Father Tony

Public Sex Parks Save Lives and Balance Budgets

Filed By Father Tony | July 25, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Amsterdam, broward county, gay florida, Public sex

Men who wish to have sex with men anonymously, casually or with NSA (no strings attached) constitute an underserved market and a prickly social problem. These men are single, partnered, married, polyamorous, on vacation, from out-of-town, on the down low, young, old, good citizens, criminals and every other descriptive imaginable. Above all, they are horny, and this sometimes drives them to have sex in public places such as parks, highway rest areas, moonlit beaches, restrooms, adult video arcades and to jeopardize their safety via online hook-ups.

By not providing a safe and reasonable public outlet for casual, anonymous and NSA gay sex, we make guilty those men who, while answering a natural, perpetual and eternal urge, risk losing their reputations and sometimes their lives.

The righteous among us say that this type of sex is bad and should not be facilitated. They also say it should be persecuted and punished when it happens in a public place. My response to them is summarized in the following rather long sentence.

Because all the police crack-downs and sting operations, and all the media exposures and outings and public humiliations and career/marriage wrecking persecutions, and reinforced concrete/metal stall dividers in public restrooms, and surveillance cameras, and mean-spirited church ladies writing down license plate numbers and murderous thieving hook-ups and hysterical legislative prohibitions and the overarching spread of untraceable social disease have not been able to make even the slightest dent in this type of behavior, perhaps you will join me in concluding that it is time for us to accept the premise of this type of sexual need and to furnish safe circumstances that will facilitate it in a socially acceptable and healthier way.

Here is what I envision. There ought to be municipally owned and operated (or licensed) "male sex parks". They ought to be located in commercial areas that have nearby discreet parking options. These parks ought to be roughly one quarter of an acre in size and securely walled with one metal-detecting entrance/exit where admission is paid and personal possessions and/or clothing are checked. There should be some shelter from rain, some benches and some trees and sturdy landscaping. There should be toilets without walls because in this type of venue, there is no reason for privacy and also because building separate stalls would only encourage drug use and unsafe sex. There should be dispensers stocked with condoms, lube and hand sanitizer.

These facilities should be staffed by municipal employees who monitor the behavior of the attendees. They would be highly trained safer-sex rangers who would be skilled in the management of male sexual interaction. They would expel those who cause trouble or attempt unsafe sex.

If, at this point in my description of such a venue, you find yourself dismissive, I think you need to examine more fully the unsuccessful current alternatives and your real motives for supporting them. Consider the inordinate amounts of public resources spent chasing this type of behavior and processing offenders. I would suggest that most of the offenders are no less noble as citizens than were our ancestors who drank illegally during Prohibition. What sort of wrong-headed panic is really at the root of persecuting and stigmatizing men who want this kind of sex? Why would you be against funding or licensing service providers who would move sex off the beach, out of public parks and rest areas and out of the hands of internet thieves and murderers? Why would you be against a solution that would help stop the spread of HIV by establishing a controlled and sensible environment for male sexual behavior that is part of our nature?

I have estimated the public revenue that such a venue would generate in Florida's Broward County alone. While my calculations are somewhat unscientific and based on "drive-by" data involving public sex seekers, numbers of "on line now" local guys, men cruising bars and going to bath houses and sex clubs, I can very conservatively suggest an annual revenue of over $1,000,000 per facility given a per visit charge of $10. And that would be net of my $250,000 annual estimated cost of operation. This does not even take into account the amount of resources we would save in police time, and the amount of money saved in health care costs due to irresponsible sex. And think of the increased tourism revenue.

We should be embarrassed by the fact that what I propose has little chance of becoming reality in our lifetime, and we should examine our own motives for supporting current anti-sex laws that are rooted in moralistic nonsense rather than the public good.

It has been one year with no resultant hysteria since the police themselves in Amsterdam suggested the decriminalization of cruising and sex in certain public parks provided the sex took place at night and away from established paths, and with a warning against sexual litter. While their proposal is laudable, mine does more to foster safer sex. If there is any purpose to the public sector, it is to direct us against our antisocial individual inclinations by monitoring and facilitating interactions. Those should include sex. Our sidewalks are well maintained for the safety of pedestrians. We ought to be equally fastidious and proactive about inevitable sexual congress.


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Fr. Tony, if men will be charged to use such a facility, why would the government need to be involved? Couldn't the private sector do the same?

A. J. Lopp | July 25, 2009 4:22 PM

Indeed! And don't some major cities already have said private pay-to-visit facilities --- aren't they called "bathhouses"?

