Ask Jake

I’m afraid of going into a bathhouse… but it’s all I can think about

Hi Jake,

I’m 28 and I really want to visit a gay bathhouse. I’ve never been to one before, but I’ve always been curious about them and I really like watching bathhouse videos online. However, for some reason, I have this fear of actually going into an area of naked guys. I’m not super sexually experienced and have only been with a handful men over the years, most of whom have been 10+ years older than me. I tried going to a gay sauna once before when I was on vacation, but I chickened out at the last minute and ended up going back to my hotel room and “taking care of myself” on my own. Am I overthinking all this? Should I just do it?

Scared in the Sauna

Dear Scared in the Sauna,

It’s normal to be curious about having new sexual experiences. What I’m hearing, however, is that there is something getting in the way of you giving it a try, and it seems like that something is fear. I would invite you to explore this trepidation in depth, either with an understanding therapist or a close friend, to get to the bottom of whatever that fear is.

Now, you mention in your letter that you don’t have much sexual experience. Remember, even though you’re in a public setting with a bunch of guys who may be older and more experienced than you, you’re still the owner of your body, and you don’t have to do anything you aren’t comfortable with.

You could simply go to the bathhouse and watch, for example. Or have a solo date in a private room, letting yourself get turned on by the sexually charged atmosphere without having to engage in any physical contact with anyone else. There may be invitations to play, but you’re the master of your domain. If you’re not feeling it, you can kindly say “no thank you.”

Bottom line: Don’t let anyone ever pressure you into doing anything you aren’t comfortable with sexually, no matter what the setting is.

A sexual experience should be mostly fun and exciting. If you’re dreading it or if you feel like you can’t get past your fears, it’s probably best to wait a little while longer before acting on this particular fantasy. I would encourage you to explore your hesitancies with someone who truly understands, and see if they can be worked through. You’ll get to the bathhouse when you’re ready. Until then, there’s a whole world of bathhouse videos still at your fingertips if you ever feel like getting into some “hot water.”

Jake Myers the Founder of LGBTQ Therapy Space , the first LGBTQ owned and operated national platform for teletherapy. He has a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles, with a specialization in LGBT Affirmative Psychotherapy, and is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in both California and Florida.

Reach out to LGBTQ Therapy Space to schedule a free video consultation with an LGBTQ clinician. And don’t forget to join the LGBTQ Therapy Space community, and ask Jake a question!
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You can also email Jake at jakemyers@queerty.com.