Unforgettable experiences

Straight guys in gay bathhouses? Yep, it happens! Former employee tells all

Have you ever wondered was it’s like to work at a gay bathhouse?


Well, you’re going to find out anyway!

 took a job at a bathhouse in Portland after his marriage crumbled and he found himself without a reliable income.

“A friend, tired of asking about the job search and paying for my drinks, said, ‘I know someplace that’s hiring,’” he writes in a new post published by Unicorn Booty. “He texted me the link. I was at first shocked that he’d sent me a job listing for a local gay bathhouse, but I accepted it as a challenge.”

“I no longer work in a gay bathhouse,” Fortino says, “but it was an experience I’ll never forget.”

Here are some highlights from Fortino’s behind-the-curtain exposé of the Portland bathhouse scene:

On the non-stop work:

In a gay bathhouse you’ll be tasked with bringing dirty towels to the laundry, then flipping them into the dryer. Of course you’ll have to roll or fold them. It’s a nice little upper-body workout due to the repetition.

You’re also on your feet a lot. That Fitbit or health app on your phone will record several miles a day. Then there’s carrying buckets of water to mop floors and disinfect club-issued sandals.

Steamrooms must be cleaned multiple times each day. A few times each week, a really thorough cleaning happens. Grates are removed, and these are heavy. Then you scrub everything, also a workout.

Then, of course, there are mattresses. They’re generally twin mattresses, but clubs often have higher-end rooms with larger ones. These need to be wiped down, on both sides. If you’re doing six to eight of these flips each shift, you’re sure to see your pecs and upper arms grow.

On “lurkers”:

On one of my first shifts — a slow weekday afternoon — I pulled out my spray bottle and cleaning cloth and went to spray the frame around the glory hole. All of a sudden, a rather large phallus was presented to me. While I was admittedly flattered, I didn’t know what to say, so I looked up. This owner was smiling down at me from above. “Sir, I’m working,” was my droll response, but it worked. He removed his engorged member from its uncomfortable distance to my face.

On straight guys:

At one time, bathhouses were primarily for bathing. Only in the last century did running water become standard in homes across the economic spectrum. If you worked in a coal mine, chances are at least once a week you’d go to the local bathhouse and clean up.

Of course, bathhouses have since become almost exclusively a venue for men to congregate with sex in mind. Some men, though, really do come to unwind. Some are straight and comfortable enough to brush off advances. These guys want to visit the sauna, get in, get out and get home. Of course, the overwhelming majority want to get in, get off, get out and get home.

On unsatisfied patrons:

“Unfulfilled” gay bathhouse patrons will sometimes berate you. They made an “investment of time and money,” and dammit they haven’t “had the full experience.” This is usually delivered by angry, naked men, their brows furrowed above flaccid, disappointed penises. “It’s not our job to get you off,” you remind them. “That’s your responsibility.”

On “seeing things”:

After a month of working in a gay bathhouse, I was desensitized. The Oh my God, that’s so f-ing hot! or Oh, sh*t, I didn’t think you could do that with a zucchini! was fun in the beginning, but soon you walk around without turning your head towards the constant moaning. Servers often say they can’t look at food after work. It’s like that.

Related: Lawmaker “shocked” when he goes to bathhouse and sees men having sex

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #life #bathhouse #behindthescenes stories and more


  • DCguy

    Wow, this guy will insert “Straight Guy” into literally any headline whether it works or not.

    • Jack Meoff

      He does seem a little obsessed doesn’t he. I bet it sucks to be him lusting after what he can’t have.

    • GayMafiaKingpin

      I don’t recall the original article even mentioning that the guy was straight, or gay, or anything.

    • startenout

      Are we ignoring the whole section about straight guys?

    • BriBri

      DCGuy will insert his into any orifice, straight or otherwise. He can usually be found at The Crew Club in the sling room.

  • ColorMeColorado

    Exactly. I think Im gonna have to stop clicking unless its breaking gay news, like so and so comes out as gay, otherwise, none of these stories match their title in a sufficient manner.

