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Another service offered by the baths was voter registration. Mark's Baths in New York City, with the assistance of the League of Women Voters, conducted a voter registration drive on its premises.
In Melbourne the first gay bathhouse was Steamworks in La Trobe Street, which opened in 1979 and closed 13 October 2008.
Gay saunas, as they are more commonly known in Australia and New Zealand, were present in most large cities in those countries by the late 1980s.
As homosexuality was decriminalised in New Zealand and most Australian states during the 1970s and 1980s, there was no criminal conduct occurring on the premises of such "sex on site venues".
In the first two it was frequently possible to indulge in what the Spartacus Guide coyly describes as 'action', but behaviour at all times had to be reasonably cautious.
In the Grange Road baths in Bermondsey, however, all restraint could immediately be discarded with the small towels provided to cover your nakedness.
Most have a steam room (or wet sauna), dry sauna, showers, lockers, and small private rooms.In general, a gay bath is mainly used for having a sexual activity rather than only bathing.Bathhouses offering similar services for women are rare, but some men's bathhouses occasionally have a "lesbian" or "women only" night.Some bathhouse owners tried to prevent sex between patrons while others, mindful of profits or prepared to risk prosecution, overlooked discreet homosexual activity.In Florence, Italy, in 1492 there was a purge against the "vice of sodomy".