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Cruising For Sex Is Back

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For straight travelers, the word “cruising” may only imply traveling via cruise ship. But in queer culture cruising has an entirely other meaning, the act of seeking sexual partners in public spaces, be they parks or bathrooms or alleyways.

The sexual encounters that occur in these spaces are usually anonymous one-time liaisons.In Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime, Alex Espinoza argues that the origins of the practice trace back to Ancient Greece.

Attitude notes that cruising in England (and efforts to use the culture to “catch” gay and bi men) was documented in 1698 when the first recorded instance of entrapment involved a gay man lured to a private room in a London tavern.

Cruising was once one of the only ways for gay men to meet other men for sex, but in the age of hook-up apps it seemed to have lost its relevance or become a past-time of only those with public or outdoor sex fetishes.Sure, there were still reports of the practice persisting, like when Attitude reported on 2017's first Let’s Go Outside party “at George Michael’s former stomping grounds on Hampstead Heath.” Which Zia X, a 28-year-old Londoner described as “a celebration of him refusing to be shamed into silence and to make a video about how wonderful it is to fuck outside.”But mostly, cruising was considered consigned to the history books — until the pandemic hit.

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