Friday, January 18, 2008

Bad public sex stories...

Now, the last thing I want to do is discourage people from taking the train. But since I told you about my earlier train trip, now I'd like to tell you what happened this last time I took the train to come here. You can decide which is worse...

I was on the train from Bordeaux to Lille, getting off in the suburbs of Paris to visit friends before continuing on to Zurich. At one of the stations, a guy who looked to be in his mid-twenties -- neither exceptionally attractive nor unattractive -- got on and took the seat just across the aisle from where I was sitting. (Note that the seat numbers are assigned on the tickets, so he didn't specifically choose to sit by me.) He got out a portable computer and began watching a movie on it. I had an aisle seat, and since there was a guy in the window seat next to me (coincidentally also watching a film on a P.C.), I couldn't just stare out the window as I normally do when I'm riding the train thinking of silly things to write on my blog. So I kind of had to stare up the aisle instead.

While I was sitting there chuckling to myself about all of hilarious things I might write, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Is that guy resting his hand on his crotch? My conscious mind was saying Don't turn and look, don't turn and look, whatever you do, don't turn and look! But my unconscious reflex won out, so I turned for a split-second micro-glance. I confirmed my initial impression, and immediately after the glance, the guy nonchalantly moved his hand away.

A few minutes later, the same guy (sitting across the aisle from me) shifted to a more comfortable, reclined position in his chair. Then he put his hand in his pocket, and it was quite clear that his hand was moving. And I don't mean a simple adjustment or rearrangement.

The film the guy was apparently watching wasn't something erotic as far as I could tell, and he didn't give the impression of creepily leering. He seemed more uncomfortable than anything else. (And, yes, I really did take in all of this information with my peripheral vision alone and didn't look again after that one micro-glance -- well-trained peripheral vision is an important skill for any serious primatologist.)

I could almost sympathize. After all, due to some unfortunate scheduling problems, my husband had to go to Switzerland with the kids (for their school and his job) a week earlier than I did, so I'd spent the week alone (packing and supervising the movers). On that trip, I was on my way to see my sweetie after not having seen him for more than a week, and those of you who have been in a similar situation know what that's like. Of course -- for the few hours on the train, at least -- I was able to keep all of these thoughts confined to the interior of my head and not allow my hands to wander to the nether regions, out of courtesy to the other passengers who don't want to see that.

(Some of you are probably thinking "Actually, Chanson, there's a decent chance that guy did want to see that..." Right. I'm not talking about him. I'm talking about the other other passengers.)

To me, masturbating while riding the train is a little like drinking and driving: neither activity is a problem by itself, but they don't go together. This particular incident didn't bother me -- just more free data for my inner anthropologist, as usual -- but many other people might find it upsetting and even threating. It essentially amounts to a non-consensual sex act. The other people on the train just want to get where they're going, and they certainly didn't ask to share this intimate moment with you.

I think even Dan Savage would agree with me. I don't have the exact reference, but once some guy wrote about how he and his wife like to have sex in public, and was complaining about all the prudes that didn't appreciate the show. And Dan told him that having a kink that involves random bystanders is not fair to the random bystanders, which makes sense. Now you're probably thinking this is incredibly hypocritical of me, considering my claim to fame **cough** BYU library **cough** (and to a lesser degree my tales from topless and nude beaches). As far as the nude beaches are concerned, the people who go there know what they're in for, and as for the BYU library? Well, like I said, it was a case where there was one door to lock the entire room, not just a stall (where there might potentially be random people in the room just outside the stall). I guess it's tricky to decide precisely where to draw the line for what constitutes common decency. Feel free to debate me in the comments. ;^)

Having sex in a public place naturally has its risks. I remember back when I was attending Rutgers, the Mathematics building (the Hill Center) was never completely locked. So there were students in there all the time (24/7, on holidays, weekends, whenever). It was quite convenient for grad students working on their thesis research at odd hours. One time a friend and fellow grad student recounted to me the following story:

She was in her office working on her research during the weekend, and she sent something to the printer to be printed. The way the building was arranged, the shortest path from her office to the printer room was through one of the classrooms. (These classrooms were normally locked, but many of the grad students had keys to them.) So she opened the door and turned on the light, and she found a pair of undergrads having sex right there in the classroom. Then the really surprising part of the story was what happened next. The guy said "Close the door," but my friend refused to close the door, she insisted that they disengage immediately, get dressed, and get the hell out of there. And that's what they did.

