Agoraphilia means getting sexually aroused by being outside in public spaces.
The term is made up of two Greek words – agora meaning gathering place or assembly; and philia meaning love. The agora in ancient Greece was the central place in a city. So technically an agoraphiliac has a love of being in a public space.
In agoraphilia it is to do with the fear and excitement of taking the risk of being caught. Which means it’s different from exhibitionism, where people enjoy having sex with others watching them. The agoraphiliac enjoys the risk of getting caught, but doesn’t actually want to get caught.
Taking sex out of the bedroom and into the outside world can give it a special thrill. Having spent years being told what is and isn’t acceptable by parents and then the state, the idea of getting away with something can be very exciting – and arousing! In other words, agoraphilia is an activity that challenges taboos.
But it can still be fun and exciting even when the actual risks are fairly small – the brain is the biggest sex organ, so the most important thing is what’s going on in the mind. Having sex on a secluded beach or in woodlands where there is little actual risk of being caught could be just as thrilling as the office stationery cupboard or a restaurant washroom. Agoraphiliacs may find somewhere relatively safe to have sex, but in the moment will convince themselves that they are in immediate danger of being discovered.
Some people take this kink to extremes. One famous example of agoraphilia is the ‘mile high club’, where people enjoy the thrill and challenge of having sex in an aeroplane – usually in the toilet of a commercial aircraft. Others like to add a bit of spice by having sex in a graveyard – this might appeal especially to people with a vampire fetish, hierophilia or spectrophilia. More ordinary locations include something like a quiet corner of an industrial estate or a car park, and there might be some crossover here with dogging, where groups of people meet in their cars in out-of-the-way places to share sexual experiences with strangers.
In most countries having sex in public is falls foul of public decency laws and is illegal. While in many ways this only adds to the thrill for the agoraphiliac, it’s a good idea for people who think they might enjoy this activity to make themselves fully aware of what penalties they might face, and weigh up the risks of actually getting caught.