Time For A Steam
For many American gay men, the sauna is simply the ideal location to reward themselves after a grueling gym session with a little sweaty, post–work out hanky-panky. But for most Scandinavians, many of whom build personal hotboxes in their homes, the sauna is a daily routine. Our friends at the Swedish Lapland/Kukkolaforsen Tourist and Conference Center explain: “The sauna gives a pleasant, relaxing, and refreshing experience beneficial to both body and mind. It cleanses the pores of the skin, alleviates aches and pains, and helps many people sleep more soundly.
Here, they give a few pointers on sauna etiquette for foreigners wanting to experience this traditional (and not so sexy) way of life:
—Always use the sauna bench towel when seated in the sauna or when sitting outside.
—Ask the other bathers, either when entering or leaving the sauna, if they would like to have more steam.
—You may talk in the sauna. The discussion should, however, be of the level that other bathers could partake in if he or she wishes to do so. Religion, politics, problems and strife at work, and the diversity of opinions within the society are better left out of sauna bench discussions.
—Your enjoyment of the sauna experience can be noticeably improved simply by reserving a sauna washer to scrub you and/or a masseur to give you a good rub.
—Remember to drink enough to ensure that you maintain your sugar and fluid levels during your time in the sauna, and eat something if you feel the need.
—The golden rule with the sauna is the feeling of comfort: You can go to the sauna as often as you wish, stay there as long as you wish, and repeat the hot-cold cycle as many times as you wish so long as it feels comfortable.
Not heading to Sweden any time soon? Check out our list of top urban bath houses across the US.