Words by Anthony House

Cruising is sometimes dismissed as a lost art, but I don’t see it that way. Put simply, cruising is looking for sex in real-time, in the physical world.

Sure, you can do it near Hampstead Heath’s famous fuck tree, but that’s a small fraction of the cruising that happens every day. You can also cruise on the train, at a sex club, or in a public toilet. My personal favourite is the street—once or twice a month, I seem to find myself enjoying a tryst with a man I passed on the pavement. I am a cruising evangelist: I think it’s easier, faster, and more reliable than the apps. But I know that it can also seem scary if you’re not used to it, so here are some tips to get you started. Some of them are more specific to particular places than others, but keep in mind that I’m not a lawyer: just another horny bloke:

1. The eyes have it. Posture and attitude matter, but you’ll always struggle to cruise if you can’t make eye contact. Your gaze sends a clear message. If you’ve clocked a guy you’re interested in, look at his face. You’ll learn a lot from whether (and how) he makes eye contact, and whether he looks back after you’ve passed each other.

2. Be ready for any number of sins. Maybe neither of you is ready to fuck. Maybe you want to be pissed on, but he just went. This is sex in the wild, so approach it with an open mind. And if you’re really keen on one particular scene or act, there’s probably a cruise bar night for you. Check out their listings now that places are reopening!

3. Look for the spark. On the apps you’re stuck with a curated, two-dimensional depiction. But when you’re cruising you experience the full person. For most, cruising isn’t about comparing what you’re both into. If you find a spark with someone, you’ll find a way to have fun.

4. Your chat up line doesn’t need to be good. I often ask for the time...with my phone in my hand. It’s banal enough to filter out oblivious straight guys on the street, but daft enough that it sends a signal.
Wherever you’re cruising, the main thing is to signal interest clearly, but in a way that allows a graceful exit if needed.

5. Don’t be afraid to say no. You’re probably not up for anything with anyone at any time (as much fun as that would be). Nor do you need to be. If you’re going cruising, be clear with yourself about what you’re not willing to do, and don’t apologize for keeping your boundaries.

6. Don’t be afraid to hear no. For ease of rejection, nothing beats the apps. Blocking someone is just a click away, but that doesn’t make it sting any less. If you cruise, you’ll get rejected sooner or later. Don’t take it personally: you can’t be everyone’s type. Respect the “no”, though. Don’t lurk in hopes that he’ll change his mind. If he wants you to watch, he’ll make that clear. Otherwise, dust yourself off and keep cruising. There are, as they say, plenty of cocks in the yard.

7. Safety first. You’re an adult, so you can decide what safe sex means for you. But you probably don’t want to get mugged...or twist an ankle. If you’re heading to a cottage or cruising ground, do some homework ahead of time. Or find a slutty friend to go with you so you can watch out for each other.

8. Public sex doesn’t mean subjecting the public to your sex. Being watched can be fun. Being arrested is not. Most straight people are oblivious to what’s going on around them. Let’s keep it that way.

9. Don’t take it too seriously. You’re there to have fun; so is everyone else. Treat your fellow cruisers with the respect they deserve, and have a great time.