January 20, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 03
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SEATTLE'S GAY HISTORY: Sex tunnels in Volunteer Park
SEATTLE'S GAY HISTORY: Sex tunnels in Volunteer Park
by Don Paulson - SGN Contributing Writer

In the 1950s I checked out the "sex tunnels the homosexuals built" in Seattle's Volunteer Park, "where the boys park and the girls volunteer,' to cite an old high school joke. The tunnels were a perfect environment for a small faction of the Gay community who like to walk on the wild side.

The tunnels were open spaces inside of overgrown patches of trees and shrubbery - gradually carved out by Gays, kids and those who wander off the trails to pee. A snapped off twig here, a limb there, and years of creation. Worn dirt paths led to small ducking holes into these open spaces where as many as ten guys could stand around, protected from the eyes of the world by the shrubbery, the darkness and Gay sexual protocol - if there is such a thing.

During the day, kids explored the tunnels and lovers strolled the park trails, but at night the area belonged to straight, Bisexual and, mostly, Gay horny men seeking sexual relief - much to the annoyance of home owners who border the park and the Vice Squad. The Gay-bashers also lashed out in violence against those they found wondering the park at night. However, most of these incidents went unreported to hospitals and police.

The tunnels were intensely thrilling for those into dangerous kink. You never knew who was there or what would happen. You were at the mercy or pleasure of total strangers. All you knew is what your hands were telling you as you felt each other in the dark - and hoping that person was not a friend, a cop or your lover who shouldn't be there either.

Once inside the scary but intensely seductive inner sanctum, the thrill of anonymous sex brought out ones predatory instinct - passion roars and conquest begins. You nervously feel your way through the orgy of exposed flesh and decide which guy or guys will feed your ever so demanding desire to serve or be served. You never had to hear a name, see a face or make an excuse. To hell with STDs, because everyone - even Gays - deserved to live life to the fullest in the 1950s when a shot of Penicillin cured all.

There is little space for blatant public sexuality, even with those pesky spermatozoa begging for release to overpopulate the planet! Perhaps such overt sexuality is rooted in indoctrination: for thousands of years males have been programmed to be warriors, to fight for the homeland, new territory, revenge and the spoils of war. Perhaps, sex in the tunnels is a reflection of some indelible stamp. Are males wired to strike out, take charge and to satisfy sexual needs by any means necessary? After water and food, what has greater importance than sex - especially when it's so easy for all men. Sex is one of the spoils of war. Kinky sex is ravishing and, like a fallen opponent, is empowering and fulfilling.

The sex tunnels have changed over the years depending on the Parks Department's efforts to trim them back. Today, they are all but gone, but sexual activity continues.

My time in the sex tunnels was brief. I worried about the danger and entrapment by the police was not uncommon. Occasionally, a police car would drive by and shine their spotlight into the bushes - sending everyone into a frozen panic, hoping your sorry ass looked like a tree trunk and not a sodomite doing unspeakable things with another man.

Every night you thought: Is this the night I get arrested, catch a disease, meet a darling guy I could fall in love with, or is this the night I get my throat cut? One night, three guys barged into the tunnels swinging sticks to beat the queers. I never ran so fast in my life and I never went back to the "tunnels the homosexuals built."


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