What is a beat?
Beats are public places (i.e., parks, beaches, public toilets) where men meet other men for sex and/or socialising. Many guys use beats as a way to meet other guys, to watch or just to have some fun; it is not something to feel ashamed of. Some people thought cruising spots and beats would die out with the advent of the smart phone, but loads of beats are just as popular as ever for guys to meet up. Guys who use beats say they get off on; the thrill of engaging in sex in public, finding a ‘rougher’ kind of trade, the anonymity of a discreet hook-up, or the convenience – most beats are public and free. Sometimes guys will head to their local beat and just hang around waiting for the right guy to cruise, while others will prearrange hook-ups on apps and cruising websites.
How to protect yourself at a beat
Cruising at a beat is similar to cruising at a sex on premises venue. If you’re cruising it’s important to read body language and look for the right signals before moving in. If you move in on a guy who isn’t keen, or isn’t there to cruise at all, you might get politely rejected – but you might also put yourself at risk.
Any time you’re hooking up with random guys, keep yourself and your possessions safe and sound. If you are heading to a beat;
- Leave your wallet and valuables locked in your car, or at home.
- Keep your pockets empty
- Carry keys in your sock
- Stuff your phone in your boot or socks when it’s not in your hand.
- Don’t walk around with headphones in
- Wear shoes and clothes you can run in if you need to
First time at a beat?
- Try cruising with a mate
- Meet someone at a beat you’ve fucked before
- Choose a beat that is located close to where your car is, or where the main road is if you are walking/public transporting
- Choose a popular beat so you can easily see what everyone else is up to
Use your judgement. If a situation looks or feels unsafe, give it a miss or head somewhere else with your new trade (if you’ve gotten that far), like a sex on premises venue.
Depending on where you live, engaging in sex at a beat may be illegal. The law varies from state to state, and some legislation may seem vague. Remember to always be responsible and research any applicable laws and possible consequences in your area.
Reporting an incident
Unfortunately, beats can sometimes attract homophobic violence including physical violence, harassment or theft. If you use apps or sites, they can often tell you if a certain beat is safe, and you can ask other guys who use that beat for tips to keep your hook-ups safer. If you’ve been assaulted, witnessed an assault, or have noticed peculiar behaviour we encourage you to report it to the police.
If it is safe to do so, you can take pictures of suspicious cars or people – or where something has happened.
The police will not bust you just for having been at a known beat. They are more concerned about your safety and the safety of others. If you don’t want to give your name or details, you can report information to the police anonymously. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with the police, you can contact Down An’ Dirty to report something you’ve seen/heard and they will forward it on to the police anonymously.
If the Police turn up while you’re at a beat, it is usually best to co-operate and to be calm and polite. You may be asked to give your name and personal details – but you can also ask the name, rank, and place of work of the police officer. If you are being interviewed in regard to offensive behaviour and you think you might be in the wrong – it might be wise to say ‘no comment’ and seek legal advice
If you’re heading to a beat, plan ahead and take your own condoms and lube. Unlike a sex on premises venue you probably won’t find any at a beat. Be respectful that beats are frequently public places, and dispose of condoms, wrappers and any rubbish as you leave.
Because of the anonymous nature of most beat hook-ups, there isn’t a great deal of communication around sexual health, HIV & STIs before or after you’ve gotten off. If you hit the beats, we recommend keeping up your regular STI screening every 3 months.
If you’ve had sex without a condom at a beat – maybe you should consider taking PrEP.