Why is it that the seediest encounters are often the most erotic? This thought struck my mind one night in Berlin, backing my way into a dark, dirty corner of Berghain with a partner, ready to let loose on each other after hours pumping ourselves up on the dance floor. While the throb of techno echoed around us, I turned my back to him, clasping my hands around a metal grate on the wall before me. His entire body pressed against mine he peeled down my latex skirt, unzipped his trousers and began to roughly finger me from behind. He pressed his hand on the back of my head and pushed it against the wall; I remember feeling the cold, rusty steel of the grate cutting into my cheek, tasting its metallic zest on my parted lips as he slipped himself inside me and fucked me, hard, until he came. I pulled my knickers up and slipped back out to the bar; I spent the rest of the night with the sweat, spit and filth I’d collected from him clinging to my body.

I don’t think I’m alone in being drawn to these kinds of encounters; frantic and charged, with a willingness to do anything, anywhere, whether its jerking someone off in a dingy toilet cubicle or fucking in a corner of a club, in plain sight should anyone take a moment to look close enough. The risk of being caught or the knowledge that someone could know exactly what you’re up to fuels the surge in adrenaline that makes these moments so uncontrollably arousing.

It’s also curious to me why this kind of sex is framed as “seedy” while that which takes place inside the bedroom is perceived as more wholesome, meaningful and, well, “nice”. The fact that sex in public spaces, from glory holes to cruising spots to dark rooms are historically associated with more marginalised sexual communities, namely the queer community, makes it even more problematic that as a society we consider those encounters as inherently dirty, or, in other words immoral.

I have always been turned on by filthy, seedy, sex in filthy seedy spaces – perhaps in part because that kind of sex is so at odds with the good girl persona that most people know me for. Perhaps it’s the subversion of my own public identity that makes it so conceptually fascinating for me. But the one thing I’ve learnt through these encounters is that they can be no less passionate, connected, or meaningful than making love in a hotel bedroom with petals scattered on the sheets. Often, and with the right partner, even more-so.

2023 — Louisa Knight