Dogging In English Parks

Click to go to our Home Page

Sex with strangers dogging English parks

By Jason Hopps


Posted September 26 2003, 12:59 PM EDT

LONDON - Voyeurs and exhibitionists drawn to outdoor fun have discovered erotic pleasures in normally placid English parks that have nothing to do with walking the dog.

``Dogging,'' a term that loosely describes a variety of sex acts performed outdoors or in parked cars in front of strangers (and sometimes with them), has become such a craze that health authorities have warned against its dangers.

The term ``dogging'' apparently comes from those who claim only to be ``taking the dog for a walk'' -- but are actually on the prowl for something more.

Web sites have sprung up across Britain extolling the pleasures of sex under the stars and online message boards list the best parks and carparks to watch people express themselves.

An academic who set out to study anti-social behaviour in parks and stumbled on a thriving dogging underworld said dangers were also lurking in the bushes.

``The problem is people are leaving behind condoms, lubricants and sometimes clothing at family sites and causing cleaning headaches for groundspeople,'' Richard Byrne, a countryside management lecturer at Harper Adams College, told Reuters on Friday.

``Prostitutes have been moving into some of these areas and I know of cases where some people have been attacked while dogging,'' he said.

Byrne said he surveyed park managers, rangers and wardens across England and found dogging sites existed in every English county -- hundreds are dotted across the country -- from the south coast to the Scottish border.

``I soon realised that dogging was being driven by the Internet and was very widespread and that some doggers take it quite seriously, wearing camouflage and even keeping diaries of their experiences,'' he said.


Among the dozens of dogging Web sites, several offer tips on finding the best locations, how to meet people ``to dog'' with and how to signal you want to watch -- or be watched.

``There's loads of signals that doggers use, the most common are flashing lights. Leaving the inside car light on means they want to be watched. If they wind down the window, this means they want to be fondled,'' one site advises.

Health authorities in southeast England posted warnings on dogging web sites after discovering several cases of sexually transmitted diseases linked to the outdoor pursuit.

``We noticed a more than usual number of notifications of Hepatitis B and when we were investigating we found that some of them were involved in the practice of having sex with strangers in open places,'' said Dr Mathi Chandrakumar, head of the Kent Health Protection Unit.

``We are not passing moral judgement, we are only giving advice about the dangers,'' he said.

While acknowledging doggers are a determined breed, Byrne said he had proposed several ways to prevent the behaviour -- including more police patrols -- but he has already ruled out one remedy.

``We thought better lighting in parks might prevent it but it actually allows to see what they're doing better,'' he said.