Bathhouses Aren’t for Getting Clean by Z. Allora

Beyond the Scene BDSM 12


Are bathhouses part of BDSM? Not directly but some of the same needs might be met and one just might find a sub or Dom who rocks your world.

I’m going to quote Wikipedia’s definition of bathhouse:

“A gay bathhouse, also known as a gay sauna or a gay steam bath, is a commercial space for men to have sex with other men. In gay slang, a bathhouse may be called just “the baths,” “the sauna” or “the tubs”. In general, a gay bath is used for having sexual activity rather than only bathing.

Not all men who visit a gay bathhouse are considered gay. Bathhouses offering similar services for women are rare, but some men’s bathhouses occasionally have a “lesbian” or “women only” night.

Bathhouses vary considerably in size and amenities – from small establishments with 10 or 20 rooms and a handful of lockers to multi-story saunas with a variety of room styles or sizes and several steam baths, Jacuzzi tubs, and sometimes swimming pools. Most have a steam room (or wet sauna), dry sauna, showers, lockers, and small private rooms.

Many bathhouses are, for legal reasons, “membership only”, though membership is generally open to any adult who seeks it, usually after paying a small fee. Unlike brothels, customers pay only for the use of the facilities. Sexual activity, if it occurs, is not provided by staff of the establishment but is between customers, and no money is exchanged. Many gay bathhouses, for legal reasons, explicitly prohibit or discourage prostitution and ban known prostitutes.”


I do not have direct experience with bathhouse so I turned to my Pretty Ones on Facebook. The lovely Kyle volunteered to answer some basic questions about his experiences at a bathhouse.


1) You’ve gone to bathhouses. How often? Same one?
I have been going to a few bathhouses since 2009. In San Diego I went to Club SD.  Up here, I go to Steamworks (if I ever get the urge to go).  Over the past years, I have pretty much stopped going.  I didn’t have a car, and there was no way I was letting somebody drive me 45 minutes from home just to end up stranded should they decide to leave without me.
2) Can you describe the interior(s)?

Inside they are usually dimly lit, humid, industrial-esk, loud, and smell of disinfectant and chlorine.  Both bathhouses are fashioned like hotels in similar fashion except Steamworks (SW) is single storied and has no ceiling (the roof is about 60′ up) and Club SD (CSD) is two storied with a few two-storied open areas.  Inside are group showers (sometimes lights on, sometimes off), wet and dry saunas, hot tubs with seating for about 20-30 comfortably, a gym, rooms with various types of seating and various types of porn playing on many different screens, oh and there are vending machines with condoms, lube, cock rings, vibrating bullets, anal douches, toothpaste, mouth wash, dental floss, nail clippers, OMG just ask me if a particular item can be found in these vending machines.  They also have vending machines with drinks, snacks, and other food types.  Both have common areas away from all the action, and everybody respects that area.  Go there to have a cigarette and catch a breather.
3) If you have gone to different locations, did you notice a different vibe/rhythm or language?
Honestly, I have not noticed a language, nor have I been able to figure out if there even IS a language used. Usually, I can tell if someone wants to play with me by the way they are looking at me, or the fact that they just reach for my junk (there really isn’t a safe place unless you get a room and lock the door.  Leaving the door open tends to mean one wants someone to join, or just be watched.  I am absolutely more passive at these places when it comes to language.  Sometimes I’ve had my junk grabbed by a stranger as we walk down a dimly lit, narrow hallway, doors lining both walls completely.  If I took one look at him and thought Oh my, fuck yes! then I went along with the guy, or led him to my room.  Other times, I’ve had to tell some guys “No means no, even here.”
5) Why do you go? I’m assuming it’s for more than getting your back washed.
(TRIGGER WARNING for chemical usage)

My first time at a bathhouse was when a man at a bar was to take me to base because I missed the last bus back from my favorite gay bar in San Diego.  He took me to CSD where I bought a room (receipt was credit in my name), by the time we got to the room, I was in and out of being blacked out (I had a drinking problem when I was younger and in the Navy. It was called, not respecting my limits) but I remember being into it when I was “there.” 

Sex and drugs?  Yes!  Give me a place where I don’t have to worry about the cops, bags are checked, I can be almost as loud as I want and I can have as many drug induced sexual encounters as I can?!  Shut up and take my filthy gay drug money!  Literally why I went back, every damn time.
6) Can you share with us why you &/or other men find bath houses appealing?
I refer to the end of answer 5. I don’t know why other men go, I’ve never really asked.  Always seemed to have other things on my mind at the time. I also don’t go very often now. If I do, a small group of us will go and have the time of our lives.
7) Are sex safe practices used or ignored?
I can count the number of men I had safe sex with. I can also tell you I have surpassed triple digits in the number of men I have had sex with. I have had sex with men all along the spectrum of HIV and AIDS statuses and have not contracted the disease. The only two things I have ever contracted were from when I was raped, and when I cheated on my boyfriend.  Both instances have been completely cured and I have had a clean bill of health for many years.  I am actually going to the VA to get my tests done next week, and I am scheduling an appointment with them to be prescribed HIV preventative treatment. I abhor the feeling of nails and condoms inside of me. There is a lot more on this subject that we can get into later if you’d like.
In summary, Bathhouses are a place to get clean, get dirty, and should be repeated as needed. 


Always seek your own truth.

I’d love to hear from you so comment here or use the contact information to touch base with me privately.

Many hugs,

Z. Allora


To contact Z. Allora:

FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora
Twitter: @ZAllora

BIO: Z. Allora believes in happily ever after for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.


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