"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 encounters.
"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
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