Mixed bathing

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Mixed bathing is the sharing of a pool, beach or other place by swimmers of both sexes. The definition usually applies to swimming in public or semi-public facilities, such as hotel or holiday resort pool, and usually applies to swimming engaged in for recreational purposes.

In ancient Rome, mixed bathing at public facilities was prohibited at various periods, while commonplace at others. It is also possible that gender-segregated bathing was the rule at some facilities but not at others.[1]

In the United States, the practice was not generally allowed and was perceived as being immoral until the early part of the 20th century, although is commonplace today.[2][3] However, the practice is precluded by some strict Jews and fundamentalist Christians in the Southern United States.[4][5]

In Japan, nude mixed bathing was the norm at public baths until the Meiji Restoration when gender separation was strictly enforced at sentō-type baths. In prefectures that permit nude mixed bathing, some rural onsen-type mixed baths require nudity.


  1. ^ Garrett G. Fagan, Bathing in Public in the Roman World (University of Michigan Press, 1999, 2002), pp. 26–27.
  2. ^ Richard Mervyn Hare (1971). Essays on Philosophical Method, Volume 275. University of California Press. p. 127. Retrieved 24 October 2011. "The ordinary man in the early twentieth century thought that mixed bathing was wrong simply because that view had been effectively preached to him from his earliest years; on the other hand, the utilitarian may think that there is nothing wrong in it because he has thought the question out in the way described above, putting himself in the place of all those affected, and decided that he can best serve their interests by rejecting the prohibition on mixed bathing, because, as he says, it does nobody any harm." 
  3. ^ The International Journal of the History of Sport, Volume 24, Issues 5-8. Taylor & Francis. 2007. p. 598. Retrieved 24 October 2011. "The question of mixed bathing and swimming remained a very vexed one throughout the period. As has already been mentioned, prior to 1800 it would appear that mixed bathing, while not common, did take place from time to time." 
  4. ^ Stefanie Hoss (2005). Baths and bathing: the culture of bathing and the baths and thermae in Palestine from the Hasmoneans to the Moslem conquest ; with an appendix on Jewish rituals baths (miqva'ot). Archæopress. p. 77. Retrieved 24 October 2011. "It is very likely that that the not-Jewish population rejected mixed bathing just as much as the Jewish population did." 
  5. ^ John R Rice. Amusements for Christians. Sword of the Lord Publishers. p. 25. Retrieved 24 October 2011. "On the other hand, fundamentally sound and devoted Christians in the South are nearly always shocked when they find that fundamental Christians in the North have mixed bathing at their summer Bible conferences, and elsewhere Christian men and women and young people go swimming together and sometimes do not feel it is wrong."