My friend told me this story as though that were a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Maybe it was. After all, random undergrads weren't supposed to be in that classroom on weekends at all, much less having sex. But if it were me, after one glance I would have turned the light back off, closed the door, and taken another path to the printer room.

Then I would have immediately gone and written all about it on my blog. ;^)

Is that weird of me? Does any of this make sense?

30 comments:

SAM said...

I can't believe she made them leave! Had she no compassion for those poor undergraduates who had no room to themselves? I suppose she must have felt threatened in some way by the experience.

As for the train story ... eww!

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Sam!!!

Yeah, that's what I was thinking -- maybe those kids didn't have a private room. The other funny thing is that the friend in question was far from prudish in her own behavior. It was more that she was the type of person who makes strong snap judgments about others' actions, and if she thinks someone is doing something wrong, she will not stand idly by...

ordinary girl said...

Is that weird of me? Does any of this make sense?

I find your line of thought completely reasonable. What should you, or I, or anyone else care what people do in private. It's the public forcing me to participate that I find objectionable. But as you infer, it's a fine line and maybe people have different lines they'd draw.

Beat Dad said...

Hmm I once refused to have sex with my GF in front of the SLC Temple.

I simply refused to have sex in public, no matter how well we had it hidden. (she like the idea of being watched way more than I did.)

I don't think it is at all weird to dislike public sex.

Who knows why he was attempting to masturbate on the train. Probably, he was tired and bored.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Ordinary Girl!!!

Exactly. It gets complicated pretty quickly.

Hey Beat Dad!!!

Your girlfriend found a sufficiently secluded spot right in view of the Salt Lake Temple and you refused? That's too bad... ;^)

Actually, I've had sex in the great out-of-doors on several occasions (so maybe I am a hypocrite here? At least I don't do it anymore...). It wasn't about the thrill of potentially being watched or caught, so much as about bragging rights. When I was younger I used to like to try to have sex in the most unusual places possible just so I could say I'd done it. I think the most interesting one on my list was in a bank vault. But the problem is that it just doesn't come up in conversation all that often, so really it was more trouble than it was worth.

As far as that guy was concerned, it looked like the problem was being horny/aroused to the point where it was uncomfortable to do nothing. But I'm no mind reader. Also, he only did it a bit -- not to the point where there was danger of making a mess or something. Of course I got off the train at the very next station (right after seeing this), and who knows what happened after I left?

John Hamer said...

Is it sweeps weeks in the bloggosphere? I wonder how the title "bad public sex stories" affects your Google-driven results? ;)

Bored in Vernal said...

lol, Chanson--more disturbing to me than the guy on the train is the fact that your brother just read about you having sex outdoors! Yikes! I'm glad my brother is NOT a blogger.

Beat Dad said...

Actually, she wanted to do it right in front, like right there on the sidewalk along main street, pre maing street plaza.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey John!!!

LOL!!! Actually, I didn't get nearly the spike I was hoping for -- nothing like the times I've posted about nude and topless beaches. On the other hand, those tend more to be one click then click away when they see there are no pics, whereas the few search queries that have come in for this have mostly lead to multiple page loads, and hopefully new readers... ;^)

Hey BiV!!!

Good point!!! And I'd be embarrassed if it weren't for the fact that he himself has posted worse... ;^)

Hey Beat Dad!!!

Yikes!! I think I might have hesitated as well....

the chaplain said...

The most popular sex spots at the Christian college I attended were located in the fine arts building. The second floor housed 50-60 small practice rooms. I daresay people practiced sex as frequently as they practiced scales up there.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Chaplain!!!

LOL!!! Religious schools can create obstacles if they like, but where there's a will, there's a way... ;^)

Tom Clark said...

Hey Chansi - I think it's cute John showing up on your blog. You know how much I like him so anywhere he pops up is a smile moment for me.

I'm a little reticent to mention this but there is something of a euro-fetish it seems, of guys getting themselves off on trains while recording it on cam and then sharing it on XTube.

