Sauna Focus

Massage exchanges, naked workouts and Coffee with a Splash: Sweatbox’s plans for sexy socials

It’s been almost nine months since Sweatbox, the Soho based sauna and gym complex, reopened after its million pound makeover and refit. We wanted to know how it was going down at Sweatbox and caught up with owners Mark and Jason Ford to find out more about their exciting plans to make the sauna a sexy, social hub.

So Mark and Jason, it’s about to be nine months since you reopened following your refurb – how’s it been going?

Jason: Very well indeed thank you. Until now we’ve been operating in what we’ve been considering an extended ‘soft launch’.

Mark: We’ve been concentrating on fixing a whole bunch of snags from the building work and getting the new entry system etc. running smoothly. Everything was so new and there were a number of issues we had to sort out.

Jason: But thankfully now that’s all pretty much in hand and we can focus on rolling out a whole series of regular activities and fun.

Mark: One of our aims in the redesign was to allow us to be not just sexy but sociable too. We’ve been losing far too many gay spaces lately. Doubtless some thought we were a gonna too when we had to close for so long. But we’re very much back and here to stay. Our aim is for Sweatbox to be a sexy, fun, safe space for all men who enjoy the sexualised company of other men.

So what can we expect coming up at Sweatbox?

Jason: Well we’ve got a whole bunch of things we’re launching right now. For a starter, our much missed Foam Parties are back in an all new improved space. The first one is on Saturday 26 October starting at 10pm and then every Wednesday from 30 October at 7pm and then every Wednesday and Saturday from then on.

Mark: Then on Sunday 27 October and every Sunday from then on, our gym will be available for Naked Workouts. So if you you‘ve always wanted to work out like a Greek God, we’ve got the machines and the mirrors, all you need is gym shoes and your birthday suit.

While I’m sure there will be a fair few Greek Gods to admire there, it’s important to emphasise that all bodies, all shapes and all ages and levels of expertise are welcome. We do NOT tolerate body shaming. We’re all beautiful and we’re all on our own unique journeys – anyone who thinks otherwise is the one with the problem.

Jason: Then keeping on the theme of learning to love our bodies, the spa will be going towel free and fully naturist every Saturday from 30 November between 12 noon and 6pm. We’re calling it Saturday Starkers because… well it illiterates but we could just have well have called it Eco Saturdays because the reduced towel laundry will be doing its bit for the environment!

Mark: Oh and then there’s Lunchbox: Every weekday between 12 noon and 2pm you can get a one-off, one hour, time-limited entry for just £9. It’s aimed at all the guys who work in the centre who might want to get pumped, let off a little steam or even meet up with a friend on their lunch hour.

Jason: And then in January we intend to launch Porn Star Boot Camps and Porn Star Workouts with our fully PT trained porn star friends, Gabriel Phoenix and Jonas Jackson. We’ll be making more noise about that after Christmas.

Any other plans in the pipeline?

Jason: Oh there’s lots – but this is the bit where we need your help to get the word out there as we need to connect up with practitioners, organisers, enthusiasts – people with the interest and motivation to make more ‘sexy-social’ things happen.

Mark: For instance, we have a big open room that would be perfect for massage exchanges. All amateur, no payments, just enthusiasts who want to learn, practice, improve their massage skills, make friends and enjoy the experience of touching other men without the pressures of out and out sex.

Jason: Plus we’re looking for naked yoga teachers with the hope of putting a weekly class together. And we’d like to outreach to social groups for older gay men to see if together we could put together a coffee morning at a heavily discounted price – a get together in towels – perhaps watching a few classic camp movies, and a soak in our beautiful new jacuzzi.

Mark: We’re thinking of calling it Coffee with a Splash.

Jason: And essentially we’re open to ideas. We have a large private room available – anyone who can get 10+ guys together can have it at just the price of entry.

If you have ideas for social events at Sweatbox you can email Mark and Jason at [email protected]. Sweatbox is at 1 -2 Ramillies Street, Soho W1F 7LN. Telephone: 0203 214 6014.

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