Cottaging is a slang term mainly used by gays, and refers to having sex in a toilet stall, usually in a public place.
Sexual activity is normally illegal in public spaces, but thanks to the general privacy of a toilet, “cottaging” often goes unnoticed.
The “cottaging” may take place between two men who are already a gay couple, or in some cases, a man can approach other men already in the “cottage” toilet and ask if they are interested in “cottaging”.
Police found that the second option is an opportunity to perform undercover arrests.
“Cottaging” is mainly a homosexual slang because it is significantly less noticable if two men enter the mens bathroom than if a heterosexual pair enters a gendered bathroom.
Origin of the term
The term got its name because of the appearance of public lavatories, for example in parks, where the toilets are located in a small house similar to a cottage.
These little public toilet blocks are frequently seen in England, where the term was coined.
In the Victorian Era, the term “cottage” has been recorded as being used as an euphemism to toilet.
Spread of the term
Historically, many gay men who participated in “cottaging” has ended up charged and convicted, not only because of the public sexual acts, but also because being gay and performing homosexual acts was outlawed up until just a couple decades ago.
In 1992, Patrick Wilde released a play called What’s Wrong with Angry?, a story about two gay schoolboys regularly meeting up in the school bathroom, participating in “cottaging”.
East Palace, West Palace, a Chinese film released in 1996, shows us a storyline about Beijing’s widespread “cottaging” activities.
- Cosmopolitan – This is what cottaging really is
- Vice – Sex in London’s Public Toilets Made Me the Man I Am Today
- Wikipedia – Cottaging