Friday, October 08, 2010

Doggin' it . . .

 A mat used by people having sex in a field adjacent to the lay-by on the A31 next to the village of Puttenham.

THE NYTIMES has a charming report on British outdoor amorous activities, aka "dogging", by Sarah Lyall, "Here’s the Pub, Church and Field for Public Sex". Bungle in the jungle, indeed.

Puttenham, about an hour’s drive from London, has fewer than 2,500 residents and is famous for its ancient church; its friendly pub, the Good Intent; and its proud inclusion in both the Domesday Book — an 11th-century survey of English lands — and “Brave New World.”

Unhappily for many people here, it is also famous for being featured on lists of good places to go “dogging” — that is, to have sex in public, sometimes with partners you have just met online, so that others can watch. So popular is the woodsy field below the ridge as a spot for gay sex (mostly during the day) and heterosexual sex (mostly at night) that the police have designated it a “public sex environment.”

• • •

Enthusiasts’ Web sites alert practitioners to known dogging locations — more than 100 in Surrey alone — and offer handy etiquette tips for the confused or overly excited.

“Only join in or move closer if you are asked,” advises one site, Swinging Heaven, which says it has more than one million registered members.

Richard Byrne, a senior lecturer in countryside management at Harper Adams University College in Shropshire, said that modern technology has made dogging much more convenient than it used to be, thanks to search engines, Facebook groups and people tweeting about their experiences. “And of course, everybody’s got mobiles,” he said.

Swinging Heaven says that the practice began in Britain in the 1970s, and that the term comes from the phenomenon of voyeurs “doggedly” following people having sex. Others say that practitioners claim to be “walking the dog” when they are, in fact, going out to meet naked strangers in fields.

Britons are a tolerant bunch, and most probably would not care who watched whom doing what in whatever configuration, as long as they all went somewhere else. Why, Puttenham residents wonder, do they have to do it 400 yards from the village nursery school?”

"Only join in if you are asked". Sounds like good advice, when you ponder it. Getting Put in Puttenham. How quaint.

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