Swinging News Open-air swingers
November | UK parks 'dogged' by exhibitionism
UK parks 'dogged' by exhibitionism
Open-air swingers use Internet to meet in public areas
Fueled by the Internet, a rapid rise in public exhibitionism is plaguing
Britain's country parks, turning beauty spots into popular gathering
points for thrill-seekers watching each other engage in open-air sex.
THE PHENOMENON, called “dogging,” proliferates
Western Europe, but hits Britain's country parks particularly hard,
according to Richard Byrne, an expert in countryside management at Harper
Adams College in Newport, about 200 miles northwest of London.
In a survey conducted by Byrne of wardens at Britain's some 260
country parks, nearly two-thirds of respondents said public exhibitionism
was a primary management problem, overtaking the traditional ills of graffiti
“A number of park wardens said that dogging was a bigger problem,”
Byrne said in an interview. “It is a very organized activity.”
Dogging is an extension of the swinging scene, Byrne said, with the difference
that people set up meetings where they can watch people perform sexual
acts, and then join in.
“This is more than couples going out for a kiss or a cuddle, or
whatever,” he said.
British researcher British Web sites dedicated to dogging list hundreds
of rural areas, from car parks to country parks, that lend themselves
to outdoor exhibitionism.
“They use country parks, because they are accessible, usually 24/7,
with no gates or fences. They are well marked. They fulfill the criteria
for people meeting over long distances,” Byrne said.
The poor cousins of Britain's storied national parks, country parks,
managed by local authorities with smaller budgets, fit the bill. Byrne
said many wardens are in charge of several parks and, due to demands on
their time, visit infrequently.
Designed to protect the British countryside from urban sprawl, country
parks have fought hard to survive the 40 years since their inception by
government planners. A recent report by the Britain's Countryside
Agency declared 1990 to 2003 a “period of stagnation for most country
parks,” which are used for conservation, recreation and children's
Doggers, increasingly linked by Web sites and chat rooms, have seized
on the parks for their outdoor activities, Byrne said. “Before,
the meetings might be set up by phone, which would take longer. Now Internet
sites will list meetings later the same night. It's a much quicker
Exactly where the term “dogging” originated is of some dispute.
Byrne said the term came from the police, who are told by “doggers”
caught in the act that they are “just walking the dog.”
One British Web site, however, says the term hails from the swinging 1970s,
and was used to describe voyeurs following, or “dogging,”
couples having sex outdoors. Swingers, the site writes, have commandeered
the term and given it modern meaning.
The act of dogging lives on the legal fringes. On Web sites, doggers defend
the practice, viewing their cars, where much dogging takes place, as private
property. But British laws protect unwilling witnesses to sexual behavior,
especially in public spaces.
while researcher Byrne said wardens had received complaints
from passersby, the trash left behind after visits by late night doggers - condoms, bottles and lubricants - is having the biggest
impact on the parks.
“There's a concern that this activity can lead to a downturn
in user groups of country parks,” Byrne said. “One site may
get a reputation and decline even further. Not using it for what it was
intended for will damage the integrity of the country parks.”
Byrne said park wardens who recognized the problem were liaising with
local police to crack down on doggers.
One park warden, Katy Menday, a ranger for Ham Hill Country Park, said
she was unaware of a dogging problem in Somerset, where a dogger identifying
himself as “km” recently posted an online ad for “anyone
interested in dogging at Ham Hill near Yeovil.”
“I'm afraid I don't know what it is,” she said.
Alan Chinn, a crime prevention officer for the Somerset district, said
members of the public have complained about sexual encounters witnessed
at Ham Hill. “It is a place where you can park and look at he stars
and have ideas,” Chinn said.
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