Glory hole (sexual)

A glory hole (also spelled gloryhole and glory-hole) is a hole in a wall, or other partition, often between public lavatory stalls or video booths for men to engage in sexual activity or observe the person in the next cubicle while one or both parties masturbate. The partition maintains anonymity. Body parts including fingers and one's tongue can touch the other person if the hole is large enough and intercourse with anonymity intact is possible. Erotic literature and pornographic films have been devoted to the sexual uses of gloryholes.



The origin of the term is unknown. It may have come from the mining industry, where the opening to a mineshaft containing the "mother lode" would be considered to be the "glory hole". It may be in reference to the always open mouth or "glory hole" of a kiln used in glass blowing. It could be a reference to glory holes in civil engineering, where water from a reservoir is quickly "sucked" through a glory hole and out of a dam. It could also have its roots in one of several meanings from seamen and ship-building.

There are many theories regarding the origins of the earliest glory hole. One common idea is that it originated in ancient days as a spy or peep hole, and grew larger as men sought more contact, but only enough contact as to perform sex acts upon the genitals of another man. The theory of use was that, although heterosexual men would seek the relief to be found on the other side of a glory hole, they did not wish to lose their anonymity, or to engage in any other physical contact with another man.

From the mid-to-late 20th century glory holes could be found in many public men's room in the United States including adult bookstores, gay bars, department stores, jailhouses, bus and train stations, office buildings, military bases, and other public buildings like departments stores and park rest stops. Glory holes were once extremely common in public men's toilets. Whereas women's bathrooms would be targeted for "peep" holes for spying, glory holes were much larger and therefore more obvious. When an institution (school, governmental or business) would replace bathroom stalls they often would upgrade to stainless steel to discourage creating holes as well as other forms of vandalism as wood walls were an easy target for such activities. Sometimes men who enjoy the erotic aspects of the activity will even create one for private use in their homes.

Method of use

To use a glory hole a man puts his penis through the hole to in most cases receive Oral Sex, and to a lesser extent anal intercourse, or a handjob. Glory holes are today most commonly found in established adult video/bookstore arcades, sex clubs, gay bathhouses, and adult theaters.

If a glory hole is to be found between two booths in a video booth at an adult bookstore, the man who wishes to perform oral sex will normally be seated in his booth. Although not a hard and fast rule, that seated (and sometimes kneeling) position commonly signals to others that he is there in order to perform oral sex - which allows those who wish to receive oral sex to take the adjoining booth. That second man, who wishes to have oral sex performed on him will take the adjoining booth and normally remain standing.


Numerous motivations can be ascribed to the use and eroticism of glory holes. For some it can be seen as a way to have intimacy without a prolonged relationship or to ensure sexual compatibility before further advancing a relationship. Utilizing a gloryhole is also an easy way to mitigate any perceived physical shortcomings like being overweight or somehow less physically attractive, or even being considered too old.

With the ongoing AIDS pandemic many gay men have re-evaluated their sexual and erotic desires. Gloryholes allow for a physical barrier which may be an extension of psychological ones where internalized homophobia as a result of society's negative reaction to LGBT people and gay sexual practices can be resolved, even if only temporarily. For some gay men a gloryhole can be used to depersonalize their partner altogether as simply an object sticking through the hole.

Arguably, these motivations could be ascribed as male motivations and not just gay and bisexual men's motives.

Legal and health concerns

Public sex is illegal in many parts of the world and entrapment cases occur. and several other public buildings like department stores Potential surveillance and public humiliation (if a participant's name appears in a local newspaper or in legal documents) as well as gay bashing, mugging or bodily injury are further risks. Due to the fear of arrest or assault, or for reasons of etiquette, it is rare for a male to insert his penis in a glory hole without invitation from the person on the other side of the partition . A common signal by a willing participant is to insert one or more fingers in the hole, often accompanied by a beckoning motion and an audible invitation such as a purr or whistle.

In addition to safety risks from being attacked, there is also the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. This can be reduced through the use of condoms when needed.

Usages in popular culture

Popular culture references within both the gay and LGBT communities as well as the mainstream culture have become more common. The 1982 teen comedy film ''Porky's'', about the escapades of teenagers at the fictional Angel Beach high school in Florida in 1954 trying to lose their virginity, featured a glory hole scene in a shower room showing only the naked backside of a young man. In John Waters's fictional 1994 dark comedy film Serial Mom, starring Kathleen Turner as the title character, a glory hole is used as a plot device when an eyewitness sees her through the hole hiding in the neighboring stall prior to a murder at the nearby urinals.

See also

Further reading

External links


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This article is based on "Glory hole (sexual)" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia ( It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: