There are as many ways to consider the gay bathhouse as there are potential experiences to have within one.
In some places, they’re social hubs — a place to meet new friends, relax, and play safe.
The U.S. is a bit more sexually repressed, though — here you’re likely to find that dark, hypersexualized anonymous scenario.
Love ’em or hate ’em, here’s what guys on Whisper are saying about their experiences — anything you’d add?
My brother got AIDS going to these bathhouses and passed away in 1994. A bathhouse is no place I would ever consider going to. NEVER EVER!!
I used to go to a bathhouse in Sao Paulo and I had wonderful adventures there. Everybody used condoms and nobody got aids. It was really great and I met many HOT guys in there. I even participated in group sex once. It was a liberating experience.
@Laurence James: The word is “gross.”
Frank Ye Jenny Ko this is what i was talking about loll
I only have good stories.
Richard C. Liu
This is dumb
Are these places still open? I never understood this if I wanna go have sex at least take me to a 5 star hotel
Back in the mid-90’s, I went to a bathhouse in lower Manhattan (ZoneDK, I believe it was called). It was an interesting scene; they were pretty strict about no fucking or sucking, about all you could do was fondle and jerk. I was really enjoying the place… then he latched onto me. So of all the guys there, I hit a “Barney”. Just as I was getting hot and into the scene, wrapped his arms around me, looked me in the eyes and literally cried, “I love you, do you love me?” then would NOT leave me alone. Needless to say, it killed my libido for the remainder of the night.
Eli J Gonzalez
It’s kind of insulting that the posts of men who don’t like bathhouses have pictures of more unattractive and fully clothed guys, as if only unattractive squares don’t like bathhouses.
What’s more sad is that people think you can contract AIDS.
It’s starts off as HIV then becomes AIDS if not treated.
I went after a night out recently with a couple of friends. Lets just say that the creepy shadows of meth addicts whispering to themselves in the dark corners was scary enough.
I don’t know what the USA is like, but here in Brazil nobody uses drugs in the bathhouses. It is strictly drug and HIV free.
Having worked at one, I can say I’ve observed this: lots of gay men expect WAY too much out of each other and are betting their fantasies will be at the bathhouse in real life. I (seriously) got questions about does the college football team ever come here; where are all the 18-year-olds; where are all of the jocks you see in porn…the unpleasant reality is very very few gay guys who are out and sexually adventurous look like that and I can say with certainty you will rarely find someone young with a perfect body – unless they’re looking for money.
On the other hand the baths are a great place to see what gay men as a cross section really look like and their ages. Once you see that gay men look like average people you’ll start to lighten up and drop these unrealistic expectations we have for each other, considering we as gay men only make up 2-3% of male society.
Was a regular back in the day. The Club. Saint Marks. Mans Country. Drugs sex the Last Dance. Mists friends dead. I missed death but will be sick and on pills the rest of my life. Today every bathhouse should be named Russian Roulette.
@Yoshi Hil: What’s even MORE sad is that people don’t understand there’s a difference between catching HIV and never getting AIDS vs. NEVER CATCHING HIV in the first place.
You speak the truth and with wisdom. I used to frequent bathhouses a lot and had both good and not so good times. I still think bathhouses are safer and more hygenic than cruising in a park or hooking up via craigslist or grinder. Still whatever rocks your boat as long as you are safe and respect other people’s boundaries and of course have your boundaries respected.
The one I go to requires condoms (although, to be honest, if 2 guys go into a room how would they know?). I usually enjoy going there. I’ve had some fun sex. My one bad experience was at one of their hyped “Theme” nights (colored glow sticks to indicate what you’re after). Turns out it attracts young looking for young. This senior got laughed at and ignored for 5 hours. I’ll just go weekday afternoons and evenings. Always get good action then.
If you are into anonymous hookups, the health risks are not greater just because you’re in a bathhouse — in fact it might be safer because the condoms are readily available. The one thing that might make it riskier is having more than one partner in a shorter period of time.
Why does Queerty continually try to make this stupid Whisper App a thing? Are they paying for advertising on this website? It’s a stupid app for bored unemployed people to make up stories about their miserable lives.
