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Lust in our hearts 

Summer is peak season for people watching

Ah, summer approaches, the time when a young man and woman's thoughts turn to largely unwholesome and prurient pursuits. And what better place to follow such debauched instincts than Atlanta, with its torrid climate, roaring weekend nightlife and some of the nation's most liberal adult-entertainment ordinances?

Yes, lust is in the air, so let's consider some of the likelier places to see an abundance of bare flesh. Atlanta's steamy summer weather is perfect for taking in acres of eye candy as you jog through Piedmont Park, grill a burger in Grant Park or float lazily down the 'Hooch on top of a cooler.

If you're youthful enough not to look out of place, may we also suggest a vantage point at one of our local university campuses, reading a book on the grass in the quad. Or, better yet, while sitting lakeside in Emory's Lullwater Park, a bucolic coed cut-through of dazzling merit.

Alas, it's trickier for the goateed among us to appear inconspicuous while hanging out at Agnes Scott.

If college isn't your scene, then you may want to bring a folding chair to check out the bikini-clad beach volleyball teams competing at John Howell Park in Virginia-Highland.

But for maximum swimsuit-ogling potential, we'd recommend making friends with someone who lives at one of the countless gated garden-apartment complexes sprinkled around metro Atlanta. The pools are the epicenters of social life for the toned young narcissists who invariably inhabit these pricey enclaves. Trust us -- these people are dying to be the object of your scopophilia.

Speaking of which, it seems a might silly not to take advantage of the city's well-known wealth of take-it-all-off strip clubs, which have helped Atlanta attain its status as the Sodom of the South.

The city's sheer diversity of titty bars is truly libido-boggling, from the ambitiously glitzy Cheetah to the meat-and-potatoes grind of the Tattletale Lounge; from the urban nastiness of Magic City to the boy scene at Swinging Richards. And there's the venerable Clermont Lounge, which, strictly speaking, has no business being mentioned in a story about lust.

But, of course, while gentleman's clubs dangle objects of lust before us, it is all too difficult to ignore the artificiality of the setting -- and the inescapable fact that we always exit the premises alone.

For a more interactive way to indulge feelings of lust, there's nothing like a tour of Atlanta's more salacious meet-markets, which we've thoughtfully divided into Buckhead and not-Buckhead.

Ground zero in the Atlanta pick-up scene is the frat-boy gulag of the Buckhead Village, where the beer-goggled hordes ooze from Uranus to Mako's to BAR to Coyote Ugly to Hole in the Wall in search of prey. In contrast to those unabashed hook-up parlors, the trophy-date hangout Tongue & Groove is an oasis of maturity.

Outside of Buckhead, you can try your luck with the beautiful-people hipsters to be found at Midtown's Eleven50, Cosmopolitan, Halo, Loca Luna, Vision or Spice. Centers of lust activity in Va-Hi include Neighbor's Pub, Atkins Park and Highland Tap. And for scoring the digits near the Perimeter, try the ever-degenerate American Pie in Sandy Springs or the Grape in Vinings.

If, however, you're looking to satisfy your lust with minimum effort, you can always go for a sure thing by seeking out one of the city's swinger's clubs. Venus, near Morningside, has an exotic, gothic feel, while the bustling Trapeze on Atlanta's far west side, resembles an upscale hotel lounge -- except with naked folks doing the nasty on the next couch.

So choose your passion this summer. The rest is up to you.

scott.henry@creativeloafing.com

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