Sex In The Dark Room
Every time I go to the gay baths, I always hope to meet someone I can connect with physically and mentally, even if it is just for a few hours. But after years of going to the baths, I realize I am in the minority. Most guys want a quickie, and the more, the better. I cannot do quickies, although it is a way of life for most gay men. As I mentioned in a previous essay, many guys do not want to give themselves totally to another person in a bathhouse. Men want to save that sexual connection for someone they genuinely care about (a future boyfriend or date). So a quickie is a great way for many guys to satisfy themselves and get off. Now you may read this and think quickie sex is degrading. But in a Bathhouse setting, anything goes, and you become de-sensitized to the quickie sex around you, especially when it is so dark that you cannot see anything. Which leads us to sex in the dark. You have men who think with their dicks, not their heads (so to speak!)
Any bathhouse you go to will have some mood lighting. If you have all the lights on in a bathhouse, the feeling is a rather clinical and cold environment. So bathhouses install lighting that creates a magical sense. Some places have the hallways lit a certain way, so there are dark corners everywhere you turn. In comparison, other Baths will use special neon lighting to create a red glow (like a Red Light District). I have even been in some bathhouses with special lighting effects, making towels worn by customers fluorescent white. So the towels stand out in semi-darkness.
Every bathhouse tries to create an atmosphere that is a throwback to days gone by. When back in the day, the baths were this dirty little secret. You go from the brightness of the day into the darkness of a Bathhouse. It is like stepping into another world. It is so dark you start bumping into things. But eventually, your eyes adjust to the darkness.
Because of the darkness, customers usually cannot see what is before them. While I can appreciate the mood within the bathhouse walls, I still cannot understand why it has to be that dark, as it is difficult to see all the cute guys walking around. It is frustrating because part of the reason you go to the baths is to observe some excellent eye candy!
Within any bathhouse, there are pockets of places that are pitch dark. Eventually, your eyes adjust to make out shadows and other figures moving in the darkness. But by in large, you cannot see anything. It forces you to rely on your sense of feel. So you can assess what is going on.
Most bathhouses have what is known as the darkroom. These rooms feature everything from Glory Holes to open booths like telephone booths. Men go in and feel who they can cruise for a quickie. Rarely is there any kissing – only anal and oral. Sex happens either standing up or bending over. The smell of amyl nitrate is in the air as you hear poppers being snorted amidst all of the moans and grunts. There could be anywhere from two people getting together (because they do not have a private room and want to have sex) to a group having an orgy (four or five people, usually waiting around the darkroom for something to happen). Being in the dark adds mystery to the sex as you have no idea the other person’s looks.
Therein lies the contradiction about the darkroom. Guys are notorious for being picky with their hook-ups. There is a high standard for getting laid, and the baths are no different. Very rarely will someone come in and immediately hit pay dirt. Instead, men would rather wait for the right guy. That leads to much waiting around, cruising, lying in their room, and watching guys pass by. Some men go to the darkroom only out of sheer boredom and horniness. Who is waiting for those guys to arrive? The have-nots of the gay community.
The darkroom is an area of the baths that consist of men who can’t score: Asians, obese men, and gay senior citizens – all of them lurking in the darkroom, waiting for something to happen. Because of the darkness, no one will reject them since no one can see them correctly! The dark makes all men equal and desirable. These rooms are trendy on Friday and Saturday nights. Mainly after bars close after the last call, and guys are horny. These men want action, any action. Walking into the darkroom, sometimes you need to wear ten-inch high boots. As there is so much semen lying on the floor, you do not know what you are stepping on.
Then it happens. Guys who wouldn’t give these have-nots the time of day under the baths’ regular lighting, are now accepting a blowjob from a 72-year-old man! He doesn’t know that since it is dark, he can’t see who is doing the sucking. But it is the irony among ironies.
