London isn’t topping any lists for Europe’s sexiest city – I blame our flabby sun-starved skin, courtesy of the climate, too much Greggs, and an aversion to exercise cemented during cross country running at school. But that doesn’t mean we don’t like a bit of debauchery, whether it’s a “Knicker Free Friday” or rolling round in oil on a plastic sheet. So here’s a (possibly exhausting, but by no means exhaustive) look at where to rev your libido in London.
The Paradise Spa in Dagenham has been described as “more akin to an Essex knees-up than an orgy.” According to VICE, who term it a “top sex spa” the knees-up atmosphere is reinforced, “when the DJ drops Chas n’ Dave’s ‘Rabbit’ to the obvious delight of everyone there.” There are “couples’ rooms” with plastic mattresses and: “If you wanna shag, you can shag.” The website was down at the time of writing but a voice on the phone (020 8598 8575) confirmed they’re open.
Rio’s in Kentish Town dubs itself “London’s Leading Naturist Health Spa.” But it’s not about naturism, it’s about shagging. The spa features heavily in Suzanne Portnoy’s memoir The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker. She says, “Rio’s is a bit of a dive. It has no state-of-the-art equipment, no Philippe Starck-designed interior or, in fact, any design at all except for a tropical theme that would be sadly dated were it not so unintentionally ironic. But it’s functional. And it delivers what I want: sex on tap.” Portnoy goes on to describe the sex she has at Rio’s, as well as the unwanted advances: “John had followed me from the showers to the grooming area, still wanking as I blowdried my hair.”
Chariots, which describes itself as “the UK’s biggest and best Gay & Bi-Sexual Mens Sauna group in London”, has branches in Vauxhall and Miss Travel Discount-Code Waterloo. Keith, who’s straight, went there by mistake. He says, “the bloke on the door said, ‘you know what this place is?’ and I said, ‘yes it’s a sauna!’ So I got undressed and got into the hot tub –- that’s when I noticed it was all men. Then I noticed actual sex in the steam room – I couldn’t see much but I could tell what was happening!” Chariots crops up in the hook-up section of Craigslist, in ads with titles like, “Gang Bang Waterloo Chariots.” “Looking to hook up for some action,” says one ad and, “I’m a hairy guy with a good solid 7 inches,” says another. Scott, who’s gay, has been there, “loads.” He says, “you just rock up and have fun for a few hours. It’s really popular 5pm-7pm if you want a married man – they don’t even bother taking their wedding rings off. Saunas are perfect for them, as it’s so easy to clean up after.”
AbFabParties near Heathrow boasts a “SINema,” hot tubs and a pool, as well as “play rooms.” Parties take place five nights a week, and according to its website, it’s “The UK’s friendliest erotic venue” and “particularly popular amongst those just beginning to explore their boundaries.” It certainly seems to have a friendly ethos, even helping swingers get home: “Need to get back into London when the party ends? That’s simple with the N9 night service bus from Heathrow Terminal 5.”
Kunal started going to AbFabParties three years ago, when a counsellor recommended it. An operation had left him with a scar he felt self-conscious about. He says, “I lost all my confidence so my counsellor said I should go to places where I could take my top off. She recommended swinging clubs, and naturist swimming because I’d meet people of all body shapes and sizes.”