Reports of sexual acts in campus restrooms surface
By Ben Thaler
April 11, 2007 10:01 p.m.
Students and campus officials have reported that gay sexual activity has been occurring in at least two of the men’s restroom on campus for the last year or more.
Nancy Greenstein, director of police community services for UCPD, said so far in the 2006-2007 academic year, there have been two complaints regarding sexual activity in the Royce Hall basement restroom.
“When we receive a call, we respond to the location and investigate it,” Greenstein said, adding that the number of calls does not necessarily reflect the prevalence of incidents.
Greenstein said university police consistently patrol all areas of campus and increase their presence when multiple complaints are made about an area.
One undergraduate student, who wished to remain anonymous, came forward to discuss what he perceived occurring in the restroom.
The student, who said he has witnessed sexual encounters in campus restroom, said he believes the restroom in the basement of Royce Hall was the primary spot on campus for the sexual rendezvous. He added that sexual activity has occurred in Haines Hall and possibly other locations.
“Royce is the most popular, but Haines is known for its holes,” the student said, referring to openings made between stalls that are used to initiate sexual contact.
The restroom are also listed on Web sites with sexually explicit content related to public sex, and there is sexually explicit writing and patched-up holes in the stalls in Haines Hall.
The student said the restroom attract people of diverse ages and backgrounds, including students and outside visitors. He added that the people initiate sexual activity through eye contact while using a urinal or washing their hands, and from there engage in acts inside the stall or at an outside location.
The student said the anonymous sex in the restroom was “addicting” and “could get out of control,” but he believes some of the gay population feels they have no other way to express their sexuality.
Greenstein said the phenomenon of sexual activity in restroom extends to college campuses across the country.
“I’ve received calls from other institutions, such as the Daily Trojan (at USC), inquiring about the same issue,” Greenstein said.
Ronni Sanlo, director of the UCLA Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Campus Resource Center, said some gay men turn to anonymous restroom sex because of discrimination against the LGBT community.
“The notion for (some men) to admit they are gay is deeply painful, so for many people it is easier to participate in sexual behavior rather than apply labels,” Sanlo said.
Tom Bourdon, assistant director of the LGBT Center, said he believes many of the men who participate in restroom sex may not identify as gay.
Sanlo added that a segment of the population appreciates the thrill of sex in restroom.
“For some people, (restroom sex) is fun, and they see nothing wrong with it,” Sanlo said, noting that the close distance between the urinals may encourage such activity.
Camille Le, a first-year history student, said many people are hesitant to use public restrooms because of cleanliness issues.
“I don’t see why people would use a public restroom for (sexual activity),” Le said.
Rob Cunningham, a fourth-year anthropology student, said he has no qualms about public sex in restroom.
“(Sex in restroom) is not that big of a deal,” he said.
But he added that he also believes social factors may be partially responsible.
“It’s sad that societal pressures force some gay men to conform to a straight lifestyle and seek out anonymous sex,” he said.