Glory Hole Etiquette

Glory holes. Pomegranate sized apertures drilled between toilet cubicles, booths in adult bookstores or installed privately through bedsheets or mattresses. For a long time, glory holes were the domain of the gay community, the impersonal nature of which aided their need for anonymity (particularly in times and places where homosexuality was illegal), but as VICE squads grew wiser to popular locations, users moved; erotic bookstores came to be a popular choice. Unfortunately, as gay culture came into conflict with straight culture, glory holes were appropriated, and now are commonly used by heterosexual pairings. Despite the stigma, glory holes are widespread, and come with their own private language; a language I will attempt to translate for you now.

To those who question the usefulness of this article to the layman, I propose a hypothetical. You are sitting in a toilet, noticing to your fascination and eventual horror the hole in the cubicle wall next to you. A glory hole. Desperate to avoid an erect penis shoved in the face, you try desperately to think of something that will prevent this eventuality. And it is here, frightened poopers, that I come to your rescue. Simply place the elbow or palm of the hand over the hole, ensuring it is completely covered. This is the universal glory hole signal for ‘no thankyou.’ But I would be doing my readers a disservice to assume that all of them were desperate to avoid an erect penis shoved in the face, so from here on, we will focus on how to solicit this behaviour.

Should the similarly excited reader find themselves in this same hypothetical, but wishes to solicit the erect penis of a stranger, they can use one of the following signals to indicate their intent. A hand to the hole, placed so the hand and fingers are visible, indicates willingness to perform what is colloquially known as a ‘hand job’ while the placement of open mouth to the hole, typically with tongue sticking out, indicates willingness to perform oral sex. Other, general signals to indicate your interest in another party include tapping your foot in a way that will be both visible and audible to your neighbour. Verbally propositioning your neighbour is not recommended, but can work, depending on the progressiveness of your local community and the location of the glory hole. This is not to be attempted in public toilets, but is a relatively safe bet in an erotic bookstore.

To the adventurous reader, some information on the different types of glory holes is also a necessity. Some, as mentioned, are simple holes bored into the partition separating cubicles, some have duct tape or sponges to reduce chafing, some are larger, to allow the testicles to present themselves alongside the penis (I understand that the polite thing to do in such a situation is to ensure these testicles do not feel ignored). The ideal width for a glory hole partition is roughly a quarter-inch, any larger makes its usage difficult, but much thinner reduces the level of anonymity of the users. More complex glory holes include a type of brace for the facilitation of anal copulation. These allow the ‘bottom’ to secure themselves on one side, whilst the ‘top’ embraces them from behind, and there are sections that place the ‘top’ on a platform, raising them to make oral sex with the ‘bottom’ easier.

Other glory holes of the crudely constructed kind can have uncomfortably sharp edges. This is a particular annoyance in areas that do not encourage glory hole operation, as sudden discovery from an unwanted party means that the ‘top’ needs to quickly withdraw his penis from the hole, risking cuts or abrasions. The other health risks of glory hole use are STD related—the use of glory holes was one of the reasons the AIDS epidemic spread so horribly. Anonymous sex, while exciting, carries many health risks. This is something of a problem for the glory hole community. Knowledge of the other party involved can eliminate the risk of potentially life-threatening STDs, but somewhat defeats the point. Despite the risks, the users of glory holes are many and varied, and gloriously spread all across the world.

We hope that this guide has proved useful, and that our readers can now proceed without embarrassing themselves in glory hole related situations. Whilst I do not know of any glory holes in the Perth area (though an internet message board assured me there is one in Swinger’s sex shop, Subiaco), I will consider my work done—and proudly too— if I should soon discover one in the Arts or Guild toilets.
Seek wisdom, students of UWA. Seek wisdom and glory.

Words by Thomas Rossiter