And I'm afraid that nationalizing the bathhouses doesn't sound like a good idea to me ... maybe, Father Tony, you know of a few monasteries with vast expanses of land that might want to supplement their funding in this manner? Perhaps you might suggest this idea to the Holy See. (I hear that at the Abbey of Gethsemane in rural Kentucky, they bake and sell fruit cakes.)

Dear AJ, be wary of monks who both bake fruitcake and police sex parks

A. J. Lopp | July 25, 2009 8:50 PM

Some don't and some do.

The "safest" bathhouse I know of is Eros, on Market Street in San Francisco across from the Safeway. It is closely over-seen by the SF Dept of Health, and generally, you are not allowed to touch a strategic area on another attendee unless the thing you are touching with is covered in latex. There are no private areas, and yes, sex monitors do walk around in an attempt to enforce the rules.

(And yes, like Alex says below, I went "just to see what it's like".)

Granted, among US bathhouses this is an exception rather than the rule, and such an environment has its pluses and minuses which I won't go into here ... but I will say if you're into voyeurism this place is a dream come true.

A. J. Lopp | July 25, 2009 8:55 PM

And when it comes to eliminating the evils of society, I would say that running a sex park would be justified if it meant you could quit pushing fruitcakes on the streets in the 'hood.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 26, 2009 8:08 AM

Actually their big thing is cheese. Maybe they make fruitcake too. I have retreated there three times, but I can envision a connection as most retreat attendees are Gay (and half the monks :)

That was the first time I ever needed a rest from a rest.

Dear Dale,
The private sector provides venues for sex but they do not police for safe sex. That is one important element that would be added in my wishful imagining.

A. J. Lopp | July 25, 2009 8:58 PM

My comment timestamped 8:50 PM was intended to post here. I don't know if the blog software screwed up or whether I did. Sorry.

Tony, Tony, what have you been smoking?

And, is there a female section in this park?

Just asking.....

I'd actually kinda like to see your math on this, Tony. :)

This sounds really just like a bathhouse, and like you mention above, the major difference would be that they'd police for safe sex. Which just seems to be another reason for people to not go.

There are cities w/ bathhouses and people still cruise parks there. Part of the attraction, to my understanding, is the unofficiality of it all, the messiness and the dirtiness, which a security guy, metal detector, and a park ranger just might take away.

Although if you could get one of these started in Carmel, I'd totally go just to see what it's like. Maybe if McDonald's opened a restaurant there more cities would go for it.

diddlygrl | July 25, 2009 9:33 PM

It wouldn't work, because part of the 'joy' of this type of cruising is the risk. Everyone has self-destructive and risk-taking urges.

Plus our nation is just too damn prudish to try something like this. We are taught from birth to hate our bodies and the urges we feel from them.

Sex parks sound like an interesting idea. the results of a recent study are counterintuitive: Where tolerance is high there are fewer problems with HIV and STDs. Intolerance drives people undersground, and in those situations, unprotected sex is the rule.

http://www.bestgayblogs.com/2009/06/featured-political-blogs/tolerance-reduces-risk-of-hiv/

Horny Lonely Lesbian | July 26, 2009 9:06 AM

I'm sure my comments will be seen as incendiary, but here goes anyway -
Wow, Father Tony.. I started reading your post, and actually was thinking it was somehow going to be satirical. Then.. I realized it wasn't a joke.
Do these parks include an area for gay women ? What about an area for heteros? And maybe a special area marked for "bis" or "trans" only ?
Your plan enacts a perfect opportunity for the right wingers to screech about "the gays" demanding "special rights", and their perception that being gay is just "all about sex".
Don't straight people, bisexuals, lesbians, (all groups really) also sometimes desire NSA sex ? (Look at the prevalance of meeting sex partners online, paying "escorts" and nightclub hookups- People from almost all categories seem to partake).
As a lesbian, I wouldn't mind anonymous sex sometimes too. Where am I supposed to find it ? I have to find it where I can ( & if I can! ). I feel like the gay men should have to suffer as I do, and find it when and where they can, not in a "special" little place where they can go and it's all so convenient. Don't see how it's much "safer" there, who wants the "sex police" patrolling around when you're doing your business anyway ?
They already have their bathhouses, not to mention endless other sources - bathhouses, the internet, as well as good old fashioned pick ups at the local club. Nowhere for anonymous "safer" sex ? Oh boo hoo, cry me a river... Join the rest of us in the real world, and get it where you can.
Sorry if I offended anyone, just stating an alternate opinion. ;)

A. J. Lopp | July 26, 2009 12:59 PM

@HLL: Surely there are websites where women can meet each other --- and if there aren't, maybe you should get a group of gals together and start one? The Internet is about as much an equal-opportunity territory (or virtual territory) as one could hope for.

