Brits like to bone in public.
So much so that more than half the participants of a recent survey admitted to having had sex in a public place — parking lots, the back seat of cars in parking lots, woodland coves with cars in parking lots, etc. In fact, after speeding, it was the second most common crime Brits admitted to having committed.
The slang term for this, “dogging” (or sex in public while other people watch), originates from the phrase “to walk the dog” since a) dog walkers in the U.K. regularly stumble upon humans fucking outdoors; and b) “walking the dog” is camouflage for said humans to lurk around parking lots with raging boners at night.
“It’s cruising for straight people,’” says Chris Haywood, a professor of critical masculinity studies at Newcastle University, who recently published a paper in the journal Sexualities entitled “Leaving Masculinity at the Car Door: Dogging, De-Subjectification and the Pursuit of Pleasure.” He adds that it’s all a leap of faith since a dogging rendezvous isn’t organized online for fear of partners finding out. Instead, doggers approach each other blindly, which is more or less the whole point — the danger/thrill of never knowing who might be lurking in the bushes.
In his study, Haywood interviewed 12 heterosexual men — ages 24 to 54, mostly white and married with children — who participate in dogging despite leading otherwise conventional heterosexual existences as tradesmen and government officials. “They live a standard nuclear family lifestyle,” Haywood explains. “But they also have this pleasure that happens at the edges of their lives.”
A pleasure that turns them into different kinds of men, Haywood says. Ones who prioritize women’s sexual pleasure over their own and permit random blokes to eat out their asses at a nearby park. To find out what drives their desires (and heteroflexibility), I recently asked Haywood to share with me what his doggers told him about their favorite pastime and why they’re so willing to check convention at the car door.
Doggers communicate via dome lights and blinkers.
Dave: There are all sorts of messages that you can do when you are in the car, like use your indicators or flash your lights. I’m not clear on the rules, but it is something like, flash your lights if you are interested; turn your inside light on to invite people to watch; undo your window to invite people in.
Gary: I’d been doing a bit of research on places where people had been dogging. I’d heard my mates talking about it, and I wanted to find out more about it. So I looked online, and I found the places where I could go. I saw that you could sit with the lights off, and if you see something that you’d like to be a part of, give your lights a flash, and hopefully, you’ll get a flash back.
I did the flash thing, and nothing happened. But I could see them looking. Then I thought, Well, maybe they haven’t seen us flashing. So I give the main beam, a really good flash. And the guy was having an affair with some lass. They went to this place, where it was nice and quiet and didn’t get any attention. They obviously didn’t realize that it was a dogging area. He came over, he tapped a window and he politely told me to fuck off.
Explains Haywood: “They might flash their headlights, and if the other car flashes their headlights, there is a connection. So one car would then move closer to the other car. Putting the inside light on indicates they liked to be watched. If they prefer to invite touch, they’ll undo the window. If someone wants to get involved, they’ll walk over and undo the car door. Which leads to a full-on sexual practice. But there is very little talk. It appears to be quite a silent practice.”
Dimming those dome lights allows for privacy — and excitement.
Jay: Well, it is kind of dark and mysterious isn’t it? You don’t know what you’re going to get most of the time. You don’t know much about the location. You know where they are, but you don’t know what’s going on.
Explains Haywood: “When the lights go off in the car in the dark, there is very little they can see in that car next to them. Could they be masturbating? Could they be doing something else? You just don’t know. What are the prices of trying to find out? What do you do next?”
What happens next is actually hotter than any potential sex.
Paul: I’m hoping, no praying, that I am going to fuck someone. The heart is racing and I just … don’t know who the fuck it is or is it even gonna happen? Total strangers. I don’t know them. They don’t know me, and we are gonna be fucking. Anonymous fucking.
Brian: You go there, you are shaking, you are feeling sick from the excitement, you are looking and you are just — it is just intense. Like, the woman is doing what she wants to do — like, the way she wants it. And, like, if she wants it rough, she gets it rough; it’s just intense. It’s, like, I can’t describe it — it is like an addiction and, like, you have got to have it, but after you’ve done it, you think I am fucking well not doing that again. But the next day, you’re out on it again. Like a month ago, I went to a place… I just wanted it, so I went into the bushes and there was a guy there. I got my pants down and I got what I wanted. Then that was it. Afterward, I was thinking why did I do that? It is just addictive; I just had to do it.
Gareth: I just like being intimate with someone and having some fun with someone that you don’t really know. You know, it’s excitement, isn’t it? Something new, gets you going, gives you the buzz, I suppose. When you’re in a relationship, things go a little bit stale, and it all gets a little bit repetitive. Boring is the word—I can’t think of a better word, to be honest.
Jay: You don’t know what you’re going to get most of the time. Part of [the excitement] is a risk of being caught.
Explains Haywood: “One of the biggest risks is being caught. The process of driving there becomes a bit of the thrill. You don’t know if the person next to you is there for sex or not. Are they there for you? The little rituals that take place are themselves sexually rewarding. And if there’s someone there, all the better.”
Doggers prioritize women’s sexual pleasure over their own.
Jay: I like to be there when you put the woman at the center of the attention, kind of giving her all of the fun she wants.
Barry: It’s not about you shooting your load and satisfying yourself. It’s about satisfying her. If she wants to be lying there — licked, fingered, fucked… To me, I always like to give. I like the person to get off before I get off.
James: If a lass is getting off then that’s enough for me. That’s all I want. Just doing what she wants me to do—I don’t need to come.
Explains Haywood: “It’s difficult to generalize, but the men aren’t going there to have penetrative sex. They’re going there for an atypically masculine erotic experience that isn’t penis-oriented. The endgame with traditional masculinity is to come at the end of the encounter. They don’t see it like that.”
Sexuality is irrelevant.
Stuart: Gender doesn’t come into it. Cock, cunt — I enjoy it all! You lose yourself in the moment. You don’t know who the fuck you are or who you are fucking!
Barry: I was with a couple, and the bloke lifted my legs up and started to put his tongue [up my] butt. Being a fella, I’d normally have said no, but there was this tingle, this feeling that went through. It’s really difficult to describe. I just shot my load; I couldn’t believe it.
James: There is a lay-by. You come off the road, and it’s totally secluded and covered by trees. I had a girl from London, and I took her down there. Basically we both bent over, and they picked which one of us they wanted to fuck, which is pretty cool. A couple turned up, too, and we didn’t know who was fucking us! There were just fingers, cocks and tongues. But it didn’t matter. It was just like bursts of pleasure. My friends don’t have a clue. I’d say that I’m hetero, but I have a very strong bi-side when I start getting horny.
Gareth: It’s a lot to do with the pleasure. To be honest, I’m not interested in men, but I do like the thrill of the situation.
John: It’s a question of, what sex am I going to get? It’s purely that. And the mystique and mystery of somebody that you’ve never seen before that you might end up with. That’s it.
Explains Haywood: “Heterosexuality, homophobia and misogyny don’t make sense in this context. Traditional masculinity is about celebrating heterosexuality and rejecting homosexuality. Dogging turns that on its head.”