Be careful where you wash your hands


Editorial: Cottaging is a British gay slang term referring to anonymous sex between homosexual men in a public lavatory (a “cottage”, “tea-room” or “beat“), or cruising for sexual partners with the intention of having sex elsewhere. The term has its roots in self-contained English toilet blocks resembling small cottages in their appearance; in the English cant language of Polari this became a double entendre by gay men referring to sexual encounters.

According to Roger Casement’s diaries, from 1903 to 1911, the gay cruising areas in Belfast were at the Albert Clock (probably also around the Customs House toilet), Botanic Gardens, Ormeau Park, and the Giants Ring. Cottaging went on in Victoria Square in an elegant wrought iron edifice (which was still operating in the 1960s and may be in the Ulster Folk Museum) and at the Gasworks.

Cottaging is not something that is recommended as the police will take action, and in the past this had led to prosecution and unfortunately to individuals feeling so threatened by this that they have committed suicide.

The Rainbow Project offers a free Safer Sex Packs delivered direct to your address in Northern Ireland. To receive these please fill in the form on their website. You are eligible to receive our free Safer Sex Packs if you identify as the following:

  • A Gay, Bisexual or Man who has Sex with Men (MSM) living in Northern Ireland

Want to find out more about where to get condoms?

You can get free condoms from:

  • Brook NI if under 25 –

  • Rainbow Project Belfast and Foyle Offices

  • Partner Bars and Clubs

  • GUM Clinics and Community Pharmacies



Pensioner who groped burly trucker after mistaking lay-by for gay hook-up spot guilty of sex assault

The Mirror : 15:39, 11 April 2015 By Nick Towle

The horrified victim thought Dennis Cockerill, 82, was asking for directions before he began touching his legs and crotch

Guilty: Cockerill said he wanted to “verify” rumours the lay-by was a gay sex hotspot

A randy pensioner who groped a trucker after he mistook a lay-by for a gay hook-up spot has been convicted of sex assault.

Dennis Cockerill, 82, stopped at the Skipbridge lay-by in Hammerton Green, near Harrogate, looking for “a bit of fun”, a court heard.

He approached the victim, a burly lorry driver in his 40s, believing he was also a sex cruiser, York Crown Court was told.

But Cockerill was misinformed, and the Yorkshire trucker had stopped in the lay-by to load some pig feed onto another wagon.

Prosecutor Paul Newcombe told a jury how Cockerill got up on the step at the side of the victim’s cab and began chatting him up, before reaching through an open window and touching him on the arm, his knee and then his crotch.

The horrified trucker nudged the lustful pensioner away and called the police, who turned up and arrested Cockerill.

Cockerill, from Kent, told officers he’d heard a rumour that the lay-by was used as a meeting placed for gay men and he wanted to “verify” this.

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