Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Glory Holes

When we first arrived at Julie's flat on Friday, she gave us a tour: living room, bathroom, bedroom (all lovely, just lovely). When the tour was over, I noticed there was a door in the hallway that she had not opened. Intrigued, I asked "What's this?". "A hot press", Julie answered. Sophie and I both wondered what a hot press was. "Is that the same thing as a glory hole?", Sophie asks. It turned out to be an airing cupboard, but the term "glory hole" became widely used over the course of the weekend in a variety of vulgar and hilarious contexts. Nicola F-B arrives in the flat, and I inform her "Guess what? Julie has a glory hole!". Nicola smiled serenely and knowingly and said "I think I might have one of those somewhere".

Allegedly, the estate agents' details for Sophie's new house lists, among other delights, a glory hole. Try asking Wikepedia what one is and you will get this rather worrying answer:

A glory hole is a hole in a wall or partition, often between public lavatory stalls or video booths, which can be used to observe the person in the next cubicle (see voyeurism) or to engage in sexual activity with the person next door. Glory hole is also occasionally used to describe the openings in a sex doll or similar sex toy, but the first usage is more prominent. The origin of the word for both usages is unknown, though may be related to the opening of kilns (also a type of furnace) used in glass blowing.

A man may put his penis through the hole to engage in oral, anal or vaginal intercourse while maintaining a certain degree of anonymity. This usually happens in established sex clubs, adult arcades, adult theatres, and adult bookstores. Glory holes in normal public lavatories are mainly used as peep holes, although certain areas are established meeting places at which people can engage in anonymous sex.

Although both the term and the practice originated in the gay community, in recent years both have also been adopted by heterosexuals (see also MSM). Women sometimes participate in this practice, and there are a number of pornographic websites that cater to images and videos of heterosexuals utilizing glory holes.

Due to the fear of arrest or assault, or simple common etiquette, few males will insert their penis in a glory hole without invitation from the person on the other side of the partition. A common signal by a willing participant is to insert one or more fingers in the hole, often accompanied by a beckoning motion.

The use of glory holes for sex carries some risks, depending on where the glory hole is located and how it is used. Since the sexual participants may know nothing about each other, they might knowingly or unknowingly transmit sexually transmitted diseases, STD's. Similarly, the person on the "receiving" side of the partition could harm the "giver," either accidentally or intentionally. Rough-cut or crudely fashioned glory holes can cause serious cuts or abrasions to a penis; in some sex clubs and adult theaters, the glory hole is given a protective surface (even one as crude as duct tape) to prevent such injuries. Using a glory hole in a public place (such as a restroom) also exposes the participants to possible legal threats, as such behavior could be considered public indecency or lewdness.

I'm not sure how much of an asset this glory hole is. And bear in mind my money is being invested in this property. Some people will obviously pay very good money for such a feature, but I'm not sure it's really Sophie's thing. I think she may need to go back to the negotiating table...


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