Public acts of pleasure

Surveillance video image depicting two men making out in the bed of a truck (screencap from the music video

Public sex has always been forbidden sex. Sex that has no room elsewhere. Sex that is pushed into secrecy, casualness, a lack of commitment. Sex that is forced into denial. (Nevertheless, we persist.)

No time for life stories, for explanations, for context. Here and now is all that matters.

Gay cruising. Men kissing men, men sucking cocks, men sharing intimate touch with each other, despite all the hateful laws. Parks and parking lots and public bathrooms. Glory holes. Messages scrawled on walls in code, writing ourselves into existence, leaving traces.

Spoken in nods and glances, wordless hands pushing you where he wants you. If you’re not interested, don’t make eye contact. Walk on. The next dark tree may shift into the man you want.

Last night’s intensity still hangs in the air, dense between the shrubs, when you accidentally wander into the area the next day. It’s only then that you see the torn wrappers on the soft floor, used condoms half-covered with leaves, damp tissues melting into the ground. This is sacred space. Don’t tell.

Sex in cars because there is no home open to both of you. Sex in cars because that is the first space that is yours and you can take it wherever you want. Sex in cars because there is unsupervised time between leaving one place and arriving at the other. Drive-in cinemas, gravel roads, taking the scenic route.

Steamed-up windows, tangled limbs, heated kisses, hands under skirts, teenage dreams.

Back alley fucks, behind the gay bar, queer bar, dyke bar. Urgency besides stinking trash cans, daytime shapes dissolving in the dark. One ear always listening for trouble.

Trying to stay silent, so nothing bad will happen. Public sex is never really safe. Not for us.

Knowing something is happening in the bathroom stall next to yours. Stifled moans, gasps breaking out, hard breaths; the sloppy wet noises of kisses and cunts. Your hand between your legs, moving to the sounds of strangers.

Grinding on the dance floor, fingering in a dark corner. Making out at the bar, fucking in the bathroom. Sweat and glitter and the stench of alcohol. Smeared make-up, messed-up hair, ill-adjusted clothes, happy grins as you stumble out, back into the writhing crowd.

The unspoken agreement that this is a legitimate use of the bathroom in a dyke bar, queer bar, gay bar. The community makes room for our sex, since no one else is. When it’s you standing in line, waiting to pee, you may still groan that it’s all taking too long, but you know why. You know this is how we do this. You keep waiting.

Public sex means discomfort. Rough walls leave scratches on our backs, our hands; gear shifts and toilet roll holders bruise our shins and thighs; clothing rips and stains and digs into our flesh as we shove our way in; our bodies painfully bend into these small, re-purposed spaces, creating friction, granting access, making room for us to come together, making room for us to come. Together.

Making out while others are watching. Making out because others are watching.

Low lights, soft surfaces, every sofa, mat, and podium an invitation to get down to it. Bodies moving together, hands grabbing thighs in leather pants, fingers trailing over underwear that deliberately stays on for this. We’re really good at having sex with our clothes on. It’s a reminder that we didn’t always have this space. That we made this happen, for so many of us. We’re really good at eroticizing the inevitable.

Reveling in the freedom to finally take off all your clothes because there is no danger here. Cries of pleasure serving as encouragements for each other, lustful sounds gathering like a wave, crashing through the whole room, much louder than you can ever be at home where the neighbors still disapprove. A collective celebration of how goddamn fucking beautiful we all are when we don’t have to hide our desires anymore but finally get what we want. A soft, wet cunt that opens for us, a tight, greedy ass that draws us in, a firm hand that goes exactly where we like it best; their favorite cock, her lovely, large clit, his squishy chest; her broad thighs painted with our bruises, their four hands all over our freckled skin, his deep purrs of erotic delight.

Crumpled up cover sheets, mats propped up to dry, a whiff of disinfectant. Trash cans full of paper towels, empty lube packets, used condoms, inside-out nitrile gloves. Soft smiles as you tidy up after the party guests have left. It’s always worth it at the end of the night.

Still, I keep wondering: How long before we are violently stopped, again? How far can we take this and still keep each other safe? How much queer pleasure can we get away with, this time? And why is queer public pleasure something we still can’t take for granted?


The #Kinktober prompt for this was “in public.”


Image source: YouTube (screencap by me)

2 thoughts on “Public acts of pleasure

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