There's one young French guy in particular who has at least a dozen or so vids of himself jerking off on trains all over France and Europe. I don't find it so much of a turn on as I do absolutely fascinating that anybody would take that kind of a chance on getting caught and brought up on charges of public indecency.

Oh wait, it's France. Never mind.

:-)

BTW, it really does matter what I post on my blog? Somebody actually records all that stuff and sends it to the blogosphere search engines? Wow, I had no idea. I truly didn't. I only have three readers anyway so I don't suppose it matters. But I am going to try heading one of my entries with something about dwarves and whores and giant breasts and donkey-dicked studs and see what happens...

Back to the original subject, that guy playing with himself in front of you on the train. You know, speaking as a lifelong nympho I realize that a lot of times when I was younger my need and/or desire to have an orgasm completely overrode all common sense. I have masturbated myself to orgasm in some very unlikely or even "unsafe" places - not so much because of the thrill of public masturbation but because in that moment I so so so needed to get off that I threw caution to the wind and just went for it. (Am I the only guy whose brain tends to shut down when he really really really needs to have an orgasm?)

I shudder sometimes to think back at the risks I used to take. I don't take them anymore; not because I'm not as horny as I used to be, (because I certainly am as horny as I used to be) but because the thought of spending a night in jail at my age just doesn't turn me on as much as it used to. knowwhatI'msayin?

I agree with the greater concensus that nobody should have to watch somebody else's sex in a public place. It's kind of like I also feel about Xtian bumper-stickers; I especially hate the one that says, "If you're living like there is no God, you'd better be right."

I hate it when Xtians threaten me like that. I also don't like seeing people having sex in public because it's usually not the kind of people I'd want to see having anything in public other than having a door closing behind them as they got on a bus.

OK, there was this time a few years back when I saw a young couple in Italy doing it in broad daylight on a footbridge in the Villa Borghese in Rome. That was hot.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Tom!!!

True, it's easy to be conflicted on this. On the one hand, it's not fair to random passerbys, yet there's a bit of an erotic thrill to this sort of thing -- not merely from the risk of doing it, but the voyeuristic component of catching a glimpse of something you shouldn't be seeing. I hate to say that online, though, because the other ladies will lynch me for encouraging perverts. So I don't condone this sort of thing. Especially since in reality probably 90% of the people around you will be disgusted and horrified -- the people who aren't are undoubtedly the exception.

Also, you've touched on one of the "life's not fair" aspects of it -- beautiful people are far more likely to get a pass for public indecency whereas unattractive people are more likely to arouse only ire and complaints in their chosen audience.

Also, yes it's true that the search engine companies have programs that constantly scan the web and catalog everything that's on it. So if you write a blog post entitled "dwarves and whores and giant breasts and donkey-dicked studs" then you will probably attract search queries on those topics. I talked about this in some of my posts: more whale naughty bits, more tales from the nude beach, and so, who wants to see some sexy topless nude beach sunbathing photos?.

I make no secret about the fact that I think of blogging as a writing exercise and that I study my logs very carefully to see which posts work well and generate the most interest and the best discussion. Unlike what you might think from looking at the above, it isn't just the sex-related ones -- quite a lot of tamer topics are far more successful. It's just that with sex-related posts I'm far more likely to justify them by saying I'm writing them because they bring in traffic. That way I can maintain my dignified and respectable stance of "Hey, it's not that I'm a pervert who wants to talk about sex all the time, it is you, dear reader, who wants to read about it." ;^)

Rich said...

Gee Chanson, maybe the poor guy across from you on the train just couldn't handle your uber-sexiness?!
:^)

This post brings back the memory of a colleague that was fired some years ago from a company we both worked for when security found him and a female friend going at it on one of the conference room tables late at night. I confess I've always wondered if he felt like it had been worth it... :^)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Rich!!!

Now, now, we don't want to fall into the trap of suggesting that men can't control themselves and that their arousal reflex is the fault of the women around them. Besides, as far as I could tell he wasn't looking at me. On the other hand, I theoretically wasn't watching him either. ;^)

Also note that it's the middle of the winter so I was wearing a sweater and jeans. But as I turned and was reaching up to get my luggage down from the overhead luggage rack (just before getting off the train), I was thinking it would be funny if I'd been wearing that same pink dress I was wearing on my summer trip to Zurich. I know, I shouldn't think that would be funny, but I have a really perverse sense of humor. ;^)

Of course for all I know maybe that guy was gay. Maybe it was the same guy Tom mentioned (above) and he was just waiting for me to get off the train so he could film himself for XTube....

