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Rest stop confidential

Across America, countless men are meeting up for sex in highway bathrooms. I'm one of them. Here's why


Conner Habib
March 29, 2012 7:59AM (UTC)

I was 15 the first time I found out that men have sex in public. On the way to Maine with my mom and stepfather, we pulled off the highway and into a rest area. At the urinal, there was a man next to me. He was tall and homely, and holding himself. He stared at me. I was electrified, but held to that spot; he shook himself at me and I couldn’t move. We would have stayed there forever, but another man came in and saw what was happening and scowled. Time started again and I ran out of the bathroom.

If you’ve ever pulled over to a rest area, you’ve been near men having sex. I’m one of those men, I’ve done it a hundred times; we go into the woods or a truck with tinted windows, in a stall under cold light. It never stops, not for season or time. In the winter, men trudge through snow to be with each other, in the summer, men leave the woods with ticks clinging to their legs. Have you ever stopped at a rest area and found it completely empty? There’s always one man there, in his car, waiting to meet someone new.

This has been going on for a long, long time. The new ways that men meet -- endlessly staring into phones, searching on hookup apps like Grindr or sites like Manhunt -- haven’t changed the fact that we’re still having sex at rest areas, because they offer something different. For the man who is unsure of his sexuality, or unsure of how to tell others about it, for the man who has a family but feels new desires (or old, hidden ones) unfolding inside of him, the website and the phone apps are just too certain of themselves. They’re for gay men who want to have gay sex. Sex at the rest area, instead, abolishes identity; there’s a sort of freedom there to not be anything – instead, men just meet other men there; men who want the sam...

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Conner Habib

Conner Habib is a writer, teacher and gay porn star. He's pretty sure he's the only person who's ever won awards for all three. He lives in San Francisco, where he runs a Rudolf Steiner spiritual science discussion group, drinks a lot of coffee, and buys too many books. Find him and say hello on Twitter: @connerhabib or visit his blog connerhabib.wordpress.com.

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