Gloryholes, saunas and sex tapes

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With Oasis Aqua Lounge scheduled to open just steps from Ryerson, Sarah Del Giallo and Gin Sexsmith investigate why you should consider a new type of club this fall


Decrepit back alleys and nondescript doors are features of downtown living. And on your walk to school, passing these places probably wouldn’t phase you.

But you might take a second glance if you knew that behind these doors lie sex clubs, for both gay and straight guests. And the distance of these places from Ryerson keeps getting shorter.

If you travel north on Mutual Street you will see ILLC, a residence building that houses 11 floors of Ryerson students. On the left, Pitman Hall, home to another 14 floors. Venture further up, a red door on the right will take you to the Oasis Aqua Lounge — a sex club due to open in about three weeks.

Toni Johnson, 40, took over the Mutual Street site of Club Toronto, a now defunct sex club, to open a 19+ water sex club for consenting couples and single women. She believes that Toronto has a demand for her club.

“Everyone knows everyone is going at it in parks, parking lots, bathrooms. So why not let it happen here,” said Johnson.

Albeit controversial, Johnson said her club poses a great situation for students worried about disturbing a roommate, or being heard through the paper-thin residence walls.

Johnson’s facility provides private rooms for the more timid of students. But for those who can appreciate a little voyeurism, semiprivate rooms provide anonymous viewing, or the option to put on your own show.

If you’re having a boring school week try being adventurous and hooking up wherever the mood strikes — the lounge, dance floor, Jacuzzi, pool, aromatherapy steam room, sauna, or any of the rooms that “aren’t private at all”.

“We just want people to have more options, that’s all it comes down to, ” Johnson said.

Interested? The fee for single women is $10 while the fee for couples is $80.

Johnson says that a student rate is currently under consideration. While enjoying yourself, students have the perfect opportunity to stock up on free condoms and hors d’oeuvres that the club offers.

Once inside you are welcome to stay until closing, meaning the potential for 15 hours of play — perfect for your day off classes.

“Everyone has a lot of misconceptions of what a sex club is, they think it’s a dog pile of sex crazed people,” said Johnson.

If you’re nervous your first time out, don’t worry — there isn’t any obligation to have sex at Oasis Aqua Lounge.

“Half [of my clientele] are actual swingers, half are voyeuristic — more interested in watching other people have sex,” she said.

And to keep people safe, Johnson has a strict policy to keep patrons from being pressured.

“We’re not obligating anybody. You’re allowed to ask once, and only once,” she said.

Johnson said this could be refreshing for some women who are sick of being badgered in clubs.

“A guy hits on you, you say no thank you. He asks you again. You say no thank you,” she said. “I hope this would prevent a lot of date rape type stuff.”

The Aqua Lounge does care about your safety. Employees are trained to keep an eye out for anyone who looks uncomfortable — this includes anyone being pressured to do something they don’t want to.

Johnson’s Aqua Lounge is not the only club of this nature on Ryerson’s radar. Just around the corner at 105 Carlton sits Spa Excess, a gay bathhouse.

Directing manager Peter Bochove, 62, has been with Spa Excess since its opening 13 years ago. On a Thursday at 1 p.m. there are already 60 patrons using the facilities.

Being close to Ryerson’s Campus, Spa Excess has a half price discount for students. Bochove said this decision was based on what he remembers from his days in school.

“I was always broke and always horny,” he said. “We wanted to make it as affordable as possible.

With tuition these days, you’re in debt for the rest of your life and that doesn’t leave much room to get laid.”

Spa Excess has a lounge and bar, steam room, private bathrooms, gym, massage room, Jacuzzi, food service, pool table, DJ booth, internet access, lockers, rooms and a sun deck. Clothing is optional.

“And of course,” said Bochove, pointing to a wall of computer monitors, “Those computers are pumping pornography to all of the [areas]”.

You may be worried about the cleanliness of these places, but Bochove assures that in his bathhouse, cleanliness is a top priority.

“[All surfaces] are washable. The water in the Jacuzzi is regularly cleaned and checked for bacteria and fungus.”

He said the cleaning staff is well trained with strict guidelines to ensure cleanliness. Along with beds being stripped and washrooms being cleaned, all surfaces in the rooms are scrubbed clean.

“It’s probably the harder thing to do, but the health board loves us,” he said.

Still, Ryerson students thinking of checking out a sex club should do a little research to check out how safe and clean it really is.

Sick of hooking up at themed rez parties? Try one of the Aqua Lounge’s themed rooms like the ‘Shaggin’-Wagon’ room, and a Western Bordello — fully equipped with velvet drapes and a stripper’s pole.

And if you are looking to be a star of your own sex tape visit the porn room, with cameras installed on all sides of the room that will capture the steamy action. You get the only copy and the Aqua Lounge also edit and dub music to your video if requested. “We really just want to provide a safe, clean environmnet. [Up to now

bathhouses in Toronto] have had a bad connotation. We’re trying to change that,” said Johnson.

Photo: Lauren Strapagiel

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