As for your colleague? True, that would be a difficult choice. ;^)

mxracer652 said...

Demanding two people leave a closed room with the lights off because they were having sex is entirely too uppity to me.

Plus who knows if their roommates were assholes about it or not.

Public sex, that's a tough one. I don't think "decency" should be used as an argument against it, because that's a slippery slope to the religious right. The only thing I can think of are sanitary reasons, I don't want to sit on a seat covered with various bodily fluids. Sex outside, in a park, on the beach, go for it. Sex in close quarters, take care of that before boarding.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey MxRacer652!!!

I agree on the bodily fluids. Aside from that, though, are you suggesting that any restrictions on obscenity and indecent behavior in public represent a type of theocracy?

I think many people would counter that with the "think of the children" argument (though, sincerely, I'm not sure there are any studies showing that children are harmed by seeing adult sexuality). Still, it seems like there might be some justification to restricting sexual behavior in public for the sake of those who don't want to be exposed to it. Isn't there?

mxracer652 said...

Hi chanson,

The only reason I brought up the religious right is because decency is relative. Something as trivial as a gay/lesbian actor/actress on TV bring out the howler monkeys, while I couldn't care less if two people have sex in a park, hetero or homo.

I have a hard time logically limiting what displays of behavior (sexual or not) should be displayed in public. Kissing is sexual (in my opinion), most are OK with kids seeing that. Yet public display of female breasts, which are not a sex organ, are not OK, even while breastfeeding (their sole bodily function). So, we accept some things, yet don't accept others (illogically I might add). I see it as a matter of personal comfort, if you see something all the time, it's no longer a shock.

Now with sex, as you said, unless there's a good reason to limit that behavior, it should be legal. But then again, that is my dark, cold materialist logical brain talking.

How do you handle things like this with your kids (I'm not a parent)?


Thanks,
Brendan

Rich said...

Chanson, sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you were at fault in any way; of course he chose to indulge his lustful thoughts (I was merely trying to pay you a compliment) :^)

Your admonition reminds me of an amusing story a friend of mine related to me. Her masseuse kept a tub of ice and a large metal spoon near the massage table to help her male clients "make good choices". Whenever any of them started to feel a little too good about her hands working them over, out came the cold spoon to dampen their ardor! Geez, just the thought of a cold spoon on my nether regions makes me shudder... Brilliant!

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey MXRacer652!!!

To be honest, you're right that it's a complex question, and it's not clear there's a simple and logical answer to what should be allowed in public and what shouldn't. For my own kids, if they see something and have a question, I'll answer it as clearly as I can (taking into account their comprehension level). And as I discussed here, they've learned some of the facts of life from nature documentaries already.

Hey Rich!!!

Don't worry -- I understood what you were saying. :D

As for your friend's masseuse, I think if I were a guy, I'd avoid going to that masseuse, just in case... yikes!! ;^)

Tom Clark said...

Good gawd almighty - any masseuer or masseuse who'd have a problem with a guy getting an erection during a massage isn't fit to be doing bodywork. A cold spoon in a bucket of ice for those naughty moments when the body responds kindly to the massage? If a bodyworker got a cold spoon anywhere near my body I'd take it and shove it so far up his or her nose that Gawd would wonder where the fuck the cold spoon in his ass was coming from.

But let me tell you what I really think about it...

:-)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Tom!!!

Exactly. Again, I'm not a guy, but I feel like if I were, worrying about that icy spoon would really interfere with my relaxation, which kinda defeats the purpose of the massage. On the other hand, that masseuse probably just says that so that she can avoid having any male clients. ;^)

The Bystander said...

Hi Sam

I agree with you the best course of action would have been to let the Undergrads go about their business and find another route.

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puritronic said...

I can't believe she made them leave! Had she no compassion for those poor undergraduates who had no room to themselves? I suppose she must have felt threatened in some way by the experience.

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