Drug Use @ The Baths: Part 1
Drug Use @ The Baths: Part 1

The following is a true story. The customer in Room 316 was on overtime – REAL OVERTIME. He checked in around 8 PM the previous night, and now Noon was approaching, just in time for the lunch special. He purchased a room for 12 hours, which was typical – men who rent 12-hour rooms oversleep. Generally, there is a grace period for customers who run overtime of an hour or so. But the occupant of Room 316 had been in that room for 16 hours, four of which were on overtime. The desk attendant on duty repeatedly announced throughout the morning via the loudspeaker that Room 316 was on overtime. So he should either checkout or renew. For hours there was no response to the frequent announcements and no response from the floor attendant’s repeated knocking on the door.

Finally, the floor attendant decided it was time to burst in and wake up the delinquent customer. It is not so unusual for customers to be on overtime that long. The occupant of Room 316 was probably still sleeping off his hangover from the previous night’s partying. Having a 12-hour room gives a customer in and out privileges. So he could have gone bar-hopping before returning to the baths to crash. The floor attendant knocked again, announcing it was time to check out or renew. Hearing no response, the floor attendant inserted his master key and tried to open the door. But it would not open. Thinking it was a jammed door, the floor attendant started pushing and, to his horror, realized that wasn’t the case. There was a body slumped against the door. The occupant of Room 316 had overdosed due to injecting Crack Cocaine. The autopsy report later stated that the death happened around 10:00 PM. Meaning this customer was lying dead in his room for 14 hours. Considering he was found against a closed door, it seems like the customer was making a feeble attempt to save himself. The customer was left to die while scores of guys were having sex in rooms around him.

This little vignette illustrates the reckless drug use prevalent in the gay community. Using illegal substances seems to be a part of mainstream gay culture. It is as common as having that cup of coffee in the morning. As a gay man, you see drugs taken at clubs, bars, and private parties. So why should anyone be surprised that drugs are rampant in a bathhouse? To their credit, bathhouses generally prohibit the consumption of any recreational drugs used on the premises. You walk into any bathhouse in America, and you will see a sign that reads, “The use of Alcohol and Narcotics is not allowed on the premises.” But how will the staff monitor what goes on behind closed doors? It is not like you get strip-searched upon entering a bathhouse. Gay Saunas are all about privacy, and that is to be respected. In addition, half the staff uses drugs recreationally in their personal lives, so why should they judge someone else? But when a bathhouse has to call the paramedics every Saturday night (due to a possible overdose), you know there is a problem.

These two essays will take a comprehensive look at the whole drug and alcohol scene at the baths, which is not a pretty picture. This world consists of drugs, alcohol, and mindless sex. Remember, gay baths are a fantasy world where gay men can do whatever they want. Within those walls, nothing is sacred.

Of all of the drugs consumed at the baths, Marijuana seems to be the least serious of them all. It is deemed so minor by gay men that seeing the staff share a joint is not unusual. It is not uncommon to walk into a bathhouse and be hit with the scent of Marijuana. You can smell the odor from individual rooms, even walking down the halls. After a three or four-hour marathon of sex, some couples will relax in the afterglow by sharing a joint. There are even some gay men that light up before going to the baths. It helps to loosen them up so they do not feel inhibited. They do that, or they kick back a few shots of alcohol.

Rarely have I seen someone so smashed at the baths that they are bumping into walls and furniture. Drunks at the gay saunas are a business liability, as they will drive customers away. If someone shows up intoxicated and wants to get in, the desk attendant will likely turn them away. The consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited, as many bathhouses do not have liquor licenses. Men will drink alcohol at the baths very openly, but discreetly. You will not see guys holding a vodka bottle or beer while walking up and down the halls. Instead, they will be carrying plastic bottles containing not soda but alcohol. The plastic bottle is transparent liquid, so you cannot tell if it is liquor. There is always more alcohol in the customer’s locker, so the soda bottle can be refilled when empty.

Most gay men who drink at the baths can hold their liquor. But over the years, I have seen some men passed out in the lounge or the whirlpool drunk. Or you will see intoxicated men sitting in the lounge talking gibberish to anyone who will listen. Some gay saunas do have a liquor license and allow alcohol consumption. But only in the bar area because customers cannot take liquor into their rooms.

But by far, the most popular minor drug consumed by gay men is Amyl Nitrate, better known as poppers. It is a substance that enhances sexual pleasure. Poppers also have a reputation for improving an orgasm’s intensity and relaxing the anal area while having sex, which is excellent if you are an exclusive bottom. So you can see why men love their poppers and do not want to leave home without them. Some men will even wear the small bottle of poppers on a chain around their neck, like a necklace. With the number of quickies at any time at the baths, you must be ready for any quickie encounter when you least expect it. I even see more men carrying around poppers than condoms! Poppers are technically illegal without a prescription. But you can find them for sale at many bathhouses or sex stores. You can even purchase them online by googling the word “poppers.” However, when you mix poppers or other drugs, it is a lethal cocktail. Poppers, combined with Viagra, can drop blood pressure to dangerously low levels. But that is nothing compared to mixing that with Crystal Meth.

