I first visited a gay sauna 25 years ago and have done so about once every six weeks since. I once heard such visits described as “holidays from morality”, but that has not been my experience. Only adults are admitted; all that happens is by mutual consent; no one is exploited; common courtesy and consideration for others are the unwritten rules that are generally observed.
Though I have always enjoyed nudity, I used to think of my body as unattractive. I’m now 64, and encounters in the sauna have taught me that not everyone else finds it so, which has enhanced my confidence. For years I disliked my given name. I have made a point of telling it to those I have met in the sauna; hearing it repeated with tenderness and passion has taught me to love it.
When clothes are off, intentions clear and vulnerability shared, men talk honestly to men they may know only then and may never meet again. I have had deep conversations with people whose experience of life has been quite unlike my own, and we have played together for the mutual affirmation, delight and healing that only such intimacy can bring. My encounters are with men widely different in age, appearance and tastes, and I go on finding out more about my own sexuality with every visit. I tell my partner about my visits, but not in detail – we are in an open relationship and do not live together; he frequents other saunas.
Many men, not all of whom define themselves as gay, use saunas. Very few will tell you that they do so. If you are curious, pay a visit. Moderate use can bring unexpected benefits. It did for me.