chapter  9
13 Pages

Faceless sex

Glory holes and sexual assemblages
ByDave Holmes, Patrick O’Byrne, Stuart J. Murray

Internationally, despite public health agencies voicing heightened concerns about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV, anonymous sexual encounters remain common practice Anonymous sexual encounters are arranged in a variety of ways and often take place within specific environments that are designed for men who have sex with men (MSM) sexual contact, such as saunas or bathhouses. Through the use of glory holes, however, an even greater level of anonymity can be attained: sex with faceless partners. Analysis of glory hole use focuses on gay bathhouses and draws on Deleuze and Guattari's concepts of assemblages and machines. Poststructuralism represents a mode of enquiry that was developed chiefly by French philosophers in the 1960s and 1970s. Assemblages are collections of desires: the mouth is an assemblage, the penis is as well. In public health the glory hole user is defined as risky, and this is less for what he does than for who he is.