Thursday, July 23, 2009

What You Won't See in the South Florida Blade This Week

The editor liked most of it, but felt that the proposal for a public sex park was "nutty".

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 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.


Anonymous robert61 said...

I am right there with your editor in declaring this completely bananas. The idea of taking coerced tax revenue and putting it into this is...not a good one.

With that said, I'll bet there's a lot of demand for such venues in a lot of places, and I'm all for allowing private actors to provide them.

Why does it seem like a good idea to promote using forcibly taken taxes to fund sex parks? Why aren't you promoting freedom for entrepreneurs with the same good idea instead?

3:24 PM  
Anonymous robert61 said...

This is a non-starter. You'll never get the government to use coercively collected tax revenues for something a large majority of taxpayers finds repulsive. The question is, why advocate for coercing funds at all? Why not promote permitting entrepreneurs to meet the need for a sex park if they think it's a good business idea? Why promote theft when you can promote good business instead?

5:07 PM  
Blogger Plain Gay Blogging said...

I think most of your arguments could be used also for "pro" legalization of drugs. I am not a drug user but I am concerned about our country's wasted resources chasing down a problem that also doesn't seem to go away.
So start with legal and safe drugs, we are a long way from legal and legal and safe anonymous sex.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Robert61,
That is a good question for which I have a good answer. There are businesses who provide venues but they do not police for safe sex. That was 50% of my rationale. I would be equally happy if the county would license private businesses to do this if they would include the policing for safer sex as part of the service.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Derrick said...

I'm not sure if you are just all about having outdoor sex but there are perfectly good alternatives called the Clubhouse, Clubhouse II, and Slammers. Also if the outdoor flavor is what you seek try one of the clothing optional gay resorts. Most offer a day pass and a nominal fee. None of the three clubs are outrageously priced either. Besides the indoor venues make it easier for the married guys to deal with then explain to their wives why there ass is sunburned and their knees have sidewalk rash. Lastly doing something like that would impact the revenue of several business that support the gay community

8:45 PM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Derrick,
I am very familiar with all those venues and options. I am personally satisfied with what is currently available.
For some reason, there is still a large number of guys who won't go to those places. They are the target. Not me. I am not the underserved market. Also, I have seen frequent unsafe sex in the places you mention. I don't like it and wish for a venue that was self-policing in this regard. What I conjured addressed all the issues I want resolved and clarified the fact that it the moralizing of government that would prohibit that kind of venue. No one seems to be denying this elephant in the room.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

let me know when the IPO on this type of park/venue is available!

tanti baci

9:52 PM  
Blogger ewe said...

You are a hoot. Exactly how much time do you have on your hands lately FT? lol

2:27 AM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear ewe,
Too much, obviously.

2:36 AM  
Anonymous Blindman said...

I hereby apply for the job of safe-sex-policeman at your outdoor/anonymous venue. But like most great ideas that arrive before their time, I may not see its fruition. I doubt, however, that implementing your program will satisfy those men who engage in outdoor sex precisely for the thrill of getting caught.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a really interesting idea, IMO. Of course, I can't imagine any local or state government actually going for it. Here in Philly we have several private businesses which cater to such a crowd, but the same problem persists: no policing for safer sex.

Recently I was chatting with someone about how bath houses and the like get licensed... are they hotels in the eyes of the local authorities, or something else all together?

-- Fr. T of SP, yo.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

even though the park, public toilet, beach, rest stop sex is potentially dangerous I have always thought that it is precisely this that attracts some men. what were your plans for policing the safer sex issue in the park? rangers are hardly likely to patrol with flashlights to check that condoms are being worn. are they?

9:42 AM  
Blogger SubtleKnife said...

I'm afraid your sex-park would be deserted and the bushes two blocks over very crowded indeed...

3:15 PM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear SubtleK,
That is exactly what I was writing about, but I am afraid I have presented too many layers of distraction in one article.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Java said...

I see a lot of good ideas in this proposal. I especially like the safer sex policies. I want to be a safer sex ranger!

While I don't think a municipally owned and operated venue is ideal, I do like the idea of licensing private establishments, requiring safer sex provisions.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Father Tony,

Someone should pioneer the Advanced Safe Sex Ranger division of Americorps. I think your idea has merit.

Sadly you could probably write a grant proposal and gain funding under tarp or economic stimulus.


8:59 PM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

How good is your flashlight, Java?

12:55 AM  
Blogger The Milkman said...

Father Tony, I am always fascinated by your very practical and functional approach to this issue, which tends to elevate the blood pressures of gay and straight citizens alike. I too would support the legalization and quasi regulation of such venues, and have always thought that sex clubs offered a valuable and practical safer option to those of us who enjoy recreational sex. (Safer meaning free from physical attack... safer sex practices are another issue altogether.)

Your point that some men don't feel comfortable patronizing sex clubs but nevertheless utilize parks for nookie al fresco is a good one. The park thing would work in Florida. I wonder, however, whether there would be a similar option for those of us who live in the snowy climate? Though that does beg the question... what do these men do in Wisconsin when it's too cold to get off outside? Surely they're not avoiding sexual congress until the spring thaw...

1:07 PM  
Blogger Derrick said...

Craig's list is busy in the winter I bet.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

My suspicion would be that closeted guys would shy away from a venue like this, since it would be clearly identified by the larger community. So many of them refuse to go into gay bars, for example, for fear that someone they know might catch them at it. I grew up in a small town with one gay bar, for example, and most closeted guys I knew wouldn't even walk on that BLOCK. (I think driving to other bars in other cities was a common solution.) Frequenting rest stops and public parks is attractive to many because one can make a claim for a non-sexual reason for being there. So while I don't agree that particular population would make use of a sex park in noticeable numbers, I'm still intrigued by the idea. I too shy away from tax money being used, to be honest, but still think the idea is worth considering. It wasn't clear to me how the new system was working in the Netherlands; is it too soon to tell?

11:51 AM  

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