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Bathhouse Etiquette

When choosing between two evils . . . . .

Pick the one you never tried before

                              ------Mae West

There soon developed a "baths language," our own code of behavioral ethics, so to speak. When you were open to a sexual encounter, you left your door open. This was a signal that anyone could enter. If you wanted anal sex, you lay on your stomach with a can of Crisco by your side [this was before the KY and Wet Stuff era]. If not, you reclined in a provocative manner to indicate that you were receptive to other advances.

If you were not turned on by the visitor, you politely said, "Thank you, I’m resting." If you were into S&M, you lay face down, with a belt over your back. If you were into orgies, you told your visitor to leave the door open, thus allowing as many as could fit into the room to come in. If you had enough for a while and wanted truly to rest, you then shut the door. I’m surprised no anthropologist wrote a thesis on this new means of mammalian interaction.  If they had they might have called it Primate Privates: An Examination of Fornicative Communication as Practiced by a Newly Evolving Specimen of Homosexual Sapien.

               ------Steve Ostrow "Live at the Continental"
Men's Bathhouse Etiquette

Towel Boy's Etiquette for Addicts

  1. Get rid of the fucking cell-phone!

  2. Don't chew gum while cruising.

  3. Don't walk around eating food like you're in a theme park.

  4. Don't have "grabby hands." This is especially problematic for well-endowed men who like to show it off. A few obnoxious guys view well-endowed men who have their merchandise on display as an open invitation to "grab" the goods. Don't grab anyone anywhere unless you have been "invited" to do so. "Grabby hands" causes well-endowed men to keep themselves covered which denies the rest of us the sight of their natural wonders.

  5. Don't be a stalker. There is nothing more annoying than a guy who "tailgates" you and follows you everywhere. We all have favorite guys we like to "shadow" so that we "coincidentally" happen to arrive at the steam room the same time they do. But don't be too obvious and don't stare like you're a serial killer. Wait for the right moment. Be cool. "Shadow" but don't stalk!

  6. Reject guys nicely. When a troll or other substandard entity dares to make a play for someone as fabulous as you are don't take it as an "insult." Don't think that because a troll thought he might have a chance with you that you have lost rank in the gay pecking-order and that you must react with anger to regain your status. Please try to reject him as nicely as possible. The fact is that sometimes we all get lucky and occasionally score with a guy who is "out of our league." Don't knock a guy for trying.

  7. Too many blow-jobs can give you bad breath. Rinse with mouthwash between tricks.

  8. Remember -- if you smoke, you stink. Wash you hair, scrub your skin, clean your mouth and gargle. Too many guys who smoke are unaware of their stale cigarette stench.

  9. If you're a bottom --- douche! Nothing can ruin the moment more quickly than pulling out and finding a condom covered in scat.

  10. Even if you're not a bottom clean your bum so you don't leave skid marks.

  11. Shave your back. There are very few men in the world on whom back-hair is actually sexy. Unless you've got a body like Ray Dragon --- shave it!

Bathhouse Blues

Bathhouse Etiquette
Why Gay Men Go To The Baths
Racism Or Preference?
Open Relationships
Chubs And Chasers
The Politics Of Oral Sex
The Mentally Challenged Cuddler
Christmas At The Baths
Been There-Done That
Judging A Book By Its Cover
The Glory Hole
My HIV Experience
The Lunch Special
Rice Queens
The Foot Fetish
The Price Of Admission
When Desperation Sinks In
Making The Connection
Whites Preferred
Sex With Clothes On
Body Vs. Race

Drug Use At The Baths #1
Drug Use At The Baths #2
GWM & GAM Speak Out!
Eye Contact
My Tenth Anniversary
Real Men Cuddle
Prime Timers
Pride Day At The Baths
Married Men
The Out Of Towner's
Tricks Of The Trade [Hustlers]
Sex In The Dark

Ettiquette from Wikipedia

Customers typically divide their time between the showers /saunas/ Jacuzzis and the main areas of the establishment. Customers who have rented rooms may choose to rest there from time to time, while those who have rented lockers must rest in the public areas such as the café or lounge.

