Howard mentions them every now and again. Here's how to check one out... Everything you wanted to know about bathhouse etiquette Bathhouse Etiquette. Bathhouses, first and foremost, are a place for men to have sex. It is a sexual playground for men to do whatever they want. A place to get sex 24/7, like a 24-hour convenience store. Come to think of it, the Baths are like a supermarket. You can shop for whatever you are into. You have Latinos, Twinks, Bears, Chubs, Asians, Blacks, whatever type of guy you are interested in, you will surely find in a Bathhouse. There is something for everyone at the baths, much more than in the bar or club scene. As you will read in my stories, I have seen some weird combinations at the baths over the years. There are two myths about a Bathhouse. #1, only dirty old men go to the baths. #2, only gorgeous men get lucky at the baths. Neither is true. As I have mentioned at the beginning, there is something for everyone. Sometimes, men use the baths to try and find a type (Asian, Chub, Bear, etc.) they cannot find anywhere else. The rules are very simple; a bathhouse is usually located in a side street or out of the way neighborhood. Most of the time, there is no sign on the door. You walk in and see a cashier located behind a protective window. On a wall will be a list of prices to purchase either a room or a locker. A room will give you privacy. If you get a locker, cheaper than a room, you have no place for privacy (in case you meet a cute guy!). Most places will give you the option of locking up your valuables (watch, wallet, jewelry) in their safe. Once you pay, the cashier will buzz you in and you open the door. The door will automatically shut behind you. There is no chance of strangers walking in by accident. Depending on where you live, a membership maybe required upon entering a bathhouse. The reason? According to some state laws, a bathhouse can only operate as a private men's club, hence the need for every customer to have a membership. While some bathhouses may only need you to fill out some information on a card, other bathhouses may request Photo ID to be provided upon purchase of a membership. If you are closeted or married, there is no need to worry about having your personal information leaked, or having your identity stolen. Bathhouses need customers to be profitable. How would they be able to keep customers if they leak personal information? Trust me, bathhouses are very discreet when it comes to keeping membership information confidential, so you have nothing to worry about. The good news is that memberships may also give the customer special deals or huge discounts, if he plans on making multiple visits to the baths. After years of going to my friendly bathhouse I have recently purchased a membership, to save money since I go three times a week. In short, every bathhouse does not requires a membership, but be prepared if your local bathhouse does. So what is the etiquette? Once you get in, you take off all your clothes, place the towel around your waist, and then go cruise. You should take a shower before you cruise. That way you are nice and fresh for whomever you encounter. Then after the deed is done, take a shower afterwards. This way you can re-fresh yourself for the next guy you find. For some, it is not uncommon to take three to five showers in one visit! That is how many times some guy's gets lucky at the baths. Now some men are quite paranoid about foot fungus, so they bring slippers or sandals (A bathhouse consists of dozens rooms, all lined up among a maze of hallways. You spend most of your time walking the halls looking for a score. Everyone knows why each other are there. Men are lying in their rooms seeing what passes by them. Or they are standing in the hallways or lounging around seeing what is walking about. Everybody is cruising everybody. There is even a bulletin board for people to advertise themselves. For example: "Room 218, submissive bottom, shoot your load inside me." The board has dozens of messages like that. Most places will have a sauna and/or steam room. Some even have a whirlpool or an outdoor or indoor pool. There are showers to clean up, and porno rooms to pass the time. Condom are available free of charge (usually located at the front desk) but lube is going to cost you. Every bathhouse has some sort of snack bar and a pay phone. In addition there is a lounge area, where you can sit and read the gay magazines (Advocate, Genre, etc.) or watch television. Basically, you will know if someone likes you. You make eye contact. If he makes eye contact and you make eye contact, well you know what will happen next. Some guy's will not make eye contact, and even look away. You cannot take it personally. That is the biggest rule at the baths (although it is still hard for me to digest). Sometimes touching is a good communication tool. If you see someone across the room, you