Gay men have been hitting the sauna to hit on other men since at least the 15th century. Historic records indicate that as far back as ancient Greece guys were sweating it out together in bathhouses. And whether you've ever hung with a bunch of dudes in towels or not, saunas are an undeniable part of our gay culture. But are they still a pertinent part of gay life today? In a new article in the UK's FS Magazine titled "Gay Sex and the Sauna," writer Stuart Haggas does a deep dive into London's steamy sauna scene and attempts to figure out what all the recent fuss has been about. And to sweeten the deal, photographer Chris Jepson shot handsome porn star Dan Broughton (pictured) in some seriously sexy pics that accompany the article.
Now, in case you missed it, Britain's gay saunas have been under fire since the death of a man at a Manchester health club in March 2013. In an article for Winq magazine, gay soldier-turned-author James Wharton called for the shutdown of England's saunas, calling them "thorns in our side that mark our community as different for the wrong reasons." Wharton wrote that he thought many gay men had become HIV-positive in them, and that men who go to saunas are often wasted on booze and drugs. But British gays have objected to his statements and are fighting back, defending their right to get naked and have anonymous sex in a public place.
In the extensive piece for FS, which is a health and lifestyle magazine from the Gay Men's Health Charity, Haggas asks: "Are gay saunas still relevant on Britain's gay scene--or is it time for them to be consigned to history?" He interviews and quotes numerous men on both sides of the issue. Haggas also includes interesting facts ("About 18 percent of gay men who are HIV-positive don't know that they have it. It's these people who are causing most new infections") and practical tips for navigating the steam room ("Drink water. Saunas are hot, steamy places"). To read the full story and see more pictures of Dan, click here. And leave your steamy experiences and thoughts on the future of the gay sauna in the comments section below!