Advice: PDA and Public Sex

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Throughout the history of civilization, etiquette has been subjected to all manner of indignities, not least among them the accusation that it is a bit of a drag. But “etiquette” is just a fancy word for being considerate of your fellow citizens — whether that means not talking with a mouthful of mushy peas, or showering before receiving a rim job. And so, it is with great pleasure that we give you this excerpt from Nerve’s Guide to Sex Etiquette, set to hit bookstores on January 27. (Stay tuned for more excerpts in the coming weeks.) If you choose to abide by these guidelines (for the most part), you should be rewarded with the most vulgar, uncivilized sex of your life.

Sincerely and affectionately,
Em & Lo

PDA and Public Sex

hat, pray tell, could be vulgar about the expression of love? Nothing, so long as that expression is conducted in private. Once you step outside, you must take into consideration the delicate sensibilities of all the puritanical plebes who inhabit this fair land — it is the only polite thing to do.


    As far as public displays of affection go (also known as PDA), couples are encouraged to hold hands, kiss without tongue, and make lovey-dovey eye contact with abandon (assuming they are neither in church nor at work, nor in the company of a recently heartbroken friend). Kissing with tongue in public is to be avoided except at airports and train stations — assuming your beloved will be gone for more than a weekend. An occasional pinch of the buttocks is acceptable, though the intent should be whimsical and jocular rather than salacious. Genitals and breasts should never be pinched or fondled in public.
   Now, as for secret sex in public places, that is a puzzling labyrinth of sexual etiquette. As long as you remain undiscovered, you do not force your coitus onto unsuspecting passerby, and you avoid frightening the horses, then it is perfectly acceptable. But by definition, public sex includes the perpetual danger of being discovered. Indeed, not being able to control your surroundings is its appeal, a part of its thrill. Unfortunately, bringing people unwittingly into your sick and twisted perversions is perhaps one of the rudest things you can do: the ultimate imposition. For though your partner may think it fine and dandy, most other people do not want to see your pasty ass. Therefore, public sex can become unmannerly in the blink of an eye &#8212 literally. You must calculate the risks of discovery and proceed accordingly. Use the chart below to determine when and where sex in public spaces is, in fact, kosher. In all cases, it should go without saying, you must not leave behind any evidence of your salacious activities (condoms, sticky seats, et cetera).
   On a final note, should you be discovered in the act of public sex, it is unthinkably churlish to close your eyes or merely stay frozen and pretend you are invisible. If you accidental intruder is a civilized being, he or she will move on quickly and allow you to continue in congress. If, however, the intruder is unable to move on (due to a seating assignment, traffic jam, or digestive emergency, et cetera) you must, as they say, get a room. You may only continue if your onlookers are far enough away that they can discern the act but not the actors (e.g., you are on a roof and they are four buildings over). And should you accidentally turn a private sexual session into a public one by, for instance, walking into a room you thought was unoccupied, run away.
   As far as indecent exposures go, one should avoid dabbling in public nudity &#8212 be it streaking, mooning, flashing, or wearing Speedos &#8212 unless one is at a nude beach, at college, or in Europe.

The Public Space  If You Are a Couple  If You Are Alone 
Airplane lavatory The urbane lady or gentleman knows that the space constraints of coach lavatories, despite their mythic status, make sex next to impossible, not to mention terribly uncomfortable. Let us not go into the unsanitary conditions that are not even suitable for bodily functions, let alone sex. However, in first-class johns, anything goes. As long as you do not hold up the line, diddle away.
Airplane seat, under a blanket Only if there is no one sitting next to you, or in the same row across the aisle. You must wait until the meal has been served, the crew has turned off the main cabin lights, and the feature presentation has begun. It is also your responsibility to keep a watchful eye out for flight attendants, and you must stop whenever one approaches. Same as couple.
Under a dinner table at a restaurant Only if the tablecloth almost reaches the floor, and you can perform your techniques with a bare foot. But you must not suffer from pungent foot odor, lest you upset the other diners’ appetites. For a couple, this is perverse yet romantic. For a lone diner, it is simply perverse.
In a car Only at deserted dead ends and make-out points. If you are on an old-fashioned double date, both parties must be willing to engage in equivalent sexual acts, lest one couple is forced to engage in awkward small talk while the other performs the “two-humped dromedary.” We cannot condone high-speed handjobs or oral administrations because of the increased risk of accidents, which is pretty much the height of rudeness to other drivers. Same as couple. Be sure you are not parked within a school-safe zone.
At the office Only after hours. You may do it in any public office area, in your own work area, or in the work area of anyone above you in the corporate hierarchy. It is discourteous to do it in the work area of anyone who reports to you or is a peer. Anywhere, anytime, as long as there is a lock on the door or your colleagues are mannered enough to always knock.
In a public bathroom As long as it is a single bathroom with a lock on the door and there is no one waiting in line. You must finish your business within three minutes of the first knock on the door. Same as couple.
In an alleyway You must stay standing and should pull clothes aside rather than removing them. If you are caught by someone who claims the alley as a home, you must donate at least five dollars to their cause and move on quickly. This is simply too depressing to dignify with a comment.


here for more excerpts and information about

Guide to Sex Etiquette for Ladies and Gentlemen

Em & Lo (Emma Taylor
and Lorelei Sharkey), former Nerve sex advice columnists and authors of
Nerve’s The Big Bang and Sex Etiquette, are getting into
politics this fall: They’re embarking on a six-city tour called “Sex Ed
for Grown-Ups.” Presented by NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, their
hour-long show combines skits, on-the-street interviews, faux music
videos, audience participation and Q&As to cover everything from
anatomy to activism, from safer sex to the Supreme Court, from gay
rights to gadgets. Every show is free, open to the public (18+) and
guaranteed to learn you something new. Click here for tour
cities and dates