project. I hope it does very well.

  16. bicurious says

    I walk my dog around that part of Griffith park all the time. I’ve never noticed any guys even remotely that young and good looking hanging around looking for sex. I agree with many of the above comments that this seems like an outdated concept to be exploring unless their is some reason that is explained in the full film for having a young guy engage in something of his father’s generation.

  17. Rick says

    @Nat As I said, I was not necessarily endorsing sex in public restrooms, but I will say that the only ones I have known of that actually had a lot of sex taking place were in very remote parts of buildings with very low traffic. For example, at my undergraduate university and my graduate university, the “tearooms” were both in basements, with no other rooms in the basement and both had to be accessed by long stairways, so it was highly likely that anyone going down there was not doing so to urinate or defecate.

    In a really busy restroom, it would be impossible to do anything without getting interrupted.

    And most parks or other public spaces only see a lot of sex at night–there used to be certain parts of Central Park that were like that.

    The point is, what was going on in these “public” places was really not effecting the public in any way.

    As for the point about the Internet, I was not speaking from personal experience–I have never “hooked up” with anyone via the Internet…..I was simply pointing out that the Internet is just a tool–it does not fundamentally change the dynamic of gay life, which, for most, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, does revolve around lots of impersonal sex. And I, at least, have never heard of anyone meeting the love of their lives over the Internet, but if you have, great.

  18. Nat says

    “The point is, what was going on in these “public” places was really not effecting the public in any way.”

    Rick, don’t make a point about empirical bases if you’re going to come back with anecdotal evidence.

    And as I alluded to in a subsequent post, there’s more to making something a morally blameworthy crime than the harm principle. But in the interest in pragmatism, I would prefer confining these activities to regulatory offences with progressive fines and restraining orders. I think fines would adequately discourage public sexual activity without spending undue effort at overwrought opprobrium.

    “As for the point about the Internet, I was not speaking from personal experience–I have never “hooked up” with anyone via the Internet…..I was simply pointing out that the Internet is just a tool–it does not fundamentally change the dynamic of gay life, which, for most, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, does revolve around lots of impersonal sex.”

    No, the internet facilitates impersonal sex between men. But it’s merely a tool, and as someone who doesn’t engage in random sex, I don’t particularly care what gay men who are into impersonal sex are doing, because I don’t really have that in common with them. My sole concern is that they not unnecessarily incur considerable healthcare costs to our shared system by engaging in unprotected sex.

  19. jmg says

    Hey Nat,

    Question–why do you think many European countries allow public sex to a certain extent? Just wondering what your thoughts would be. Do you think it is a sign of their collective moral degeneracy?

  20. Spencer says

    I think it’s awesome that Russell Sams who did such an amazing job in one scene in Rules of Attraction using dirty gay behavior is now going all serious – still using dirty gay behavior. He’s super cute though.

  21. Jay says

    In 1970, a PhD dissertation by Laud Humphries was published. It’s a good study of tearoom cruising and the men who do it. I feel that many of the insights he had are as valid to day as they were then. The commenters who long for empirical studies might find it worthwhile.

    Do guys still cruise tearooms? Google Senator Larry Craig before you advance an opinion.

    In Long Beach, CA recently there was another flareup of the old controversy about the cops sending plainclothes officers into public restroom in parks and along the beach to scratch their crotches and try to lure gay guys into making a sexual advances. In the past some cops have been very aggressive in the pursuit of lewd conduct arrests. Leaders of the gay community here have tried for at least a quarter century to get the police to patrol these restrooms with uniformed officers rather than plainclothes officers. They refuse to do so. In this day of scarce resources, the Long Beach police seem to feel it is worthwhile to keep on doing this.

    One last comment: a number of years go I heard Laud Humphries speak. He said one of the questions he had researched over the years was where, geographically, does tearoom cruising exist. He finally decided it happened only in countries that had public restrooms.

  22. Randy says

    What JMG said.

    Plus, it’s an absurd idea that everyone’s idea of good sex will conform to popular standards of cleanliness and privacy.

    It’s the sort of authoritarian idea LGBTs should have learned to fight against, rather than conform to.

  23. The News-Breaker says

    BREAKING NEWS! — Young men still cruise washrooms for sex and not necessarily because they are uncomfortable with their sexuality. In fact, many of them do it because the washroom space offers them a wide and constant selection of men — and dicks!

    Unfortunately, your prejudices against washroom sex (and your hard-held assumption that only ugly, old, and closeted men do it) are making you blind to the fact that pretty, young, and openly gay men are also doing it.

    Similarly, Grindr is not displacing washroom sex either. Many young men are using Grindr to locate sex partners in their area, which they end up hooking up with IN WAHSROOMS! Don’t believe me? Just check out cruising websites like squirt.org and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    Clearly — and unfortunately — people are pulling facts and statistics out of their asses.

    So please, let’s not hate on washroom cruisers because they have the courage to do what you can never imagine yourself doing. Respect, and recognize that it takes a certain kind of skill and awareness to do it successfully, and to do it well.

    Thanks.

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