Now we get to the severe drugs consumed at the baths: Crystal Meth (with Fentanyl mixed in), GHB, Ecstasy, Special K, Speed, and Crack Cocaine. While Marijuana and poppers are consumed openly at the baths, these hard-core drugs get consumed more discreetly. But to get back to Viagra for a minute, you may ask yourself why Viagra is so prevalent in the club scene. After all, it is associated with older men, and these young twinks certainly do not need help in that department. Long-term Ecstasy (“E”) or Crystal Meth can cause erectile dysfunction. Viagra gets taken along with Ecstasy and the rest of the club drugs to get in the mood. Taken in combination with each other is even worse. Ecstasy gets consumed in combination with other party drugs like GHB (also known as “G”) and Special K (also known as “K”). How do drug users keep everything straight? In terms of what is safe to mix and what is not? When taking party drugs, you can combine a drug with a vowel (E) with a drug that has consonants (G & K), but you NEVER mix the consonant drugs (G & K) at all!

But by far, the most commonly used drug at the baths (other than poppers) is Crystal Meth. It is similar to Ecstasy (an amphetamine) as Crystal Meth is methamphetamine – hence the word “meth” in Crystal Meth. Ecstasy & Crystal Meth cause intense pleasure, make you hyper and talkative, and suppress appetite. But methamphetamines (Crystal Meth) are much more potent than amphetamines (Ecstasy), which is why Meth is so popular. In addition, Meth can give men the body they have always wanted. How? As mentioned, Meth suppresses one’s appetite. By not eating, many young gay men are anorexic with 5% body fat.

If these twinks take GHB instead (remember you DO NOT mix GHB with Meth), that drug allegedly stimulates growth hormone release, acting as an anabolic steroid. So they can have a primo body without ever working out. But exercise is the furthest thing on many twinks’ minds. Their pressing agendas are club drugs, circuit parties, and party & play (also known as PNP). The irony about PNP is that taking all these drugs (like Crystal Meth) causes erectile dysfunction. It is a disconnect as drug users have high sexual arousal, but a limp cock. There is even a term called Crystal Dick. Most drug users wind up bottoming during all these Chem Sex encounters, as they can’t get hard. They mix Viagra with their Crystal Meth (which you should not do) to achieve an erection.

There are a variety of reasons why drug use is so rampant. Peer pressure and the need to feel accepted by the gay community. Particularly in young gay circles where drug use is fashionable among the social fabric of being young, out, and gay. By consuming these drugs, you reach a high that is so great; you feel that you can dance all night long. But other men use drugs for the opposite reasons. They do not feel like they fit into the gay community. So they use drugs to numb their pain instead of facing their demons.

On the one hand, they carry this enormous sense of isolation. But, on the other hand, they are very horny for another guy. By getting high, these men can temporarily feel good about becoming intimate with another man – without anxiety, self-questioning, or guilt. It is just a temporary escape from the pain and misery. For the rest of the drug users, it gets them in contact with other users. Thus, introducing these men to the drug community, many of whom are homeless.

The drug use at the baths happens very late at night, courtesy of Twinks (younger gay men), who party hard and into the night. They begin the night by taking a hit of some drug. It seems to be the general rule; you cannot start the evening without a buzz. Then they club hop and visit the bars. They meet up with other friends and continue to kick back more liquor and drugs while dancing the night away. The bars close early in the morning, and many gay men crash at the baths. But they are not at the baths to sleep it off. It is a post-party, a somewhat risky, sexually explicit post-party.

After midnight many bathhouses turn the music on at full blast (to discourage sleepovers). But for many who are high, hearing that loud, gyrating dance music has the opposite effect. The music seems to get everyone in the mood to continue the party. These men are so high on different combinations of drugs and alcohol that high-risk sex is not unusual. Crystal Meth (mixed with Fentanyl) and Crack Cocaine will do that. You feel such a sexual euphoria taking these drugs, that you cannot imagine having sex without taking a hit. Being that high liberates gay men from the heavyweight worry of practicing safe sex. At that moment, they can recreate the freewheeling days of the 60s and 70s. They can have sex with anyone and do anything without making a mental checklist of what is safe and what is not.

