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The Joys and Drawbacks of Sex Outdoors

by Peter Rupardi in Nightlife & Reports , 17 november 2005

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

With an extra supervisor, pruning, stinging nettles and the construction of a mountain bike track “Het Twiske” tries to put an end to the outdoor sex taking place there. Visitors are more and more often confronted with mostly men having it off in the bushes, says a spokesperson of the recreational area. Police and justice in Rotterdam are looking for victims of robbery and extortion in and around the Zuiderpark. Changing groups of around ten to twenty youngsters of around 11 to 18 years of age have been terrorizing mainly gay men for the past half year.

These, and other recent reports surface regularly now, so we wonder: are the fans of outdoor sex on the increase or has Holland become less tolerant lately? We’ve put together a little overview of the arguments about outdoor sex that have been surfacing the last few years.


Beats are public meeting spots for men who are looking for (sexual) contacts with other men. Beats exist in public places like railway stations, parks, lakes, toilets and parking spots along the highway. Sex at beats is often anonymous and unsafe. A lot of visitors of beats wouldn’t call themselves gay, even though they want to have sex with men.
While most men looking for gay sex will consider a beat an exiting place, the police consider the meeting spots mainly as a threat to public order. Complaints from neighbors often force the authorities to formulate a policy for beats.

For gay men it’s very important that the beats are left unchanged. No unnecessary removals of toilets and no closing down of little lanes or parks. This was literally mentioned in the publication of Policy Recommendations Gay Emancipation by Amsterdam Noord. The paper Homosexuality from the city Groningen stated in March ’89 that meeting spots that did not cause complaints, and did not impose a threat to social safety should be accepted and be left alone.

Municipal gardeners can also contribute to a gay friendly design of the public space. Research has shown that some gardeners in the past, often on the initiative of one of the employees, have ruined beats by cutting down bushes and such. Prudish pruning so to speak. While such actions just cause the activities to move and spread out. Usually they condone the beats though. There’s definitely a shift noticeable from battling to acknowledging to policy making. Policies could result in facilities like trashcans and taking up gay recreation as one of the functions of the area. This way complaints can be prevented. But are these complaints exaggerated or are there other reasons? Fact is that there is less and less green for us to recreate in. People have more leisure time and spend more time jogging and walking so they encounter cruising gays more often than before.

Oeverlanden (Amsterdam)

Outdoor cruising spots are not only visited by men who are still in the closet, or who think they belong in the gay bar scene. Others are indeed looking from guys they don’t usually meet in gag bars, like immigrant youth. In an article about the work of Amsterdam’s “Gay Cops” a journalist of a Dutch daily newspaper noted about the Oeverlanden: “The high number of young immigrants is remarkable here. Like the 19-year-old Ahmed: a trendy boy with three-quarter pants, puma sneakers and lots of gel in his black hair. He’d be the center of attention at any gay club.

Ahmed is from Moroccan heritage. ‘With us homosexuality is not accepted, you know. You can have sex with men but you just don’t talk about it./ He lives nearby, in Slotervaart/Overtoomse Veld, just like his girlfriend. ‘I will marry her,’ he says decidedly. He will get his sexual pleasure at the beat.”
And Ahmed isn’t the only young immigrant from North Africa who’s looking for some instant relief of his sexual urges from the gentlemen in a park.

Sarphatipark (Amsterdam)

The local television channel AT5 reported that the Old South local government is going to patrol the Sarphatipark because of cruising men. According to the local authority the mainly gay men leave a lot of rubbish behind. Nocturnal visitors feel unsafe. The beat is not only popular at night, also during the day there is lots of cruising going on. They’re going to start with a clean-up but will also write out fines. Such a fine could go up to 100 euros. Some call this decision crazy.

People point out that it’s nonsense and that gays wouldn’t cruise there in winter anyway. They also say they’re being stigmatized because straights also use the relatively small park for their adventures. They say a lot of the visitors have anonymous sex and a lot of them lead married lives. So information and cooperation with local health organizations seem much more productive.

Parking Keelbos (Limburg)

A few years ago their was a major argument about the possible closing down of this sex sport. A council member of the Socialist Party wanted to see for himself what’s going on here. He reported his findings in a letter to the local council: “This parking has been known as a gay beat for years. People don’t have a problem with the visitors because they are gay, they have a problem with them because they impose their activities onto others and leave such an incredible mess. This is not just limited to the parking lot, also to the surrounding bushes, grasslands and roads like De Stoepertweg, the walking track from the Pastoor Janssenweg, part of the Roevoetstraat and the Sittarder walking track.

The trouble is spreading and moving to the expanding residential area nearby where a lot of kids live. There’s even a group of activists called ‘Against Meeting Spot Keelbos’. [...] Together with the spokesperson of this group, Mr. Rein Keulen, we went to check the situation out for ourselves on the Friday evening the 5th of July. We walked around on the parking lot and the surrounding bushes. We encountered like 15 men in the bushes who were definitely not there to enjoy the greenery. There are empty cans everywhere, used condoms even hang in the bushes. Condom wrappings, tissues and even underwear is scattered all over the place. You can really say that the place was seriously polluted while it would otherwise be a beautiful spot for playing children and walking your dog.

The gays that cruise here have themselves to blame for the campaign against them. They just made to much mess, and why do they have to have sex so close to a residential area! There are plenty of other spots for them to go to! What is it that they have to hide!”

Maybe the visitors of this sex spot don’t have anything to hide, but otherwise the author enters upon a fact that deserves attention. Outdoor sex can be exciting and hot, but that doesn’t mean we can leave the trash to others. And of course it would be advisable to take into consideration that we’re not alone on this world and that others might also want to use these parks and parking lots. There will always be people who start screaming “nuisance” when they even think some sport might be used by cruising men. But let’s make sure that less narrow-minded people don’t get irritated also, because thus outdoor sex can be what it should be: an exciting sexual adventure.



In the New Issue of Gay News, 327, November 2018

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