Customers who have rooms may leave their room doors open to signal that they are available for sex. An open door can also be an invitation for others to watch or join in sexual activity that is already occurring. In these situations, a partially open door often means that observation from outside the room is desired, but entry into the room is not wanted. A door that is completely open however, usually signifies that anyone is welcome to join in the activity inside the room. In all situations, it is considered poor etiquette to simply walk into a room without some form of invitation by the occupant. When a room is occupied only by a single person, some men will position themselves to suggest what they might like from someone joining them in the room: those who would like to be penetrated anally ("bottoms") will sometimes lie face down on the bed with the door open, while those who prefer to penetrate others ("tops") or to engage in fellatio might lie face up.

In the past, the baths served as community spaces for gay men. Even now, some men choose to go to the baths with their friends (even though they may not necessarily have sex with each other). While many men talk to each other at the baths, even forming long-lasting friendships or relationships, many others do not, preferring, for various reasons, anonymity.

Interested men will usually look at each other; in this highly sexualized environment a look is frequently enough to express interest. A nod signals interest, while looking away or shaking the head is usually enough to signal a lack of interest, though sometimes people misunderstand or refuse to take the hint.

In darkened areas of the establishment including the mazes, video rooms, group sex areas, and the saunas or hot tubs (but not generally in the showers, toilets, hallways, gyms, café areas and lounges), men are usually free to touch other patrons; it is expected and usually — but not always — welcomed. A shake of the head, or pushing away the other's hand, means that the attention is not welcomed.

Some establishments allow or encourage sex in public areas (albeit usually excluding the hallways, toilets, cafés, gyms and lounges) while others do not; in some jurisdictions such activity is prohibited, and sex must be confined to private rooms. In such areas individual bathhouses enforce these rules to varying degrees, often at their own legal risk. Some forbid sex in pools for hygiene reasons. Customers are usually free to watch others masturbating or having sex in public areas, and also to join in, providing none of the participants objects.

I want…gay bathhouse sex
Time Out New York  October 2007

By Jefferson

I couldn’t see his face, but I could tell he was handsome. He was on his belly, signifying that he was a bottom. His face was turned to a wall, meaning he wanted anonymous sex and he wasn’t turning anyone away. That’s a hot scene for me. I entered his cubicle and closed the door. Wordlessly, I dropped my towel and lowered my nude body to his.

I’m not a regular of Chelsea’s West Side Club, but I’ve learned how to cruise bathhouses. I found the place—and its affiliate, the East Side Club in midtown—shortly after the demise of my marriage. Fifteen years of monogamy had left me eager to dust off the dormant bisexuality of my youth. Online hookups were easy to come by, but I was drawn to the old-school practice of checking out men in the flesh, in an all-male environment.

I had assumed that all of the city’s bathhouses were shuttered in the early days of the AIDS crisis, but these two around-the-clock establishments have flourished for three decades. Each is discreetly tucked in a nondescript building and open only to members, though temporary memberships are easily acquired at the door. The East Side Club tends to attract married suits; the West Side Club draws the Chelsea boys.

The protocols of cruising are essentially unchanged since the heyday of St. Mark’s Baths a generation ago, or even the time of the aptly named Everhard Baths a century before. I picked up the codes readily enough. In the corridors and showers, men in towels cruise in silence, accepting or rejecting partners with a cursory glance. Some members rent cubicles and leave their doors open. Those who lay on their bellies are offering their asses. Those who sit back want their cocks serviced. I’m a top, so I prefer to wander the cubicles, lingering by the door of any man who catches my eye. If he shakes his head, I’m not his type, so I move on. If he nods, I’m invited to stay.

Cruising is not for those who dislike such perfunctory judgments. The West Side Club has a reputation for being particularly harsh on those who don’t conform to the Eighth Avenue clone style. For me, though, these superficial ratings are part of the attraction. Many men look past me as I wander the club’s dim hallways. But those who take a second look take me as I am. I am desired not because I’m smart or clever, but because I look good—or at least, good enough—and I’m available.

That simple anonymity had me hot for the bottom I had found. I rubbed my body against his, kneading his muscles with my fingers, aroused by the thought that I would be in him and he would never know my name or see my face. I pressed against his firm ass, and looked around the cubicle for condoms and lube. He would have to provide these, as the passing men carried nothing. I found neither.

“You don’t have condoms?” I asked. His head shook. I pressed once more against him, and then stood. I collected my towel and left, propping open his door as I passed. He was attractive. Someone else would bareback him. I found a twink to blow me.




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