Every time I visit the baths, I always hope that I will meet someone I can make a physical and mental connection with, albeit even if it is just restricted to a few hours. But after years of going to the baths, I realize that I am in the minority. The majority of guys who go to the baths want a quickie, and the more the better. For me I cannot do quickies, although it is a way of life for most gay men. As I had mentioned in a previous essay called Quickies, many guys do not want to give themselves totally to another person in a bathhouse. A lot of guys want to save that type of sexual connection for someone they truly care about (future boyfriend or date). So a quickie is a great way for a lot of guys to get-off and move on. Now you may read this and think that quickies are a degrading type of sex. But in a Bathhouse situation, anything goes, and you become de-sensitized to the quickie sex that is around you. Especially when it is so dark that you cannot see anything. There you have men who think with their dicks, and not their heads (so to speak!)
Any bathhouse you go to will have some sort of mood lighting. If you have all of the lights on in a bathhouse, the feeling one gets is a rather clinical and cold atmosphere. So many baths have some sort of dark mood lighting to create a magical feeling. Some places have the hallways lit a certain way, so there are darken corners everywhere you turn. While other Baths will use special neon lighting to create a red glow (think a Red Light District). I have even been in some bathhouses that have special lighting effects that make the towels worn by the customer florescent white, so the towels stand out in the semi-darkness.
Every bathhouse tries to create an atmosphere that is a throwback to the days when the baths was suppose to be this dirty little secret that nobody wanted revealed. When you step from the brightness of the day into the darkness of a bathhouse, you physically feel as if you are taken to another world. You may step into a wall, or bump into furniture in the beginning, but your eyes do adjust to the darkness. After awhile you do see what is in front of you most of the time. While I can appreciate a mood being created within the walls of the baths, I sometimes cannot understand why it has to be that dark? Sometimes you cannot see all of the cute guys that are walking around. Which is frustrating, since part of the reason you are going to the baths is to observe some great eye candy!
Within any bathhouse there are pockets of places that are pitch dark. This is known as the dark room. These rooms can feature everything from open booths (think like a telephone booth, so men can have sex standing up while maintaining some privacy), multiple Glory Holes for group play and other dark spaces with some benches (in case two guys want to do anal, hopefully safely). Although it is pitch dark, your eyes adjust to make out shadows and other figures moving in the darkness. But most times you can't see anything and must rely on your sense of feel to make out what is going on.
In the dark room men go in and feel whom they can cruise for a quickie. Rarely is there any kissing. Only oral and anal, done either standing up or bending over. The smell of amyl nitrate is in the air, as you hear poppers being snorted in-between all or the moans and grunts. In these rooms there could be anywhere from two people getting together (because they do not have a room, and want to have sex) to a group having an orgy (four or five people, usually waiting around the dark room for something to happen). Being in the dark really adds mystery to the sex when it does not allow you to see the whole person clearly. So you have no idea who you are messing around with.
And there lies the contradiction about the dark room. Guys are notorious for being picky in regards to their hook-ups. There is a high standard in terms of getting laid, and the baths are no different. Very rarely will someone come in, immediately find someone they like, and get off. It has happened, and could happen. But very rarely does it happen. So there usually is a lot of waiting around, cruising, lying in your room, and watching guys pass by. Out sheer boredom and horniness do guys sometimes make their way to the dark room. And waiting for them to arrive are the halves and have-nots of the gay community.
Aside from the guys going to the dark room out of boredom and horniness, the dark room tends to attract guys who can't score: Asians, obese men and gay senior citizens. All of these men lurking in the dark room, waiting for something to happen. Because of the darkness, no one will reject them, since no one can see them properly! The darkness makes all men equal and desirable. These rooms are especially popular on Friday and Saturday night. Particularly after the bars close and guys are horny as hell and want some action, any action. Walking into the dark room, sometimes you need to wear boots that are ten inch high. As there is so much cum lying on the floor, you do not know what you are stepping on.
And then it happens. A guy, who wouldn't give these have-nots the time of day under the bright lights of the baths, is now accepting a blowjob from a 72-year-old man! He doesn't know that since it is dark, and he can't see whom he is accepting oral from. But it is the irony among ironies.
And yes group action does happen. The dark room is the closest thing to group sex at the baths. It is only natural as two guys are getting it on in the dark, a third and fourth may hear the grunts and join in. And before you know it, group sex is taking place. A lot of times in these group situation, there is a lot of touching and groping from the other men and you have no idea what that person looks like. It could be a 65-year-old grandfather or a 23-year-old college student. But if you can just let that thought go, all you know in the darkness at that moment is that groups of you are all feeling, touching and sucking each other and it feels great.
Occasionally I've ventured into the dark room, and felt another guy's body against mine. You don't know how many times I've felt a really big belly or the receding hairline. And I know that this is a not person I would normally hook-up with. So for me, I don't like the dark room, cause I really want to know and see the person I'm with. But everyone is different.
Now while every bathhouse has some sort of dark orgy room, many other bathhouses have what is know as a "Dungeon Room" which is also dark. This allows gay men to act out their fantasies. For instance a lot of gay men find sex in an alley or in a public place exciting, but very risky. So by playing out their fantasy in a bathhouse, under these conditions (Dungeon Room/fake alleyway), they can act out in a safe and controlled environment. If a guy wants to experiment with S&M, but does not have the proper equipment, they can head off to the baths. Swings, whips, leather, bondage equipment and prison cells are all featured in the dark dungeon room so you can experiment. I have seen many couples come to the baths together, so they can act out their fantasies and have a good time. Now not all bathhouses have S&M equipment, so you should check, before making a date.
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