By Adrian Morrow
It was a sweltering July morning in Greece as we stole down from the place where we had pitched our tent in the scrubland on the north coast of Peloponnese beneath the rocky crag that holds the ruins of ancient Corinth.
The sun danced bright on the waves in the gulf and I couldn’t wait for the cool water to wash away the 30 C heat. We took off our shoes and stashed them behind a small bush then waded into the water up to our waists.
There were a few people in the water already — mostly locals from the villages that dot the coast down from the modern port. We swam in the shallow waters to a spot far enough from the beach to be alone and started splashing each other, kissing and wrestling in the water while we started to undress.
She leaned back in the water and I stood, barely touching the gulf’s floor while we made love in the waves. By now, the midday sun was high above us, warming the air that caressed our shivering bodies.
That’s when the romance ended.
After a few minutes, some of the locals from the beach started floating towards us. Shit. We floated further down the coast — while I was still in her and clutching our bathing suits, mind you — far from the beach and the locals who would undoubtedly figure out what we were doing if they got too close. Suddenly, I lost my footing on the sandy bottom of the gulf and, at the same time, a particularly large wave washed over us, dunking me under the water. Nothing kills the mood like almost drowning. We continued to swim naked for a bit before returning to the shore. By now we were done with ocean-sex, so a few days later we did it on a hostel roof, naturally.
With the summer fast-approaching, many students are considering heading to Europe or other overseas locales for a much-needed rest. And what would a good vacation be without having sex in a few risky places? After all, it helped sustain me during an eightmonth backpacking stint in 2005 as a 19-year-old who had just discovered the joy of exhibitionism.
And it’s not just horny teenagers who appreciate the great outdoors. Last week, the government of Amsterdam decriminalized sexual activities in their most famous park, the Vondelpark. The reasoning is that public sex is nearly impossible to regulate, causes little interruption for other parkgoers (as opposed to not picking up after your dog) and of course, provides a lot of pleasure for those who are involved. The police force is also encouraging “cruising” for gays in parks because the cops believe it would lower incidences of queer-bashing by normalizing the act. The only rules? Condoms must be thrown out, it must not happen near playgrounds and it can only occur during the evening and nighttime. So, sit back and relax (like she did) while I give you a quick insider’s guide to having a few quickies in your European adventure.
The first consideration is the location. The ideal place is somewhere that’s exotic and somewhat public without being dangerous — beaches are good, Piccadilly Circus, not so much. Beaches from Portugal to Greece are some great picks, as are soft fields everywhere. For the urban experience, pick a famous park like Parc Guell in Barcelona or the Tuileries in Paris because they have a lot of trees to hide behind (and bragging rights attached to them). Hostel roofs are another viable option — three nights after my ocean adventure, I escaped the sweltering heat of concrete Athens to get it on under the stars on the roof of the Pagration Hostel.
Keep your pants on when you’re in sketchy places like the Bois de Boulogne west of Paris where your date will be mistaken for a prostitute, or le Panier in Marseille unless you like your bang to be the gang variety (with plenty of shanks, and not the fleshy kind). When you’re in areas that are a little too public such as Madrid’s Plaza Mayor in broad daylight (think Yonge-Dundas Square) or in the Louvre, you would be better off as a tourist than a globetrotting lover. As fun as it is to slam it to your lady under the watchful eyes of the Mona Lisa — as well as the hundreds of multi-lingual tour groups — who wants to pay an admission fee to have sex? Furthermore, be aware of the consequences of getting caught in the country you’re in. For example, public displays of affec-tion are frowned upon in Turkey and having your giblets exposed could result in either deportation or spending the rest of your trip in a Turkish prison — though at least you’ll get some action there.
Secondly and equally important is the partner. If you already have an adventurous mate or fuck-buddy, the world is your bedroom. For everyone else, finding the person is half the battle. While most partners are fellow backpackers (like mine) who are often looking for something more to spice up their travels, it’s even better to go for the local experience. It may sound like finding a needle in a haystack, but in a survey conducted by British Glamour magazine earlier this year, 85 per cent of men and 64 per cent of women enjoy having an outdoor romp. In a similar survey by Nivea released last month, one in five Brits claimed to have shagged in public, though twice as many men claimed to have done it as opposed to female respondents.
The easiest place to find a local boy-toy is, hands-down, the Greek Islands. The young men who work the bars and hang out on the beaches often compete to see who can sleep with the most tourists in a season, and you’ll pretty much have your pick of hunky Adonises.
Those looking for women should stay away from the tourist areas. When I was backpacking through Eastern Europe three years ago, I learned that the larger cities usually consisted of women luring single male travellers into sketchy bars and ordering a few drinks that would result in a $1,000 tab. If you don’t pay up, the bar’s patrons (who are all mysteriously built like refrigerators) would suddenly stand up to ensure that your tourist dollars go to the local economy.
UK-based dating company Datech Limited launched LivePublicSex.com in 2001 where members can find like-minded, outdoor-loving partners anywhere in the world. The slogan at the top of the webpage is (and I quote): Public sex, sex in public, matching lovers, sexual people who love sex! Sex outside, sex in public, sex in a restaurant, sex in public restrooms, sex in a mall, sex at a gas station, sex at a park. Perhaps these people would enjoy sex outside the household.
Aside from evading prison sentences, flashes from tourists’ cameras and perhaps the possibility of getting beaten to death, hooking up is as straightforward or as crazy as you want it to be. The best night of my life involved streaking through the Italian countryside during an all-night party with a bunch of Bolognese students. The most successful cruisers are the travellers who get away from the other tourists, make friends with the locals and go to their parties. One of my fellow travellers made out with a Dutch girl during a raucous bash at a squat in Milan while I smoked hash downstairs with a Senegalese anarchist.
Of course, if you’re not set on the local experience, the obvious places to pick up bedmates are the tourist party spots such as the Spanish island of Mallorca; the Costa Blanca between Alacant and Benidorm; the resorts of Salerno, Italy and hostels everywhere. Other than that, the usual rules apply: be aware of your surroundings, get tested when you can and do your best to avoid the little problems that accompany sex in public places — such as getting water up your nose.