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The baths also encouraged more advanced forms of sexual experimentation. Langguth wrote: "...[The baths at Jermyn Street] represented a twilight arena for elderly men who came to sweat poisons from their systems and youths who came to strike beguiling poses in Turkish towels...
Griffes himself had had his first encounter with a man interested in sadomasochism at the Lafayette two years earlier (he found the man "interesting" but the experience unappealing), and several men interviewed in the mid-1930s referred to experimenting in the baths and learning of new pleasures. although they were closely overseen by attendants, they provided a discreet place to inspect a young man before offering a cup of tea at Lyons." Steambaths in the 1930s: The steambaths that had been well known to me were those of East Ham, Greenwich and Bermondsey.
The American composer Charles Griffes (1884–1920) wrote in his diaries about visits to the New York City bathhouses and the YMCA.
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In general, a gay bath is mainly used for having a sexual activity rather than only bathing.
Bathhouses offering similar services for women are rare, but some men's bathhouses occasionally have a "lesbian" or "women only" night.
Many bathhouses are, for legal reasons, "membership only", though membership is generally open to any adult who seeks it, usually after paying a small fee.
Unlike brothels, customers pay only for the use of the facilities.
Gay bathhouses frequently threw parties for Pride Day and were usually open, and busy, on public holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, when some gay men, particularly those who had been rejected by their families due to their sexual orientation, had nowhere else to go.
The American writer Truman Capote was a regular at New York City baths in the 1970s, in particular the sauna at West 58th Street.
In the West, gay men have been using bathhouses for sex since at least the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a time when homosexual acts were illegal in most Western countries and men who were caught engaging in homosexual acts were often arrested and publicly humiliated.
Men began frequenting cruising areas such as bathhouses, public parks, alleys, train and bus stations, movie theatres, public lavatories (cottages or tearooms), and gym changing rooms where they could meet other men for sex.
Bathhouses vary considerably in size and amenities – from small establishments with 10 or 20 rooms and a handful of lockers to multi-story saunas with a variety of room styles or sizes and several steam baths, Jacuzzi tubs, and sometimes swimming pools.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating