Why Gay Men Go To the Baths

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, May 26, 2007.

  1. earllogjam

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    This is an interesting article that was forwarded to me. I don't know the source but it's a interesting read for all those curious on what really happens in a gay bathhouse.


    Why Gay Men Go To The Baths

    This essay will give people a better understanding as to why so many other gay men around the world spend time at the baths.

    The bathhouse scene is a real society with its own rules, culture and politics. It is a whole other world, one that has never been written about - until now. One thing the baths can offer gay men that no other gay establishment can offer is total acceptance. Let´s face it; the gay community is a very segregated and superficial environment. If you are a gym bunny, you belong in the circuit scene. If you are a Twinkie, it is the nightclub and bar scene. If you are a Bear, it is the leather scene, and so on. You would be really hard pressed to find a Gay Senior or a Chub or a Visible Minority at any of the gay scenes mentioned above.

    The baths is the only gay meeting place where you can see a cross section of every gay group imaginable under the same roof. On any given night you can see Latinos, Twinks, Bears, Chubs, Asians, Blacks, and Gay Seniors. All nationalities, all ages, and all shape and sizes. Everyone is accepted and no one is turned away at the door.

    Being practically naked, there is a certain inhibition and vulnerability. Stripped down, people´s walls and guards are down. It puts men interacting with one another on an equal level playing field. You have corporate lawyers interacting with truck drivers. You don´t know what the other person does, since everyone is only in a towel. There is a certain equality being at the baths. Much more so than in a bar, as people are truly judged by what they look like or what they wear. Being naked brings a sense of equality, with some men being better looking than others (obviously).

    Yet despite all of the strides and advances that have been made for gays and lesbians in the mainstream society, it can still feel very isolating being gay in the gay community. That is why it is great to be able to go to the baths and mix with other gay men from all walks of life. But another reason as to why so many gay men go to the baths is the need to connect with someone. Why this need? One word: loneliness, or rather a subconscious feeling of loneliness.

    The need for sex in the gay community is in reality a need to connect with another gay man. (Read Making The Connection for more) Whether it is a quick blowjob to anal intercourse, the sexual act fills the loneliness and the need for companionship. That is why there is a lot of sex at the baths. Simply put, there are a lot of lonely gay men in the world.

    But there are also many gay men that go to the baths, looking for some sort of companionship in a non-sexual way. That is why you see more married, bi or closeted men at the baths. These men don´t have many dealings interacting with the gay community and the need to connect someway with other gay men is strong. Whether it is conversation to observing two gay men having a quickie. It fills that need to be with another man. These men feel safer connecting with other gay men at the baths than the bars or clubs, because it is such a closed doors environment. What the baths offers these men is a false sense of security and acceptance. There is a sense of freedom to let go and feel uninhibited.

    But it is not only these straight men having a need to connect. There are many gay men that are lonely and have this need to connect with another man as well. That is why you can see so many of the same men over and over again at the baths, just to hang out. Just as you have a regular going to the same bar night after night. That person would be labeled a regular bar patron. It is the exact same analogy as being regular bathhouse patrons (myself included). Why Like I said at the beginning, a sheer subconscious feeling of loneliness and a need to connect with other gay men.

    The bathhouse I go to on a regular basis (and is the backdrop to all of these stories) is known in my city as the friendlier place to go. All the regular clientele is warm and friendly. In short, it is not only a sexual atmosphere, but a social one as well. That social aspect is the primary reason why men go to this particular bathhouse. The available sex is the secondary reason. Usually it is the other way around, so that is why this bathhouse is so special. Also, you do not have to restrict yourself to do just one thing. If there is no one interesting around, there are other things you can do. You can sit in the sauna/steam room, you can relax in the whirlpool, you can read magazines in the lounge, you can watch TV or porn flicks, and you can chat with other guys. There is something for everyone.

    When you start seeing the same men over and over again, conversation really does start to take place. And a friendship can develop. But the thing you have to remember is that all of these friendships are superficial. Once you leave the baths, you never see these men again until the next bathhouse visit. And that is only by the off chance you run into them again. And you can easily pick up the conversation where you last left off. That could have been a week ago, or even six months ago. For instance, a while ago I was sitting in the lounge with another friend shooting the breeze. There were many guys that passed by us, and I said hello to this person and to that person. And I knew all of them, 15 in all. But I´m experienced enough to know that these relationships are superficial and don´t go out of the bathhouse environment.

    If you are aware that all of the relationships you develop at the baths are superficial, that´s great. Unfortunately, many guys buy into this false sense of security that they are developing relationships at the baths. If you TRULY think you are developing a friendship, you are setting yourself up for a BIG fall. Plus not all bathhouses are friendly. Conversation is practically non-existent at many bathhouses across the country. The majority of them are rather cold and uninviting. For example, another bathhouse in my city attracts the most drop dead gorgeous men; everyone looks like they have stepped out of GQ magazine. Yet if you even happen to glance at any of these men, they will verbally rip you to shreds. The atmosphere is so intense; the guys are there for one reason. To score as many times as possible. So the sex is clinical and functionary, the way a lot of baths are.

    Therefore, I keep going to this one particular bathhouse (not the one with the gorgeous men), because of its friendliness. I have been a loyal customer, ten years. My personal reason of going is to escape. After a long day, it is wonderful to escape from the world. To have a steam/sauna, dip in the whirlpool, and chat up someone. You really feel as if you have escaped from the world, just for a little bit, and that no one will find you. You are away from cell-phones, faxes, e-mail, pagers and everybody in the world. Sometimes it is funny. I will be in the baths, sitting in the lounge, completely naked, in my towel watching the 6 0 clock news. Beside me are a coffee, and a roaring fireplace. I look out of the window and see it is raining. There on television is the real world, and here I am behind closed doors, in this escape world. The irony does not escape me.
     
  2. witch

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    Thank you Earllogjam, for opening my eyes to a world I never knew much about, you have given me a lot to think on. :)
     
  3. Onslow

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    Odd as it may seem, I have never gone to a gay bathhouse. Perhaps it's because I'm queer and they've yet to call them queer bathhouses.


    Anyway--the main points of your post were interesting and answered some questions which I had often had about other gay guys going to these places. They have always been rather tight lipped about revealing their reasons.
     
  4. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    Good thing, Onslow. You'd probably be reported for brandishing a rifle in the place were you to remove Betty Gayble.
     
  5. steeler_999

    steeler_999 Member

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    That theory of bath behavior makes the whole process sound more profound than it is in most cases. Years ago when I frequented the local bathhouse in the city where I live, I went because the only other alternative for meeting anybody for anything sex related, was to go to a bar where the cigarette smoke was so thick in the air that you couldn't see two feet in front of you. There was a certain amount of socializing and conversation at the bathhouse, but if you were doing that, it meant that you had not had any luck in finding anybody to have sex with. Most of the sex was random, anonymous, and in the dark, so that nobody saw who they were having sex with. There was a definite 4F club atmosphere surrounding most of the activity. I don't think that anybody gave too much thought to anything other than trying to get their rocks off as expeditiously as possible.
     
  6. Freddie53

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    So far we have established that just like anything else, there is no stereo bathhosue that explains them all. Each one is different. I'm ignorant about gay bathhouses. I wish I knew much more about them.

    Thsoe who have been keep posting. It is interesting to read.
     
  7. Onslow

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    Galt is momentarily offended by being called Betty--I reassured him that you meant that in a loving way, as you had originally named him thusly. We then both noticed something fantastically and fabulously intriguing. Nay, it is exciting!


    Hey everyone--Pecker has arrived at the gay bathhouse! Finally we'll get to feast our eyes on that handsome torso (and other parts as well) in all their glistening sweaty glory.
     
  8. earllogjam

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    I have a love/loathe relationship with gay bathhouses. On one hand they are a great place to quickly get your rocks off. You can have sex with a lot of guys and be a total slut without any strings and you can learn a lot on how to give and get sexual pleasure. You can become a sexual technician and live out some sexual fantasies without repercussions.

    On the other hand, I usually don't find men who I am into at the baths or the men I'm into aren't into me so consequently more times than not I leave without having any sex. And that feeling of rejection, lonliness and self loathing gets worse. It is an emotionally cold place, with lots of snubbing, little conversation, and rare smiles. I don't think I've ever heard laughter there. I wish it were more like a pub or bar, but it's not. Men are there for only one thing. Most guys who go there do so because they don't do well at the bars, extremely horney or they are unavailable and in a relationship - gay or straight.

    If you are a decent looking guy you most often are stalked. I don't enjoy being stalked so a lot of the time I don't enjoy being at the baths. I have had my share of sex with hot men at the baths but for the long term it's not very good because most connections you make all turn out to be dead ends. Most of the hot men there are not available (there on the low down) and I find it hard to be just friends with people whom I have had sex.

    Many of my gay couple friends met at the baths and have long committed successful relationships - so as a institution it's probably doing good bringing people together. I have found it a mixed bag of pleasure and alienation.
     
  9. datdude

    datdude New Member

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    If I can come back in another life, I hope I come back as a good looking gay man. Bath houses,lockerooms, and all guys with ths same labido.

    I know all gay dudes are not the same, but I would be getting all I could.
    Wish i could go to a bath house or rest stop for a blow-job or something,from a strange woman. Or be in a lockeroom with a bunch of women. Shit man I wish I had little gay in me now, sadly I dont. On Kinsy's scale Im a 0. Im kind of bummed about it, oh well.
     
  10. coveryerteeth

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    The author of that article is both projecting and a bit of a dim bulb. He would also be well served to have the difference between being lonely and being horny explained for him.

    By the same reasoning he uses, one could conclude that the reason I visit the grocery store on a weekly basis is that I'm suffering from starvation. :rolleyes: There are no baths, in my area (and, frankly, I'd be terrified to think what their patronage would look like if there were), so I only ever get to do the bathhouse thing a few times a year when I'm fortunate enough to travel to major metropolitan areas.

    From his description, I'd far prefer the "other" bathhouse in his city. The one with the intense atmosphere where trolls fear to tread and inane chatter is kept to a minimum. It would seem I'm something of the author's antithesis. I'm not at the baths looking for camaraderie and a cure for loneliness. Strangely enough, I happen to find the opportunity to have my fill of back-to-back (or concurrent) encounters with all kinds of men who range from reasonably to very attractive and with whom I don't have to pretend to be interested in them "as a person" or that I have any use for their phone numbers to be an immensely gratifying way to spend an evening.

    Imagine that. :wink:
     
  11. B_Jennuine73

    B_Jennuine73 New Member

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    I find the subject of bathhouses very interesting. There is a bathhouse in my city that a bi friend goes to.
    What I find so interesting is how free with their sexuality most gay men are. Notice I said most, I don't want to assume.

    I'm like datdude, I wish I was a gay male and go to a bathhouse to fuck and fuck and fuck...
     
  12. SyddyKitty

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    I didn't think those places existed after the 80's.
     
  13. earllogjam

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    Jennuine73 - funny you should say that because I know a woman who swears she is a gay man trapped in a woman's body. Bathhouses were probably incredible during the Golden Age of Sex pre AIDS. But alas it is something I never experienced being just a tyke during that time.

    True, many bathhouses especially in large cities have closed never to open again. Either forced to close by Public Health regulators or the dramatic loss of business due to AIDS. As the AIDS crisis wanes bathouses and sex clubs are beginning to reappear, but not as popular or ubiquitous as in the Golden Age of Sex of the 1970's and 80's.
     
  14. SpeedoGuy

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    It ain't only gay men who have a need to connect with other men (at least, I mean, in something more than a sexual connection). I enjoy a good conversation with other men but it happens so rarely. At parties, family holidays, and social events I inevitably end up stuck with the same old group of guys yakking endlessly about sports trivia, cars or computers.
     
  15. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    you mean it's not just because they like to be clean?
     
  16. whatireallywant

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    I've been told that I'm a gay man in a woman's body. :biggrin1:
     
  17. sjprep06

    sjprep06 New Member

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    I always thought that gay men became dirtier than straight men, thus they needed their own special bathing place :confused:


    I have never been to the baths here in Philly. I want to try it but at the same time, I shy away from them. Talk about confused....
     
  18. novice_btm

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    Hmm, I'm as shocked as you are, but I've never been because I prefer showers. :tongue:

    Thanks for the great post Earl. I seriously had no idea. I thought they were just a place for sex hookups.
     
  19. earllogjam

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    I think there are a lot of straight women trapped in gay men's bodies as well and straight men trapped in lesbian's bodies. :biggrin1:

    Most welcome Novice Bottom. BTW they are places just to hook up, all the other stuff is incidental. But you probably already know that.
     
  20. dikkiedik

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    Earllogjam: Thanks for starting this threat.

    I recognize a lot of what is written in that article. I visit a bath house frequently and I agree that it is freeing to be there with other men for the same reason. Most important is to hang out and relax. If you meet some one for a chat it’s mostly about why you are there or what you like to find there. You are totally equal: every one is nude has the same colour towel.
    It’s not always that I go in a horny mood. I like to see men around having fun. Sometimes I’m part of it but I also can choose to relax in a steam bath or a hot tub. Hornyness comes being there.​
    I have also been in gay bath houses where men only came to score a lot of sex. Although it was very sexy I didn’t like the competitive atmosphere. If you are hung and hairy there are always guys stalking.
     
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