"Men still have a need for a parallel life and for expressing their impulses in a marginal way. In
the movie theaters no one sees or knows each other."
The phenomenon is not new, but the conservative Rio daily
O Globo has rekindled the arguments surrounding
porno movie theaters in Rio de Janeiro. In a full-page article entitled "Porno Theaters Are Sanctuary for Clandestine Sex", the
Carioca (from Rio) paper writes that X-Rated movie theaters have become the stage for anonymous and promiscuous sexual
"Rare are the filmgoers who go to these theaters to watch a movie," says
O Globo. "The majority of goers never
even look at the screen. Last Monday, around 6 P.M., while the films
Anomalias Sexuais (Sexual Anomalies) and
Apertadinhas (The Quite Tight Girls) were shown at the Rex theater, approximately 300 men were circulating around the theater floor.
Sexual activity happened in the wings of the theater and in the womens’ bathroom, which became an immense dark bedroom
during the show."
According to the Brazilian Penal Code, this kind of public sexual activity is considered a crime. Article 233 of the
Penal Code states that the practice of obscene acts in a public place is punishable by a fine and prison time that varies from
three months to one year, depending on the judge’s discretion.
Single women and couples are rare at these places. Group sex, though, is quite common and management seems to
encourage such sexual trysts by removing seats from the auditorium in order to facilitate contact among the public. It is believed
that the immense majority of the public is made up of young and old gays and bisexuals from all walks of life: students,
public servants, bank tellers, office workers, and also lawyers and executives dressed in jeans, Bermuda shorts or suits.
Commenting on this behavior, sexologist Célia J. Morais says: "Men still have a need for a parallel life and for
expressing their impulses in a marginal way. In the movie theaters no one sees or knows each other. They are men who often are
married and live a life that’s not compatible with that of a married man and who run the risk of transmitting diseases to their
wives. Time and again they become addicted to these ephemeral pleasures."
Among the movie theaters that cater to this segment of the public in search of cheapthe ticket for the movie is less
than $2.50and high-risk sex there are the Rex and Orly in downtown Rio, the Scala at Botafogo beach and the Astor in the
Madureira neighborhood. At these places the catch of the day for the morning cleaning crew is a collection of wallets, cellular
phones, underwear, whole suits, dozens of condoms and carrots.