Seven years ago I did a survey of a few sex-on-site places in Auckland, from a punter's perspective, and it was about time I did an update, because that blog item has been over the past years one of the most read on this blog. So here goes.
The survey criteria are the same: I paid for my entry in all venues and my opinion is personal. I cannot vouch for the punters who frequent it, nor assure you will have a good time there. In all the venues I have been mind-numbingly bored and have had mind-blowing sex sessions, so don't always judge it by one visit.
For opening hours / days / entry fees and other information, refer to the links to the venues' websites.
WINGATE SAUNA (76 Wingate St, Avondale) The location, facilities and even some of the punters have not changed since I was last here seven years ago. A large, sprawling Lockwood house with all the standard bath house facilities but slightly shabby and rundown looking. The floors especially need attention. All that constant wetness isn't good even if the wood is treated. It makes for slightly slippery and uncomfortable feel underneath your feet.
The sauna and steam room have swapped places, if I remember correctly. The sauna is rather cramped with three long rows of seating close together. But the temperature was great and the smallish door does not make it drop every time it is opened. The disadvantage is that the oxygen levels can drop inside. The steam room is now down some steps and it is pitch dark, which I really disliked. I didn't try out the spa pool, it's the only aspect of bath house culture I stay away from, but it looked quite clean - I mean you could see all the punters' bits under water as there was no bubble action going on. From the spa pool you have clear line of sight through window to the showers, a fully lit area where you can treat your wash and scrub down as a show performance.
The outdoor pool was still present and even though not used on this still not quite summery day, the punters were sprawling around it soaking up the rays. Despite it being a weekday afternoon when I visited, the place was packed - the quite substantial car parking was full - with gentlemen of a certain age who obviously find that environment more conducive than sitting around in a retirement home. So I can't say whether a different age group (or body type) frequents on weekends or evenings, you'll have to try it out for yourself.
The indoor recreational cruising is fairly standard: under-lit maze, small cubicles and a cinema. The upstairs balcony looking out at the screen is the main orgy room. The downstairs seating is not very comfortable, with straight upright backs. In the basement is a large pool table with notes stating that sex on the pool table is forbidden, as it is in the communal seating areas (the pool area is OK for some alfresco action if the mood takes you.)
Good to see it is still doing a roaring trade locally and obviously a life's work by the owners.
GRINDER (348 Karangahape Road, Newton) The Den chain of sex shops has been broken up and sold and the K Road branch has now been renamed Grinder. The shop in front is largely the same, although the sales assistant said the stock is slightly different. I didn't press him on this as I was here to see whether the backroom had changed. And it unfortunately hadn't. The floor is still scruffy, the maze layout too dark and confusing, the porn screens tiny, the toilets grotty. The only thing different was the absence of a commercial radio station sound track. There were a few punters (including one fast asleep, obviously after a tiring afternoon of Xmas shopping) but it has never had a reputation of being a heaving place.
Good for a quick one if there are some others there.
EROX CINEMA (474 Karangahape Road, Newton) This a new venue that wasn't there 7 years ago, at least not in this gloriously spacious configuration. It's a large cinema space with big screen and comfortable, expensive-looking leather seats and couches, showing straight porn. Don't that let you put off, most of the punters here are after some cock action. But you have to be willing to perform in public, there are no private cubicles except if you want to watch a film privately, there are four cabins available, two of them with interconnecting serving hatches (not glory holes) which you open or close at will. The toilets are sufficient although they hadn't been cleaned that day.
A relaxing venue and a chance to meet very non-scene punters. Great friendly staff at the front desk too (two chatty women).
THE EXCLUSIVE SHOP (460 Karangahape Road, Newton) A standard, if old-fashioned sex shop with video cabins and two cinemas on a split level, one catering for straight porn, the other for non-standard porn, mostly of the she-male variety. In both it's customary to see and partake in some action either solo or joined, if you don't mind the lack of privacy. Everybody can be a porn star when the on-screen action bores you. The venue is a bit cramped and dingy but ideal if you want your desires fulfilled off-scene.
K ROAD VIDEO (354a Karangahape Road, Newton) A video rental store with preview cubicles. If you want assistance in your viewing habits, ask for one with glory holes. They're big enough to almost stick your head through. It's really not my scene as I prefer my punters attached to the rest of their bodies, but I know a lot of guys love glory holes and they are usually to be found in every sex-on-site venue. I didn't notice any cruising going on outside the cubicles, which was disappointing.
THE BASEMENT (Canada Street, off Upper Queen St, Newton) This venue shifted recently from Newton to a smaller venue closer to K Road. It is still a sex shop and mail order business but has also provided a small area for cruising in the back. There is no maze but a series of themed areas for non-vanilla play, including a bath tub and sling room. A few cubicles and a decent size video room with circular seating (instead of rows of chairs) make up the rest. There are two video streams available, one on a large, the other on much smaller screens. The toilets are clean and spacious, towels are for hire. The venue occasionally hosts private and public parties (check their website for details) which cater for the leather and fetish crowds.
CENTURIAN SAUNA (Beresford Square, off Pitt St, Newton) Still the world class venue as it has always been: spacious, clean, catering for a wide variety of relaxation options, including the non-sexual kind (you can just watch Sky Movies or mainstream TV if that takes your fancy but that would be a sign of serious perversion). But it is still eye-wateringly expensive. They have started a few theme nights, such as No-Towels-Nights, which are a whole heap of fun and brings out the exhibitionist in you. The atmosphere is far more congenial then, so I would recommend going then. When there are a lot of punters, the action opportunities slow right down so you may want to avoid busy times like Sunday afternoons.
LATESHIFT (2/25 Dundonald St, off Basque Road, Newton) The longest running cruise club in Auckland now that Westside Sauna closed a few years ago, but it has probably been suffering from hook-up opportunities offered by the internet, judging by the lesser crowds present on previously heaving nights.
The venue hasn't changed much over the years, it is still one of the best venues to spend a longer time in, such as pulling an all nighter til the sun comes up, the drunks barge in from the K Road clubs and you can have breakfast after service is over. There are two well-appointed playrooms available for extra hire charge and where you can organise your own private party or, if need be, have a place to sleep.
First Wednesdays of the month is Arsemen night when both playrooms are devoted to rear end plays and a lot of fisters and fistees populate the slings. It's a good opportunity to learn about it as many experienced experts are on hand, literally. It's quite social as John who runs Arsemen insists on chatting to you to see what they can do for you.
Sunday afternoons is still Jacks & Jocks, when the venue caters for nude cruising and masturbators.
If I have missed out on any venues - especially if there are any out in the suburbs I don't know about - let me know.