Back in the 90’s I went weekly. Some of the very best sex of my life was had at the baths.I pretty much stopped cumming from blowjobs after I stopped meeting up with the head experts that hang out there. I never feared getting HIV as I was safe, but I began seeing more and more married clients in my erotic massage business and I couldn’t risk passing on the clap to one of them so I stopped. I went for a while to voyeur but more and more sex gravitated from the public areas to the rooms where drugs and unsafe activities could be hidden I guess. I really miss going!!!!!!!!!!!
Blood test and cavity search required before entering?
@Seattleguy: The 90’s was my bathhouse era. I lived in seattle too at the time. Totally different experience before the Meth Plague hit.
@Stache: I just don’t remember seeing meth face back then or people high as a kite. We just had fun. It was a great time for me.
I really didn’t know bathhouses were still around. I thought Scruff took care of all that bricks and mortar responsibility. I’d probably really like the sauna and steam, but random touching (mentioned above) and some unwanted boners are not really for me. However since my forever ongoing search for a little (or a big) action is taking me to google right now. I might give a go.
@Billy Budd: You said: “…here in Brazil nobody uses drugs in the bathhouses. It is strictly drug and HIV free”. This sounds like Ahmadinejad at Columbia University when he said “We don’t have any homosexuals in Iran”, and the auditorium just fell apart with laughter. IDK, maybe you were joking.
So many silly comments. Where to begin?
1. Bathhouses don’t cause HIV or AIDS, unprotected and unsafe sex does. If you are using a condom or are on PREP, you are at no higher risk of contracting HIV at a bathhouse than you would anywhere else you could have sex. Duh!
2. Younger commenters seem to post “gross” or shaming comments about bathhouses or people who go there, yet they are perfectly fine hooking up with some random stranger on Grindr or Scruff. What’s with that? I don’t really see why a bathhouse is any more “dirty” that Grindr, unless of course it actually is literally dirty, but hey, live a little. At least with a bathhouse you are actually almost certainly going to get laid, instead of a bunch of guys chatting on an app without ever meeting, which seems to be what happens 80-90% of the time on apps. I’d say any way you try to get laid, there are going to be good aspects and bad ones. Why limit yourself? Ditch the prudishness and sex-negativity and use every tool in the toolbox to get screwed and drilled. “Open up” and have some fun.
3. Unwanted touching? Oh, my, clutch my pearls. I say, what’s wrong with a little compliment, even if you don’t like the guy? It’s very easy to simply shake your head, put out your hand or just politely say, no thank you, and 99.99% of guys will accept no as no. I have both rejected men and been rejected… it’s not a big deal. It’s NEVER been a real issue. Get a thick skin (or some foreskin) and enjoy.
@Billy Budd: That’s interesting. I went to a bath house in Rio De Janeiro. while it lacked the décor I had grown accustom to here in South Florida, I was struck with how open and apparently accepted it was. It took me aback as an American. My straight Brazilian friend who referred me there told me that straight men go to these places — not for sex but to get haircuts etc.
@graphicjack: I agree with everything that you are saying. Many of the commenters here are immature, and they have not truly learned to enjoy their sexuality. As long as you have realistic expectations, and are courteous and respectful, you will have a good time
I wonder if some of the reluctance of the younger generation to go to the bath house has to do with the fact that they do all of their hooking up online and have never developed cruising skills which are called upon at the bathhouse. Let me know what you think about this. Some of the recent comments have been really wonderful!
@Davey Duzit: What in tarnation are you talking about? Where is this bath house? In the projects?
I have been to the baths many times, and the vast majority of occasions I do not see any visible signs of drug use. Its easy enough to find attractive people, and you just leave the mumblers to themselves. You can find mumblers in almost any bar, frankly. They are not unique to the baths, and they are harmless.
@Matthew Thompson: Many people like the appeal of sex with a really hot stranger, in an unfamiliar and novel, new, setting like your vaulted hotel room, where they can choose to do it privately, or let some one else watch. And THAT, my dear is why they’re at the bath house…….
@George Kopczynski: So he never had sex anywhere else? Only at bathhouses? You’re sure?
