Cruising for sex
3 min

Rules for gym play

For that after-workout workout in the locker room

When I first moved to downtown Toronto in 1995, I got a membership at a now defunct Sports Club of Canada location at Sherbourne and Isabella. I was new to working out, and enthusiastic about fitness, but within a couple weeks I noticed that there were men who seemed to spend all their time in the locker room.

This parallel cruising universe involved a constant movement from shower to wet steam room, to dry steam room, to whirlpool, and then back to shower. Aficionados of gym cruising will agree — the more types of facilities a gym has, the better the cruising. I was a member at this location for at least a year and it provided my intro to furtive gym encounters.

Having a love of casual sex, I had to be disciplined and promised myself that I would always do my full workout before donning my towel and hanging out in the change room. Because that location was particularly sexual it could get distracting — so when I moved away from that neighbourhood, it made sense to me to find another gym. Part of me hoped the next one would be a little more G-rated, so I could stay focussed on my exercise.

I then got a trial membership at the downtown YMCA. In retrospect, that seems silly if I wanted a non-sexual gym. The YMCA is downright historical in gay culture (it even has a gay anthem of its own). Luckily for me, I hated the workout facilities, so I only lasted a couple weeks. I never saw any action there, but from what I read now on, I must have been blind. I then moved to World Gym at Charles and Yonge. That was my favourite gym of all time — the best facilities and enough straight steroidal guys that the cruising had to be extremely discreet (but not non-existent).

And discretion is the key when it comes to gym cruising. Websites like offer detailed cruising summaries of every gym and public restroom in the world, and I think that makes it easy for cruisers to get feelings of entitlement, to forget that other people use these facilities for their original purposes. It’s hard to imagine that the managers of gyms don’t know about these websites — I am sure most of them do. I’m also convinced that some of the designers of gym locker rooms are in on this too. I worked out at one location for a long time, and then they renovated their shower area from scratch. They went from an open concept shower to a row of stalls with curtains. But one of the stalls had a big, unexplainable gap that allowed you to look into the adjacent one. Those two stalls automatically became the cruising stalls. The sauna in the same location had a lightbulb that was always burned out or stolen. It would get replaced, and then get stolen again. Every other gym has hardware screwed into the wall in the sauna protecting the lightbulbs. But this location just let the sauna go dark, which made it more conducive for sex. I find it hard to believe that it wasn’t at least partially deliberate.

I have my own approach to cruising in public places. I don’t want to unwittingly expose gym members to sex. Sometimes I think gays (especially in a big city, in a gym with a high concentration of gays) take things too far. For that reason, I would like to propose a code of conduct for gym cruising:

Rule 1: Never get caught. All of my proposals are related to Rule 1. Because this is one of those victimless crimes. As long as only those who want to know about it know about it, and those who do not, do not, everything should be fine. Keep in mind that gym locker-room action is meant to be subtle, discreet, and non-invasive. Straight guys deserve to take a shower without someone staring directly at their naked bodies while stroking their own cock. Gay guys who prefer to use the steam room for its health purposes deserve to go in the steam room and not be leered at, or be forced to witness guys jerking off. Just because you know someone is gay does not mean they should automatically be included in the action.

Rule 2. Have a lookout. If two guys are in the sauna or steam room jerking off, they should be listening carefully for the footsteps of approaching guests. If a third person is in the room, and is willing to be the lookout, ask them directly to do so.

Rule 3. Don’t cum on the floor. That’s just disgusting. Catch it in your hand, shoot it down someone’s throat, or cum on your towel. I have seen countless guys shoot their loads unapologetically on the floor, or the sauna seats, and then get up and walk away. Gross! Nobody deserves to walk into a steam room and slip on a pile of spunk!

Some people might be horrified that I am discussing this type of sex openly. It is clearly illegal, but I think it is a type of sex that has radical roots. Before gay liberation, public restrooms and bathhouses were amongst the few places gays could hook up. At the risk of violence or arrest, these men were fulfilling their needs. We now have many safe and legal ways to enjoy man-on-man cruising, but the gyms remain a very sexy place for some of us. And that’s a good thing.