Group action does take place. The darkroom is the closest thing to group sex at the baths. When two guys get it on in the dark, a few other guys may hear the grunts and join in. Before you know it, group sex is taking place. Often, there is a lot of touching and groping from the other men in these group situations, and you have no idea of the person’s looks. It could be a 65-year-old grandfather or a 23-year-old college student. But that doesn’t seem to matter. All you know at that moment in the darkness is that groups of you are feeling, touching, and sucking each other off, and it feels great.
Occasionally I’ve ventured into the darkroom and felt another guy’s body against mine. You don’t know how often I’ve touched an enormous belly or wrinkled skin. Knowing this is not a person I would generally hook up with. So I’m not too fond of the darkroom, because I want to know and see the person. But everyone is different.
While every bathhouse has a darkroom, many other places also have what is known as the “Dungeon Room.” If a guy wants to experiment with S&M but does not have the proper equipment, they can visit the baths. It allows gay men to act out their fantasies: With items on hand, such as swings, whips, leather, bondage equipment, and prison cells in the dungeon room for experimentation. I have seen many couples come to the baths together to act out their fantasies and have a good time. They can play under safe conditions in a controlled environment. Now not all bathhouses have S&M equipment, so you should call ahead.
With the orgy and dungeon rooms being enormously popular with many men, some gay bathhouses have seized on that appeal by hosting a Blackout Night. It is where the entire bathhouse floods into darkness, and none of the lights work. Again your eyes adjust to the complete darkness, but you find yourself bumping into walls, furniture, and even people (hopefully nice ones). Blackout Night could be renamed Orgy Night because it consists of one big orgy, with scores of guys doing it with each other. Although some light comes from the emergency exit signs and TV screens, it is still pitch dark. Every customer gets a small flashlight so you can navigate through the hallways, but that is it. Some places do not even offer flashlights. They instead give out neon necklaces to indicate your preference. The red necklace is for those who identify as Top. At the same time, the green necklace is for those who identify as Bottom. Communication is unnecessary; look at the chain’s color and choose your liking. Blackout Nights are so popular that some clubs host one every month. It is their biggest moneymaker as scores of gay men line up around the block. Some bathhouses have enjoyed so much popularity from these events that they have kept the light shut off permanently – becoming known as a dark bathhouse.
Now you can also use the darkness to your advantage. All rooms in a bathhouse have light switches that let you dim the lights. The customer controls how bright or dark they want their room to be. Some men will rent a room, lie on the bed with the door open and observe men passing by. But the customer keeps the lights turned off. So all anyone sees is a darkened room, not the person inside. Now there are a few reasons for this. One, the guy may want to screen potential hook-ups. Although the room is dark, he can see everybody who passes by. He probably does not want to be bothered by those he deems unworthy of his time. Guys passing by his room must try to squint and see who is in there. It is so dark that men passing by cannot see anything. Again, it is a way to be selective and screen potential hook-ups. I remember seeing a couple intertwined on a bed, watching the men pass by their room. They came to the baths together, searching for a “threesome.” Whenever anyone “undesirable” (in their minds, I guess) approached or even passed by their room, one of the guys would shut off the lights, making it pitch dark. I think the message sent by this couple was “NO.”
But another reason some guys keep their rooms dark is to hide parts of their body that they are embarrassed about. They feel more confident with the shadows and darkness obscuring their body. But their minds are open for business. Guys who cruise a customer’s darkened room can do one of three things. Some guys will take the chance and go in. They have no idea what the guy looks like. But, like in the orgy room, they have sex with their dicks, not their minds. Some who can’t see the other person will stand by the door – playing with themselves to gauge interest. They also try to get a better look at the guy. If the dude in the darkened room is uninterested, he will say, “No thanks.” But if interested, he can say, “Come on in.” So while that is an excellent screening process, not everybody likes it. Some guys who pass by dark rooms will keep walking without breaking stride. In their minds, if they cannot see what they are shopping for, why purchase it? You will not see these men in the dark orgy room because they are selective; they want to see what they are getting. So if you keep your room dark, you could miss out on someone kind, friendly, intelligent, or maybe a millionaire passing by your doorway, and vice-versa!
So am I afraid of the dark at the baths? Only when I am alone!