Even with all this freewheeling sex, you may occasionally see men taking a hit of Crystal Meth or GHB out in the open (GHB makes you HORNY!). They are feeling high and do not care what people think. You often see guys bouncing off the walls high on substances or passed out on one of the lounge chairs by the early morning hours. Or you can hear scores of men having group sex locked away in their rooms. The bathhouse staff really cannot monitor what is going on. They are too busy checking people in and turning over rooms. As the lineup to get into the bathhouse gets longer and longer. After 2 AM is the most active and best moneymaking time for the baths. When the bars and clubs close, the party has to continue somewhere. You may ask why a bathhouse will let these intoxicated men enter. The desk attendant generally refuses entry to someone who appears to be under the influence. So to get around that rule, these Twinks take a different approach. They purchase a room before going out to club-hop. That way, they cannot be refused entry when they return, as they have already pre-paid. Plus, they need not worry about getting a room if the bathhouse becomes 100% booked later in the evening. By pre-paying, they have secured their spot.

The 2 AM crowd also consists of men who struck out at the bars. These men have been hanging out at these taverns all night, looking for someone to pick up. If they fail to take someone home by closing time, they go to the baths to get off with someone else. Around 3 or 4 AM, the crowd consists of club-hopping Twinks and middle-aged bar-type men who need to get laid. No wonder a lineup always stretches around the corner at 2 AM every morning.

After all the partying and non-stop sex, these younger gay men finally crash into bed and sleep it off, hopefully, in the room they purchased. But, unfortunately, they wake up in a stupor sometime in the afternoon. It is not unusual to wake up and find someone you do not recognize in your bed. It is even worse if four or five guys are in your bed, and you have no clue how they got there. Though these Twinks are tired, sore, and strung out, they are ready to do it again. Most of these hard-core party guys know their limits. They have jobs, pay rent, and know they have some responsibilities. By Monday morning, they are exhausted and need the rest of the week to recuperate. So why does it take a week to recover from a weekend of partying?

Long-term use of Crystal Meth can damage Serotonin Neurons in the brain. Serotonin is a critical neurochemical that regulates mood, emotion, learning, memory, sleep, and pain. Crystal Meth can injure serotonin neurons, causing various behavioral and cognitive consequences and impairing memory. You are in a daze after a weekend of partying and kicking back drugs on Monday and Tuesday. The drugs have fried the serotonin in your brain. Although these can re-grow, they do not regenerate naturally and might not grow back. Many of these young gay men restrict this partying to the weekends. But for some, it has gotten out of hand, which is the dark side of the baths. The following is part two of this essay. Click Here

9 thoughts on “Drug Use @ The Baths: Part 1”

    1. Straight people use motel rooms. The baths are much more advantageous because those rooms are much cheaper, and some baths have dealers roaming the halls. It is hard to police in a bathhouse environment.

  1. I saw a married guy start trying Meth at a club house. Over the next few weeks, I’d see him there every time I went. He was quickly losing weight. I talked to him once. Said his wife knew he was bisexual but didn’t know he was at the baths. She also didn’t know he was doing drugs. Don’t know where that ended up but it couldn’t have been good.

  2. I think this is among the most important information for me. The website is wonderful, the articles are truly excellent. Good process, cheers!

  3. After reading the articles you’ve written (all of them), it seems people with questions pose them here in your guestbook.

    I am considering trying a bathhouse and that prospect doesn’t trouble me terribly. Polite refusal until I have the lay of the land is within my abilities. What I am concerned about, and hoping you can speak to, is that I believe my bi-curiosity emerged only as a side effect of my struggle with amphetamine use. Have you heard anything similar? More importantly, since the bell can’t be unrung, what’s the best approach to explain my… uncertainty… when I do select a partner and activity?

    Thanks for the answers and for maintaining this site – I did not have a safe and sane plan for understanding my new side – now I believe I do.

  4. Is very true what u said about the bathhouse. But don’t generalize all bathhouses and all gay people. And u have mistake in un letter and contradiction about the drugs and effect and consequence . Bathhouses is not the only place people doing drugs.

    In USA all people (gay and str8) use drugs in every night club, bar ,and parties. And the only responsible for drug addicts,,, is the government ,,because , in TV never should any especial programs about this. EDUCATION and orientation everyday in TV and RADIO is the best to save our community.

    Gay people and str8 people using drugs in the same level and % in every state and every country. . I have a friends he is an addict and he was looking for help ,,,,And never any institution give him HIN,, because he don’t have insurance ,,And Crystal Meth (Ice) addict ,,Is impossible ,,Doing out patient doctor’s appointments. Addicts need special attention and big help.

  5. Really appreciated the stuff on drugs. Living in So. Cal, you see so many thin people. I exercise and eat right, but will always have this little punch which I’m pretty cool with since I’m in my early 30’s. But you see so many sticks and you know they’re doing something illicit. I often forget the lengths people will go to so they can look “beautiful”. Thanks for the reminder.

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