Several years ago, when I was traveling in Ireland with my family, our hosts told us of a budding tradition that had taken root in their town. A “dogging” ring had opened up in their local park – couples would have public, outdoor sex upon the sweet vernal grass and meadow thistle, whilst a crowd would gather beneath the elder and rowan trees to look on, cheer, and masturbate.
It’s a tradition that could save America from one of civilization’s most repulsive sexual perversions, one that is so widespread we’re completely desensitized to it. What our hosts didn’t realize is that, as a married couple, they themselves had participated in a much seedier and more elaborate form of public sex. They had hosted a wedding where people, friends and family no less, gathered to celebrate their fucking and their promise to fuck nobody else.
That is, after all, what marriage is about. There are all kinds of other things people talk about at weddings - how well the newlyweds know one another, how much time they like to spend together - but they’re not fooling anyone, or, even if they are fooling anyone, they’re not fooling me. People know all kinds of things, and spend time with lots of folks, but they won’t marry someone they won’t fuck. Sex is the one true constant: it’s why people marry according to their sexual orientation, not their hanging-out orientation.
Which is cool, if that’s what you’re into, but I personally find it disgusting. There’s all kinds of little perversions: the exchange of rings (and the wearing of them to show possession) like some kind of mutual BDSM collaring, the elaborate cosplay in a tuxedo and an enormous dress, the double submission to a priest or judge who tells them when they can touch each other, the consolidation of finances to make it a monetary deal. I don’t even know what to say about the cake play. It’s all fine between consenting adults, but when they start inviting friends, or worse, family, or even worse, me, it gets beyond kinky and into the realm of creepy. I’m sure there’s all kinds of craziness going in the sex dungeons of New York City, but they’ve never sent me an unsolicited orgy invitation with my name on it in calligraphy, much less asked me to dress up and bring a tribute.
I don’t really get the appeal. For me sex, love, or anything in between should be between two people, not between two people and a whole bunch of associates. The beauty of it is the intimacy, the naturality, the immediacy and simplicity of the moment. Once you start bringing in family and friends, it’s not clear if it’s even about your loved one (and fucked one) at all, or if it’s just a way to prove something to people around you.
Still, to each their own.I don’t mean to deny people a way to get off on publicizing their romance, but it at least should be consensual. People who watch should be there because they want to watch that sort of thing, not because they’re friends and relatives who are coerced into attending via social pressure.
That’s why I’m proposing that we, America, the land of freedom, do away with the institution of marriage and adopt dogging as our copular ritual. (As we did with the English language, The Office, and St. Patrick’s Day, we can borrow something from the British Isles and produce the definitive version of it.)
Destroying the institution of marriage and adopting widespread public fornication is the only way to restore this nation’s moral character. The benefits are manifold:
1) It’s showing, not telling
If we’re to be a land of honesty and bravery, we ought to adopt the same principles in our mating rituals. Instead of speeches, costumes, and symbols to represent the idea of sex, we should show the thing itself.
2) It’s free and democratic
A wedding is an elitist ritual - closed invite lists, private venues, fancy dinners - fit for the old monarchies of Europe. Dogging takes place in the open air in a public park, and anyone may join in, regardless of background, social status, birth, or personal connection. As the appropriately-named “Woody” Guthrie sang, “this land is your land, this land is my land.”
3) It’s wholesome
The classic expression of pure love is “I love this person, and I don’t care who knows it!"But in a wedding, you do care who knows it: you care so much that you carefully debate who should witness the climactic event, and even from what seat they should witness it. Dogging, on the other hand, is the true expression of this emotion, translated to fucking: "I’m fucking this person, and I don’t care who sees it!”
4) It’s simple and humble
As our simple forefathers made do with little and shunned ostentatious wealth, the doggers need no fancy garments or overbearing bureaucracy to verify their love, just the simple presence of their bodies and the bodies of other people nearby. In the words of Elder Joseph Brackett, “‘tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free, 'tis a gift to come … where you ought to be.”
5) It’s a recognition of the ephemerality of identity and the fundamental animality of humanity
I’ll admit, I’m letting my personal bias as someone who believes in the fleeting nature of existence, the artificiality of essence, and the ultimately emotional root of all human rationality show through here, but I think dogging perfectly balances humanity’s intellectual recognition of our condition and eventual fate with our desire for momentary escape to our lower and actually more intrinsic functions, whereas marriage is a pretentious attempt to reject our true relation to time and self that squanders the chance at what could be the purer pleasure of raw subjectivity.
6) It’s hot
I think a lot of people would enjoy watching people bone.
I know that what I’m proposing here, and what I’ve proposed in my other columns, seems a little utopian. But I want to push America to be truly the greatest country in history: a hopeless land where all our work goes into piling up rocks, people urinate everywhere without shame, and canine-inspired public sex has replaced the institution of marriage.
Anything less would be a perversion.