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Sloshed on Busch Light and a little sun-dazed after my first pool day in ages, it was 11 p. Campground in Coggon, Iowa. But the sun had since set, and as I felt inebriation overcome my senses after a round of Ring of Fire, I decided I better go toss the tent. I grabbed an LED lantern, removed the folded blue tent from my trunk and walked past a parked Ram pick-up truck to find two guys in the tailgate, sharing a passionate embrace.
Or more specifically, giving and receiving fellatio. That is, I found a bottle of Smirnoff Ice sitting outside the door and thus, according to the sacred laws, now had to chug it. Little Village staff have been eager to cover L. Campground for years, if only because of our shared initials.
But the campground is also a labor of love for its owner and manager Jerry Limkemann, a friend to all who pass through its hallowed gravel ro. Simultaneously wholesome and lascivious, L. Campground, nestled in rural Delaware County amid the fields and barns that inspired Grant Wood, can best be described as an LGBTQ-friendly, body- and sex-positive campground with a distinctly Iowa character. Check your shame at the Camp Office. Jerry founded the Limkemann Village Campground better known as L. He is the beloved patriarch of the five-acre site, which features a 16,gallon pool, a common kitchen and lobby area, two- and four-person cabins for rental, dozens of RV and tent camping sites with electrical hook-ups and communal bathrooms with flush toilets complete with excellent toilet paper, I might add, especially for a campground and showers.
The grounds are surrounded by tall trees, beyond which are expansive cornfields; the stalks stood less than a foot from the soil when I visited in mid-June, and they looked gorgeous at sunset. Non-event weekends are more rare than booked ones, and more unpredictable: Anyone could walk up to the front desk. Like me. One of the most vibrant campers the weekend I visited was Chris, a rainbow-haired Quad Cities salon owner and stylist with a mix of gay pride, horror movie and Marvel Cinematic Universe tattoos.
Subscribe for daily news updates from Little Village. As popular as nudity is at L. The L. Chris and other L. Jerry was able to update the fencing and pool deck, among other repairs. Chris playfully badgered Lisa and Dave for closing the curtains in their RV the night before during what had been a rather public lovemaking session.
Later that night, as my friend and I roasted hotdogs by the firepit, the sounds of clanging, whipping and moans of pleasure carried over from the next campsite over. Even in the darkness we could make out a man and woman, lit by a raging campfire, demonstrating BDSM for a small audience seated in foldable lawn chairs. I recount the more lurid details of my weekend at L. Surprisingly, I found myself fascinated by the various pairings and polycules of people, the peeks into various sexual subcultures, the erotic politics of L. It was like a NSFW reality show with little episodes throughout the day, watchable from the comfort of a pool floatie.
Freak flags flew in the breeze, and it was refreshing to see a group of queer, kinky Midwesterners joyful and uninhibited. A decades-long debate about the representation of kink in Pride celebrations reached a fever pitch this year. Pride parades and festivals are widely regarded as family-friendly events, including in eastern Iowa.Having Sex Five Times a Day Wasn't Enough - This Morning
Nudity is generally not accepted, but what about bondage gear — cuffs, collars, leather vests? What about the Leather Pride flag, with its black and blue stripes and big red heart? Are symbols of nonconventional, for lack of a better term, sexual preferences inappropriate in and of themselves?
Of course not. The moral outrage that flared on Twitter this June was largely stoked by rightwing trolls hoping to sow division among liberals by playing off age-old stereotypes conflating queerness and sexual perversion. But in light of this controversy, this heightened focus on the way LGBTQ folks are allowed to celebrate their bodies, I realized just how rare a space like L.
Not everyone was there for casual sex or spankings — for instance, me, who was after all camping with my sister — and for many campers, choosing to walk around in the buff was not sexually motivated at all. Everyone came to L. Campground as they were, and many have found genuine friendships in the process. And unlike adult stores, strip clubs and even feminist bookstores and sexual health clinics in Iowa, moral outrage in the form of strict zoning or obscenity laws has not killed the campground.
Lisa said she and Dave would live nude all the time if they could, but must be cautious, even on their own property. Public indecency laws vary widely across states and local municipalities, but suffice to say Iowa is not the most open-minded when it comes to nudity. In essence, if someone is offended by the sight of a full or partially naked person and they report it, they have a decent case.
Going au natural always comes with some degree of risk, making an openly adult-only, clothing-optional, middle-of-nowhere resort like L. Which is why writing this piece feels like a risk. Could drawing attention to the hidden gem that is L.
Perhaps, but the many camp-goers and staff I spoke to, including Jerry himself, expressed no fear of being outed — only excitement or intrigue at the idea of new folks ing the fold, especially queer women. When I decided to spend a weekend at L. Campground and write about my experience for LV Mag, I could already picture the central moment: Queer, chubby me at my first nude pool, stretch marks on my stomach and thighs from pandemic weight gain, tentatively sheds my swimsuit and jumps in the pool, baptized in the chlorinated water as a Perfume Genius song plays in the background, vibing like a teen in some indie coming-of-age drama.
Emma McClatchey would like to thank Thomas for wrestling her pop-up tent back into its bag and giving Goldie plenty of pets on the pool deck. Little Village is an independent media company based in Iowa City.
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