Public Sex: Into the Woods

You know you had a good time in the woods the night before when the clothes you were wearing are covered in cum stains the next morning.

After many years of avoiding public sex, I am back in the sex-outside game. For me this means wooded areas like parks and abandoned lots, as well as beaches, but that’s another blog posting all together. On the other hand, I have never been attracted to, or engaged in, sex in public washrooms.

When I came out in the early 80s in Montreal, the woods on the east side of Mont Royal, below the gaudy, light up cross, were a public sex paradise. Every night during the summer, dozens of men would wind their way beneath the trees, cruising, sucking, fucking, in pairs and groups.

I cannot remember how I heard about it, but once I did, I sought it out. I had always been turned on by wandering outside nude. When I was eleven or twelve, I used to sneak out of my bedroom window late at night and wander around our yard in the nude. It was the early seventies and the streaking craze had hit, so I also used to go streaking with my friend Geoff. We camped outside in a backyard tent and late at night we would slip out, nude, except for out sneakers, and dash around his suburban neighbourhood, hiding when cars approached.

Wandering the dark paths of Mont Royal with the other shadowy men, I felt I had finally found what I had been looking for. On my first night there, it found me too.

A bare-chested man, a beautifully hairy chest, approached me. It was a warm summer night and I wasn’t wearing much, but he took it all off, hanging my tee-shirt and running shorts over a tree branch. I was now naked, except for my sneakers. He turned me around, bent me over, spit on my ass, unbuttoned his jeans and slid his cock in. I used a tree trunk to brace myself as he thrust, slow fast, shallow, deep. As he fucked me, I felt the night breeze on my skin.  When he came, I felt his cock throbbing and when he pulled out, I felt his hot cum oozing out of my ass. This was before anyone had even heard the word “AIDS.”

All of this happened over 35 years ago, yet the memory of it is vivid in my mind. I have forgotten many people, places and events over the years, but key erotic memories seem to be etched deeply into my mind.

Now, all these years later I am back on the darkened, tree shrouded trails of Montreal at night. The seed for nighttime adventure was planted last summer, a friend asked me if I ever cruised a certain abandoned lot not far for my house. I said I hadn’t, but I had suspected it might be a cruising area, having seen abandoned condoms there when I cut through it during the day.  He said it was very active. 

Once I knew it was there, it burned in my mind, but I did not visit it then. During the winter I went on PrEP/Truvada, so when the weather warmed up I decided to investigate.  I entered the woods to find two young men jerking off.  I approached and watched. They continued. Seeing that neither was making any moves to suck the other off, I saw an opening. I went down and started sucking the guy on the left. The guy on the right continued stroking until the guy on the left came in my mouth. I turned and started sucking the guy on the right. He came very quickly.  They both pulled up their pants and we left without exchanging a word.

Dark, secretive and strangely quiet, even when groups of 4, 5 or 6 men are engaged in jerking off, sucking and fucking, the woods are largely wordless. These groups coalesce suddenly and quickly and disperse equally quickly.  Most of the men seem to be there for voyeuristic masturbation, some are obviously couples, of some sort, who arrive togehter and begin, first with each other and then with the various members of the expanding circle of masturbating men.

But cellphones and the Internet have brought changes to woods at night as everywhere. Public cruising used to involve a lot of waiting around to see who would show up, to see who would start the action. Now, many of the young men use cruising apps and gay messaging boards to arrange a time to meet, or summon regulars once they arrive.

The night before last a young man was sitting in the middle of the woods, smoking, his cellphone lighting up his face like there was an invisible campfire.  Another young man arrived a few minutes later and stood close to, but did not talk to, the invisible campfire man.  About ten minutes later a very large, muscled third man arrived. He ignored the other two, walking between them, but stopped close to the standing man, turned his back to him, pulled out his cock and had a massive piss. When he was finished, he turned around and the two standing men began to masturbate themselves. Then each other. Then the first standing man began to suck the very large and impressively erect cock of the man-who-pissed.  Once this had been going on for a few minutes, the invisible campfire man stood up, came over, dropped his pants and turned his ass towards the man-who-pissed, who began to fuck him, as the invisible campfire man sucked off the first standing man. The first standing man, pulled his cock out of the invisible campfire man’s mouth, jerked off on his face, pulled up his pants and left. The man-who-pissed came in the invisible campfire man’s ass, pulled up his pants and left. The invisible campfire man, pulled up his pants, lit a smoke, sat down again and took out his cellphone.

Looking at the message board, I can see that many of these groups are loosely scheduled in advance. They often specify “young only,” oh, the urgency of youth. The cruising apps with their geo-location can reveal when a group of men have clustered around the same distance away and you know that the woods are busy with the type of men you are looking for, a virtual mapping out of public space into semi-private compartments, but completely visible, if you know where to look.





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