Column from gay author Charles-Gene McDaniel


Kneeling for Prayer and Priapus

Public venues for semi-public sex are just about everywhere. Despite fundamentalist and papal crusades against sexual--especially homosexual--activity, and the kneejerk cooperative reaction of politicians, these sites seem to proliferate as more and more men discover the excitement and anonymity of sex with strangers. Among them there seem to be a disproportionate number of Catholic universities. A random survey of cruising sites listed on the Internet identified toilets ("tea rooms," in gay jargon) at major Catholic institutions where men go for secular excitement and a blowjob, sometimes even a fuck.

While disproportionate in number, the Catholic universities constitute but a fraction of the thousands of public places where gay men, gay wannabes, "gay curious," and duplicitous married, putatively straight men go to enjoy sexual contact with other men, including of course unwelcome hunky, tightly bejeaned (and sexually conflicted) undercover cops who lure them into making a pass or an invitation to intimacy prior to handcuffing them for a trip to the slammer.

Listed by country, state and city on the Internet, as well as in gay guidebooks, these thousands of trysting places include highway rest stops, museums, government buildings (including the homophobic Pentagon), hotels, libraries, universities, department stores and malls, office buildings, airline terminals, railway stations, video arcades, steam rooms of gyms and health clubs, parks and forests, parking lots, sex clubs, male strip clubs and porno houses, including those showing pussy flicks where horny "straight" men sitting in the back row unzip for a zippy blowjob.

When arrests are made the cops say they have received a complaint from an anonymous--meaning nonexistent--citizen. They say children may see men engaged in delicto flagrante, which is nonsense. Children do not walk in parks and forests late at night and when they walk into public toilets the men quickly abort their sexual contact, just as they do when an adult person walks into the john, or they disappear into the bushes in outdoor places when their gaydar tells them an approaching stranger may not be of the friendly sort. The other gay men who frequent the tea rooms and other places know what is happening and are there for some of the action, if they can get it. So-called public sex is usually semi-public, rarely public. The Internet posts warnings about sites where the cops and gay bashers are active. After all, the cops and bashers look on the web for these sites to find easy targets.

The Internet listings include remarks added by the frequenters, with warnings about hustlers and recent arrests and bashings at recent hot spots. They note how busy the places are and popular times of day, the types of men who cruise the spot (along with insults to older men who are looking for cock), advice about safety, such as squeaky outer doors that warn of an approaching person and entry lobbies that give the men a few seconds to return to an innocent position, if they have been kneeling beneath the partition of a toilet stall or in front of urinals to give or receive head.

Some sites have been busy for more than 50 years, especially those at universities where tea room sex is relatively safer than at many other venues. University libraries are universally popular with horny young men in their sexual prime. Otherwise, the type of hall varies depending upon remoteness and safety of the facility--a school of agriculture at one university, a humanities building at another, an engineering building at another, even Republican-oriented schools of business.

The stall walls are marked with inviting graffiti, suggesting times to meet and descriptions of the pleasures that await, including especially dick size. No matter how often maintenance staffs wash off or paint over these invitations to momentary bliss, they reappear, as do glory holes that are drilled even through marble partitions. Smaller peep holes enable the men in adjoining stalls to observe each other to determine whether they are attractive enough to get blown or to blow, even though they do not otherwise see each other except for knees, thighs and crotches. Some porno book stores have "buddy booths," as do porno film houses, where the men can get the full treatment.

The rutting men sitting on toilet stools drop their pants to their ankles, the first clue to availability, then the mating ritual begins with the tapping of feet. If the man in the adjoining stall returns the greeting, the initiator writes a note on toilet paper and passes it beneath the partition. "What do you do?" A cautious reply: "What do you like?" "I like to get sucked." "Can we do it here?" "Yes. It’s safe." They exchange gropes beneath the partition so the sucker can determine if the suckee’s equipment is satisfactory. Then the two kneel for their priapic exchange. Usually the suckee zips up and flees before he can be seen and possibly recognized by his accommodator and usually without a thank you.

Perhaps it is not surprising that there are a disproportionate number of Catholic university sites, given the high percentage of priests who are active or closeted homosexuals. The church’s virulent homophobia exacerbates gay Catholic guilt and feelings of unworthiness, thereby adding an additional outlaw edge to furtive, anonymous, quick sex between men. Not a few Protestants, Jews, atheists and men of other persuasions or dissuasions are aware of this and pay obeisance to Catholicism by kneeling in Catholic toilets for their own kind of worship with the aroma of piss, shit and disinfectant as their incense. It is hardly romantic but it fulfills an urgent need, one that needs fulfilling at least as often as the requirement for obligatory attendance at mass.