Do not read this article if you are below 18 years of age or
if you are uncomfortable reading about sexual practices.
While this article doesn’t represent the views of the October Man Diaries, it is an honest and sincere confession.
Among gay men, sex is a common topic of discussion. When the word “sauna” is mentioned, it’s likely that it elicits 2 kinds of reactions: disgust or heavenly pleasure. There are many people who feel disgusted about going to the gay sauna because they find the place dirty and sleazy or because it runs contrary to their romantic version of a date. On the other hand, there are equal numbers of gay men who like the sauna because it’s a no-holds-bar kind of place for gay men to seek sexual encounters with their kind. The gay sauna provides a relative safe environment for gay men to hunt for sex away from public eyes. Ever since the proliferation of the gay sauna in Singapore came about, public cruising among gay men in toilets in shopping malls or beaches has been significantly reduced to minimal.
Why is the sauna good for single gay men? To begin with, if you are not in a monogamous relationship, your sex life is quite unpredictable. Single men usually don’t know when their next sex encounter will be. Even with the widespread use of social smartphone apps like Grindr, Growlr or Jack’D, hooking up with another gay man for sex is not as easy as it seems to be. We all know the fact that many of the online profiles haven’t been truthful. Gay men for better or worse are deceptive about their age, body shape, size and weight. Needless to say their photos are usually digitally touched-up. In other words with so many liars around, one may not get what one sees on one’s phone.
Also, in a high-density city like Singapore where residential property is very expensive, not many single gay men can afford to live on their own. This makes inviting someone to come over to your place for sex a bit difficult and inconvenient. So it is a no-brainer that the sauna is a sex-friendly paradise for gay men, single or not.
Contrary to a common misconception, relatively new saunas in Singapore are clean, hygienic and well maintained by friendly staff. A few big saunas occupy a big hall on a single storey or multi levels, housing the locker area, shower cubicles/toilets, a steam room, dry sauna, Jacuzzi, gym and some, even a cafeteria serving refreshments and snacks. In 2004, a big sauna called Towel Club opened its door in Singapore. As the new sex club set a high standard in Singapore’s gay history, in no time, the place became talk of the town among gay men and the place to go to especially on weekends or public holidays.
I have been visiting saunas for sex in Singapore for 10 years, and even now in my mid-40s, it hasn’t lost its mojo or interest to me. As a single mature gay Chinese man, the sauna is my savior or “best friend” in many ways. Being a healthy man, I have natural sexual urges and the sauna is the place for me to satisfy these needs, just as a hungry person goes to McDonalds for a fast affordable meal. Also, saunas can be more than just a place for sex. Over the years, I have gotten acquainted with nice gay men (local and foreign) and we are still keeping in touch as friends.
I understand that quite many gay men avoid saunas because they are shy of their less-than-perfect physique and hence, lack the confidence to walk half-naked with only towels wrapped round their waists. From my 10-year observations, guys in saunas come in many shapes and sizes. There are even theme nights hosted in saunas to attract certain gay crowds such as *bears, chubs, twinks and muscle gods. So it is just a matter of doing a little homework to avoid disappointment. After all, as you choose your preference, someone else is doing the same.
I have also picked up a few useful tips to observe in saunas:
- Always keep a fresh breath with mouth-wash or have a mint
- Always take a shower before beginning to cruise. A clean-smelling body is nice to be close to
- Avoid spraying with perfume or cologne which can be overwhelmingly a turn-off
- Avoid talking loudly or chit-chatting in the cruising hall
- Avoid touching someone’s body /private part if he hasn’t shown any interest in you yet
- Accept rejection with stride and grace. Being turned down doesn’t mean one is unattractive; it is just that you are not his type
Having said that, one should never forget to practise safe sex. This means using the condom with lubricant for anal penetration, and not doing oral sex when one has mouth ulcers or cut wounds from shaving. For gay men who visit saunas regularly and have sex with multiple partners, the risk of infection from STD or HIV is so much higher.
Have fun and be safe.
*bears – usually represent bigger sized fleshy men, some of whom may have thick visible hair on arms and chest
*chubs – usually represent obese men
*twinks – usually represent young men just at a legal age to be sexually active
Anonymous HIV and syphilistesting is available at:
31 Kelantan Lane #1-16 S200031
Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6.30 pm to 8.15 pm
Saturdays from 1.30 pm to 3.15 pm
For more information, visit the Action for Aids, Singapore website @ http://www.afa.org.sg/anonymous.php