I have a confession to make: I’m terrible at outdoor cruising. I’ve had plenty of fun in saunas and darkrooms, at sex clubs and coordinated indoor orgies. But when it comes to getting it on in the great outdoors, my batting average verges on triple-zero. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I’ve given the parks a go, checked out nude beaches and passed by a few truck stops. But despite my distinctly high sexual IQ, fucking en plein air never seems to work out.
Tasked with drafting a cruising guide for Hanlan’s, I realize I’m sadly ill-prepared. It’s unlikely I’ll figure it out on my own by press time, so I assemble a team of experts for advice.
Corey’s been a regular for five years. Keeping a nine-to-five schedule, the early-30s office worker is there only on weekends and always with his boyfriend in tow.
“The first few times, I wasn’t totally aware what was going on,” he says. “I’d just started going to bathhouses and was getting accustomed to the concept and etiquette of cruising in general. I’d heard people had sex in the bushes but didn’t have any firsthand experience.”
Thanks to his years of practice (and no doubt the boyfriend who’s “very experienced” in the public sex department), he’s learned the lay of the land. He estimates he hooks up on 80 percent of his visits.
“Be observant and look for guys walking into the bushes,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to smile and nod at someone if you think he’s hot, and check who’s checking you out.”
On the downside, he admits a frustration with people he refers to unaffectionately as “the tourists.”
“They’re young, twinky guys who are just there to gawk at what’s happening and laugh,” he says. “They’re usually drunk and not there to hook up. They tend to just break the mood, and then whatever scene you’re in dissolves.”
Nathan’s in his mid-20s and has been going for eight years. More of a voyeur than a participant, he makes a love connection less than a quarter of the time but enjoys watching the action as it unfolds.
“I’m kind of a hypocrite because I hate people watching me, but I love to watch,” he says. “Usually I walk around and check out the action to get excited, then take my dick out and see what happens. But I’m a little particular, and if there’s nothing happening I’m into, I’m not going to just suck whatever dick comes along.”
As for cruising advice, his main tip is simple: go it alone.
“Sometimes you see guys walking around in pairs where it’s really obvious one of them is not into it but the other is kind of curious,” he says. “Just leave your friend on the beach and look around alone. It’s better for everyone that way.”
Slavoj has been hitting Hanlan’s for nearly 10 years. The burly, 40-something freelancer tends to work evenings and weekends. That’s not a problem, though, as weekdays are his prime beach time.
“It’s less crowded and you really get to know the regulars,” he says. “It’s a very friendly, community feel. On the weekends, it’s more people coming from an afterparty, looking to show off their new swimsuit.”
He’s been in the know since his earliest days on the sand; when he moved to Toronto in the 1990s, he researched cruising spots and printed himself a map. Though he also cruises washrooms and parks, he loves the beach for its relaxed attitude.
“There isn’t the same pressure of time you have other places,” he says. “It’s a more social, friendly approach to hooking up.”
For him, cruising starts before he’s even hit the sand; he recommends checking out people on the ferry. He also suggests stopping by the showers on the way home.
“It can be hit and miss, but sometimes there’s really hot action in there,” he says.
His hook-up tips are simple: look for a two-way connection, don’t try to force anything, and wait for a signal before you jump in. He admits he scores nearly 100 percent of the time he’s there. But for him, that’s not the main point.
“During the week, there’s more of a nudist population,” he says. “You can meet anyone. Doctors, lawyers, construction workers, people outside your normal social circle. No one asks what you do or whether you rent or own. The pressures of who we are in our daily lives are literally all stripped away.”
Other nude beaches around the world (with thanks to Wikipedia):
Power Station Beach, Lamma Island, Hong Kong: “Reportedly used for nude night swimming at times.”
Neve Midbar, Israel: “During good, not too hot weather, especially on Saturdays, many nudists gather at this beach to celebrate life.”
Pihlajasaari, Finland: A unisex nude beach “consisting almost entirely of rocky cliffs, with no sand. Not very suitable for swimming.”
Guvano Beach, Liguria, Italy: Accessible from the railway station, via a disused railway tunnel.
Bodrum, Turkey: This port city has a “rocky wild shore where mostly gays go to socialize naked.”
Olho de Boi (Bull’s Eye Beach), in Búzios, Brazil: The most popular official nude beach for gays in the country.
Le Centre Hélio-Marin, Montalivet, France: Voted best nude beach in the world by Traveler’s Digest.