club dark rooms

Club dark rooms: What are they and should you enter?

Dark rooms are becoming a popular add-on to a night out. But they’re nothing new. These saucy spaces have been in queer spaces for decades.

Whether you’re getting ready to join the fun or simply curious about what’s going on in the corner of the club, keep reading.

In this article, we’re exploring what dark rooms are and how you can get involved.

What is a dark room?

As their name suggests, dark rooms are special rooms with low lighting where you can go in and get it on. These are usually attached to clubs, meaning you can slink away from the music and enjoy some erotic sex without needing to change venues.

The general appeal to dark rooms is their anonymity. With little visibility and pounding music outside, there’s no space for small talk. It’s all about enjoying casual sex without judgment.

These rooms are perfect if you’re after spontaneity with a side of kink. There’s no arranging dates, rejection, or seeing each other’s faces properly. Sex becomes more transactional in these spaces. Think of it as pure, animalistic desire without limits.

This goes without saying, but if you’re not keen on getting off with strangers, sex with the lights off, or getting it on in a semi-public space, these rooms aren’t for you. You either love them or hate them, there’s no in-between.

Fun fact: Dark rooms are also known as playrooms.

Who can enter a dark room?

Typically, dark rooms have been a queer male staple, and this is still more or less the case. But the rules aren’t that clear. Clubs like London-based Adonis have introduced “femme dark rooms”, providing an alternative to the usual spaces.

Since most dark rooms are attached to queer clubs, many still consider them a gay male space. For men, they can be cruising grounds and places to play with their partner. However, it’s not entirely unheard of to catch sight of a hetero or lesbian couple in these spaces.

people dancing in a club

Consent and etiquette in dark rooms

Considering taking the plunge? Before you go, here’s a quick rundown of dark room consent and etiquette:

  • Don’t turn on your phone flash – Dark rooms are meant to be dark, walking around with a torch on is the fastest way to get thrown out
  • Don’t walk around gawking – Though you won’t be able to see much, you shouldn’t take a peek inside the dark room for fun. Only enter if you’re curious about playing as a courtesy to those inside
  • Maintain the non-judgmental atmosphere – Five people going at it to your left? All cool. Don’t make any judgmental comments in a dark room
  • Keep the chat to a minimum – Dark rooms are all about physicality. Chatting isn’t encouraged
  • Group sex is the norm – If you’re interested in a monogamous romp with your partner, a dark room might not be the best place

Consent in dark rooms is different from that in other spaces. Since the premise is anonymous sex with little talking, verbal consent isn’t always used. Tentative touches are usually the way you show you’re interested in others. If they remove your hand, walk away, or whisper no, you should walk away.

When you enter a dark room, it signals that you’re open to sex. So, you’re instantly at risk for unwanted touching (and this could be genital touching). This is why it’s so important not to go in if you’re unsure whether it’s your cup of tea.

If you’re trying to initiate play, slowly touch someone else and give them enough time to move away. Never be pushy and accept rejection with grace.

STIs and dark rooms

Due to the nature of dark rooms, there is a higher chance of STIs. However, most dark room users are stringent with STI checks and PrEP medication. Condoms aren’t always used in these spaces, so getting tested afterwards is always recommended.

Practice safe sex where possible, though. Again, if the thought of potentially unsafe sex causes your blood pressure to rise, the dark room might not be for you.

The current boom of dark rooms

Dark rooms have been a staple in queer club spaces for a long time, especially in Europe (and in particular Berlin).

However, they’re having a major boom in the UK right now, especially in the gay male space. Many are associating this boom with the accessibility of HIV prevention medication (PrEP) and post-pandemic life.

After spending so long away from community and sexual freedom, of course, there’s an innate desire to push against the boundaries and embrace a more relaxed type of sex.

Many dark rooms are popping up in London. So, if you’re curious, now is the time to strike. LGBTQ+ clubs in London with dark room possibilities include:

  • Roast
  • Adonis
  • Trough

band members in yellow lights with audience cheering

How do you know if a dark room is right for you?

Dark rooms can be intimidating spaces, so it’s best to consider the pros and cons before you go.

If you’re attracted to anonymous sex, group sex, or cruising, you might love the dark room. It’s also great if you already have experience with threesomes or sex parties.

Some people even find that dark rooms bring out their inner confidence. Without the harsh lights, body confidence issues may melt away.

However, if you’re not into sex without emotional connections, it won’t be up your street. Likewise, you might want to avoid the dark room if you know you won’t be comfortable with non-consensual touches.

Again, dark rooms play by different rules. While you always have the right to say no, you will likely be touched without being asked.

The takeaway

Is an anonymous romp in your future? Or are you not into the idea of getting it on at the club? Whatever you decide, hopefully, we’ve opened your eyes to the world and etiquette of dark rooms. Remember, these are queer spaces and must be respected! Follow the rules, and you’ll have a great time.

Learn more about sex and relationships on the Vivastreet blog now.

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