Sex on premises venues (SOPV's) are often thought of as being uniquely connected to Queer Culture. In a way, this is certainly true. SOPV's have endured a long association with the queer community and arguably has its roots to a time when the public displays of our affection, and indeed any form of display of our sexuality, was frowned upon or illegal. These venues stem from the idea of working class bathhouses - an essential service when a working bachelor would be assigned to living in a room as opposed to owning his a self-contained unit such as his own house or property. Over time these developed into specific gay venues where sex would be practised and engaged with on site. Some of you will have embraced sex on premises locations by now, not everyone has. Questions come up such as, what do I do? What on earth actually happens? Should I do this? Will I look silly? Going to a sex on premises venue can be scary the first time, but they are inviting, comfortable and safe places in which men and can be their selves and enjoy a sexually great time. Sydney is very fortunate to have many gay sex on premises venues, and no two are the exact same. Each venue attracts a wide range of people, sexuality, body types, ages and races.
It is a myth to suggest that all gay bathhouses and saunas are filled with mature men. This is not the case at all, and men of all ages and sizes will frequent a sauna and SOP venue. Each venue distributes condoms and lubrication for free to ensure safe sex happens. At all these venues, No means No, and you will not be forced to partake in any sexual acts you are not comfortable with. People roam the hallways and rooms looking for their next partner, so there are a wide variety of people roaming at any given time. SOPV's have their own unique communication and codes, and it can be intimidating and tricky for a new person who has never been into one before. In Sydney, NSW, the majority of gay sex venues are located in the city, and some out west. These establishments are fully legal and generally have a cover charge to enter. Facilities have change areas, lockers, showers and tones of space to get it on. Some venues have re-entry policies which allow patrons to exit/re-enter. There are a few unspoken rules that occur when in a cruising club and this might help you in navigating a sauna.
- If you're not interested in someone - do not be disrespectful or rude. There is nothing wrong with simply walking away as there are a variety of different people that are there.
- Safe sex should always be practiced. If someone refuses to use a condom, you are not obligated to continue engaging in sexual activity with them. A polite, thanks, but no thanks is all that is needed and you can move on.
- If you're interested in someone you can notify them that you're interested by looking them directly into the eyes. If there is a response, you may grab and rub your crotch. If they're interested, they'll signal. If they're not. They'll move on.
- No means no. If you're not interested. That's the end of it. Move on, or seek assistance from a staff member.
What's The Difference Between A Cruise Club And A Sauna?
Some adult stores will have cruise lounges in them, but these are geared for gay men. The addition of a cruise lounge can be quite intimidating for some people. Cruise Clubs offer a wide range of sexual activities with playrooms, places for public and private sex, with sling rooms, cubicles, lounge areas and refreshment facilities. In a cruise club, guys will generally walk around in their clothes.
Saunas feature wet areas such as a steam room, saunas and spas. Guys will often only walk around in a towel, leaving their clothes in a locker. There are lots cubicles with vinyl mattresses and as well the usual showers, rest areas and refreshments.