Increasingly conservative values are threatening the easygoing summer lifestyle of the gay man. 

It is holiday time again, where hot weather skyrockets the libido, and nudity and outdoor sex become priorities for many. 

Remember 20 and 30 years ago – the nudist beaches, the pool parties, the late-night outdoor activities? 

‘We Had a Sense of Ownership’

I happily recall those long walks to the isolated unauthorized nude beaches, where the gay area was always the farthest from the car park.

Sure, there were snakes, sunburn, lost keys, perilous walks back because of high tides and fallen tree branches, but the freewheeling sexual activities lured us there week after week. Because of their isolation, we had a sense of ownership, and no one would be there who was not also looking for gay male companionship.

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As we walked past the ‘family’ and then the ‘mixed’ areas, there was a live-and-let-live attitude. Whatever ‘the gays’ did further along the beach and out of sight seemingly did not worry the other sun worshippers. 

There were the upmarket gay couples who invited the most handsome and muscled men to their pool parties – along with their older admirers.

‘Swim, Drink, Be Nude, Be Social, Be Gay’

Such parties would invariably segue into nude events as the day wore on and bedrooms became intimate spaces for additional satisfaction. There were places to swim, drink, be nude, be social, be gay.

Envious straight neighbours simply noted that ‘the boys are entertaining again.’ Such events were acceptable in private, even in 1990s suburbia. 

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On those wretchedly hot sleepless summer nights, you could choose to walk a suburban beach dark enough to have intimacy with your partner, or a loitering local. Or walk through a local park where it was often like a gathering of the entire local gay and bi fraternity, all dressed as clones in singlets and brief shorts with the amyl bottle tightly held in one hand. 

But increasingly conservative attitudes of mainstream Australia (and dating apps) have struck down most such activities.

Nowadays, there are frequent police and security guard patrols, CCTV, council regulations, privacy restrictions, locked toilet facilities, excessive lighting, intrusive phone cameras – a whole array of so-called ‘anti-social-behaviour’ deterrents. 

In those days, we lived sexual lives in ways that flew relatively undetectable beneath that ‘live-and-let-live’ moral radar. The world is now too obsessed with morality being black and white, placed into neat boxes, restricted, organized, legislated against. 

Where’s the fun in that? No wonder my hormones are not happy, Jan! 

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