From the report of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography (1986). The bracketed numbers refer to footnotes in the report.
Inside the booths the viewer may see approximately two minutes of the movie for twenty-five cents. As the number of sexually explicit scenes or diversity of sexual acts increase, the viewing time decreases. Tokens or quarters are needed to operate the peep shows and can be obtained at the outlet’s sales counter.
The average peep show booth has enough room for two adults to stand shoulder to shoulder. The inside of the booth is dark, when the door is closed, except for the light which emanates from the screen or enters from the bottom of the door.
The inside walls of the peep show booths are often covered with graffiti and messages. The graffiti is generally of a sexual nature and consists of telephone numbers, names, requests and offers for homosexual acts, anatomical descriptions and sketches. The booth may also contain a chart which is used to schedule appointments and meetings in that particular booth. In some cases, this arrangement has been used for the solicitation of prostitutes.
After purchasing tokens from the store clerk, the patron selects the type of movie he wishes to view. A brief description of the film is usually posted on the outside of the peep booth door. A number or letter is assigned to each film and indicates which coin box inside the booth corresponds with the selected movie.
The film or video tape is operated by placing one quarter, coin, slug or token into the coin box, which, in turn, activates the movie projector or video tape player to begin the movie. Quarters or tokens must be repeatedly inserted to continue viewing the movie which may last from ten to ninety minutes.
In addition to movie viewing, the booths also provide places for anonymous sexual relations. Many booths are equipped with a hole in the side wall between the booths to allow patrons to engage in anonymous sex. The holes are used for oral and anal sexual acts. Sexual activity in the booths involves mostly males participating in sexual activities with one another. However, both heterosexual and homosexual men engage in these activities. The anonymity provided by the “glory holes” allows the participants to fantasize about the gender and other characteristics of their partners.
The booth is sometimes equipped with lock on the door. Many patrons intentionally leave the door unlocked. Some patrons look inside the booths in an attempt to find one already occupied. It is commonplace for a patron to enter an occupied booth, close the door behind him, and make advances toward the occupant. He may grab the occupant’s genitals in an effort to invoke sexual activity or attempt to arrange a later sexual encounter. The sexual activities reported in peep show booths include masturbation, anal intercourse, and fellatio.
Inside the booths, the floors and walls are often wet and sticky with liquid or viscous substances, including semen, urine, feces, used prophylactics, gels, saliva or alcoholic beverages. The soles of a patron’s shoes may stick to certain areas of the floor. The booths are also often littered with cigarette butts and tobacco. The trash and sewage and the application of disinfectants or ammonia on occasion create a particularly nauseating smell in the peep booths.
It has been estimated that peep shows are the biggest moneymaking portion of this industry. Annual net profits for peep show booths alone have been projected at two billion dollars.