1 min

Ottawa bathhouse now partially co-ed

New rules at Sauna 63

Martin Rothman, owner of Sauna 63, is making a few changes.

On Sunday to Thursday nights, between 8pm and 6am, the space becomes known as Co-Ed 63. It’s marketed as a space that any couple — gay, straight or lesbian — can use as a spot to hook up if they have no place else to go. As well, the space advertises bookings for private parties.

“We do not discriminate any sexual choice,” the website advertises.  “Heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual are all welcome. Sometimes you might get the odd trans member, you never know what you might get.”

The website also proclaims the sauna operates on a “respect” policy.

“Please be polite when declining! Some guests may be there with their partner and are only using the private rooms.”

When confronted with the perception that it is no longer a gay space, Rothman expresses some frustration with the community.

“It’s gay during the day here, it’s gay here Friday and Saturday, and it’s only co-ed Sunday to Thursdays at night,” Rothman says.

He also says that while people continually complain to him about the facilities at other area bathhouses, but they nevertheless admit to frequenting them more often than his own establishment.

“There’s no logic to it,” he says.

Though it is not being sold as a swinger’s club, Rothman has already noticed some mingling of his clientele.

“There’s a lot of gay guys coming in too at night, because as a couple, half of them are bi, and they’ll do a guy and the girl will watch, type thing. It works both ways.”

Rothman says that the changes are still just in the testing stages, but they are being driven by economic realities.

“There’s no gay people coming during the week because they work and everything, and for me to sit here all night for two customers when I can get twenty customers — the rent and all the other bills still have to be paid.”