may want to stroke your dick, play with your nipples or even wet your lips with you tongue. If you are sitting near someone, you may want to try playing footsies or reaching over and pinching his nipple. If you are passing by someone in the hallway, you may want to have your hand brush against him. Some of the older guy's will actually be bold enough and grab a guy ' s crotch! If he turns or pushes you away, just smile and walk away. Do not prolong the agony of trying to create something that is not going to happen. He is not interested. If someone approaches you that are not up to your standards, be gentle in turning him down. Remember how you would want to be treated, as we have all been shot down at one time or another. I usually say, "I am just walking around, getting a feel for the place." Or if you want to be direct say, "I am not interested." Do not say, "Get out of my face". That is rude. Although you will encounter some guys who will say that. If someone turns you down, accept it gracefully and move on. Do not stalk the person and hang around outside his room. It makes him uncomfortable and makes you look like a fool. Believe me, everybody is observing everyone. By stalking someone who has no interest in you, you may be missing out on someone else. When you start cruising the rooms, men will be lying on the bed in all sorts of positions. Face down means he wants to be f---ed, standing up means he wants oral, sitting up on the bed could mean many things, but probably just a good time. If you pass by a room and the guy looks away, he is not interested. However, if he looks at you, and even starts stroking himself, well you know where that will lead. If you happen to see two guys getting it on, wait for a signal that you can join in. A wink, nod or even a hand wave will give you an indication. If you see none, that means they do not want or need a third party. If you join in you will be pushed away, either gently or very forcefully. That is embarrassing, so wait for the signals. Remember this is a bathhouse, where rejection happens every second. So you cannot take it personally, that is just the way it is. If you cannot accept that, then do not go. If you walk away with anything after reading this website, walk away with this. A bathhouse is a place where fast is the norm. If you are looking for a long bonding experience with someone, you have come to the wrong place. I am not saying that it cannot happen, but it is rare. Most times at the baths a man's focus is to get off, and move on. It is acceptable in a bathhouse environment for a guy to get up and leave, within 30 seconds of reaching ejaculation. Many times before and after sex no pleasantries are even exchanged. It just wastes time for the reasons both of you are there - THE SEX! So why waste time by talking? Time and time again a guy will get up, put his towel back on, and leave your room once the sex is finished. All without saying a word. Afterwards, one of two things will happen. You may run into him again in the hallways, as he is looking for his next encounter. Some guys are even insensitive enough to act like he has never seen you before. Again, you cannot take it personally. The baths are for quick and easy sex. You are not there to make friends. Or the guy will shower and leave the baths, satisfied that he got off. It is not rare for men to spend only 20 minutes at the baths. Their sole purpose is to get laid, and if they accomplished that, why stick around? But for some guys, who are still in the closet, they become wrapped with guilt after having quickie sex. They find it sleazy and cheap. These men run out of the baths, guilt ridden vowing never to return. But that only lasts a couple of hours, and the next day they will be back. I have been asked a number of times, if it is possible to go to the baths only as an observer, without getting hit on. The answer is yes, and here is how you do it. Do not get undressed. There is no rule that says you have to strip off all of your clothes. Being fully clothed is a sign to other men, that you are off-limits. Also, some of the customers might think you work at the bathhouse. And all of the patrons know that staff is off-limits. My friend Ari will do just that. When he comes to the baths, he stays fully clothed, sits in a well-lit part of the bathhouse and watches people pass him by. No one bothers him. If he sees someone interesting, he will pursue him, while still fully clothed. Above all please play it safe, condoms and lube. Someone told me something that stuck in my mind, which I will pass on to you. Do not do anything you do not want to do. It is not worth it. Many a times, you will be caught up in the moment. Do not for one second feel pressured to bare back or do anything you are uncomfortable with. Around the corner, there is another guy who will do what you want to do. So be patient. Final word of advice; Have Fun!