I have had some wonderful conversations at bathhouses in addition to some great sex. I started having sex shortly after AIDS hit the scene so used a condom religiously..and have done ever since. There are many advantages: you can actually see the guy beforehand in full, living color 3D (!); there is a higher degree of physical safety; no messy cleanup at home; and, if it doesn’t work out, there is someone else around the corner. You don’t get HIV/AIDS from bathhouses. You get it from unsafe sex. This is not complicated. Always use a condom.
I must also say the big appeal of bath house sex was the availablity of group sex activities. I still beat off to scenes that happened back there 20 years ago when I went. Most of the scenes I fantasize about were 3 ways, which were my preferred sex configuration. By far the best bath houses ( not necessarily the best sex..for me) were in Europe. Particularly the Roman Baths in Cologne made me feel I was at a Four Seasons resort!!!!!! The rooms had floor to ceiling decorative tiles and the halls had illuminated real floral arrangements.The Jacuzzi had a Roman mosaic on the bottom and was surrounded by huge Roman columns and the steam from the steam room escaping as the door to the sauna opening gave the whole scene a dreamlike effect. They had a luxurious lounge with waiters who served alcoholic drinks and snacks. It was so different from the sex is dirty feel of most American bath houses of the time.
The Nords and the Russians are big on saunas. Men often go there in the nude.
In the USA, there’s a tendency to sexualize nudity, to treat it as a means to an end. I partly blame the porno industry but I also blame women and their fear of the male body.
@Brian: “but I also blame women…”
Gasp. WHAT A SURPRISE!
What I find odd is how prude/puritan/spinster we Americans are. We have few bathhouses, bookstores etc left and we slut shame each other even for folks using Grinder/Scruff etc…Wrap up your willy, stop shaming one another and breathe.
I love travelling Europe bathhouses, mazes, dark basements/bathrooms etc
@graphicjack: Hah! Awesome. Totally true.
I’ve never been to a bath house and have no desire to go to one. I know men who think of going to a bath house as paying for sex as you pay a fee or for a membership, and they don’t like how it’s all about sex.
all you sad puritanical @$$ hats sex shamers. i am a big fan of bathouses- they allow sexuality to be explored and without any of the time wasted on “did he look, should i look back, “hi can i buy you a drink”… in a bathhouse you know what everyone is there for and when they want it – so the only question is “me or not me”- and that is cleared up pretty quickly. i love seeing grown gay men coming together in this way to celebrate and meet their very human and universal need to have sex, the exact opposite of the shaming that goes on. the other thing- hugely practical- you can schedule sex the way women now schedule a cesarean. I can say “lunch at 12:30, then Bed Bath & Beyond, then then gym, and then from 4-7 the bathhouse for sex, home with dinner and movie by 8:00.” totslly agree with jbqueernews04 “Many of the commenters here are immature, and they have not truly learned to enjoy their sexuality.” but id go one step further- they are so insecure in their own sexuality and selves that they are incapable of enjoying a sex positive atmosphere – such as a bathhouse- because they are not comfortable being “positive” about themselves or their sexuality. Deep seated shame from religious upbringing, or deep seated insecurity from being an ugly duckling or bad body, or deep seated whatever from whatever… something holds them back and then causes them to lash out jealously at those who are not held back and can partake and enjoy.
Weird paradox of gay life is that you meet the nicest guys in the sleaziest places, and the worst scumbags in the respectable places. It’s because men who simply desire sexual contact with other men, and have no other agenda in mind, will go to places like bath houses. Guys who live to ensnare other men in their dramas and manipulations, or con artists looking for men to use will go to trendy bars and dance clubs. You can tell which kind of man he is by how he reacts to the bathhouse: “oh, it was disgusting and gross and I was just so turned off by all these guys just having sex with random strangers” vs. “I’ve had many wonderful, satisfying experiences in bathhouses.” Men With Agendas will always talk down the baths for the same reason heterosexual women are hostile to prostitution: it threatens their power. And even though the main reason for going to the bathhouse is anonymous, no-strings sex, men in bathhouses are generally very open to connecting and making friends there – even if it’s a friendship they have to disguise or hide from a wife. In my days of going out, I made lots of great friends at the baths, but (happily) never really connected with any of the scene queens from the local discos.
It was fun in the 70s. When we learned about AIDS it was ruined. Plain and simple.
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