Industry Insider Tells Tales in 'Bathhouse Babylon'

Thursday November 4, 2021
Originally published on October 16, 2021

A promotional photo for "Bathhouse Babylon"
A promotional photo for "Bathhouse Babylon"  (Source:Facebook)

Ever wonder the behind-the-scenes at a gay sauna? Writer Jameson Farn provides some of the answers in "Bathhouse Babylon," his new book in which he offers an insider's view.  

In a story he wrote for Bear World Magazine, Farn explains how he has managed gay saunas (bathhouses in the U.S.) for a number of years and "wanted to tell a story that is more of a behind-the-scenes, insider's scoop on the inner workings of the bathhouse industry."

With that in mind, he kept diaries and has turned his experiences into his book which he says was a "cathartic" experience. "It's given me the gift of clarity in being able to see how I was then, how I have grown, and to be able to realize how much of it has actually helped prepare me for my life in France and my work in the luxury real estate world."

"For years, gay saunas have been a place of refuge for queer people. The establishments generally allow men — those who identify as gay, bisexual, queer or even straight — to come together in a shared space to explore their sexualities," writes Gay Times.

"Gay saunas are still going strong in many parts of the world, but many have shuttered as queer people became more open about their identities. Dating apps such as Grindr have allowed many gay and bisexual men to have hook-ups and other sexual experiences without walking into a gay sauna."

One experience he tells is of a well-endowed drag queen who came to the sauna still with make-up on. "She quickly transformed herself into her rented room and emerged with just a towel on, followed by removing her makeup at one of the sinks with the remnants of the evening smeared across her towel barely draping around her thick waist," he writes. She soon became popular with men following her around from steam room to jacuzzi. " Here, sitting on the edge of the bubbling pool of hot water, wet, naked, enamored men were climbing over each other (which then led to more sex acts) while basically getting as close as possible to ravage the drag queen's huge c**k. Leave it to a drag queen to get the party rolling."

Farn also confirmed that many straight men come to gay saunas. "Straight men coming into a bathhouse is not some sort of new trend either... this has been happening for decades around the globe, because no matter the social constraints, a man will find a way to get around to what he desires," he observes. He does note one difference between straights and gays. "Some straight men were also known to us for having the loudest sex, almost like they were bragging or showing off. ... Men even used to imitate them passing by the room — one of the cheeky cashiers was also known to get on the intercom and imitate the sounds over the speakers.

"We would jokingly refer to this as "showtime", as without fail half the time they would then feel the need to have to tell us employees all the dirty details while they were asking for a fresh towel. But as long as they were happy and really, no one seemed to mind."

And then there is what he calls the "pulling a princess" effect, which occurs when an older man spends to much time in the steam room. "No matter what day or time of night, at some point one of these types of men would be soaking up the heat from either the dry sauna or steam room for a bit too long. Maybe if men were having sex in there, they didn't want to leave and miss out on what they were seeing or feeling but they would be in there for so long that they would pass out," he writes.

"If we recognized them to be a repeat offender of this kind of antic, that's when we would tell each other that someone was 'pulling a princess'. We knew it had begun as part of a game for them to play, as they were immediately granted attention, were fawned over, were even physically removed by men that were pretty much naked or ambulance attendants. And you knew they were up to no good when they would also try to grab your crotch while being taken out of the hot room."

(Source: Facebook)

Similarly Farn grouped some older men in what he called The Lonely Hearts Club Men."

"These tended to be quieter men from a completely different and much older generation. Unassuming gentlemen, very well-mannered, and many of which would tell us they had a wife, grown children, and even grandchildren. Most of these men looked like an everyday gentle soul that minded their own business, someone you might recognize as being your retired neighbor down the street, or the kind you might spot in a grocery store."

These tended to be quieter men from a completely different and much older generation. Unassuming gentlemen, very well-mannered, and many of which would tell us they had a wife, grown children, and even grandchildren. Most of these men looked like an everyday gentle soul that minded their own business, someone you might recognize as being your retired neighbor down the street, or the kind you might spot in a grocery store.


And then there's "Five Finger Charlie." "We had this one customer everyone thought of as a total sweetheart, who was also quite the opposite of the image he was projecting. He was into fist fucking sessions, and we were to learn he was more so into getting fisted than doing the actual fisting so we called him, 'Five-Finger Charlie.'"

Perhaps FFC gave a bit too much information to staff. "Five-Finger Charlie fancied himself as a fisting expert and for some reason would feel the need to either verbally give us a fisting lesson of sorts with his hands or tell us fisting stories, whether we wanted to hear about it or not."

He adds that he always knew when FFC was in the house. "If you just arrived on shift, you always knew if Five-Finger Charlie was in the house, because eventually, you would hear him shouting demands from his favorite Room 118 to his new lover while getting fisted with some high-pitched screams thrown in for good measure over the music in the club."

For more information about "Bathhouse Babylon," follow this link.