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Gay saunas or bathhouses can be found in most big cities around the UK as well as abroad. While most saunas will have a ‘no drugs’ policy, some may still have more frequent drug use taking place.

Things to be aware of

Drug-taking in a sauna carries specific risks that can be quite different compared to other places.

1. Time-keeping

With your phone in your locker, low-level lighting, a lack of daylight and few clocks in sight, it can be hard to keep track of time. It can be really easy to spend long periods in a sauna and stay later than you meant to.

It can also be difficult to keep track of when you’ve taken some drugs, which is especially dangerous where G is involved.

2. Security

Some saunas are stricter than others when it comes to drugs. You’re more likely to get in trouble with the law at a sauna than if you’re at someone’s flat at a chillout or sex party. It’s easy for staff to search lockers and, as you’ll only be wearing a towel, there aren’t many places to hide what you’re carrying.

You’re also more likely to be disturbed at a sauna while taking drugs. This can make dosing G and injecting more dangerous than normal if you’re tempted to rush or do it in less then ideal settings.

3. Cabins

Many people will try to do drugs in private cabins. As lighting may be very poor and you might not have access to the correct equipment or clear surfaces, it can be easier to make mistakes – particularly with dosing G or injecting.

While cabins may offer some degree of privacy, this can be very dangerous if something goes wrong. Where deaths have been reported from drug use in saunas, this has often been where someone has got into trouble with drugs in a cabin and people have not realised until too late.

If you pass out or fall asleep in a cabin you’re potentially very vulnerable as there could be a large number of strangers who have access to the room, but still with a degree of privacy. Some men have reported sexual abuse and rape which has taken place in these settings – such assaults are often related to drug use.

Tips for sauna use

  • Try to go with a friend – it can make a big difference having someone to look out for you and check in with.
  • If you go into a cabin with some guys, try to touch base with friends so they know where you are.
  • Try to avoid ending up in a sauna and looking for drugs to buy. Being dependent on other people to get drugs can put you in a situation you might not be comfortable with.
  • Drink lots of water. It’s easy to dehydrate in a sauna, and this is even more dangerous when on drugs. Try to take a sip from the water fountain every time you pass and be careful of spending hours in a cabin without drinking.
  • Don’t share drinks or take a sneaky sip of someone else’s – it might contain their G dose.
  • Try to eat something while you’re in there to keep your energy up.
  • Most saunas should have condoms and lube – you can carry them in your towel or wristband with your key. If you need a particular size of condom, you might need to bring your own.
  • Set a curfew when you will leave the sauna by. Only take in a limited amount of cash as it may help limit the amount of drugs you can buy and take.
  • Let someone know where you are and try to check in regularly via phone. It can be easy to spend long periods in the sauna, and friends may worry.
  • Phone batteries may die while you’re in the sauna, so turn it off when it’s in your locker. This will ensure you have some power left if you need to contact someone.
  • If you regularly take medication, always be sure to have your meds with you – you never know how long you’ll end up in the sauna.

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Published: 29/08/2018
Next review: 29/08/2021