  • Paco

    “Some men, though, really do come to unwind. Some are straight and comfortable enough to brush off advances. These guys want to visit the sauna, get in, get out and get home.”


    Oh yeah! It would just make me so hot and bothered to be brushed off by straight guys, with absolutely no interest in anything sexual with other men, in a place I would expect everyone to be into sex with men.

    One question…

    Do these men announce their heterosexuality at the front desk?

    • Heywood Jablowme

      Yeah – how could he possibly know if ANY customers were straight? When/why would they tell him that? Or how would he guess? (They just look straight?) He’s too busy to even take much notice of what the gay customers are up to.

    • GayMafiaKingpin

      I work in a bathhouse and have for about a year and a half. I’ve had maybe two or three guys claim they were straight. And that’s being generous. One of them ended up being a pain in the ass and had to be kicked out.

      There are other places for “straight” guys to go to find a sauna. I can’t imagine too many would be comfortable with the type of advances that guys will make in a highly sexualized environment.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      @GayMafiaKingpin: A straight guy was a pain in the ass? Can you be more specific? Whose ass was he a pain in?

  • Heywood Jablowme

    A much more obvious headline would be “I didn’t think you could do that with a zucchini!”

  • stevetalbert

    Straight guys do not go to gay bath houses unless for some reason the bath has a great gym that is cheaper than joining a regular gym with sauna and stream.. surely they aren’t going to the bath to get away from the come ons in the regular gym sauna.

  • Jack Meoff

    Most of this article is BS when was the last time you saw a straight guy in a sauna saying oh no thanks guys I’m just here for the steam and to unwind. Also, how often do you see anyone show up to a sauna with fresh produce, a dildo sure but not a god damned zucchini.

    I also have to wonder how many times he did take someone up on their sexual advances. You can’t tell me that never happened.

    • AgentCooper

      Agreed. I can’t see any truly “straight” man going to a gay bath house. Those that do probably are closeted and are they for voyeuristic purposes

  • Brody

    Normally, we might actually be limited to sexual liaisons with other gay men, but thankfully Graham Gremore is constantly reminding us that all good-looking straight men secretly lust after us.

    • JaredMacBride

      If he is in fact gay he does appear to have the self-loathing down to a science.

  • Chris

    There’s a gay sauna in Portland, Maine???

    • Chris

      Oh; thanks.

  • Walker

    “Once, after I’d left my position at the bathhouse, I bumped into one of its regular patrons. When he asked if I wanted to go back to his place for a bit, I couldn’t help but respond, “Sure, sir, I’m not working.”

    Yeah, I have no idea what you think “straight” is, but that ain’t it.

  • GayMafiaKingpin

    I read the original article. I don’t recall any mention of the author’s orientation. I’m curious where Queerty got its info.

    • Chris

      I think that the employee is gay (or at least bi especially given his reply at the end of the article); but that he’s reporting that straight men (in Portland, OR, at least) use bath houses to chill and/or as cut-rate hotels waiting for their early-morning flights. I’ve seen some men enter a Fort Lauderdale sauna with suitcases in hand; so I can believe that some people use them as a way station before catching an early morning flight.

    • ErikO

      My friend and I were vacationing in an east coast city and some guy in a bar we were at said how we should go to a 24 hour bath house in the city and just keep our stuff there and spend the night there instead of going to a hotel. We found this suggestion odd and creepy and didn’t tell him how we already had paid for a hotel room for the night.

  • Mr-DJ

    So that would be BI-GUYS then, not straight.

  • dean089

    Wow, this must be clueless day at Queerty. Is there anyone out there familiar with gay bathhouses who didn’t know this was going on? Nothing new here.

  • paul dorian lord fredine

    straight guys in gay bathhouses? no shit, sherlock.

  • avesraggiana

    If there were straight guys in gay bathhouses, they’re not going to look like the guy in the picture. Not by a long, long shot.

  • ErikO

    No guy that’s hetero/straight is going to go to a bath house for bisexual and gay men and have sex with other men there.

Add your Comment

Please log in to add your comment
Need an account? Register *It's free and easy.