Cruising for sex is usually conducted in outdoor areas or public spaces such as parks, woods or lay-bys (among many more destinations. The areas are usually frequented by like-minded people also looking for sex or sexual activity. 

Where do people cruise for sex?

Cruising for sex happens in many different places, such as secluded areas of parks or woods. Sometimes cruising happens in venues such as public toilets and this is generally called cottaging.

A recent survey conducted by LGBT HERO (2021) showed the different types of places people often cruise for sex:

  • In a park – 69%
  • In a public toilet – 63%
  • In the woods – 61%
  • Saunas and spas – 61%
  • Bars and clubs – 55%
  • Arrange to meet someone outside via a dating/sex app – 55%
  • Specific cruise bars and venues – 49%
  • In the gym – 41%
  • In a shopping centre/retail outlet – 39%
  • Beaches – 37%
  • Airport – 33%
  • Country roadside/roadside - 33%
  • Dunes – 27%
  • In a cemetery – 23%

What does the law say about cruising?

If you go cruising in open public spaces, such as parks or lay-bys, you need to be aware of the law around sex in these areas. Here is some information from Galop, the LGBT organisation against hate crime. 

There is no specific law against cruising. Sex in public places is not illegal as long as other people who might be offended cannot see you and are unaware that you are having sex.

According to police guidelines, the police should only respond to complaints from the public and should not go to an area to proactively try to catch people cruising. However, there are times when the police may investigate an area, for example if there are reports of homophobic attacks or robberies.

It is not against the law for people to loiter, engage in conversation or walk around a cruising ground with the purpose of meeting others. In other words, you cannot be arrested simply for going cruising.

If you engage in sexual activity or behaviour that may cause alarm or distress to others, such as indecent exposure or voyeurism, you could be arrested or prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 or the Public Order Act 1986. Therefore it is advisable to be as discreet as possible to avoid attracting attention. 

For example, use secluded areas, and not anywhere you might be seen from a public road, path or houses, particularly during daylight hours. Remember to stay close to other cruisers though, in case of any trouble.

If you feel that you have been unfairly treated by the police (or others) while cruising, you should contact Galop for more advice. You can call their helpline on 020 7704 2040 or report an incident at their website,