Know Your Rights.
Cruising Grounds are defined as open spaces where men look for sex with other men. These can be parks, lay-bys, beaches and other public spaces. These are known as Public Sex Environments (PSEs)
Cottaging is looking for, or having sex in a public toilet - this includes any toilet which is open to the public such as Theatres, Shopping Centres, Cinemas and Transport toilets.
Cruising and The Law.
There is no specific law against cruising in the UK. Sex in public places is NOT illegal as long as other members of the public cannot see you having sex - or are unlikely to come into contact with you whilst you are engaged in sexual activity.
Police do not have the right to stop and search you for being in or near a cruising ground, unless they suspect you have or just about to commit a crime.
Police guidelines suggest that police should only respond to complaints made by the public and not to proactively prohibit men from cruising.
Cottaging and The Law.
Cottaging is illegal in the UK, that’s why you won't find any cottaging sites listed on TheGayUK.
You risk being arrested for cottaging if you are caught in a public toilet, even if your are having sex behind a closed stall door. It is still against the law and you risk criminal proceedings if you are caught.
In some areas of the UK police patrol public toilets which are known for cottaging.
What To Do If You're Arrested.
Always ask to speak to the duty solicitor at the police station before being interviewed or accepting a caution.
A caution or conviction will result in a criminal record for a sexual offence which you will have to disclose in any criminal record checks.
Your safety is paramount. Cruising grounds have been known to harbour individuals who would like to harm you. It may be wise to carry a rape alarm and to be extra vigilant, especially in the dark. You should get to know your local cruising ground, finding out the exits, dead ends and shortcuts. Keep valuables out of sight or leave them at home.
Always make sure you’ve brought plenty of lube and condoms and if you’re worried about sexual health you can always visit: www.mysexualhealth.thegayuk.com.
You always have the right to say no to the sex you don’t want. Make sure you know your own boundaries and stick to them. If you find yourself forced into an uncomfortable situation move away or leave the area.
If you are attacked get help by calling out for help.
For more information about cruising visit www.galop.org.uk