And I agree with other comment-posters (even though I, too, have contributed), that having a discussion like this on an open website is probably giving the right-wingers more ammunition for their next rabid tirade. (But then, we all have our own favorite way to self-destruct, don't we?)

Dear Horny Lonely Lesbian,
I've had more than one discussion about his type of sex with women who say they would indulge, but they are in the extreme minority so I've been assuming that there is a very limited market for this type of venue when offered to women. I amy be wrong. I am not sure about how many trans folk would find this attractive.
I think it would be perfectly fine if eventually when we all grow up that these parks could contain folks of any and all orientation and gender and that the participants will simply join the groups to which they are attracted and sidestep the ones that do not interest them.Of course, by the time, the human race grows up to that level, sex parks won't be necessary.

I'm having a hard time understanding how a sex, gender and orientation restricted government program moves towards the utopian future you've suggested several of your posts.

It looks like you're longing to recreate the world you left in the Vatican.

Dear Altar Boy,
While I feel strongly that everyone of us ought to carry within our heads some vision or concept of - or recipe for - the ideal world that we would build if it were possible, you are wrong to think that mine would look anything like the Vatican. Mine would not have a double standard as its basic sexual premise. Mine would not be based on slavishness or a fawning adoration for the act of worship given to a God whom I believe does not delight in our worship. And that is just the tip of the ice berg of reasons why mine would not look like the Vatican. I cannot imagine how you came to that conclusion about my Utopian sensitivities.

PS: If you want to know my Utopia, begin with the word "playful"

There ought to be municipally owned and operated (or licensed) "male sex parks".
Any predictions as to how long it will be before this gets trumpeted by the christianists as the next 'goal of the gay agenda'?

My prediction? Whenever it is that ENDA next has a hearing in Congress.

Any predictions as to how long the christianists will use it once they start?

Remember: They're still using - and presenting as real - a piece of satire that appeared in Gay Community News in the 1970s.

On an even more practical level, I tend to agree with Alex:

This sounds really just like a bathhouse, and like you mention above, the major difference would be that they'd police for safe sex. Which just seems to be another reason for people to not go.

Forget the municipalities themselves; do you really think that the gay-marriage-addicted, career corporatist gay 'activists' will divert even a penny from their branding agenda to support Bathhouses: The Next Generation?

No, Kat, I don't think they will. And that is very telling. They are just the other side of the same anti-sex coin,

Kathy Padilla | July 26, 2009 11:19 AM

That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome ! those caves of ice !
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !


And one for straight adolescent boys staffed with 72 virgins for every lad.....or was that "C Street"?

Ah - government funded sex segregated facilities.

Men, men men, we're a ship all filled with men!

I have been talking about this for years. to people. We do need to stop criminalizing sexual behavior that is normal. It is futile at best. I think it can be done on the cheap. But policing is not an option.

This does take out the mystique of anonymity and NSA. People will always take risk. That is the whole Idea.

We just need to make it legal in a certain area. and have laws to protect these people in those areas. Why does there have to be a building. just a rest room. and shower cold water facility. all in the open. a park with one purpose in mind You can steel wall the facility and it should be a park like environment. low maintenance landscape. With an attendant to clean and also trash receptacles for waste. there is unused land in every city that can be used to decriminalize said behaviors.

Just post strict by laws. No means No etc. Give others the space to do what they are doing. and plenty of trees shrubs and sunshine. Open rain or shine. just close for an hour or so for clean up.

tourism alone would pay for these parks or grounds. The laws for lewd acts would not apply in these parks and they would be licensed for this type of behavior. just like book stores. nude sun bathing etc. even sex police can not catch all the unsafe behavior and it would not prevent any less actions or disease spread. Just post the consequences for such behavior. It is always up to the participants to behave in the manor in which they will.

free choice is the way to go.. The savings in law enforcement and boost to tourism would more than cover it.

A. J. Lopp | July 26, 2009 8:40 PM

Q. What do you call an outdoor picnic where gay nudists grill hamburgers and hot dogs?

A. A cock-out.

Semen recipes??? Mmunicipal gay sex parks???

Geez...

I was hoping that you were making up the bit about the recipes. Unfortunately, I just found the post about it.

With this crap out there, trans women still somehow are the ones who manage to get demonized.

Dear Susan and Kat,
I am not involved in any recipe post. You should have made it clear that you are griping about something not of my doing.

Rick Sours | July 28, 2009 7:07 PM

Many jobs require routine background clearances/
checks. An arrest in a park could have serious
consequences regarding one's career.

Dear Rick,
I think you are saying that a municipal or county sex park would eliminate that unfortunate possibility.