Made famous in the early Noughties by events such as the arrest of Stan Collymore near his home in Staffordshire, 'dogging' is a fairly notorious practice viewed with suspicion (at best) by wider society, but what is it really? Who actually does it and why? A little investigation into the secret world of dogging reveals some surprising truths...
Dogging is the practice of engaging in sexual activity in public or watching others doing so. Couples will have sex in a car in a car park, a public park or other relatively secluded public space often with voyeurs - usually men - watching, and sometimes joining in. There are many places in the UK, and increasingly in other places around the world, that are known as 'dogging areas', where people meet to engage in this activity. Detailed information can be accessed online as to where and when doggers are meeting. Some dogging areas are primarily for gay meet ups and some for straight and bi action.
The term 'dogging' is thought to originate from the male voyeurs' activity during which they observe or 'dog' the performing couples. An alternative to this interpretation comes from the use of the practice of dog walking as an excuse to 'innocently stumble' upon dogging sites.
Dogging is participated in by all manner of people, with the majority being lone males searching for couples to observe or join. There is an etiquette protocol that is suggested by many participants and online guides, but as anyone is free to turn up to dogging meets it cannot necessarily be relied upon. Examples of dogging etiquette include:
Discretion - dogging should be done after dark and away from any family activity or anyone who may be offended. The police are relatively unlikely to intervene with doggers who stick to this rule. Police have even been known to work with doggers to arrest muggers or other criminals who can be attracted to dogging sites as they think the doggers they target will not wish to identify themselves to the police.
Lights inside a car left on or flashed indicate a couple intending to be watched. Flashing headlights indicate that others may approach or follow a car.
Rolled down windows or open doors indicate that others may be able to touch the couple in the car. It is correct to approach the male inside the car to verify this before beginning any touching.
A person requested to back away from an encounter should do so immediately. If they do not, a couple may drive off and leave the offending person surrounded by other people who are annoyed that they just caused the couple to leave.
Everyone should always bring condoms.
Personal hygiene is paramount; bringing baby wipes to a dogging environment is often suggested.
Litter or any other eyesore or environmental damage such as an open fire must not be left behind to disrupt the environment.
Doggers may be exhibitionists or voyeurs who prefer the thrill of anonymous, outdoor sex to the familiarity of sex parties with participants known to them or Swingers' clubs. They may be vulnerable people who are guided by more dominating partners or lonely people turning up on the off-chance they'll get a look in!
Dogging is the hard edge (no pun intended) of illicit sexual activity and not for the faint hearted! As with all sex, it is of utmost importance that any participant is safe, in control and fully informed, and that there is scrupulously clear communication involved. If you are considering going dogging with your partner you must realise that the risk to your relationship health is high as jealousy and the extremely volatile nature of this kind of activity is likely to test any boundaries that you have.
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