As we return to attending saunas, it is time to re-examine their Codes of Conduct/Conditions of Entry.

What Codes/Conditions you may ask? These do exist, and therefore you should be aware of their implications for your safety, privacy, and legal obligations before visiting. When you pay your admission, you are entering into a legal agreement to abide by it.

Somewhere, within the establishment or on their website, you will find a copy of their particular Code. Pre-COVID anti-social behaviour has changed things for us all. No longer can we enter anonymously. As well as showing photo ID we will have our portrait taken.

While this is disturbing to many married patrons, I remember having to show, then leave my passport with the attendant at a Hawaiian bathhouse in the early 1990s – it was a local law.

In Australia, your ID gets encrypted at the time of verification and, if not needed, is deleted by the external monitoring agency after 30 days and you retain a right to verify that.

But are you aware that CCTV monitors the interiors in all areas” according to Melbourne and Sydney sauna websites? Not the cubicles, I suspect, but locker areas, thoroughfares, and shared ‘public’ amenities. What happens to those images is not revealed!

Entering the premises infers that you also agree to your behaviour. No means No. Alcohol and glassware are banned in play areas. No mobile phones/cameras. No illegal drugs/syringes, (amyl/poppers are ok). No violence. No vandalism. No prostitution or soliciting. And you respect the right of others to play privately or in public. Dark areas, wet floors, equipment, infections, physical bodily harm they’re all at your own risk.

You also agree to follow staff directions, including being removed from the premises for offensive behaviour, drug use, being intoxicated, argumentative whatever they choose. Even using water wisely is expected, as is safe sex, and agreeing to be searched at any time.

Are these draconian measures? Or is it reassuring to know that if we accept these conditions that we are in a safe environment, no police raids, we are physically safe whatever our age, and only like-minded guys are in attendance?

Do we need to trade some aspects of our rights to gain that security? Should we older patrons with long memories about safety and privacy accept these conditions to take advantage of the wonderful sexual and social benefits we can obtain.

I believe, Yes!!!

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