Dark room (sexuality)

A darkroom or dark room is a darkened room, sometimes located in a nightclub or sex club, where sexual activity can take place.[1] When located in bars, or adult bookstores, dark rooms are also known as backrooms, blackrooms, or playrooms.[2][3] Some dark rooms incorporate black, blue, or red lights, or even no lighting.[4]

Dark rooms in barsEdit

Dark rooms were common features of North American gay bars and clubs in the 1960s and 1970s, and can still be found in some bars.[3] A backroom in a gay bar is typically a small, very dark or dimly lit room at the back of the club where customers can go to have sex, usually without undressing.[4] Prior to the discovery of AIDS, backrooms were common in gay bars, and the sex that took place in them was typically unprotected, and often, though not always, anonymous.[4] The discovery of AIDS, and increasing knowledge about the methods of transmission, resulted in the closing of many backrooms in gay bars, and other public sex venues.[5] In the United States dark rooms are illegal where they exist in the context of an establishment open to the public.[6]

With the advancements of science finding treatments for HIV/AIDS, the threat to sex in backrooms nowadays is technology which made online cruising ubiquitous negating the need to find casual sex in public, and the use of smartphones that can instantly advertise once underground activities and document them photographically.[4]

Dark rooms in sex clubs and bathhousesEdit

Dark rooms are often a feature of sex clubs and bathhouses, and they are often advertised as an amenity or attraction. A sex club dark room may be as simple as a small darkened area large enough for two or three people, or may comprise a large portion of the club's floor area, with mazes, glory holes, private nooks, steel bars resembling prison cells, and varying floor levels.


  1. ^ Parsons, Vic. "EastEnders' Ben Mitchell wants new gay bar to have dark room for sex". Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  2. ^ Bollinger, Alex (2018-10-19). "Judge dismisses charges in a gay sex sting: A private room isn't a 'public place'". www.lgbtqnation.com. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  3. ^ a b "24 Public Places Where Gay Men Cruised". www.advocate.com. 2016-06-07. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  4. ^ a b c d "35 DOs and DON'Ts of a Gay Leather Bar". www.advocate.com. 2017-11-09. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  5. ^ Juzwiak, Rich. "The Slutty Resurgence of New York's Underground Gay Sex Parties". Jezebel. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  6. ^ https://www.ajc.com/news/local/chief-vice-cops-saw-sex-gay-bar/ROzVVxINabvqacQQh8O2lL/