The zūrkhānah is the traditional gymnasium of Iranian cities. Athletes exercised in a homosocial milieu that occasionally allowed for same-sex relations. Beginning in the 20th century, modern heteronormativity made such relations problematic, while gender desegregation allowed women to enter them. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, gender segregation was again imposed, while heteronormativity was maintained. In recent years, women have endeavored to make the zūrkhānah more inclusive. This article analyzes the contradictions and paradoxes of gender relations in the zūrkhānah by using classical poetry, modern novels, anthropological accounts, autobiographies, travelogues, and press reports.